A lot can change in nine years, a fact to which Keith Buckley can attest. It’s been nearly a decade since the Every Time I Die frontman last released an album—2010’s debut Ironiclast—with his rock supergroup the Damned Things.
During that time, Buckley has continued to enhance Every Time I Die’s reputation, while the remaining members of the Damned Things—Fall Out Boy pair Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley and Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian—have equally flourished with their “main” bands. But then original bassist Josh Newton told Buckley he had no interest in a Damned Things reunion. From there, it wasn’t his fellow musicians, but his wife, Lindsay, who came up with the idea for Newton’s replacement.
“My wife and I were talking about how Joe and myself were wanting to rekindle the band, but that we needed someone to come in on bass,” Buckley begins. “Around the time of that conversation, we were going to see Alkaline Trio play, and Lindsay was like, ‘What about Dan [Andriano]?’ He and I have gotten along well for an extremely long time—we always hit it off when we played Warped Tour together—and I think Dan was such an obvious choice that I’d initially completely overlooked him. So I reached out to him, and he was into it; with Alkaline Trio having breaks whilst Matt [Skiba] does blink-182 stuff, the timing worked out perfectly.”
There was a pressing need for a bassist because Buckley and Trohman had been plotting a second album since 2014. Said record, High Crimes, arrives April 26, and while it’s been a long time coming, Buckley hasn’t lost faith in the band’s ability to write killer material. If anything, he argues, this new LP smashes Ironiclast out of the park.
“It’s different in every way,” Buckley says of High Crimes. “It doesn’t even feel like a maturation of old Damned Things stuff—this is a complete reinvention. As far as I’m concerned, the difference in approach to songwriting between a 29-year-old and a 39-year-old is significant—I felt like a new person going into this.
“It’s different in every way. It doesn’t even feel like a maturation of old Damned Things stuff—this is a complete reinvention. As far as I’m concerned, the difference in approach to songwriting between a 29-year-old and a 39-year-old is significant—I felt like a new person going into this.”—Keith Buckley
“There were so many different personalities rearing their head on our last record; it was like we were all trying to represent the bands from which we came, and it ended up not being loyal to any of them,” he continues. “It was a strange mix of styles, and at the time, I appreciated it because I was working with geniuses and icons, but having sat on that album for 10 years, and with it just being Andy, Joe, Scott and I this time around, we’ve come out with something that feels like the stuff [we] should’ve been writing in the first place. This is rawer, less polished and less self-aware than last time. High Crimes is fun music with a cool attitude to it.”
Given their members come from four esteemed alternative bands, getting the Damned Things together to make a record hasn’t been straightforward. A process Buckley likens to “puzzle building” given that he physically spent time with just Trohman during High Crimes’ recording—“It wasn’t simple, and there were a lot of emails and flights out to do demos,” he explains—the creation of this album might not have been an easy feat, but it’s an experience that’s reignited Buckley and his bandmates’ passion for the Damned Things. Tour dates will surface once schedules allow, the vocalist assures, but more excitingly, Buckley speculates that Andriano’s recruitment will lead to more music from rock’s most curious of supergroups.
“Dan joined the band after we’d written the album, and that was such a waste of his talents,” Buckley concludes. “I love the chemistry he brings to the Damned Things, and I think him being on tour with us will lead to songs being written on the road. Dan’s got an x-factor that’s always been missing from us, and I see endless possibilities with him now on board. I’d be 100-percent down to go back to the studio with the Damned Things again and do it properly, do the whole ‘cabin in the woods’ thing. I’d love for us to sit down together and make more great music.”