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Livewire's One on One

Senses Fail
Buddy Nielsen

Exclusive Vans Warped interview
with Senses Fail's Buddy Nielsen

by Phil Bonyata & Karen Bondowski
Aug. 9, 2005

CL: Where do you draw your inspirations from and how do you go about your writing lyrics, I mean do you have to be in a quiet room or do you watch other bands play and you just start thinking...?

BN: My inspiration changes all the time. Recently I've just been pissed off at the world. Pissed off at like politics and the war and what's happened to music. Mainly what's happenend to punk rock. Where it's gone and how it's totally changed. Just a lot of anger just towards society as a whole and how disgusting it is with it's gang mentallity all the time. Most people don't have a problem latching onto something and not figuring out what their views and not having a mind of their own. Whether it's dressing punk rock or being white power and hating black people because that's what everyone's doing. People don't look at things the way they really are. If you were to look at things the way they really are - then why would we go to Iraq? I mean if you're an anarchist then they call you a terrorist. There is no difference for them if a person defaces let's say The World Bank - just anything that is real protest. They put it in the same boat as the terrorists who blew up The World Trade Center. They've been able to lump it all into one thing and it's really scary that any sort of view that isn't right-wing, conservative ideals just isn't acceptable. It's really odd that they can get people to believe that there's this whole liberal media out there. The fact is that the liberal media doesn't exist. I mean look who's controlling all television and all newspapers and all radio - it's right-wing nuts. They're so good with their propaganda and their machine that they've created that they're able to convince everyone. If you're not pro-American then you are a horrible, horrible person. It's not that everyone isn't pro-American. My idea is that you disagree with the polices of this country and can still be pro-American.

CL: And the great irony is most people I talk to. I believe like you do.. They'd say "I'm not doing anything wrong. They can come into my house. They can bug my phone. I didn't do anything wrong, so it's cool." And I said "what if they want to do it illegally or what if they want to get you and frame you or use something you said out of context and call you a terrorst," you know what I'm saying? It just seems that the Bill of Rights isn't valued anymore by the majority.

BN: And if you look back in history at what a conservative is, it's completely the opposite of what a conservative is right now. A conservative is someone who is like an isolationist and is like pretty much anti all government. Anti-government in any way interfering with your life. It's really, really the opposite of what it is now. It's just ridiculous. It's just so weird that when you think of a conservative now and what it was and what the definition should be - it's completely the opposite. A conservative would never ever go to Iraq. It's like why are we going over there, why are we spending money, why are we spending resources, why are we putting people in danger at a place where it's really not going to affect us. I think there's going to be.. Not revolution but.. You know the protests for Vietnam and everything and the way that the country got. It took awhile. It took people ten years for people to be like this is awful! Why are we doing this? (laughs) It took people like really, really long. After the election happened, and I'm not a Democrat, I don't like Democrats either.. I think the whole idea of both is there's very few political figures who actually stand up for and actually represent the people. Like.. whose that guy from Chicago?

CL: Obama?

BN: Yeah, there's very few people out there who represent any number of people or even I feel that represent me. So.. It's really confusing. And I feel like people don't care either. I feel like people don't care right now.

CL: It's a great apathy. It's like people think I've got enough money right now, I don't give a shit what goes on.

BN: Yeah! That's what I felt too. That's what I feel like I've been going through. I've been feeling like I can't do anything. And we travel all over the world.

CL: Yeah, and you see multi parties when you go over to Europe. You see four or five viable...

BN: Yeah, but you also see how much they hate America and we get that. They just look at us and say oh that guy is..

CL: And Clinton was so bad that he wanted to bridge and communicate with these other countries and it's totally gone now.

BN: I mean just from traveling and meeting people, they just don't like Americans. There was always a funny thing about Americans before, but now they just dont like Americans!

CL: Now we're dangerous.

BN: Yeah. And that just sucks. It sucks not being like that, but being percieved by that because.. You know, I would do that too cause thats just the way people are. I don't know. I've just been thinking about that kind of a lot lately. I really don't even know if thats important enough to write about because... Does anyone even care?

CL: You got to make people care. And you can do that through your music.

BN: Yeah, I know. But I just feel like people aren't really listening.

CL: They'll find out when they lose their rights because you don't get them back once they're gone.

BN: Yeah, they can call it the Patriot Act and wave their flags and go ra ra.

CL: It's so Orwellian.

BN: Anarchists are a threat obviously to any sort of government but, like I mean to be charged as a terrorist... They don't even put any of the stuff on TV that happens to anarchists. Most anarchists are peaceful. Most of them are peaceful protests for the most part. But like the government finds out your name, finds out who you are, makes sure they watch you depending on what you are doing. Like if you're a big anarchist person they will follow you around if like the President comes to town or if important people come through town or if there's like a world bank meeting, if there's like a trade organization meeting... That's just crazy! It's just really nuts you know that they focus so much time on that and I've got so many friends that went to Iraq too - you know? They come back and they're just like that was so pointless, that was so stupid and we're never going to get out of there because..

CL: Yeah, cause we're mired there for life!

BN: Yeah, (laughs)

CL: We are! Now you can't leave. You can't really win that kind of a war.

BN: Yeah. It wasn't really a war. It's like my friends, not that they're anti-American they love America, they love the military, they love all that but they're like... we shouldn't be there. Why did I just waste my time there? And they've gone back like three times because there's nobody in the army. Nobody is joining the army.

CL: Start the draft and you'll start seeing protests.

BN: Yeah. Me personally, I'd go to prison.

CL: Well, yeah you don't believe in it.

BN: For someone like Muhammad Ali coming out of the whole thing with civil rights. If I was a black man.. I'd be like I'm not fucking fighting for this country, they didn't give me shit! I'm just not going to fight for my country that I feel are an immediate threat to me.

CL: Well, I guess we could talk politics for hours, but we should move on. Do you ever read your CD or concert reviews and how do you take negative reviews?

BN: Yeah, I use to. I used to like care - but now it's like... What are you going to do about it? There's nothing you can do. Basically in music is to make sure you're happy 'cause you're not going to make everyone else happy. You're never ever going to please everyone. There is no way that's going to happen. You're just never going to be everyone's favorite and that's the goal. The goal is to please everyone, of course, but..

CL: Negative views or negative press are better then indifference.

BN: Oh yeah, exactly! That's what we always say. Like if for some reason with our band it's always been you really like us or you really hate us. Like you hate us so much that you have to talk about how you hate us all the time. It's always been that way and it's so much better when you look at it 'cause at least people care. At least people care one way or the other. At least they care and they're not like whatever, I mean they're OK, or they suck or they're the best band ever! I'd rather have that then have people not care.

CL: How do you think you guys have evolved from your last CD to this one?

BN: It's weird because our first CD.. We all did it when we were like fifteen, seventeen, eighteen and nineteen and we pretty much didn't come out until a year after we did the EP. Our full length , the one that came out didn't come out until more then a year when we recorded it. So we never put out a CD that represents to where we actually are. I look back on it and it seems so long ago and it's hard to talk about how we've changed to that CD then it's easier to talk about what we're doing now, you know? Just anybody, most bands just try to explore more things and try to become better at what they do, be better musicians or better songwriters in general. Kind of looking at songwriting as kind of an art form coming together like a perfect song that flows, that perfect thing that makes sense so that when somebody listens to it, they just get it. It just works and you don't know why. And that's the goal is to make a perfect song and you really don't know how. Most of the time it's by accident, but you try to make every song that song and it's like that perfect, has everything, the perfect chorus, the catchy guitar line, the catchy vocal line. It's just that song that you can't explain.

More Senses Fail
Vans Warped Tour 2005, Milwaukee June 19, 2005

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