Buffalo Tooth interview with Greg Downing

June 26, 2014

Buffalo Tooth interview with Greg Downing

© Ulysses Ortega
San Francisco’s had a number of breakout artists over the
past few years that have kind of caused everyone to think that anything coming
out of San Fran has to sound a certain way, Ty Segall and John Dwyer I’m
looking in you direction here.  Buffalo
Tooth however is having none of that nonsense. 
Rather than attempting to do what everyone else is doing or “fit into
the scene”, they’ve taken a decidedly unique and interesting path fusing
elements of punk, math rock, garage, country, surf and psychedelia to create a
potent stew of surprisingly intellectual and socially aware rock ‘n’ roll.  Every song that they drop has a personality
and sound all its own, standing as an individual piece of art amongst a gallery
of work that’s obviously from the same brush, but done on so many varied
pallets and in so many mediums it makes your head spin.  One song will be completely dosed out on fuzz
and distortion, while the next is drenched in reverb and echo, jangling guitars
popping and screaming in the background; and that’s before things take a turn
for the twangy and the country/surf vibe starts spilling out of the speakers
like a whiskey bottle that’s been knocked on its side.  There’s an intertwining hard psychedelic edge
to the music that’s consistent however, and it’s not like you feel like you’re
listening to a different band on each track, it’s just that you find a band
that’s even capable of penning such radically different songs with a seeming
Jeckyll and Hyde song writing style going on, led a lone one that’s able to do
it with style and finesse all the time. 
Buffalo Tooth originally caught my ear with their debut Self-Titled 7”
in 2012 when the insanely killer Permanent Records suggested I check it out,
and I’ve been anxiously awaiting a full-length album since then.  After plans for a 2013 full-length didn’t
quite pan out Buffalo Tooth are finally getting ready to drop their debut
album, Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce later this year on the seriously sweet
Captcha Records in conjunction with what’s quickly becoming one my favorite
tape labels, Under the Gun Records.  
From raved up psychedelic trips, to jangling East Coast melodies and
thrashing punk rippers and everywhere in between Buffalo Tooth not only walk
the walk, they talk the talk and seem to understand a few fundamental things
about music most musicians are missing out on. 
Not bound to any flagship style or sound, Buffalo Tooth is free to
continue creating their own music with out the expectations or interference
from the world around them, and that’s the way it should be.
while you read: 
What is Buffalo
Tooth’s lineup right now?  Have you
always had this lineup or have things changed at all since the band started?
The lineup
right now is myself, Greg Downing, on guitar and lead vocals, Eric Kang on bass
and vox and Sean Grange on drums and vox. 
We had one other bassist before Eric, Jack San Filipo, who recorded and
is credited on the first Self-Titled 7” we released, although Jack had left the
band by the time we actually released it so Eric is pictured on the back of the
The more bands
that I talk to the more that I love to play musical connect the dots.  There’s nothing more fun than following
members from one band to another in this enormous family tree that spreads out
infinitely, expect for maybe cheating ha-ha! 
Are any of you involved in any other active bands at this point?  Have you released any music with anyone in
the past?  If so, can you tell us a
little bit about it?
Sean and I play
in a band called Glitter Wizard.  We just
got home from a three week European tour that included a performance at the
coveted Roadburn Music Festival in Tillburg, Netherlands!  We’ve been playing in that band for about
three years and have a couple of singles and full-lengths available on Captcha
Records, our most recent being the Hunting Gatherers LP.  Sean and I have played in numerous bands
before Buffalo Tooth but none of them ever made it to wax so we can skip over
them.  Eric played in Poor Sons which
released their Dyunes EP on Burger Records a couple years ago but have since
disbanded.  He recently formed a new band
with ex-Poor Sons drummer, Damon Lockaby, and guitarists Brandon Chester and
Doug Stuckie called Banquet.  They’ll be
playing their first show with Hot Lunch (Interview here) and Lecherous Gaze May
23rd, 2014 at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland, California.
Where are you
originally from?
I’m from San
Diego, Eric’s from Long Beach and Sean is from San Pedro.
What was the local
music scene like where you grew up?  Did
you see a lot of shows where you were younger? 
Do you feel like the local scene played a large role in shaping your
musical tastes or impacted the way that you play today in a large way?
I was in high
school during the height of Three-One G Records and listened to a lot of the
bands that came off of that label like The Locust, Arab On Radar, Upsilon
Acrux, Holy Molar and Head Wound City just to name a few.  I really liked strange abrasive music at that
time, something that has stuck with me. 
I was also into hardcore and punk at the time, bands like Norma Jean,
The Bled, Converge, Dropdead, Daughters, Blood Brothers (Burn Piano Island Burn
is a great record) as well as local punk bands like The Foods and
Underminded.  I also loved the classics
like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Middles Class, The Ramones, Germs, MC5, Blue Cheer
and Black Sabbath.  I think I was just
beginning to break into my actual music taste when I was about sixteen or
seventeen.  I’m the oldest child and
everyone I grew up with listened to way too much reggae and adored Sublime; it
took some hard work to find good music. 
I tried to go to as many shows as I could but all the venues were about
twenty five or thirty minutes away from my house, so it was a little difficult
when I couldn’t drive.  I was young for
my grade too and turned seventeen my senior year, but I did still manage to see
a lot of shows.  I went to the Che Café,
SOMA, The Scene (while it was open), Hot Monkey Love Café and Gelato Vera to
see shows.  Most of the bands I mentioned
I still appreciate and love listening to. 
Buffalo Tooth is a cluster of different influences fighting for the
upper hand.  I think as we progress, the
hardcore and angular riffs are creeping their way into Buffalo Tooth’s sound
more and more.  Sean’s drumming is definitely
influenced by hardcore and power-violence, something very evident in the amount
of blasts we have on our record.  Blast
beats aren’t too common in most punk n’ roll bands, but we like that nasty shit
What about your
household when you were a kid?  Were
either your parents or any of your relatives extremely involved or interested
in music?
No one in my
family plays music, except for my great uncle but I never met him.  Sean’s dad shreds at guitar and has released
a couple records with the Michael Grange Band, I believe, and his grandma
played in a bluegrass band up until she passed away.  I don’t think either of Eric’s parents play
What was your
first real exposure to music?
Going to some
concert at a military base in Oceanside or something like that, when I was six
years old or so.  I think it might have
been to see the Doobie Brothers.  That
was probably the first time I saw a live band. 
I don’t really remember much other than running around with a
spring-release prank ice cream cone and trying to launch it into people’s
faces; such a nice boy.
If you had to pick
on defining moment of music, a moment that changed everything, opened your eyes
to the infinite possibilities of music and altered the way you perceived
reality, what would it be?
I don’t know
about an exact moment, but an album/time period in my life that opened my eyes
was Mars Volta’s De-Loused in the Comatorium
I was sixteen, I think, when that record came out and it blew my
mind.  I hadn’t really listened to any
psychedelic music at that point in my life, and that record was psychedelic and
abrasive as hell.  A lot of people hate
on Mars Volta, and I will agree their later records are exhausting, but this
record is amazing and definitely changed how I thought music could be made.  Other records like Captain Beyond’s Self-Titled
LP, Gentle Giant’s Acquiring the Taste, Daughters’ Canada Songs, The Locust
Plague Soundscapes also had a huge effect on me and changed my perspective on
music.  De-Loused was the first, so it
sticks out more.
When and why did
you decide that you wanted to start writing your own music?
I never liked
the idea of copying other people.  I
always wanted to forge my own path.  As
soon as I started teaching myself guitar through tabs and a little chord book I
had, I started to write songs.  I’d say
95% of those songs were shitty, and all of them I wrote before I was sixteen
were definitely shitty.  I think in the
past three or four years I’ve finally come close to connecting the idea in my
head to the notes on the fretboard without losing much in between.  The hardest part about writing music is it
takes years, or at least for me it did, to be able to hear a melody, riff or a
whole song in your head and translate it perfectly onto the musical scale.  If you can do that and it still sounds like shit,
then you’ve got bigger problems.
What was your
first instrument?  How did you get it and
when was that?
instrument was guitar.  There wasn’t
really a specific reason.  I just wanted
to play music, am white and from the suburbs, so I bought a guitar.
When did you all
meet and how exactly was that?  What led
to the formation of Buffalo Tooth and when was that?
I met Sean when
he played a show at my house like seven years ago with a band called WPI.  Sean also played drums in a band called
Botron and they would play with my punk band Swank all the time.  Jack, the original bassist in Buffalo Tooth,
played guitar in Swank and I played bass. 
Swank and Botron toured once together and did many shitty things, both
bands broke up not too long after.  Four
years ago Jack and I switched roles and started Buffalo Tooth.  Sean was looking for a band to play drums in
and joined.  So, in a way, the two bands
coalesced into one.  Around that time I
played in a band called Moccretro who played a lot of shows with Eric’s band
Poor Sons.  Coincidentally, Moccretro and
Poor Sons went on tour together and subsequently broke up.  Eric only played guitar at the time, but
after Jack left I was bitching to him about trying to find a new bassist and he
said, “I’ll play bass for you, just chill out.” 
Or something to that degree, and that was it.  He jammed with Sean and I one time and has
been in the band ever since.
Is there any
shared creed, code, ideal or mantra that the band lives by?
Shred, party
and remember to get paid.
Your name’s
extremely evocative of your sound, I don’t know precisely what it means but it
certainly conjures some interesting images in my head.  What does Buffalo Tooth mean or refer
to?  Who came up with it and how did you
go about choosing it?
That’s good to
know!  A buffalo tooth represents pride,
strength and resilience to the native people of this country, something the
white man tried to take away from natives when they killed millions of buffalo
around the turn of the century.  So in a
way, the name Buffalo Tooth represents resilience and keeping a tradition of
music alive, or paying homage to it while moving forward.  I write the lyrics for all the songs I sing,
Eric sings on “Snacktology”, and you may be surprised to find out that most of
my lyrics are political or social observations. 
Take for instance “Greenbacks”, which is told from the viewpoint of a
Colombian cartel worker forcing indigenous Colombians to harvest and
manufacture cocaine, focusing on how evil the process of making drugs is on a
personal level.  Not all of our songs are
like that though, some like “Space Polygamy” poke fun at society.  That song’s about a Mormon polygamist who
hijacks a spaceship with his many wives and travels around the galaxy dropping
his kids off on different planets.
Where is Buffalo
Tooth located at these days? 
Eric and I live
in Oakland and Sean lives in San Francisco.
How would you
describe the local music scene where you all are at these days?
I don’t know
what has happened to San Francisco, it seems like there’s a new garage-pop or
psych-pop or some other pussy genre defined band sprouting up everyday.  There are a handful of shredding bands still
left in San Francisco like, Hot Lunch (Interview here), Black Cobra, Mondo
Drag, Hornss (Interview here), Pins of Light and Wild Eyes (Interview here)
just to name a few.  Oakland has way less
places to play and maybe less bands in general, but they’re of a higher caliber
in my opinion.  There’s much more of an
edge to Oakland’s music scene.  Bands I
like from Oakland are Lecherous Gaze, Synthetic ID, Replica, OVVL, Wild Moth,
Shannon and the Clams and, Meat Market. 
Most of these bands are friends of ours and I feel blessed to have so
much good new music around me all the time.
Are you very
involved in the local music scene?  Do
you book or attend a lot of local shows?
I entertained
the idea of being a promoter but gave up on that after about a year, too much
work and stress.  I have enough stress
booking shit for my own band, I don’t need to spend a bunch of time sending
emails for someone else.  It was fun, but
too much work and not a lot of return.  I
try to go to as many shows as I can, it helps to have friends that work at
Do you help to
record and or release any local music? 
If so can you talk briefly about that?
Not really, we
self-released our Self-Titled 7”, but other than that we keep strictly to
shredding and looking super good.
Do you feel like
the local scene has played an important role in the history or evolution of
Buffalo Tooth or your sound?  Or do you
think you all could be doing what you are regardless of your surroundings and
Living in San
Francisco the past five years has made me never want to hear the term ‘garage
rock’ ever again; so bored with that shit. 
No more please.  Every band I’ve
played in while living in the bay area has been a different style of music, so
I think regardless of where I’m living, I’m gonna make the music that I wanna
Whenever I do
these interviews I always have to describe how a band sounds to our readers
most of whom haven’t ever heard the band in question before.  And no matter how good of a good I may or may
not do I feel like I’m always putting way too much of myself into the
descriptions, too much of my own opinions and perceptions projected onto
stuff.  I feel like I’m selling a band
short especially when I can give them a platform like this to do it
themselves.  How would you describe
Buffalo Tooth’s sound to our readers who might not have heard you before?
badass, with all the fat cut off.  Or
something like that.  I hate describing
my own bands; nobody ever thinks it sounds how you think it does anyway.  It seems futile for some reason.  The songs are short, just give ‘em a listen.
What’s the
songwriting like with Buffalo Tooth?  Is
there someone who comes to the rest of the band with a more finished idea like
a riff or even something more, to work out with the rest of the band?  Or is it there a lot of exchange of ideas in
the form of jamming and messing around that you all kind of distill into a song
and work on together from there?
One of us will
come to the others with a riff or a couple riffs for a song.  We’ll have a rough idea of how the song will
go, but keep it open ended.  You never
really know how a song is going to feel until you play it with the rest of the band.  We usually go piece-by-piece until we get
each part down.  Then we build on that
skeleton frame, either adding or deleting parts until a song forms.  We’re not afraid of destroying traditional
rock n’ roll song structures, they’re boring anyway.  The songs on our 7 inches don’t display that
very well, but our full-length does.  If
the song sounds good verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus then that can
work too.  It all depends on the feel of
the song, if we’re sick of hearing the intro riff we won’t repeat it the second
time around and take the song in a whole new direction.  That’s one thing I love about this band is we
can call out an idea for a song, discuss it briefly and try it instantly.  If it doesn’t work we scrap it and try
something else.  We work very well
together, we also yell at each other a lot but that’s what brothers do.  In the end we get shit done.  We write songs as a unit, all the songs are
credited to Buffalo Tooth not one of us individually.  Hopefully it will lead to money squabbles
when we make millions in thirty years.
Do you all enjoy
recording?  I mean I know as a musician
myself that the end result is totally awesome, at least for most of us.  Holding that album, or single whatever, in
your hand knowing that it’s yours and that no one will ever be able to take
that away from your, for better or worse, is seriously awesome.  Getting to that point though, getting stuff
recorded and sounding the way that you want them, especially as a band, can be
extremely stressful to say the very least. 
What’s it like recording for Buffalo Tooth?
Recording is
stressful for everybody and we’re broke, so time’s valuable and there’s no room
for error.  We also smoke a lot of weed,
so it balances us out.  The recording
session for our split 7” and the upcoming full-length, Gardeners of the Devil’s
, a total of fourteen songs, took three days for tracking and one day
for mixing.  We work pretty fast and get
that shit done the first time.  We talk a
lot of shit to each other and have this strange spite/reverse psychology thing
going on between us.  It might be
unhealthy but it motivates us to excel and perform the best we can, even if it
is to prove the other dudes wrong.
Do you all do the
recording stuff yourself on your own time and turf with your own equipment and
personnel or do you prefer to use studio environments when you’re recording?
No, that’s not
for me.  I like to be in one mindset when
I’m recording.  I’m there to play and the
sound engineer’s there to mic everything and run cable and all that other
stuff.  The full-length and split were
recorded with Patrick Haight at the Spot-On-Sound Compound.  It was below San Jose, but he’s now moved to
Palm Desert.  Patrick also mastered the
record and both 7 Inches.  We seem to
prefer the home studio environment, or a studio that an individual engineer has
built in a warehouse or something of that nature.  I think a lot of bigger studios are full of
shit and charge way too much money.  In
the end, they want to make money and not a piece of art.  If you have a friend, or a friend of a friend,
who has good equipment, a solid space to record in and does great work than why
not go with him?
Is there a lot of
prep work that goes into the recording process with Buffalo Tooth where you
spend a lot of time getting things to sound just so-so, or is it more of an
organic thing where things have room to change and evolve a little during the
We get our
tones dialed in and then we’re ready to rip. 
We record all the basic instrumental tracks; guitar, bass and drums
first.  After the bare essentials are
tracked for each song we move on to vocals and then to second
guitar/overdubs.  The overdubs are random
things to sprinkle on top of the song to make it pop.  For the end of the LP there’s a wall of noise
that has four guitar tracks and an oscillator going full blast for almost a
minute before grinding to a halt. 
Recording gives you a chance to do some extra things that aren’t
necessary for a live performance, but give the recorded version more depth.
Your first release
was 2012’s self-titled Buffalo Tooth 7” on Archer Guild Records.  What was the recording the material for Buffalo
Tooth like?  If I understand correctly
that’s sold out at this point?  Do you
know how many copies that was limited to? 
Where and when was that recorded at? 
Who recorded it?  What kind of
equipment was used?
Sean, Jack and
I recorded that with Matthew Melton, of the band Warm Soda, at his practice
spot on Turk and Taylor in the heart of the Tenderloin in San Francisco.  We recorded on a Tascam 388, which is a 1/2”
tape machine.  We were going to release a
10” originally and recorded and mixed four songs in two days.  Jack left the band before we got the money
together to press it, so we dropped the two songs he wrote and sang on and
released it as a 7”.  We pressed 300
copies and have been sold out for quite some time.  There’s been some talk of repressing it
through Under the Gun Records, but as of yet that is still up in the air.
2013 saw a couple
of setbacks release wise for you but you’ve definitely started off 2014 strong
already with the release of your split 7” with Creepers.  Now I know that Under The Gun Records was
originally going to release the single but when I looked on their site I didn’t
see anything about it.  Did they end up
releasing the single or did someone else put it out?  I know that there’s a limited Red Vinyl edition
that’s ultra-limited to only 20 copies but I didn’t see any mention of how many
copies the regular black edition was limited to, if it’s even limited? 
The Creepers
split 7” is out on Under the Gun Records with a limited run of 300.  The first 60 people to buy it got a limited
edition red vinyl, but we sold out of those fairly quickly.  Our share of the pressing is almost sold out
and I believe Evert’s, the owner of Under the Gun Records, is pretty low as well.  We don’t use real numbers; we just say high,
low or medium.
You contributed
the track “Shit Show” to the Creepers split. 
Was that recorded and or written specifically for the single or was that
something that you had from a previous session that has been kicking around for
a while looking for a place to call home? 
If it was recorded for this single can you tell us about the recording
of “Shit Show”?
We recorded it
with “Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce” but didn’t know whether or not it was
going to make it onto the album.  It
didn’t really fit with the rest of the album and we had discussed doing a split
with Creepers before, they had recorded “Memory Fog” with Carlos Arredondo and
that was that.  They were down and Evert
was down and that was it.  Patrick Haight
mastered both tracks.
I was recently
chatting with the awesome folks out at Captcha Records who are finally getting
situated after their hectic move from their disastrous old headquarters and
they said they had copies of your debut album in hand which was music to my
ears without ever having even heard a chord at this point!  I have been ravenously following you all
since you released the self-titled single in 2012 and I know I read something
on your Facebook page about how you had to scrap an entire series of sessions
that were intended to be your debut album and forced to re-record it all?  What happened to the original version of the
album if you don’t mind me asking?  Did
you all just not like the way that the recordings came out, or were you unhappy
with the songs themselves and decided to go in and work on the actual material
that will comprise the album?  How
frustrating was that, or was it something you all kind of agreed was a
necessity and doesn’t seem like a huge deal at this point?

Around November
2012 we recorded nine songs with Matthew Melton at Fuzz City in Oakland.  We played really well on the recording and it
sounded good in the studio, but the exported tracks were tinny and had very
little low-end.  We had Patrick Haight
master them a few different times to try and bring certain things out of the
mix more, but realized we should just do the recordings again.  We had really wanted to put the record out,
but after listening to it and showing it to some trusty consultants we realized
those recordings weren’t the ones to release. 
We were bummed, but shit happens. 
Patrick told us he would have his recording equipment up and running in
his house soon and we decided to give him a shot with the record.  It took us a minute to raise the money and schedule
it, but we got down to his studio right outside San Jose in January of 2013 and
recorded fourteen tracks with him.  In
the end, we put four more songs on the album and made it a more solid first
release, in my opinion at least.
Did you all try
anything new or radically different when it came to the songwriting or
recording of the material for the upcoming album?  What can our readers expect from the upcoming
album?  Where did you record the
originally material or the album and when was that?  Who recorded it?  What about the re-recording session(s)?
The one thing I
think people will notice is how broad our sound/influences are.  I think guitar tone alone is evident of that,
going from heavily fuzzed out and crunchy to twangy and reverb drenched.  We even have a country song on the
album.  I think our approach to playing
and writing has stayed the same, we just don’t wanna do the same thing twice
and get boring.  The last track of the
album “Greenbacks” is the newest track on the album and is a good example of
where the band is headed.
Does Buffalo have
any music that we haven’t talked about yet, maybe a single or a song on some
compilation that I might have missed?
Nope, you’ve
got it all covered.
Other than the
upcoming 12” on Captcha and the recent split 7” with Creepers, does Buffalo
Tooth have any other releases in the works or on the horizon at this
point?  It’s only February and it’s
already proven to be an extremely busy year for you all…  Is there an upcoming under the gun records
release?  It says tba on their site with
a catalog number and didn’t know if that was referring to the split or what as
it also says, “cassette”.
Gardeners of
the Devil’s Lettuce
will be coming out on tape via Under the Gun Records at the
end of the summer.  We’re writing the
next album right now and are about five songs deep.  We hope to be in the studio by the end of the
year with a full-length and a track or two for some splits or a 7”.
Artwork by Damon Lockaby
Where’s the best
place for our US readers to pick up copies of your stuff at?
Probably on our
Bandcamp page then you can order straight from us and I’ll pack it up for you
all perty like.  We have shirts and pins
on there too.  Other than that, you can
get it on the Under the Gun Records website and the 7” is distributed by
Cobraside so it might be at a record store near somebody.
Design by Roy G. Biv
With the
completely nutty international postage hikes that just seem to be never ending
at this point, I try and provide our readers who like to actually buy the music
and hold it in their hands with as many possibly options for picking up import
releases as I can.  Where’s the best
place for our international and overseas readers to score your music?
The same place
and if they know of a cheaper service than USPS to their country just write it
in the notes and we’ll figure something out.
And where is the
best place for our readers to keep up with the latest news from Buffalo Tooth
like upcoming shows, album releases and that kind of thing at?
Follow us
@buffalotooth on the inny gammer, and twatter if you want to but I don’t twat
much.  Or you can lurk us on Facebook.
Are there any
major goals that Buffalo Tooth is looking to accomplish in 2014?
1. Full
Length.  2. Tour.  3. Party. 
4. Record.
Do you remember
what the first song that Buffalo Tooth ever played live was?  Where and when would that have been at?
I believe that
would be “Only Son”, Side A off of our Self-Titled 7”, at Ghost Town Gallery
with Dahga Bloom, Jeffertitti’s Nile and The Lotus Moons on October 19,
2010.  God damn that was a long time
ago!  Took us a minute to get our shit
together, I guess…  Fux.
Do you all spend a
lot of time out on the road?  Do you like
touring?  What’s life like on the road
for Buffalo Tooth?
We need to
spend more time on the road.  We’ve done
a good amount of weekend trips down south but only one trip up north to Oregon
and Washington.  We tried to play in
Mexico once, but they wouldn’t let us in.
What, if anything,
do you all have planned as far as touring goes for 2014 so far?
I don’t know
yet.  I broke my damn leg pretty bad so
I’m gonna have to wait until that heals up before we tour.  Hopefully, we can get in at least a full west
coast tour and if things work out more of the country as well.  Europe is also on the Horizon.
Who are some of
your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to play with so far?
We recently
played with Saint Vitus which was pretty cool. 
I love playing with Lecherous Gaze ‘cause they fuckin’ shreddddd!!!  Black Cobra is also one of my favorite bands
to play with cause they kill it every time. 
Oh, and Artifact from San Diego, they’re part of the Under the Gun
family and will have a release out sometime soon; absolutely ripping keys ridden
hard rock, featuring members of JOY (Tee Pee Records) And Psicomagia (El
Paraiso Records).  Keep your ears peeled.
In your dreams,
who are you on tour with?
Captain Beyond
and Bad Brains.
Do you have any
interesting or funny stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to
share here with our readers?
Nothing really
crazy has happened during a show, other than a random wasted fan who knocks
over my mic stand and then received a nice kick to the chest as a warning to
back off.  We have more problems getting
to the show, or getting paid, or timing our bowel movements correctly.  We were supposed to play in Tijuana, Mexico
last time we were on tour.  We get to the
border and are immediately moved over to secondary inspection.  I guess we look shitty.  Eric is driving Sean’s van because Sean has
no license and mine was suspended at the time. 
The border officials ask Eric if he’s the owner of the car, he says no
and they look very confused.  Sean comes
up to the front seat and shows them the registration.  The border agent looks it over and says “This
is expired.”  Sean replies, “Oh, it
is?  Huh, that’s weird.”  Sean had failed to tell us the van wasn’t
registered properly, and at this point we knew things probably weren’t going to
end well.  The border agent asks for
proof of insurance and of course we have none. 
He takes our passports and leaves us to think about how retarded we
are.  He returns twenty minutes later and
tells us to follow this border patrol car. 
We follow the car and he takes us on a brief loop through Mexico before
forcing us to leave through the US side. 
We get through the line and tell the American border agent what
happened, he tells us we should try to go to a different border crossing about
ten miles away who deal more with cargo. 
It’s getting close to show time and we’re stressing.  We call the band from Mexico to see if we
could borrow their gear, of course they were planning on using ours and only
brought their guitars.  Without us there
is no show, so we try the second border crossing.  Once again, the Mexican border agents take us
to secondary and loop us around through Mexico. 
We reach the American border again and this time they decide to give us
hell.  They repeatedly interrogate us
about how long we were in Mexico.  We
told them over and over again that we never made it in but they don’t seem to
believe us.  They bring out the drug dogs
and sniff the whole van, luckily we had nothing.  They inspect the gear and are amazed to find
out it’s actually music gear.  Then they
make us sit for about an hour while they scratch their dicks, or whatever the
process is to let people leave.  We
finally get the hell out of there and go to this bar Live Wire and play pool
and party with our friends.  Of course,
as soon as we get there the Mexican band calls and says they found a van they
can use and ask if they should go get the gear or not.  It was almost midnight and we were an hour
from the border, so we said fuck it. 
Mexico remained out of our grasp that time, but we’ll be back, and we’ll
be registered and we will shred!!!
Do you give a lot
of thought to the visual aspect of the band, like artwork for players, posters
and covers, that kind of thing?  If so,
do you have any go-to people that you work with or approach for those kinds of needs
and who are they and how did you originally get hooked up with them?
Art is
definitely important, if it wasn’t we would have released Gardeners of the
Devil’s Lettuce
in the summer of 2013. 
The cover artwork was a little behind, but it was well worth the
wait.  Our buddy Damon Lockaby, the
drummer of Banquet, absolutely killed it with the cover, center label and
insert artwork.  The back cover was drawn
by the great Roy G. Biv.  Roy has done a
lot of our artwork, he’s a long time friend and a full time ripper.  Besides the back cover of Gardeners of the
Devil’s Lettuce
he drew both 7 Inches and our pin.  Our friend Danny Shimoda also drew the
“Buffalo Wars” Tee for us.  We’re lucky
to have a bunch of talented friends who are willing to collaborate with us.
With all the
various mediums of release that are available to people today I’m always
extremely curious why they choose and prefer the various methods that they do
when it comes to releasing and listening to music.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for
your own music?  What about when you’re
listening to and or purchasing music?  If
you do, can you talk briefly about why?
For me, I
prefer to release vinyl with a free digital download of the record.  A CD’s ok but I can’t keep a CD for more than
a year without destroying it.  An MP3 is
the worst, reduced sound quality and it seems like it doesn’t exist.  I like to hold an album in my hand, unsheathe
the record and play it on a turntable. 
Plus artwork always looks better on a record jacket than on a computer
or a CD jacket.  I’m down with tapes too
because they’re super cheap.  They do
have lower fidelity than vinyl but you can get albums for like three or five
dollars, which is excellent.  I’m open to
having our music available on all mediums; vinyl’s just the first requirement.
Do you have a
music collection at all?  If so, can you
tell us a little bit about it?
Yeah, I have a
bunch of tapes and a growing vinyl collection. 
It’s not much, but I do have some cool stuff.  Lately I’ve been listening to some records my
lady and I picked up while in Germany, a psychedelic/noise band called
Metabolismos and this ‘70s Prog band called Nucleus.  I have eclectic tastes and my collection
ranges from The Locust to Loretta Lynn. 
I like to mix it up.
When I was younger
I was constantly surrounded by music at my dad’s house and wasn’t really
allowed to listen to much out loud at my mom’s house.  She didn’t care what I had on my headphones
really but she was a big fan of quiet in the house.  My dad encouraged me to listen to and enjoy
his music from an early age though and I remember I would just pick stuff out
at random from these enormous shelves of music that stretched on for what
seemed like forever and I would kick back in a beanie bag with a pair of
headphones and read the liner notes, stare at the artwork; let the whole
experience transport me off to another place. 
Having something physical and concrete to hold in my hands always served
for this brief and illusive look into the minds of the artists that created it
and just made for an all-around more complete listening experience, at least
for me.  Do you have any such connection
with physically released music?
Yeah, I’m very
attached to the physical ceremony of playing a record.  Clicking a button on my computer doesn’t
evoke the same feeling for me.  Although
I do acknowledge a need to have digital options for your music, I don’t think
digital forms of music should replace all physical forms.  They need to co-exist and when the internet
and technology finally take a dump I’ll still have all my records.
As much as I love
my music collection there was always a big problem with it for me, portability.  I just wasn’t able to ever take enough of it
on the go with me to keep my psychotic pallet sated.  I always found myself looking for the one
album or song that I would forget to bring along rushing out the door with my
backpack stuff with tapes and CDs.  Digital music has all but eliminated that
problem overnight and I can carry more music on my phone now that I could have
with an entire backpack when I was in high school, not to mention I can
actually keep it semi-organized ha-ha! 
That’s not even the real kicker though, when you team digital music with
the internet, that’s when things get really crazy!  Together they’ve exposed people to an entire
world of music that they otherwise would never have been privy to and I think
it’s leveled the playing field a lot for independent artists willing to create
and promote a healthy online presence. 
Nothing is ever black and white though, and while there’s all this good
stuff illegal downloading is running rampant in the industry and now that
there’s so much music out there online and in people’s grasps’ it’s harder and
harder to get noticed these days.  As an
artist during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on digital music
and distribution?
The internet is
a shit storm in every manner of speaking. 
It’s much easier today for people to record and release their music
which is good, but there are soooo many shitty bands out there clogging up the
interweb.  Back in the day, if you were
no good you couldn’t release your stuff unless you were really dedicated and
hopefully got better along the way.  Now,
anyone can have a SoundCloud, Bandcamp or release their stuff on Spotify or
whatever else there is.  Hating aside,
the internet is a great tool to research new music.  Granted, the file is usually a shitty quality
mp3 version, especially if you stream an entire album from YouTube, but it will
at least give you the opportunity to listen to a record.  I’m listening to Metal on Metal by Anvil via
YouTube right now actually.  YouTube’s
also a really good tool for finding rare bands’ albums from the ‘60s, ‘70s and
‘80s.  Why do you think all these bands
are randomly getting back together and touring again?  Without the internet who knows if that would
happen.  If you have a record that isn’t
even on YouTube, yes this still happens, and it rips – then you know you’ve got
yourself a rare vinyl and it might be worth some dough and street cred.
I have a
compulsion with music, I try to keep up with as much of the good stuff that is
going on out there and I spend a lot of time doing it.  Aside from digging through bins, listening to
random links and downloads I’m sent and talking to the record store employees I
always make sure to ask musicians likes you who I should be listening to
whenever I talk to them.  Is there anyone
from your local scene or area that you should be listening to that I might not
have heard of before?
I’ve mentioned
some of these bands already but I’m gonna list off some of my faves: Lecherous
Gaze, Hot Lunch (Interview here), Black Cobra, Scraper, Synthetic ID, Mondo
Drag, Dahga Bloom, OVVL, Wild Eyes (Interview here), JOY, Artifact, Psicomagia,
Brian Ellis Group, Harsh Toke, Wild Moth, Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel,
Creepers, Hornss (Interview here), Replica, Billions and Billions and, Dirty
Fences.  I might have left some bands
out, and not all of them are local, but that’s a solid start at least.  You can check out me and Sean’s other band
Glitter Wizard too if you would like.
What about
nationally and internationally?
In Zaire from
Italy are extremely badass.  Our European
Booker Ricky plays drums in that band. Black Rainbows from Italy, GOAT from
Sweden, Whitehorse from Australia; I need to listen to more European bands.
Thanks so much for
doing this, I know my interviews aren’t short but I know that they’re thorough
and that I love learning so much about awesome bands like Buffalo Tooth.  And hey, we’re done now so you can sigh a
collective sigh of relief and kick back, before we sign off, is there anything
that I might have missed that you’d like to take this opportunity to talk to me
or my readers about?
Not really,
thanks for reaching out to us and listening to the music.  I hope you like the record when it comes
out.  We hope to be in Europe soon so we
will keep you guys posted!
(2012)  Buffalo Tooth
– Buffalo Tooth – 7” – Archer Guild Records (Limited to 300 copies)
(2014)  Buffalo
Tooth/Creepers – Buffalo Tooth Creepers split – 7” – Under The Gun Records
(Limited to 300 copies, 60 copies on Red Vinyl)
(2014)  Buffalo Tooth
– Gardeners of the Devil’s Lettuce – Cassette Tape, 12” – Captcha Records/Under
the Gun Records
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
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