Words by Nowak

As the deadline for this issue approached, I realized that I hadn’t even contacted a band to set up an interview or anything. I had a couple days to pull something together, and I didn’t know what to do. The in hit me: I was going to go see Between The Buried And Me  right before I had to get my band feature in, and I could review the show and get some kickass live photos to go with it!

The Between The Buried And Me show started super early, and after I got off work and drove for 90 minutes to get there by 9, I pulled up to find it had just ended. Bummer. I was still going to write a piece on the band based on an killer live performance I had seen 2 months earlier, but then their publicist came through with an 11th-hour interview. I caught up with vocalist Tommy Rogers on the phone just before their gig in Poughkeepsie, NY, and we talked about their headlining tour, the complexity of their music, and their many musical influences – influences paid homage to on a covers CD entitled The Anatomy Of…, set to release about the time this issue hits the streets.

Tommy was really cool; his laid-back voice and slight North Carolina accent a far cry from either his high-pitched crooning or his death metal growl that would make Deicide’s Glen Benton’s evil heart proud. He told me the tour was going very well. “It’s been amazing. It’s been a while since we headlined, so we were kind of nervous and excited at the same time. Probably like the last year and a half we’ve played half-hour sets.” Headlining and playing for an hour gives them the freedom to play more songs and the a welcome opportunity to change it up more and play some material they don’t usually get to, since many of their sweeping, time-change-riddled prog/death/jazz metal epics go on for 7 or 8 minutes.

I brought up their highly-anticipated covers CD, where they recreate songs by Metallica, Queen, Motley Crue, Blind Melon, and many more of the bands that had an impact on them. “We got a list together as a band of a lot of songs we really enjoy, and that we feel we can incorporate our sound into. I feel like it touches so many different genres and so many different types of bands. A big goal for me is for get kids into bands that we’re really into, that have inspired us. I think about all these older bands that [kids today] just don’t even know about or they’ve never given them a chance because it’s not metal or whatever.” If this gets one kid to pick up Faith No More’s top-notch Angel Dust based on BTBAM’s cover of Malpractice, or Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell based on their version of “Cemetery Gates”, then that furthers the cause of opening minds and giving great music a new audience. Rogers is particularly excited about their cover of Queen’s “Bicycle Race”. “I’ve been a huge, huge Queen fan for a while. It was just an honor to record that song. Freddie Mercury is one of the best vocalists of all time. It’s just… it’s kind of a way to show that we can do more than just blast beats.”

Between The Buried And Me does a lot more than just blast beats. They’re so diverse and proficient in utilizing disparate styles that it makes them impossible to neatly categorize. They go from brutal to serene in the same song, like “Mordecai” or “Selkies: The Endless Obsession”, and “Laser Speed” is like a straight-up bossa nova instrumental. “We’re definitely a metal band. We’re not afraid to experiment. One thing we never try to do is label our music. We just kind of write what we feel is necessary for each record.”

Check out BTBAM on tour with Ozzfest all summer long, and make fun of Tommy for losing to Prince’s miniature sissy ass in PETA’s “Sexiest Vegetarian 2006” poll.

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