EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME VOCALIST TOMMY ROGERS AND BASSIST DAN BRIGGS
Shortly after the band finished their mind-bending set opening for The Black Dahlia Murder, Testament and Children of Bodom at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, I had the chance to talk with Between the Buried and Me singer Tommy Rogers and bassist Dan Briggs. The guys spoke about the band’s new DVD Colors Live, their rigorous touring schedule in support of Colors, sharing the stage with their heroes in Dream Theater on the summer’s Prog Nation tour, and what the next Between the Buried and Me record is going to sound like. The full interview transcript, after the jump.
Alright, so first of all, awesome show tonight. You really sounded amazing. [This is true, I wasn’t just bullshitting them — the band was on point and they sounded phenomenal, no small feat for the opening band in a 3,500 seat auditorium. -Ed.]
Tommy: I heard people say that the club sounds really good here.
Dan: Which is weird because it’s a huge club.
Tommy: Yeah, it’s huge, kind of like us. (laughs)
So you guys have been on tour for fucking ever.
Dan: Yeah, we tour a lot.
You guys did, I don’t even remember what you did last summer, then you did the headline thing. And then somewhere along the line you did Prog Nation.
Dan: Uh huh.
What’s it been like in this crazy whirlwind?
Dan: It’s been a great run this year. We met some amazing bands, and we got to do things our way for a change instead of having to take any tour that came our way. This time whatever tour came to us we got to pick and choose and go out and do a couple of small headlining runs. Then we got to do some big headlining runs and got to go to Europe for the first time.
Tommy: Mexico, Puerto Rico. Yeah.
Dan: Mainland Europe was awesome. It really was a little more than the U.K. where you have a couple of good shows out of 10 maybe. Every show in mainland Europe was pretty good. Some were, like, awesome.
Tommy: Yeah, it was a good experience. We toured with Dillinger who are good friends with us. It always makes it a little easier when you are in a new country with old friends. It was awesome.
What was it like going out with Dream Theater and Opeth? I know you are huge Dream Theater fans. I interviewed you [pointing to Dan] before Colors came out on the phone. You spoke at length about Dream Theater so . . .
Dan: I did, because they have been one of my absolute favorite bands since I was 16. It was great. Mike [Portnoy, drums] is a big fan, and he got us on the tour. They were great guys and incredible to watch.
Was the older audience pretty receptive to you guys? Or was it a battle some nights?
Tommy: Yeah, it was good. It was a little weird because most of the venues were sit down, and we’re not used to that at all. It was a challenge, and you had to win them over. I think on the music side they really enjoyed it. Some were like “I really like you guys, but I don’t like the screaming.” It was brand new to a lot of the fans. It was cool to get input from people that never heard of that kind of music.
What about from the bands’ perspective? Did you guys become close with Opeth too?
Tommy: All the bands and the tour were just amazing. Everybody was very relaxed.
Dan: Very musical.
Tommy: Yeah, it was phenomenal.
Tommy: All the bands got along really well. It was unbelievable and probably one of the best tours we’ve ever done.
That’s awesome. So what did you guys do all summer?
Dan: We went to Europe in June, got home and took July off and got ready for our DVD shoot in early August.
So that’s coming out . . .
Dan: Tuesday. [Buy here]
A week from now. So you guys want to talk about that a little?
Dan: Yeah the shoot was at a club called Rocketown in Nashville. It was incredible. The show was sold out, and there were about 1,200 people there. Kids came from all over the country and Canada.
Dan: A lot of people came out.
Tommy: It was an unbelievable experience.
Did you guys get a little nervous with your first DVD shoot?
Tommy: It was a little weird with the cameras in your face. We’d never really dealt with that. The crowd was so amazing.
Dan: I had a ton of adrenaline that night.
Tommy: Yeah. It went great. It couldn’t have gone bad at all. I was just amazed with how [excited] everyone was. We played 2 sets which was new for us. Our drummer played for almost 2 hours, but it was well worth it. We just saw the final cut, and it came out great. There’s a lot of music which is what we wanted. We didn’t want to put something out that people paid for and didn’t get a lot for their money.
Dan: There are still a lot of people all over the world who haven’t gotten to see us play. We did Colors probably like 40 times from start to finish in the States, but we never played it in mainland Europe or anywhere in Europe. So people are going to want to see that and some of the old songs we haven’t played in a while.
Tommy: We played a lot of songs that a lot of kids complain that we don’t play anymore. So hopefully this will make some old school fans very happy with some of the older stuff we played.
Cool. So you have this DVD coming out… are you guys satisfied with the push that Victory is putting behind the DVD and you guys in general?
Dan: (pause) It’s coming out and that’s all we care about. It was a long struggle to even get it to happen so the fact that it’s coming out and it looks cool, that’s all we care about. We’ve been pushing it a lot by ourselves.
Well they did buy an ad campaign on our website. So, you know…
Tommy: Okay. (laughs)
So are you guys writing any new material yet?
Tommy: Yeah we’re just slowly starting to. After this tour we’re going to go full force with it and hopefully try and record next year sometime.
Do you guys write on the road at all?
Tommy: No, hardly ever. We talk about it, but it never happens.
Do you ever get into a room and jam it out?
Tommy: We’re not really a jam kind of band at all.
Dan: We just sit in our [own] room all day and not talk to anybody and see what happens and then send it to everyone else.
Tommy: We all kind of write on our own. We tried jamming once, and it kind of went bad. Some members of the band aren’t into jamming at all.
So any thoughts in the direction you are going to take it?
Tommy: We’re just going to take Colors a step past that. I think with every record we really progress and push ourselves and our music. I think we’re going to continue that with the next record. The next one will crush Colors.
Dan: We have a couple of shows here and there in Mexico, Alaska and a couple of weeks in Australia. We’re actually going to play the song [“Alaska”] for the first time in many years.
Cool. Thanks a lot guys. Any last things you want to say?
Tommy: Pick out the DVD. Check out the DVD. Don’t pick it out. (laughs)
Dan: Yeah, do pick it out. If it’s on the ground and you find it buried in a bush, pick it out. (laughs)
Tommy: Pick it out of the bush. (laughs)
Dan: You can’t buy it at that point; you got to pick it out. (laughs)
Tommy: Pick out the DVD. (laughs)