While I wandered the streets of Kitchener, Ontario during my time at KOI Fest, a few ideas came to mind with regards to which bands I wanted to meet and interview. While I was stoked to meet up with the majority of the bands on my list, I was most fulfilled by one character with whom I crossed paths; Every Time I Die‘s lead guitarist Andy Williams. Hailing from Buffalo, NY, ETID were one of the massive headliners for the festival; the band I would say the majority of the festival-goers were there to see. With the threat of rain looming for their 10:15 pm set, ETID was moved to a 400+ capacity room at Wax Club where they tore it down. This was one of the best sets I’d ever seen, and probably the craziest of KOI showcases festival organizer Cory Crossman has ever had the honour of hosting.
Throughout the day, I noticed Williams cruising around the merch tents located on central King Street, talking to fans and fellow festival performers. My green light was flashing…this was my opportunity…
“…Our first show was in ’98, and we had started touring in ’99. We became an active touring band in 1999,” Williams recalled as I asked him how long ETID has actually been a band. I remember back in my street team days working with Extensive Enterprise in Montreal, QC, promoter Dave Boucher boasted his ownership of the first ETID demo tape, which is really rare.
ETID were and are one of the most hardworking hardcore bands out there. Whether they’re headling 1000+ capacity clubs or supporting other bands, they’ve been slugging it out on the road constantly while still putting out new records almost every two years. “I write a lot of music, but every time I get started and record, I’ll fall behind, and an Every Time I Die tour will happen…it’ll grab my attention, then I forget about it, and come back and work on it,” stated Andy.
I asked him about side projects; a question influenced by one of the festivals other torrential headliners, Chiodos. Chiodos are notorious for having multiple credible side project bands such as D.R.U.G.S.. Keith Buckley, both Williams’ long time pal and ETID’s infamous sassy front man, also has a side project with members of Fall Out Boy and Anthrax called The Damned Things. So I wondered if ETID is a band where time is allotted for extracurricular projects, or if ETID takes precedence over other endeavours. “I did a thing called Chopper where I had songs…I had one online…ChopperMT on Facebook or something [laughs]. I can’t remember, it was so long ago. I did everything on it…it’s killer,” Williams said. Dismissing that they’re one of the busiest bands in the galaxy, they still have other endeavors they pursue when not on the road or recording killer records. Andy reasserts, “...thing is, too, that we don’t really have side projects but we have side things that we do, where it’s, like, Jordan [guitarist for ETID] has his art, Keith [vocalist for ETID] writes for, like, five magazines, Steve [bassist for ETID] has a cover band on the side, and Legs [Ryan Leger, drummer for ETID] does session work. Everyone does their own thing on the side, but they’re not really musical side projects…”
As the band has been touring mercilessly and spitting out album after album, I asked Williams this: “Is there an end or due date for ETID?” I didn’t pose this question to get a rise out of him or dig up any unnecessary skeletons, but some bands after years on the road and in the studio, have expiry dates. “Big arguments happen where it’s like, “COULD THIS BE IT?” Then someone farts and it’s all over,” Williams explained. “The whole thing is to not take ourselves too seriously. Some bands won’t hang around people like at something like this, like KOI fest. Some bands will sit in their vans by themselves,” Williams continued. The amicable and fun aspect of being in an active band is what these fully grown-ass men thrive on, hence them being so many people’s favorite band.
I would guess that the majority of hardcore fans have either taken selfies with the members of ETID or gotten one of the members to wear their band’s t-shirt (Williams is often seen wearing merch from Partycats). One unfortunate thing about being in a band like ETID is that it can actually hurt you physically. Williams explains, “There’ll be times I’m so beat and tired after a tour. I’ll be 37 this year and it’s like, fuck, man, how many more times will I have my knee go out of place? Or until I can’t physically do this anymore? Until I am unable to play guitar because my body’s too fucked up… But, the weirdest thing is I’ll talk about how fucked up it is, but I’ll tough it out, and the minute the show starts, almost nothing hurts. You know what I mean?” What Williams said is true. The magic of playing loud and heavy music can make almost anything negative go away, and that is what the spirit of punk and hardcore is and will always be about. “We are all stoked to play. That’s what it is. Once we are not having fun anymore, then it’s our time to go…” Williams concluded.
To be honest, I am not the biggest ETID fan by any means, but I can whole-heartedly admit that they rule. They write ridiculously heavy southern hardcore records, and put on one of the best live shows ever. Whether you see them at Warped Tour or in a club, they will make damn sure you won’t forget the experience. They’ve got structure to which many bands should pay attention. They are a force not to be reckoned with. I’m glad I ran into Mr. Williams…he’s a cool cat.
Written and Compiled by Gabe Koury