Permanent Buzz

Buzzov*en. What the hell is a “Buzzov*en?” It probably means “buzzed often,” but the dudes in this strange, ugly, muddy, hairy, heavy metal band slur their speech due to all the dope in their systems. I was able to rap a bit with “Dave,” or “Dixie,” as he’s referred to on their latest album… At a Loss, and he even responded between bong hits…

• •

May I please speak to Dave?

Dave’s not here, want to leave a message?

[OK, call back in a couple of hours, even though this was planned… ]

Hello? [A crusty voice answers…]

Hi, this is Dave from Ink Nineteen, I spoke with Laura at Last Call about doing an interview…

Uh, yeah, yeah, [groan…] I can do it…

So, you’re “Dixie,” on “bass, broken shit, sweet tea, and growls.” Have you been with Buzzov*en since the beginning, the days when you were on Roadrunner?

I came in right after that, after the GWAR tour, during the 30 Days of Roadkill tour. I knew everyone from growing up… They were doing the 30 Days tour from New Orleans to the whole east coast, to Austin, then the Midwest, up to Chicago, to Kentucky somewhere. They picked me up because their bass player quit since they started off the tour at Mardi Gras, which isn’t such a good idea, because he decided to stay there, I’m not exactly sure what he’s doing now. I was really just hired on, but I learned the songs real quick.

Did you do any of the songwriting?

On the last one, yeah.

Does it matter what the songs are called, because it says “all lyrics are subject to change depending upon whatever state of mind we’re in.”

Uh, yeah, that’s true. The names of the songs don’t change, but the lyrics do change.

It seemed like you were sampling horror movies between songs and just trying to go crazy. But it looks to me like you’ve got some evil, Satanic, drug-induced hysteria going on here, is that true?

Uh, I don’t know about the devil worship and the Satanic shit…

So even though there’s this goat-faced pentagram on the back…

…That says “the New South…?” Yeah, that’s pretty much a joke… there’s some, still some drug hysteria, I guess… I wrote “Plow” and split the singing with Kirk [“Kirk” is the singer’s real name, he goes by “Reverend Dirtkicker” on the album], and had some influence on parts of other songs.

What’s “Plow” about?

I don’t really know what it’s about. It came to me, I came up with the lyrics, but I come up with different ones at different times, there’s one that goes, “Untouched/ unscarred/ you’re gonna watch/ they’ll see/ my hate,” then Kirk sings a part and I have no idea what he’s saying.

How do you write growls and screams?

It’s kind of real hard to spell… You don’t really write them down. I had a real good time with what we did in the studio; a lot of it we came up with there, even the cover of ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down.”

You’re a bunch of ELO fans?!

Uh, no, no, not at all. It just happened to be a song that we could cover in our special way, make it heavy and make it sound good.

Did you have to pay them to use their song?

Um, no… We… we probably were supposed to, we didn’t even put them in the credits…

Well, when the album goes gold, they’ll come looking for you.

Yeah, so I’m definitely not worried about that!

What’s it like touring?

We just got through doing three and a half weeks of the east coast and we’re leaving on the first of July to go out west for 33 days and we’ll record while we’re in San Francisco, that’ll take about five days. We’re going to do a ten-inch for Hydrahead, from Boston.

Do you have a core audience of a bunch of weirdoes?

Yeah, yeah, there’s a lot of that. I see the same people, a bunch of freaks.

Have you ever played at a jail or a mental institution?

Not yet, that would be a great idea.

See, the album sounds like it was recorded by mental patients.

Yeah, it was. Kirk is a mental patient, but wasn’t in the institution at the time, he’s basically a mental patient. He’s just crazy, completely.

He doesn’t hurt people, does he?

Well, mainly himself. If you get in his way he might.

Do you have lots of long hair, still? I couldn’t see anyone’s eyes when I caught the 1995 Buzzov*en/Dickies/GWAR tour, and I still don’t see your eyes on the album photo.

Kirk’s cut all his hair off. Right before he had to go to court for something down here, but a hurricane hit and knocked the court system out, so he never had to go.

I notice you thank a number of bands, like Sabbath, Lynryd Skynyrd. You guys have somehow managed to merge Black Sabbath with Lynryd Skynyrd.

I appreciate that! I’m a fan of punk rock and all kinds of music, but hell, Charlie Daniels is from Wilmington. I like heavier stuff, Black Sabbath, Black Flag.

How does a band that sounds like Buzzov*en come from Charlie Daniels’ home town?

That’s odd. You know, we tried and tried and tried to get the opening slot for Charlie Daniels here at the Palomino. But the lady said it wasn’t a good mix. I have no earthly idea what the hell she’s talking about. She’s obviously not listening to the same Buzzov*en record I am. We’re southern freaks, we all got together and saw the new Skynyrd, it was great! I was all drunk and throwing up all over the place, though. It was really fun. Johnny Van Zant sang, they did a lot of old tunes.

Did they play “You Got That Right?”

I believe they did. I was lying on the ground for half the set, I was drunk before we got there, I was real excited about the show…

Do you get substance-abused before playing out live?

Yeah. And during.

Have you ever thrown up all over your bass during a show?

I certainly have. I almost did it last night. We played at Ausable Motor Speedway last night and it was kind of crazy. It was raining, too.

Were they having a race at the same time?

No, they were not, but I was hoping they would. But you wouldn’t be able to hear it.

The race or your music?

I don’t know, now that I think of it… The race, probably.

Are you a big fan of auto racing?

I’m a big fan of NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt is my favorite driver. I haven’t sent him a CD yet. I like him because he’s the Intimidator, and also because he nods off on the wheel during the race. I don’t know what kind of pills he’s taking, but I’d like to get a hold of them myself.

Do you guys nod out during shows yourselves?

It happens. The crowd probably wouldn’t be able to tell.

On At a Loss, there are different songs, rather than one long growling fit; you use samples from movies between songs, what movies did you sample?

Taxi Driver, different B-movies… Some of them I can’t remember. They’re like old B-movies, some stuff from Dead Man Walking, some from Creepshow. We take the sample tape with us when we’re on the road. Live, the tape just plays in the background continuously. It’s turned up and down by somebody, so we never know what’s coming on. They call him a “sample man,” but he’s really a “tape man,” because we can’t afford a sample machine. If we had one, we’d probably sell it for crack or something like that.

Do you have a touring vehicle of some sort?

We’ve been through a couple of them, the guy who owns the label that put out At A Loss is going to come with us and bring a van, we’ll see how that goes… I don’t own a car myself.

[Does bongs in the background] What’s a loracet? It says on the album that Kirk plays “loracets?”

It’s a pharmaceutical.

Oh, I thought it was some kind of primate.

Oh, a Marmoset…

You know why I got confused? Because it credits Kirk with “chimp fights” as well as vocals.

Oh, that’s not really his fault, that’s his alter ego, Monkeyboy.


Yeah. Well, he turns into Monkeyboy sometimes. Then he runs amok and spreads havoc.

I see. Does this happen during shows?

Before shows, during, after, sometimes it cancels shows.

Really?! You mean there’s some sort of real possession going on here?

Oh, yeah. Complete hysterical drug-addicted possession. Kirk has managed to survive in the band for seven years now, though.

How’s he manage to do that?

I have no idea. I mean, he should be dead by now. He lives by the adage that “rehab is for quitters.” There’s a picture of some of Kirk’s family on the inside of the album cover, they’ve been feuding with the Napiers of West Virginia. [Coughs loudly, and my tape deck falls down, don’t ask me… ]

Doin’ some bongs, eh?

Yeah, I just blew up your tape deck!

So is this our nightly routine: beach and bongs?

Yeah, well, we have a guy from here from Methuen, Mass., and he’s leaving tomorrow and we took him to Carolina beach, the most redneck beach in the world, so he got a shirt that says “proud to be a redneck.” We did the bumper cars and I kicked his ass in bumpercars. We raced the go karts, and I kicked his ass in that because NASCAR’s from North Carolina. We’re a three-piece, but we’ve been hiring on different touring guitarists because we need another guitarist. In the studio we can double or triple-up the tracks. See, Monkeyboy can’t play guitar…

Does he attack people in the crowd?

Most people don’t know what he’s doing. He can attack himself, shit on a parked car; there’s no telling what Monkeyboy can do. I first met Monkeyboy about a year and a half ago, I’d been in the band for six months. I was surprised, but other people had met him before.

• •

You get the idea. For some great growls and general incoherancy, check out Buzzov*en at 420 Market Street, #53, Wilmington, NC 28401. They’re touring for the rest of the year, too, so keep your eyes out for them!

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