Volume 93, Issue 25
Thursday, October 14, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Buckner sings the blues
Photo by John Clark
AFTER CUTTING OFF HIS EAR, RICHARD BUCKNER FOUND HIS MACH 3 SIMPLY COULDN'T TACKLE THE REST OF HIS FACE. Singer/songwriter Richard Buckner brings his lonely brand of folk to Call the Office this Friday.
By Mark Pytlik
It almost sounds like the penultimate rock cliché. Alone, driving across the continent in a pickup truck, armed with nothing but some lonely songs and a few guitars. He travels from one rundown bar to another, trying to make a musical impression on an unsuspecting audience. Such is life for Richard Buckner, an oblique and sometimes difficult singer/songwriter.
Bucker's biography reads differently than most. Instead of a sleek and self-congratulatory history, it's a brief and curt offering augmented with Bucker's own pen scribblings which were added as an afterthought in some random motel.
Ask him for a brief history and he's decidedly terse. "I've had bands when I was in college, played on the street, played in the clubs and made some records," he says matter-of-factly. And what sort of influences inspired Buckner to take up music? "I don't have any influences," he says. "I play because that's what I've done for years. It's just what I do."
Perhaps his tacit tongue can be attributed to years of hard luck. Despite having one of his records named as one of Spin's Top 20 of 1995, Buckner has toiled in relative obscurity for all of his career.
He has toured so much that he's developed a set of rules to abide by depending on the type of show. "If it's some half-assed beer garden show then I'll plug in, play and get the fuck out of there cause it's gonna get ugly."
Buckner also views certain press obligations with similar disdain. "I did a lot of promotional things which were kind of unfulfilling," he says. "A lot of times I had to do interviews with people who haven't heard the record and don't know anything about me and that's kind of disappointing."
As a result, he seems eager to distance himself from almost everything related to the business of music. For example, does the labelless Buckner aspire to signing with an independent label or a major? "I don't really care they've both ripped me off so it doesn't matter."
Alright. Is there anyone else on the music scene who he feels a certain kinship to? "I don't like most songwriters. I think it's all bullshit," he sighs. "I think most songwriters are bad songwriters and there's only a few [good ones] out there who are either dead or unknown."
Buckner's definitions of good and bad are slightly unorthodox he seems to value honesty more than anything. "It's more about what distinguishes an artist from somebody who's posing as an artist," he says. "I just know that most [music] out there is a bunch of shit."
As for the future, Buckner says he has very simple designs and he doesn't adhere to a neatly mapped out future game plan. "The way I conduct myself isn't thought out it's just pure fucking survival," he sneers. "I'm just trying to keep touring, selling records, make myself known to more people and avoid my job. I can't even balance my cheque books let alone make career plans."
And in a perfect world? "I should've been born a fucking Kennedy so I wouldn't have to worry about money for the rest of my life, but I was born some fucking poor guy from California so I have to do this for a living instead."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999