By Cobra Collins
CALGARY — “We want the artists we like to express themselves without holding back. We want them to put it on the line. We want them to take risks. We want them to be honest, too. For an artist to do that, they have to trust themselves, which is kinda self-indulgent, when you think about it.” Buck 65 (born Richard Terfry) has been navigating the Canadian hip hop scene and beyond for the past 20 years; it’s not surprising that he has such a solid grasp of what his audience would be hoping for with the release of his latest album, Neverlove, and we certainly weren’t disappointed.
The self-proclaimed “divorce” album is being hailed as one of Buck 65’s catchiest releases to date. But, for Terfry, the album was clearly part of an integral journey. “It was pretty healing. I honestly felt better after writing some of the toughest and darkest songs. I really felt like I got something off my chest. And the process of recording the song ‘Gates of Hell’ was healing in another way. I was exhausted after the screaming. But I felt as though an exorcism had been performed. I just shouted a bunch of poison out of myself.”
The end result is something Buck 65 feels resonates deeply with his audiences. “I just went into survival mode when I was writing and recording these songs. I was trying to stay alive. I think people can feel it. It seems to make people uncomfortable, but in a good way.”
Though the overall tone of Neverlove takes us on a beautiful, albeit sad, walk through the trials and tribulations of love lost, the album’s second single, “Super Pretty Naughty,” is a welcome respite, its danceable beat poking fun at the utter ridiculousness of some the most popular trends in mainstream music. It’s hard to believe that the song’s irony might be lost on some fans: the over-the-top music video involves an aerobic workout, grillz and lasers shooting from Buck 65’s crotch. The satire of the entire song is practically gift-wrapped.
However, Buck 65 says not only is the concern real, it’s already presented itself: “My fears were confirmed in one case last night. I was performing in Hobart in Tasmania and, when I played that song, a guy dove onto the stage, got to his feet and then tackled my equipment. When the sound went dead, he asked me, with despair chiseled into his face, ‘How could you let it be reduced to this?!’ Before I could answer, he repeated the question. So, I’d say the irony was definitely lost on him. I don’t know what to do or say or feel about that. That song helped me on a terrible day. It pulled me out of a dark hole. I needed to do it. And when I played it for people, they went kinda crazy for it. But, there have been exceptions. There are others like the guy last night. I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it. The guy last night didn’t seem to want me to answer his question. He just wanted to say goodbye. But, the rest of the room was filled with smiles. What can I do?”
Miscommunications aside, the overall response to Neverlove appears to be nothing short of awe-inspiring for Buck 65. “It amazes me how fast people catch on to new material. They already know the words! I’m also seeing people travel great distances to see multiple shows. That blows my mind. It’s been great. And I really needed to get out of my city for a while.” Buck 65’s extensive tour will take him from Australia to France, before heading into a long list of Canadian dates.
Remaining idle doesn’t seem to be something Buck 65 has any interest in doing — what little downtime he has on the tour is being spent working on the final stages of his book. He stays fairly tight-lipped on the subject, giving us just enough information to pique our interest. “Well, maybe I’ll just mention that I’m on pace to finish my book during this tour. I have a 20-hour flight next week – Perth to Paris. I should be able to get a big chunk of my line edit done then. I’m pretty excited about that. The book will be out next year. There should be a press release about it soon.”
Those of you who have been on the Buck 65 bandwagon long before Neverlove don’t need to worry about whether or not this tour is just for those interested in his most recent release, “I’ve put a set together that crams about 50 songs into an hour and 15 minutes. I’m pretty much touching on everything I’ve ever done!” mentions Buck 65, putting any concerns to we may have had to rest.
With Neverlove, Buck 65 manages to vocalize the universal pain, beauty and confusion of love gone wrong. The album might be Buck 65’s story, but we can’t help but feel like it’s a story we’ve all heard. As far as having to wade through the emotions that come along with showcasing your heart to a large room of strangers? Perhaps Buck 65 sums it up best by simply stating, “So, I figure that when I perform these songs 20 years from now, I’ll spend three or four minutes going back to a significant time in my life and I’ll feel it all over again. And I think it will be important and even healthy to do so.” And we are all looking forward to the next 20 years.
Catch Buck 65 at Fortune Sound Club (Vancouver) on November 8, Royal Alberta Museum (Edmonton) on November 12 and at Commonwealth Bar & Stage (Calgary) on November 13.AB, Alberta, BC, British Columbia, Buck 65, Commonwealth, Fortune Sound Club, Neverlove, Richard Terfry, Royal Alberta Museum