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Buck 65: Backstage @ Leeds 2003

22 August 2003

Rich Tefry is better known as eccentric leftfield rapper Buck 65. Not the usual artist associated with such a genre, but at Reading/Leeds he delighted the dance tent with his unique style and character although not everything went according to plan!

Virtual Festivals: What did you think about your performance at Leeds today?

Rich Tefry: Better than yesterday in Reading. The crowd was more responsive, I was happier with my set and something unfortunate happened yesterday. Today, we were free of all incidents. All around, I enjoyed it. I had a crowd that was twice as big, or more, yesterday but that really doesn't matter to me. I'd do the same show if it was one guy standing there. I've done that before.

Was that recently?

It wasn't recently but it wasn't that long ago either! I went into this one town, in Canada, and the show was not promoted whatsoever. This one guy turned up and he came right up front. He was standing right in front of me and I let him have it for like an hour and a half. It kicked ass, actually! And what was the unfortunate thing yesterday?

I got hit with a bottle yesterday. It had a bit of weight to it. I was actually warned before I came from people who had been here before that it's really common and I pride myself on my 'zen' qualities. I like to think of myself as being quite monk-like. I looked up and everyone's pointing at this one guy, looking at him like, "This guy's an asshole." So I look at home and he's just giving me this face. This is my logic at the time, in the moment. When I was sixteen years old, I was scouted by the New York Yankees to play professional baseball and I was a pitcher so I can throw - REALLY hard! I though that if I send the message in front of a big enough crowd, no-one will ever dare throw anything at me ever again because I will take your head clean off. So I had a bottle full, sitting there on my table and I let it rip. And....I regret it, to be honest with you. I had everyone move out of the way and the guy just stood there like, "Bring it!" But I do regret it. It was ugly and I don't wanna send a message to anyone who comes to see me that I think it's OK to respond to violence with more violence.

So you think that you should have rose above it?

I certainly do. You know what? I bet you for anyone that was there yesterday, press or otherwise, that's gonna be the only thing that people remember and talk about. And you know what? It's a sad statement on human nature but everyone loved it. That got the biggest cheer of the whole thing but I'm a bit disappointed in myself and I figure that I'm gonna write an apology on my website.

But surely there's two sides to it. He obviously deserved that?

There's a part of me that can stand by the logic I was thinking of yesterday. I don't wanna get hurt. Shit's coming flying at you and you're not gonna see it all always. I don't want that. Maybe nobody will throw anything at me again because they don't want their nose broken.

And then it might work the opposite way and everybody might start throwing stuff for a reaction?

Absolutely. In fact, another thing that I did both yesterday and today, and I don't have a political agenda, but I don't drink. I don't endorse or get anything from Smirnoff so I covered their logo and I just want people to know why I did that. I covered it and as soon as I finished my set, I jumped off stage and shook hands with everyone who was upfront. One guy said, "You know what. You probably brought more attention to it by doing that then if you had just left it alone." He was probably right. So both those things just go to show that you've gotta take a second and think before you make a move.

So have you never tried alcohol?

Never. It's never touched my lips. When I was a kid I wouldn't even take it at communion, at church I wouldn't drink the wine.


I've never drunk, had a cigarette or an aspirin, coffee, nothing ever. That makes me a freak. It's not normal. I could tell you why. It'd take a long time. There's lots of reasons why actually. One thing that I can say, in a nutshell, is that when I was a kid at a time when it counted - I had a really strong role model and I'm grateful for that. These days we sure don't get a lot of role models and I'm not really positioning myself as a role model. However, if at any point that came to me I would accept that fully. I really wouldn't have a problem with it. I think the world really needs role models. I think there's aspects of my persona that can stand up to that. If nothing else I've just made it a policy to be really honest.

So you can't see anything of value in today's mainstream hip-hop artists?

No. It doesn't interest me whatsoever. That music and what I see from it doesn't interest me whatsoever. My music is never gonna be as popular as that because my experiences are very different and it's gonna appeal to a different bunch of people. Once in a while, it makes me laugh. I hear people making attempts to describe my music and I hear the word 'urban' thrown in there. I'm the least urban person I know. I grew up on a dirt road and I talk about rural things in my songs.

You played this year's Dedbeat Festival. How was that?

That was psychedelic! It was just set in the oddest place I've ever been to. A weird, family resort thing. For kids in America there's this chain restaurant called 'Chucky Cheese' where you go and there's a room full of balls for them to jump around in. It just looks like a big Chucky Cheese. I just thought of something though with what we were just talking about. Before I covered the Smirnoff sign with my towel I said, "Hey look! I don't drink and this is why I wanna do this. But I'm not saying that just because I don't drink, nobody else should drink. Booze, women, church. whatever it takes for you to get through your day - do your thing. That's my philosophy. This is how I get through my day. All I'm saying is that if someday, somebody looked up to me, I'm not gonna say I don't want that. I love kids and if a kid looked up to me, I would feel great about that.

[Laytron walk by]

That Ladytron girl's hot! The road's just become between me and my last girlfriend. I did a stretch that started in January that lasted five and a half months. If you don't see someone that you're supposed to be in a relationship with for that long.....well it went down the crapper. It sucked because it was the best relationship I've ever had by a long shot. But I've always been a serial monogamist in my life so it's hard man and I get lonesome! I'm feeling all stupid and desperate these days.

But don't you have groupies flinging themselves at you?

You know what, I do. It happens but just given my nature which may partly come from being from a small town, it just makes me sad. So I can't even capitalise on that. I had someone come up to me after a show in Nottingham recently and they're like, "Fancy a fuck?" and it's like, "Eugh! No." It just makes me sad. I'm so miserable!

- Click here to discuss this on the Festival Forums!
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Article by: Wayne Hoyle

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