The veteran guitarist and professional wrestler goes back to his earliest days of touring, the education he got on the road, and explains how the criteria for any ETID show was to leave nothing left in the tank.
The most recent edition of Hardlore: Stories from Tour welcomes Andy Williams of Every Time I Die for a conversation that spans shitty hotels, the appeal of wrestling and the kind of legacy that ETID has cemented during their run.
The guys started out with some wrestling talk. Williams shared that experiencing his first wrestling event gave him the same feeling he got from his first Sick of It All show. He talked about feeling like he was instantly among his people, despite not knowing anyone. He went on to correlate how crafting a song and mapping out a wrestling match have interesting parallels. Co-host Colin Young echoed that sentiment explaining that every good wrestling match, like every good heavy song, has a great mosh part.
Williams recalls a personal turning point where he was involved in a fight in England. He talked about being less concerned about his body then, stoked only to be a “fat guitar player in a band” and the result was a poor showing in a brawl. He determined then and there that the same result would not happen again and since he has been committed to working out, training, and not being just a fat guitar player in a band.
Cut to 2003, Bo Lueders being a fresh-faced hardcore kid stoked to see American Nightmare along with Every Time I Die and Hope Conspiracy. It was the first time Lueders experienced the live intensity of Every Time I Die. He explained that he came to the realization that night that not only can hardcore fans get violent, the band’s can present an element of danger too. For those that have experienced ETID live, you know.
Williams chimed in with some of his earliest experiences with touring etiquette, revisiting being all of seventeen years old and working merch for hardcore legend Scott Vogel and Buried Alive. Referring to Vogel has the “Hogan” of the hardcore, Williams remembers Vogel taking him to task to handle things assertively. It was a challenge for Williams but ultimately helped him quickly build the thick skin necessary for life on the road.
The conversation segued quickly in a shared stories of some of the worst, albeit very much appreciated places each of the guys have stayed while on tour. From sweltering nights in bug-infested hotel rooms in Bangkok, Thailand, to 15-hour long wooden bus rides in St. Petersburg, Russia, to one-star hotels in middle America, there were no shortage of less than glamorous moments.
Willams continued with another chapter in his collection of tour stories, this time including director Doug Spangenberg. Andy was working with the director on a project for Coheed and Cambria and the two settled into a New York hotel for the night. The pair ended up fighting their insomnia with an early-morning, in-room wrestling match that resulted in a broken lamp and agitating the dirt and dander of years worth of neglect in the piss poor accommodations. Williams explained that the roughhousing resulted in the room reeking of dried shit – probably better than wet shit, but foul nonetheless.
Williams went on to talk about how the rigors of touring Every Time I Die became a bit more cushy than he realized after joining Trap Them for a brief run of shows. Having spent years with ETID and getting accustomed to hotels and amenities, he explained that going back to the ‘finding a place to crash’ way of life was just not a regression he was prepared for.
Williams also spoke candidly about how wrestling became a more appealing options when he compared the workload of the ring, versus the rigors of the road. Though he explained that the music would ultimately fire him up again and motivate him to get back after it.
The conversation closed with heaping praise of how ETID was and remains the gold standard of hardcore – both personally and professionally. Lueders explained how watching a band held in such high regard break down their own gear following a show, or moving their backlined gear out of the way for opening bands were small gestures that underscored how down-to-earth ETID was.
Williams explained that the only criteria for any ETID show was that it was a show – from opening band to the headliner. Doing anything to detract from that was something he considered petty and explained that if there was any other priority on tour then putting on a good show, this probably wasn’t the life for you. He goes on to credit Converge for establishing their framework, explaining that being a band that does what they want on their own terms is a true measure of success.
Stream the latest episode of Hardlore: Stories from Tour with Andy Williams of Every Time I Die below.