Number One Cheese Fan!

Owen Bucey, keyboardist and vocalist from Army Of Freshmen tells Kat Humphries about the band.

So, the kind of style Army of Freshmen play is really different from a lot of the music going around at the moment. What kind of influences do you guys have?
It’s all over the board, you know from They Might Be Giants to Tom Waits to you know… just all over the board, Weezer, The Hippos, we’ve got tonnes of influences and obviously every one of us has different ones. Effectively we just throw it all out with every song.

What’s it like touring with Bowling for Soup?
They’ve been our friends for years now. We couldn’t ask for better time, better people. I think it’s crossed over; we’re just friends who happen to be playing songs together every night.

So do you like the UK? Do you enjoy being here?
I love it! Absolutely. All the fans and the kids are just so pleasant and positive and upbeat. You get a lot of jaded people in the States. They see everything; every tour comes through their town. It’s nice to see some people who are genuinely excited about music.

Why Army of Freshmen?
It’s kind of a long story, I’ll try to make it quick… When Chris (Jay, vocals) moved out from the East Coast, he came on his own when he was about seventeen and he wanted to start a band. So he started playing in coffee shops. He’d written a tonne of songs so he started playing these coffee shops and he when he would play them he would bill it as Chris Jay and the Army of Freshmen, even though it was just him and his guitar. It would kind of excite people to have the name make them think “hey, what’s going on? There’s this big band playing…” or whatever. Just to draw people really with this crazy name. And so when I ran into him in this coffee shop he asked me to work on some of this stuff he was recording. I played some piano parts and then Dan (Clark, keyboard/mini moog) and Aaron (Goldberg, guitar/vocals) joined in and we had a little thing going, this acoustic thing going. Eventually after playing enough and doing a few shows Chris just dropped the Chris Jay part and we became Army of Freshmen.

What would you say is your favourite track on the new album?
Um… I think, I really like Down at The Shore, also Through the Screen… just kind of like the oddball tracks. I’m a fan of them. But I think that we nailed it with Juliet. It’s nice having the video out now, knowing that people can see it on TV.

Well, today’s Valentine’s Day, so I have to ask- What’s your most memorable Valentine’s Day experience?
My most memorable Valentine’s Day… My lady actually made me a whole Valentine’s dinner and she went to the expense of getting everything, I mean the silverware, the plates were all heart shaped, the food was like a burger in heart shape. Everything was like hearts. She did this whole elaborate meal and I came home from work, she’d gotten off early and set it all up with balloons and everything. It was awesome. That’s probably my most memorable.

So you have someone special in your life?
Yeah, yeah I do.

Speaking of memories, what would you say is your most embarrassing moment ever on tour?
Most embarrassing thing on tour ever… was actually involving touring with Bowling for Soup. I got really really drunk, beyond out of control drunk, and I went into Soup’s restroom and just threw up everywhere. See there’re all kinds of rules when you’re on a bus. We kind of knew Bowling for Soup but not very well at this point and I knew their tour manager pretty well… So I threw up, didn’t realise I did. The rule is that no solids of any kind are supposed to go in the bus bathroom. I woke up, after they’d carried me over to our van. I’d passed out for two hours, woke up feeling fine and couldn’t remember a thing when someone came over and said “Owen, you have to pay a seventy five dollar fine.” I was like “What?! I can’t afford that, what are you talking about?!” And they told me I’d thrown up on their bus, so that was pretty embarrassing.

What about Son of Dork then? Do you know them too?
Son of Dork, we’ve just kind of started the relationship with them with this tour. Last time we were out in the States Chris was constantly on the phone to James (Bourne, guitar/vocals of Son of Dork) sorting things out. So this is fresh, the first time ever with Son of Dork. They’ve been great.

How many times have you visited the UK so far?

I think this is our… third time?

What do you like most about the UK?
That’s a good question! You’ve stumped me on that one. My favourite thing about the UK… Does that mean I don’t like the UK if I can’t think of anything? Ha… I’d say probably…Cheese! I love the cheese! I absolutely love it, every kind. It’s so much better over here. I’m excited about it every day. In the dressing room, I get cheese every day.