Exclusive Interview: Buddy Darling from The Darlings

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LOS ANGELES, September 2, 2014 — Lead singer and guitar player Buddy Darling grew up in the south and moved out to Los Angeles after college. If you listen to his band, The Darlings, you will hear a little bit of everything from country influences to rock and roll to punk rock. The band recently released a new album on Echotone Records called Made of Phantoms, which features guests Jason Cruz and Jason Freese. Buddy Darling took some time to speak with Wells On Music regarding the band and the new album.

Scroll below video to read interview.

Kevin Wells: What made you want to start playing guitar?

Buddy Darling: I started back when I was in fourth grade. I started playing guitar when Nirvana came out. I went to a pawn shop and got an old Harmony. It changed my life, you know?

KW: What other bands were you listening to when you started learning?

BD: I was really young. Just like AC/DC, Metallica, and then I got into Guns ‘N Roses. I got into Nirvana when that came out and the Pixies. From there I heard about Black Flag and punk, real punk, Husker Du. I got more into punk when I got to be 13 or 14 and so on and so forth.

KW: How did The Darlings originally form?

BD: I moved here originally from a small town in the panhandle Florida, which is basically lower Alabama. I came out here for studio work because that’s what I went to college for.  I lived in the valley for a year and then I moved out to Redondo Beach. I was skating and walking my dog when I met some of the founding members of The Darlings and we hit it off. We started drinking beers and getting rowdy and we started back in 2004. We were kind of more or less a thrash punk thing in the beginning.

KW: What caused the shift in sound?

BD: At first, we were definitely more punk, like Circle Jerks, Misfits, and the I turned 21 or 22 and I started getting more into the rockabilly thing and Social Distortion and bands like that. It reminded me of home, growing up in the south and country music and stuff like that, Elvis and Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. It made me remember my dad. My dad was an avid jukebox collector. I always thought it was cool, but I was too busy listening to f**king Nirvana and s**t.

Our sound started to develop. It had that twang to it. I don’t know. Every album is kind of different. There’s some clashing styles here and there. Some of it’s kind of punk. Some of it’s kind of stuff that I wrote, and then some of it’s a little harder. I think with this new album we are exactly where we should have always been. We’re kind of developing our own wacky weird sound.

KW: Did you guys try to do anything different with this record?

BD: Oh, yeah. Everything. Just weird guitar tones, no octaves, no 90s pop punk stuff at all on this record. We’re just trying to go with kind of a more grown up sound and just trying to do our own thing. ‘

KW: How did Jason Freese and Jason Cruz end up on the record?

BD: Jason Cruz and I met I think like four or five years ago and we’ve been really close. He just kind of opened me up. I was going through a crazy writer’s block. He just really helped me out with being able to write lyrics and things like that. So, yeah, me and him did a song on the record. It was actually the first song we ever wrote together a long time ago, back in 2009 or 2010. So, I thought it would be great to put that on there. It’s called Evangelion. As far as Jason Freese, I have been living in Fullerton for the past two or three years and me and him have just crossed paths through other people and just really hit it off. I was like, “Man, do you think you can put some keys on a couple of these songs?” I let him hear Teenage Dream and Morgan Crow and he loved it. We’re really fortunate to have him do what he did on there. I think it adds so much to it, you know?

KW: Are you going to be doing any touring on this record?

BD: We just did a little West Coast run. It went really good. It was us and Jason Cruz and the Howl, which is the other band I’m in. So, I had to play twice, which was awesome, but taxing on the vocal chords. And then our good friends, The Pullmen. We had a really good time. We went all the way up to Seattle and every stop on the way from San Diego to Seattle we sold a lot of merch and CDs and s**t like that.

KW: Is there anything else you would like people to know about what you are working on?

BD: Yeah, we’re going to be working on a video for Little Teenage Thing and probably be getting back on the road, probably go out to Arizona, just some more West Coast stuff. I don’t know if we’re going to do a full East Coast thing, but we’re going to be going to Canada.

Kevin J. Wells is the Sports Editor for Communities Digital News. He also writes about Major League Baseball, punk rock music and food. Kevin plays guitar in the Los Angeles punk band Emmer Effer. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball

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