Every Time I Die: 50th Time’s a Charm

Every Time I Die: 50th Time’s a Charm

Written by Kevin Menendez

Fifty. It's an interesting number depending on the situation. When you were a kid and had fifty dollars, you were rich. As an adult, if you have fifty dollars you're broke. On the other hand, when you do something fifty times either you're insane or you're passionate, so I'm not sure what that makes me, because I have now seen a band by the name of Every Time I Die fifty times. This band has led me on a journey to many parts of this country from the Jersey Shore to the hood in Oakland, the middle of nowhere in Holyoke, Massachusetts and even to Buffalo in December to see their Christmas shows multiple times. So maybe I am insane, or maybe I'm just insanely passionate. 

With summer officially over and fall already underway, I guess it's only fitting that my journey to 50 began by mistake in a way ten years ago. You see, many moons ago, back in the fall of 2006 I was just finishing my first and subsequently last year of college. I had no real direction in life yet, but I had this sudden motivation to clean my room, and in order to do so I had to have music on. I went to the CD player (remember those?) and just hit play. I had no clue what I was about to listen to and I didn't care - I just wanted some background noise to help keep me sane as I tackled my daunting task. Suddenly, the speakers were yelling at me and I heard the line, "This is a cause for celebration,” and boy, was it ever. Everything I thought I knew about music was about to change. I had no clue who or what I was listening to, but it didn't sound anything like what I had become accustomed to hearing. There were no guitar solos or even anything that sounded like turntables (it was the early 2000s, sort of) and I loved it. I immediately called my brothers to find out what band I was listening to and for the next couple of weeks, that burned gold CD - Gutter Phenomenon by Every Time I Die - was all I wanted to listen to. 

Photos: Shannon Shumaker

Not much time passed before I had the chance to see the band live for the first time at Sounds Of The Underground Tour in New Jersey at the Starland Ballroom parking lot with the almighty GWAR. I'll never forget that day. It was July 14th, 2007. It was hot out, but I didn't care at all. I was just overcome with giddiness as I waited in anticipation for the Every Time I Die boys to take the stage. One disclaimer though, is at this point I honestly had no idea what they looked like in person. Keep in mind, YouTube had only been born about two years prior and cell phones weren't as advanced as they are today. But whatever was about to hit that stage, I was going to support regardless. 

The sun was beating down and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back as I waiting impatiently and then finally, the time came, the ETID banner was raised, and as they took the stage, it was to my disbelief that they were just regular guys in jeans and t-shirts (and maybe a touch more flannel than I was used to). I was blown away with their energy, pace, and banter with the crowd. It was better than any concert I had previously ever been to. I got to hear all the songs I had been listening to on repeat, and they even played two new ones. The best part of that first Every Time I Die show was when I suddenly realized that a band didn't have to wear Jnco jeans, have dreadlocks or wear masks to be good. My whole perception of what a band had to sound and look like had changed. I officially had a new favorite band.  

I left that first concert feeling born again. I had just been baptized into the church of Every Time I Die and the gospel was sung by Keith Buckley. So I went to church every opportunity I got, regardless of location. The church of ETID didn't sit idly by in Sayreville, NJ - it was anywhere the band decided to set up shop and put on a show. Like most religious experiences, it came with a variety of viewpoints and that's what has made it such an incredible journey for me. Your favorite experience isn't the same as someone else’s and every fan of this band has one that's unique and special to them. It could be something unexpected like trading a Dr. Pepper for a ticket to the show or grabbing a beer with the guys at the bar. ETID aren’t ones to charge people $100 for a meet a greet - instead, they'd rather just take a picture with you because you asked. While most bands from ten years ago have either faded away or gone on a hiatus, the ETID machine keeps going forward. The band has gone through some lineup changes over the years, but the one constant thing that remains is that they don't stop! Regardless of the lineup changes, personal issues, or van breakdowns, they always find their way to the venue and perform to the fullest of their abilities. I've witnessed things at ETID shows that I've never seen anywhere else. From crowd surfing wheelchairs at Warped Tour 2014 to 30-40 fans on stage at theETID Xmas show in 2012, just to name a few. 

Thanks to Every Time I Die, I've made friends who live widespread throughout the country. ETID shows aren't just concerts, they're gatherings for friends and families and a chance to celebrate this wonderful life that we all get to live. July 14th, 2017, ten years to the day of my very first ETID show, I saw them live for the 50th time. It was at a sold out show at Webster Hall in NYC with Taking Back Sunday, and I got a chance to hang with the boys and talk about some of the shows I've been to in various and random places (I'm talking about you Madison, Wisconsin) and all the great memories they have brought to me and the people around me. If I could do it all over again, the only thing I'd change is that it wouldn't take me ten years to do it. 

If you’ve got a favorite band out there that you enjoy seeing, I suggest you go and see them live as many times as you can, because if Every Time I Die shows have taught me anything it's that moderation is for pussies! 

See ya in the pit. 

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