Music to murder by

Charging from the drum riser to the front of the stage, Senses Fail singer Buddy Nielsen’s eyes widened as he sang, “The hardest thing about dying is/ knowing you’ll never see the light again.”

This transitional section of the song “187” set the gawking crowd scrambling as a few punk kids rallied their emotions into violent flails. The song’s pace increased as the outro began.

“…I’ll stab you one time/ I’ll eat your heart out/ so you feel my pain.”

If stated by an excited Mike Tyson at a press conference, one might perceive these words as threatening and psychotic. Under the guise of a dysfunctional love song accompanied by barred chords and a drumbeat, the message was received without question.

After the last note of the song wrung out and the cumulative adrenaline level lowered, the crowd filed out of Club Ovation’s Viper Room.

Senses Fail is the latest New Jersey punk band to break through on a national level, putting them in a category with noteworthy names such as Saves the Day and Midtown. Releasing their first independent-label recording in 2002, their jump into a full-time music career is one that has occurred faster than most bands could anticipate. Signing with the record label Drive-Thru Records is an opportunity that any up-and-coming band would covet.

Bassist Mike Glita collected the band’s pay and attendance numbers then searched out a fax machine as the band started the first of many interviews. From across the room, singer Buddy Nielsen could be heard ranting, “I hate Florida. I hate Jeb Bush. I just hate his views on abortion.”

It is this intensity that best sums up speaking with the band.

Sitting shoulder to shoulder on the stage, Senses Fail looked like part of a high school soccer team until you paid attention to the finer details. Unkempt and ornamented with body piercings and tattoos, and with dark rings under their eyes, the unit appeared haggard from the touring schedule. Singer Buddy Nielsen and Guitarist Dave Miller fielded questions from the University Press.

The new record From the Depths of Dreams is a re-release. Did you have to re-record any of the songs on it?

Miller: From the Depths of Dreams was a demo we put out that was on a label called ECA. We sold 1,000 copies of it. Drive-Thru picked it up and re-released it. We didn’t have to redo any of the tracks. Drive-Thru will be putting out our full-length CD in October.

Is this your first tour?

Miller: We played out on the west coast…this is our first headlining tour.

Is this your first time in South Florida?

Miller: Yeah.

What did you think about the turnout?

Miller: It was great.

Nielsen: It was better than we thought we’d get. What was it, 93 people? It will get bigger next time when we will be out on tour with Brand New. It will be fun.

Brand New is a good band. They were down here with The Movielife not too long ago. The Movielife is on Drive-Thru as well. They played Vans Warped Tour last year on the Drive-Thru stage. Will you be playing that tour this year?

Miller: There will be a Drive-Thru tour this year. We will definitely be back here with Reggie and the Full Effect and Midtown.

Cool. I got to ask you, the song “187” starts off with such a nice melody but ends off with lyrics “I want kill you/I want to kill you.” Is that your romantic side?

Nielsen: Yeah (laughing), I…I… It’s about my ex-girlfriend. I wanted to bury her dead body in the backyard.

From the record label and promotional company to the larger-than-life band website (, there are a lot of people backing the music of Senses Fail. As is with all aspects of the music industry, the fear remains that the band behind the image may be contrived and synthetic. The most fulfilling aspect of Senses Fail is that they are angst-ridden and real. Decide for yourself when they come back to play The Factory on August 12.