WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
Some kids grow up wanting to be rockstars, others professional wrestlers, however Andy Williams ‘The Butcher Of Buffalo’ and guitarist for legendary hardcore band Every Time I Die has managed to live both dreams. Not only does he travel the world playing music, but as of November he also performs in the ring in huge arenas every week in All Elite Wrestling across the US. While AEW is not as widely known as WWE, it is a new venture funded by Fulham FC part-owner Tony Khan and means working with some legendary wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, Diamond Dallas Page and Dustin Rhodes – the latter two of which Andy wrestled recently alongside his tag-team partner Jesse Guilmette, better known as ‘The Blade.’
Speaking to Andy revealed that these were his childhood heroes from defunct organisation World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and to work with them was a dream come true, albeit a nerve wracking experience considering that “you first have to remember that you’re wrestling a 64 year old who wants to wrestle like he’s in his 30s. You don’t want him to get injured because you will be remembered for being the guy in the ring when DDP got hurt.” However it wasn’t wrapping him in cotton because “he doesn’t let you take it easy – that motherfucker did a dive!”
“Tt wasn’t wrapping him in cotton because “he doesn’t let you take it easy – that motherfucker did a dive!”
While it’s something that obviously is always best to be avoided, injuries are a common part of wrestling and Andy couldn’t even remember everything he’d injured during his time simply stating “my body is riddled” and listing his “missing left bicep, torn rotator cuff, blown out both knees.” Considering the constant physicality of the industry he feels “it’s not even worth talking about ‘how’ but rather ‘when’ you get injured.”
Interestingly enough however if it wasn’t for a specific injury in 1997, just 4 months after Andy started wrestling for Renegade Wrestling Association in Ontario, Canada then Every Time I Die would never have been born. “This injury was the catalyst for me to play more guitar and to start Every Time I Die. If I hadn’t gotten injured then Every Time I Die wouldn’t have become a thing.” The band have been so influential throughout their 2 decade career that it is hard to imagine a world without them, and while it is unusual to be thankful for an injury, this one produced one of the greatest hardcore bands of a generation.
“If I hadn’t gotten injured then Every Time I Die wouldn’t have become a thing.”
Initially Williams was worried about juggling the band and becoming more full time in AEW, however he says the rest of the guys are really supportive. Taking the match against DDP and Dustin Rhodes meant missing his first ever Every Time I Die show in the band’s entire career, however he said it was only a 5 minute conversation with the best of the band saying “absolutely you have to do it,” and consistently posting coverage of his wrestling on their social media pages.
There has to be a juggling of schedules of course, between the band and the wrestling, however on the most recent While She Sleeps tour Andy found time to show up at Catch Wrestling in Manchester thanks to the promoters working around his schedule. AEW have also been incredibly supportive of his career in Every Time I Die, and while he was initially apprehensive about taking time off for recording he feels comfortable enough to ask now: “When you first start a job you want to be a yes man, but now it’s the point in time where I have to rock the boat and have to take time off because ETID are recording. They’re so fucking cool that if I said ‘I need this month off’ they’d give it to me.”
“They’d say you need to check his band out, and people come back like holy fuck your band is great!”
Remarkably there has been a crossover between fans of the band and wrestling fans. Its been two months since the Butcher and the Blade debuted on television and he says there are many fans of the band who’ve watched him on TV talking to other wrestling fans and saying “you need to check his band out, and people come back like holy fuck your band is great!” Despite this crossover however Andy is keen to keep the two worlds separate from each other, describing his double life as “The Andy in ETID is not the guy who wrestles. I’m a guy who would help someone change their tyre whereas the Butcher would hit them with a crowbar.” Furthermore he is also reluctant to involve the band in AEW because they don’t want it to come off as shoehorned in just because he’s “the band guy” but instead “if it was the right time for ETID to play in AEW then I’d do it, but it has to be good for the band.”
The two worlds are difficult to work together, but if done right can be fantastic for both sides of Andy’s career, and he seems like a man who is living every single one of his dreams right now. With Code Orange and Incendiary being part of an NXT show a few years ago, to the involvement of Every Time I Die via Andy in AEW it is clear that there is a crossover between wrestling and hardcore, and it is exciting to see what the future holds – both for this relationship and for the Butcher of Buffalo who is ready for his “breaking out party.”