Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood's Nielsen on Senses Fail's New Outlook

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood's Nielsen on Senses Fail's New Outlook

Article excerpt

Senses Fail singer/band leader Buddy Nielsen has come to terms with his past. That's a good thing considering the Ridgewood native is currently performing an album that reflects the darkest period in his life.

"Everything was eroding around me at the time that the band was probably the most successful," Nielsen said about the period when he wrote "Still Searching," Senses Fail's 2006 sophomore album.

"I was drinking a lot and had really bad anxiety," he said.

"I was also sexually experimenting and trying to hide that from my fans," said Nielsen, who identifies as someone who rejects traditional gender identities. "I felt no hope at all and that's what I wrote about."

Senses Fail will perform "Still Searching" in its entirety on March 23 in Sayreville as part of a belated 10th anniversary tour for the album.

Nielsen's struggles of a decade ago are reflected on "Still Searching" in driving punk and rock songs on which he rages about depression ("Sick or Sane"), failed relationships ("Every Day Is a Struggle"), alcoholism ("Can't Be Saved") and death ("The Priest and the Matador").

"I definitely have come to terms with a lot of those things since that time," said Nielsen, who graduated from Ridgewood High School in 2002 and now lives in California.

"Senses Fail started when I was 18 and in high school and I wrote 'Still Searching' when I was 21," he said. "I've grown in every possible way since then. There are still similarities in my personality and I still continue to struggle with existential things like most people do. But I've definitely grown and gained perspective."

That change is exhibited on "In Your Absence," Senses Fail's first-ever acoustic release. The five-song mini EP was released earlier this month and includes intimate songs about love and mortality.

Nielsen said the collection was inspired by his relationship with his wife, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two years ago. "It's about what it would be like to lose her and the ups and downs in life," he said.

A stripped-down effort from a punk- and hardcore-inspired band may have some Senses Fail fans doing a double-take, but Nielsen said the decision to go acoustic made sense. …

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