PROFILING PM BUYS

you’ve been on Facebook or stopped in Leaves ‘n Beans coffee shop on Main Street recently, there’s a chance you’ve seen or heard something about PM Buys. Your first thought might be that PM Buys is referring to some new trend of shopping at night, unaware of the fact that PM Buys is actually someone you may have seen on campus. There’s even a chance that he was your resident advisor.
Although he coined the stage name PM Buys after his college career, Pete Buys was known around campus as that tall, blonde R.A. who played guitar. While at Bradley, he frequented various open mic nights and played at a number of concerts put on by different organizations. However, Buys was not always the outspoken musician that many people have come to know and love.
In fact, for a good number of years, he hid his guitar talent from everyone but his family and a close friend. When Buys was first exposed to the guitar, his older brother was taking lessons and abandoned the instrument out of frustration. Buys picked the guitar up and was surprised to see how natural the music came to him.
It was not long after this that Buys’ mother got him started in guitar lessons. It was during these lessons that he discovered his new role model in music.
“It was actually my guitar teacher who said ‘have you heard of Bob Dylan?’” Buys said. “I had no idea who he was. So the next week he burned me ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’, and that was pretty much my introduction to good music.”
When Buys entered high school he began song writing, though, he will be quick to tell you that these early songs were not his proudest work. Since then, his longtime writing process includes riffs and chords written separately from lyrics.
“I’ve rarely written lyrics while writing a guitar part,” Buys said. “Usually I have nothing in mind when writing the lyrics.”
In mid-January, Buys released an EP of his latest finished works called “Funeral Psalms”, which he says is the first collection of songs “that he was really proud of.” This accomplishment is much easier said than done for Buys.
“One of the reasons it took me so long (not until 22-years-old) to record something was because I was always such a harsh critic on myself,” he said. “I wanted it to be my masterpiece.”
For a first EP, I would argue that “Funeral Psalms” is a good place to start in creating a masterpiece. Comparable to his musical idol Bob Dylan, this collection of songs is heartfelt in both its conception and its delivery. It also features Bradley alum Emily Volz performing many of the vocal harmonies and accompaniment.
One would think that Pete Buys is solely a music maker, but that would undermine his abilities. He also uses his talent for teaching at a local high school. Imagine Jack Black’s role in “School of Rock” but with a more folky tone and legal license to actually teach band, then you have a better idea of who Pete Buys is in the classroom. When asked whether he thought of himself as a teacher first, Buys said he thought of himself as a musician who teaches on the side.
“It’s a responsible way to do music,” he said.
As if the life of Pete Buys was not closer to that of the Bob Dylan-inspired quintessential traveling musician, a good portion of Buys’ time this past summer was spent on the road with a friend. Their journey was from California to up north by any means of transportation available. They eventually made it up to Portland after encountering a number of people and places along the way. The duo found that camping in the woods or sleeping on park benches in San Francisco was just another day.
Buys says he has a notebook at home with writing from the inspirational trip that will eventually be used for future songs. This kind of travelling can tell a lot about a person, but its better when a person can tell a lot about his or her travels.
Pete Buys’ music can be found at his website www.pmbuys.com, along with dates for upcoming shows and an email where you can ask him all about his adventures.