Interview with Buzzy West
Character Interview with Rockstar Buzzy West
By Lashell Collins
Three Jagged Ivory interviews down, I sit patiently waiting for my next subject to arrive. I look around the hotel suite with something close to sadness. This experience is almost over. I would have liked to have conducted these interviews in each of the guys' homes to maybe get a better feel of the person beneath the persona, but the band's touring schedule simply wasn't going to allow that to happen. This is just as well though.
The sudden rapid-fire knocking on the door grabs my attention, causing me to jump slightly. My gaze rushes to the door as it swings open and Jagged Ivory's celebrated drummer, Robert “Buzzy” West steps in with a huge grin.
“Was that a drum solo to announce your arrival?” I ask, smiling as I stand up to greet him.
He laughs out loud as he walks toward me, arms outstretched. After a quick embrace I notice his attire. His long black hair is pulled back off his face, allowing his pretty-boy good looks to be front and center. He's wearing a backwards Cleveland Browns ball cap, a Cleveland Indians jersey, and a leather Cleveland Cavaliers jacket.
“That is quite an outfit!” I look him over as I take my seat, and he smiles.
“Oh, yeah? You like that?” He glances down at himself, then spins in a circle so that I get the full effect.
“Do you moonlight for the Cleveland Board of Tourism or something?” I ask with a smile.
“Well, Lashell, I know you're from Ohio, down close to Bengals and Reds territory, near that city we won't actually mention,” he says as he takes his seat in the chair across from me. “And, as you know, I like to think of Cleveland as my childhood home, even though I've lived all over. So I just thought I'd represent a little bit.”
He's bright smile and good humor are infectious, and I can't help laughing with him. “Well, I'm glad you're hometown proud! Nothing wrong with that.”
“That's right. Woof! Woof! Woof Woof!”
He pumps his fist in the air and barks, as if we're seated in the Cleveland Browns' Dog Pound, watching a game, and I can't control my laughter. He smiles at me and removes the leather jacket and drapes it over the arm of his chair as he finally settles down.
“So how's this work? This interview. I'm ready. Ask me anything!”
He sinks back into the chair, adjusting his ball cap as he gets comfortable. He has the sexy, easy smile of someone who's at peace in his own skin. Someone who's always ready to go out and have fun. It's quite easy to get lost in his charm with very little effort.
“Okay, well as you know I just have three questions.”
“Yes, but Noah and Cory and Benji have all been very tight-lipped whenever I ask them about those questions. They won't give up anything!”
I smile at him. “Well, that's because I swore them all to secrecy before they each left this room. I want the questions to be a surprise so that I get your honest reactions.”
Buzzy laughs again, his head falling back in glee. “All right. Fair enough. That makes sense. I mean, hey! If Benji can survive it, then it can't be that bad, right? I mean he hates interviews, but he was all smiles after taking his turn. So, let's do this then.”
“You sound eager!” My outburst is lighthearted, and I get the feeling it's difficult not to have a good time whenever Buzzy's around.
“I am eager! This is going to be fun. Let's go!”
“All right, then. First question … the readers want to know about your type.”
"Yeah, you know. Why you're attracted to the women you are. Like blondes, brunettes or redheads. That sort of thing.”
He seems surprised, and he hesitates as he formulates his response. “Well, the simple answer is brunettes, but …” He pauses again, and I can tell there's more he wants to say.
“But?” I draw the word out, purposely teasing him because I know the answer to this question already.
He grins a little. Obviously, he knows what I'm getting at. “But … I have always been sort of drawn to a particular type of brunette.”
“Um hmm? What type is that?”
“Well, you know, I … just …”
“It's okay to say it, Buz. You like Asian girls.”
His laughter is near rollicking proportions, and I smile.
“Asian girls are pretty. It's nothing to be ashamed of,” I tease.
“I'm not ashamed. Not in the least.” He smiles as he finally responds to my question. Then his expression grows more serious, and he looks me in the eye. “I like Asian chicks, and it doesn't take a session with Freud to figure out why, you know? The love of my life, the one that got away …” He takes a deep breath and sighs. “Janie Kim is Korean. We met in high school, and she was my whole world back then. She is my soul mate. I loved her with everything inside me. And then she broke my heart.”
He pauses for a moment, and I can see all the emotion play out in his soft blue eyes.
“Since then, I've been accused of using a string of women on the road to drown that pain, and maybe there's some truth to that. I won't deny it. But to answer your question ... the women I choose, nine times out of ten, they do typically have that one ethnic marker in common. More often than not, they are usually of some Asian descent.” He shrugs a shoulder, as if there's nothing more to say about it.
“You were trying to replace her all that time.”
He's quiet for a second as he stares at me. “It wasn't a conscious thing, you know? In fact, until I ran into Janie again at that show in Cleveland, it never even occurred to me. But yeah. I guess subconsciously I had been trying to ... I don't know. I won't say replace her because that would never have been possible. But maybe trying to recreate that magic I had with her, or something.” He shakes his head as he ponders this idea. Then he suddenly smiles. “The heart wants what it wants, you know?”
“So it does.” I smile at him and take a deep breath. Time to dive into the deep end. "So ... secrets."
"Yes. Secrets." He repeats the word with a small nod as his gaze drifts around the room for a second.
"You and Janie both kept them."
He cocks his head at me. "Mine was nowhere near as big as hers."
I narrow my eyes at him. "Maybe not, but yours was still pretty significant, Buz. It mattered to her. If you hadn't kept your deeds a secret, it might have led to you two getting back together sooner. Which means you might have learned about her secret a couple of years sooner too."
Buzzy grins at my logic and dips his head. "You're right. I was doing that stubborn male thing."
"Oh, please don't take what I've said the wrong way. I mean, Janie was pretty stubborn too. And the important thing is that you made it through all the secrets together, and your love has never been stronger."
His bright smile lights up the room. "Yes! That's true. I can honestly say this is the happiest time in my life, and that's all because of her. And it's only going to get better from here. I know it! Does that sound crazy?"
"I don't think that sounds crazy at all."
He grins at me. "Good! I would hate for you to think I was nuts."
“Okay, so you ready for the final question?”
“Oh, wow. That went by fast.” He claps his hands together and rubs them back and forth a couple of times as he leans forward in eager anticipation. “I want you to know, I've heard whispers about this final question. The guys wouldn't tell us what it is, but they all laughed about it. Told me and Otis to get ready!”
I can't help but laugh at the image of Noah, Cory and Benji teasing Buz and Otis over this underwear question. I wish I could have heard that conversation.
“All right, here it is. Drumroll, please.”
His eyebrows shoot up in surprise. Then he smiles and begins rapping on the small table in front of him, giving my question a proper introduction. When the last beat sounds, he looks at me expectantly.
“Boxers or briefs?”
The blank look in his eyes is priceless. Then he practically doubles over in laughter. “Are you telling me that Cory and Noah and Benji, they all answered that question honestly?”
“Well, I don't know how honest their answers were, but they did answer it!” I smile as I watch him because he can't stop laughing. It's a good two or three minutes before he composes himself.
Finally he flops back in the chair and shakes his head. “Oh, man, my sides hurt. I needed that laugh. That was awesome!”
“Yes it was. But you still haven't answered the question at all, Buz.”
He looks at me and smiles. “Boxers. And I tend to dress left.” He actually blushes a little. “I don't know if you needed that added information, but there you go!”
I can't hold a straight face any longer. “I'm sure our readers will love it!”
We both dissolve into laughter as our interview comes to a close.