It’s Friday night in the Southland, and the city of Los Angeles is vacant. Like some bad apocalypse movie, it seems everyone has evacuated to the desert to make peace and await their destiny. Actually, they are all moon-dancing to the songs of Paul McCartney — we hear Ecstasy made a big comeback this year — as the former Beatle headlines Night One of the three-day mash-up of big names and overpriced water known as the Coachella Valley Music Festival.
Those left behind, the broke and the too busy, include myself and Buddyhead.com founder Travis Keller. “We could have been at Coachella tonight, but fuck that, no,” Keller says with a smirk, adjusting a paper crown over his mussed hair. “I wanted to see a battle. I wanted to see the black-and-white knight in action, but he’s turning out to be a pussy.”
We’re four shots of Jameson deep, watching a battle to the death at Medieval Times, and things are looking bad, real bad, for our knight. Trumpets blare in triumphant unison over the metallic clang of sword on shield, sparks fly on impact and then burn out in the arena air, which hangs thick with the smell of horse urine and sawdust shavings, like a hamster cage. Across the sandy tournament floor, a dimly lit mob of children, stoned high schoolers and patient parents wearing red crowns furiously wave tiny flags and roar for their red knight, who has just wounded and disarmed our black-and-white knight, kicking his heavy, two-handed sword out of reach.
As the evening unfolds, 32-year-old Keller describes the origins of Buddyhead’s notorious “take no prisoners” gossip column, his record label, and why seemingly overnight, what was once the biggest, baddest music Web site in L.A. went quiet in 2005. He then digs into the details of his latest project, creating Buddyhead 2.0 and bringing it back online this past March, as well as the challenges he faces relaunching a business after several years on hiatus. The story includes Keller’s collaboration with some of L.A.’s brightest new Web entrepreneurs, but first, in true Buddyhead tradition, Keller is sidetracked relating a wickedly funny tale involving sex, drugs and, what else, rock & roll.
Our knight is really blowing it, and we want more whiskey. The dinner server, Serf Tom, says we can wait for the cocktail wench or go to the Knight Club bar and order it ourselves. The elated piping of trumpets gives way to a thunderous drum rattle, and Keller and I look up just in time to see our knight “die” in a not-so-epic finale, stabbed with a rearward thrust by the victor in red. To the bar we go, and after another round of whiskey we are talking over each other, cursing way too much for the children lurking about, and gossiping about the night in 2007, when Keller first met “Antichrist Supertard” Marilyn Manson.
It was Travis Keller’s strangest Christmas Eve on record; the writer and music know-it-all, whose merciless skewering of rock’s elite made Buddyhead the most loved and feared source of music criticism online, was enjoying the comfort of his couch, hanging out with a friend and watching some stupid holiday movies when the phone rang. “Can you get us some cocaine?” asked the voices on the other end. Keller was sober and declined. But it was Jeordie White and Marilyn Manson and they pressed on, urging Keller to come hang out anyway.
When Keller arrived in West Hollywood at the Le Montrose suite, Manson answered the door, nearly unrecognizable. The shock-rocker stood in the doorway, wearing a Von Dutch trucker cap — sideways — and a white shirt covered in stains, pulled over his beer belly. It was a far cry from the pancake makeup, flamboyant gothic attire or bondage gear associated with the frontman.
Keller busts into laughter as he retells the story, “I was like, ‘You’re Marilyn Manson?’ I remember thinking he’s going to come out with some kind of cape on. I’d never met him before and thought he’d be hanging out in a coffin. He’s nothing like that.”
Inside the suite, Keller recalls cocaine spilling off the kitchen counter while a superparanoid Manson ran around in circles repeating, “Travis, don’t try to fuck my girlfriend. Travis, don’t try to fuck my girlfriend.” The off-limits girlfriend was a certain young actress, then just 20 years old. “They called her ‘Snowflake’ because I guess when they played shows, she’d hold all the coke,” Keller claims.
While the rest of the party hoovered cocaine, Keller plugged his iPod into the stereo and cranked up Led Zeppelin. Manson told Keller he’d flown to the U.K. for the one Zeppelin reunion gig that November but got bored after the band played “Stairway to Heaven,” because it was the only song he knew. At that moment Manson may as well have painted a big, red target on his Von Dutch trucker cap. Keller exploded, “Poser! You’re in a rock band and you don’t know Led Zeppelin?”
He laughs. “Even my mom knows more Led Zeppelin songs than Manson. I wouldn’t let it die all night. I would turn on ‘Black Dog’ like, ‘Ever heard this song before, dork?’ The guy is a fucking retard. He should be working at a 7-Eleven in Florida.”
Check and mate.
Travis Keller’s rapier wit and no-bullshit attitude are what Buddyhead is known for, and Manson’s coked-out Christmas party is the sort of episode that Buddyhead’s gossip column is famous for. When he started the site in 1997, Keller created more than one of Los Angeles’ earliest popular music Web sites: He created a community of like-minded and outspoken music enthusiasts that hot-branded a particular style of Internet rant culture. Or, one could say, they talked a lot of shit. The writers were bloggers-turned-laptop pugilists with an attitude problem and a self-proclaimed importance. Buddyhead’s tone was crass and intoxicating, its writers the bad boys of rock journalism.
In its first six years online, Buddyhead snagged multiple cease-and-desist letters from the likes of Courtney Love, Fred Durst, Axl Rose, Drive Thru Records, The Firm, Vagrant Records, and a few major labels. The more letters they received, the more the Web site’s popularity soared. By 2004 the entire country was taking notice, in particular the music industry suits who scratched their heads, dumbfounded as to how a punk kid from Idaho–turned–maverick blogger in Hollywood had secured such a powerful voice among their target audiences, nailing down 9 to 12 million page views a month. That same year, 2004, Keller was listed among the “100 Most Creative in Entertainment” by Entertainment Weekly and named #37 in Kerrang’s “Top 100 Most Powerful People in Rock,” right above Eminem at #38, one of Buddyhead’s most lampooned subjects. Predictably, such Web traffic and attention grabbed the attention of Hollywood wheelers and dealers like the now-defunct online video and multimedia company Den.net.
Keller shrugs. “We blew it. We got offered 12 million bucks once and we were like, ‘Nah, that’s cool, we’ll keep our credibility.’ We were 22 and thought we knew everything. We didn’t have anyone around to tell us, ‘Take the money.’ We were like, ‘No. We’re punk,’ or whatever we thought we were, and stuck with credibility, which doesn’t get you much. When Buddyhead started, there were no rules or plans or organization, ever. It was a total cluster fuck. We didn’t make any money.”
By Keller’s own admission, the original Buddyhead was chaos bordering on anarchy, fueled by an abundance of youthful energy and excess. Of its 10 regular contributors, half were musicians in bands, the other half ran the record label, and most kept their day jobs. Money made off advertising afforded Keller a living through his 20s, but most of it was plowed back into Buddyhead and the record label just to cover costs. Keller shies at first when he’s referred to as a businessman and admits Buddyhead never took itself seriously as a job, and in that sense, shot itself in the foot. They were in their 20s, trying to give as many people the bird as they could — and having a blast. Hundreds of thousands of readers flocked to the Web site religiously just to see what Buddyhead would say or do next, but in 2005, without a viable business model, Keller’s brand of Internet anarchy began to fade from the spotlight. After years of not turning a profit and with the record label $60,000 in debt, Buddyhead’s treasured contributors left to pursue other opportunities.
Keller focused on his photography. Sex columnist Marko Shafer started the Hotel Café, one of L.A.’s most notable independent music venues. Writer Tom Apostolopoulos managed bands The Dillinger Escape Plan and Your Enemies Friends before starting a restaurant. Cartoonist Nate Cavalieri went to write for The New York Times. And Aaron North, original Buddyhead prankster and former guitarist for The Icarus Line, did a three-year stint with Nine Inch Nails before starting his new band, Jubilee.
Now armed with a business plan, the stubbornly independent Buddyhead.com is back, retooled to Web 2.0 expectations. Along with its original archives, it is replete with new writers, video interviews, an online record label powered by Topspin Media and that notorious gossip column — currently helmed by Keller, new recruits Meathead and Kevin Hillard, and returning Apostolopoulos. The challenge Keller now faces is whether Buddyhead can recapture that lightning in a bottle it had a half-dozen years ago. Despite the site’s relaunch and label makeover, the questions remain: Is Buddyhead still relevant, and does anyone still care?
Buddyhead comes back to a vastly different Internet; Keller confesses he is certain of nothing. The global deluge of music blogs is still growing, social media are king, and Buddyhead is no longer top dog when it comes to snarky gossip or brutal online rants. Keller, however, has crowd-sourcing in his corner; it was Buddyhead fans who tracked him down last fall and urged him to restart the Web site.
Then came the encouragement of original Buddyhead contributors like Cavalieri and the opportunity to work with L.A. music industry Web wizards Topspin Media, whose software and music distribution platform were used to retool the Web site and create what Keller cheekily dubbed “Buddyhead 2.0.” It may be a whole new chapter for online media, but today, armed with the content tools to make it work, Buddyhead is positioned to regain the momentum it once had and become more than just a shit talker but also a tastemaker, leading L.A.’s never-ending quest for music that doesn’t suck.
Keller finally did make it to Coachella that weekend, but three days later, when we meet to resume our interview, we’re still feeling the sting from our Jameson-induced Medieval Times hangover. Keller relaxes, stretching his long legs across two chairs at a street-side table outside of Swinger’s. Even midday at the diner off Beverly Boulevard, Keller makes himself comfortable wherever he goes. His long brown hair hangs past oversized red sunglasses and into his face as he sips coffee.
“I was on the Internet at 14,” Keller says of his Idaho childhood. Growing up in a town where a good time meant Garth Brooks and keggers, Keller was a self-described nerd and budding entrepreneur, who made skateboard videos as a kid and sold them on the Internet out of his parents’ house. “I grew up in the kind of town where you die. I didn’t want to marry my high school sweetheart because I didn’t have one. I got called a fag for wearing a Minor Threat T-shirt to school. I wanted to move to California, where there were more kids like me.”
Taking his cue from Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” music video, Keller moved from Idaho to Los Angeles in 1997 and started Buddyhead.com, predating the deluge of music blogs as we know them. The term blog wouldn’t enter the vernacular until 1999, after Evan Williams (who would later start Twitter) created Blogger.com, one of the first popular and free blog-publishing tools. A decade ago, there were only a few dozen Web sites overrun with opinion and commentary updated on a regular basis.
There was Pitchfork, the Chicago-based music Web site launched in 1995 by Ryan Schreiber, a site oft-criticized for its verbose, style-over-substance reviews and outdated numerical rating system of albums. Ostensibly Buddyhead’s biggest competition at one time, Keller has described Pitchfork as “forever trapped by their pseudointellectualism.” Later, the Internet would welcome niche music blogs like Aquarium Drunkard and Soul Sides, and Stereogum, a site started in 2002, which Keller, seemingly never at a loss for words, once blasted as “the weird slow child everyone pretends to like when they are on their best behavior.”
One reason Keller started Buddyhead was because he “didn’t really give a shit about anything on the Internet. People ask me to describe Buddyhead like, ‘Is it like Pitchfork?’ Well, yeah, if we were virgins and bed-wetters. I don’t have Steven Malkmus’ weenie in my mouth. I like Pavement but not that much.”
When asked to comment for this story, Pitchfork declined, and managing editor Mark Richardson cited being “caught at a bad time” and “short-staffed.”
“I’ve met all those dudes [at Pitchfork]. Fuck them,” Keller says. “They’re doing well, or at least Ryan. He doesn’t write anything; he just grades all the records. When you review records for Pitchfork, you don’t get to grade them. I was talking to Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion, who got a good review but only a 3.0 rating. He called the reviewer and said, ‘Hey, thanks for giving my record a good review,’ and the kid said, ‘I got fired for it.’ ”
Unlike its counterparts, Buddyhead could care less about ratings. Its writers focused more on opinion — brutally honest and often irreverent opinion — with which readers agreed or disagreed. Even if you disagreed, it was hard to pry yourself away from the addictive content. It was like TMZ for indie rockers. There was the outrageous gossip column that gave out phone numbers of celebrities and encouraged readers to prank-call them. Actor Paul Walker became a recent target in March, when Buddyhead posted his cell, suggesting that people call him to say they’re going to go Fast and Furious on his mom. Juvenile, sure. Entertaining, yes.
Then there were reviews and features, like the “Best and Worst Records of 2005” compiled by Keller, Aaron North, Apostolopoulos and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, which listed 20 things Buddyhead would rather do than hear the song “Beverly Hills” off Weezer’s Make Believe ever again — things like wax Buzz from The Melvins’ back and taint, skin their dick heads with a carrot peeler, and so on.
“We talked shit because music was so sacred to us,” Keller says of Buddyhead’s irrepressible urge to tar and feather musicians it deemed unworthy. “Music’s my religion. It’s like, dude, you’re pissing on my shrine.”
Buddyhead’s band of critics were as — if not more — provocative than the topics they wrote about. When Keller accompanied bands signed to the label on tour, Buddyhead’s mischief-making often leapt off the computer screen and into real life. Like in 2001, when on tour with The Icarus Line they spray-painted “$ucking Dick$” on the side of the Strokes’ tour bus. Or in 2002, when Aaron North used the base of a mike stand to smash the glass case protecting Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar and tried to plug it in and play it during his band’s SXSW performance at a Hard Rock Cafe.
In 2001, Buddyhead secured a place in rock infamy, when its public feud with Limp Bizkit boiled over after Keller snuck into singer Fred Durst’s Interscope Records office, heisted three of Durst’s red Yankee baseball caps by stuffing them down his pants, auctioned them off on eBay and donated the cash to a rape charity. More than just a prank, this act was meant as a razor-sharp statement aimed at the band for the reported gang-rape of a female fan by male concertgoers, which allegedly happened in the mosh pit during Bizkit’s Woodstock ’99 performance.
“I hate to pigeonhole [Buddyhead],” Keller says, visibly annoyed when Durst is brought up, “because [the Bizkit feud is] all anyone ever remembers. But at the time I remember thinking, ‘Wow. This is the biggest band in the world? I can’t believe no one else thinks this is totally hilarious.’ It’s weird to think back, because now it’s totally obvious that those guys are dipshits.”
The Bizkit incident turned a lot of heads and thrust Buddyhead further into the spotlight, while at the same time sharply illustrating to the public that there was a lot more to Buddyhead and Travis Keller than flip blog talk.
Jeff Anderson, a music-biz veteran who worked A&R at Interscope at the time of the Durst stunt, remembers, “When I worked at the label we would always check Buddyhead out, like, what are these clowns up to now? It was always great shit. You went to the Buddyhead site to get a fuckin’ laugh.”
It wasn’t uncommon for major-label employees to feel a kinship with Buddyhead’s point of view, even at the expense of their own artists and label mates.
Anderson laughs. “It really started with the whole Fred Durst thing for me, when Travis came into the Interscope office. It was awesome.” Even more so than before, Anderson notes, Buddyhead 2.0 is coming back at a time when Keller has the technology resources available through Topspin to turn what began as a funny, sarcastic site into a profitable business, and become even more influential than when it first started.
Two cups of coffee down at Swinger’s, and the sunglasses have come off. Keller excuses himself to answer a phone call. He returns beaming; it’s surfing season, and his friend just hooked him up with a new wetsuit. Though later he will joke about being too old to keep up with kids at skateboard parks, Keller is a beach junkie, and with a nod to the hangover from hell that was Medieval Times, he insists the ocean is a great cure. We circle back around to Buddyhead and whether the Web site’s abrasive tendencies ever went too far.
“We probably stuck our foots in our mouths a few times, but who the fuck doesn’t when you’re that age?” Keller asks. Indeed, the original crew lied so much and took the piss out of so many people that even now, speaking with Keller, there are jarring inconsistencies in certain stories, dates forgotten and facts left out, making Buddyhead’s chronology look less like a timeline and more like a drunk driver swerving through traffic on the 405.
“I made a lot of dumb mistakes, which are great stories, but I don’t regret anything. Now I’m just not getting punched in the face all the time,” he says with a laugh. Then, his tone turns serious. “Yeah, it’s fun to make fun of people. But a lot of our stuff got overlooked when it came to what bands we turned people on to. I grew up liking Nirvana and Mudhoney; Mark Arm and Kurt Cobain would always call people out. It didn’t seem out of line to call people pussies or tell people they’re doing shit wrong. Creating rad music and making good art have always been what Buddyhead’s about — even though people might remember us for stealing Fred Durst’s hat. That was cool, but it did have a message. I want the rebuilt Buddyhead to be a center people go to find out about real music.”
Keller continues to explain that there is much more to Buddyhead 2.0 than just some software upgrades and new graphics. The Web site is now the main portal to the record label. Back in 2000, Buddyhead branched out into a record label of the same name, releasing music by bands The Icarus Line, Radio Vago, Modwheelmood, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Your Enemies Friends, Murder City Devils, Shat and more. But by 2003, the growing decline of CD sales made it nearly impossible for the back-pocket indie to sustain itself.
“I definitely learned the hard way how not to run a label, as far as losing money goes,” Keller admits. Initially, fans were buying Buddyhead imprints, but once the downloading craze kicked in, Buddyhead’s then-distributor, Lookout Records, was pressing more CDs than it could sell. Everything came to a head one day in 2006, when Keller ended up with eight massive wooden pallets containing an entire back stock of Buddyhead CDs on his apartment lawn. “My landlord was losing his mind!” Keller recalls, still amazed. “I had to go to Home Depot to hire a bunch of guys to come move them.” Around this time Buddyhead decided to stop signing bands, and Keller lost interest in running the label via traditional methods.
The Buddyhead Records owner can certainly testify as to how hard it is for a small label to survive in L.A., but with a newfound business savvy that comes from hard-learned pallet-to-lawn lessons, Travis Keller welcomes the direct-to-audience marketing capabilities the Web site now has. Buddyhead integrates the label with an online record store based on digital music-delivery software developed by Topspin Media, one of L.A.’s most talked-about start-ups.
Los Angeles is in the middle of an Internet start-up whirlwind, bolstered by a growing legion of new social media and Web entertainment companies. Buddyhead.com is one of about 40 artists’ Web sites Topspin Media has been working with for the last year to perfect its Web-based music-delivery platform. Keller cites former general manager of Yahoo! Music and current Topspin CEO Ian Rogers as one of the main reasons he was excited about the industry again, and why he believes Topspin software will likely become the standard delivery model for music, the grind ’em up and spit ’em out major-label machine replaced by a service that enables every musician and band to be its own label, every artist its own boss.
Inside the ground-level loft space of Topspin’s Santa Monica offices, young software developers and marketing strategists hover over computers and talk quietly in front of dry erase boards scrawled with punchy, multicolored business goals. A skateboard rests in one corner, framed concert posters hang on the walls, and a dog pile of empty Hansen soda cans, with a few beer bottles tossed into the mix, overflow the trash. The environment is surprisingly relaxed. Ian Rogers greets me warmly but quickly, with only a few minutes to talk before heading to another meeting, and we discuss how a Web site like Buddyhead fits in among Topspin’s roster of other clients, who includes major artists the Beastie Boys, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Arcade Fire and Beck.
“The world has long been moving in Buddyhead’s direction,” Rogers says, “and now is such a great time for it to resurface. I truly believe that for labels — and Buddyhead is a label, as well as a Web site — to be successful they have to be brands. Universal’s not a brand. Even Interscope isn’t a brand — nobody buys Interscope because it’s an Interscope Record. Sub Pop, Matador, Epitaph … those labels are. If Buddyhead has had anything, it’s always had a point of view. And having a point of view is really meaningful in the future, because when people have access to everything, nobody wants middle of the road.”
Rogers sees Travis Keller as a pioneer of online opinion and taste, who lacked only a 2.0 Web platform to create a successful blend of music-review Web site and boutique record label. The Topspin software has given Buddyhead the tools necessary to stay in contact with its audience, manage core fan e-mail, stream video interviews with artists, and directly distribute music releases via online downloads.
As for the future of Buddyhead and whether it has the ability to be successful in an era in which the Internet and media circus are different from the one they originally thrived under when Buddyhead was first launched in 1997, Rogers says, “The good news is that Travis has a monopoly on Travis. In a way, Travis has the same problem an artist does. All he can do is express himself and hope that enough people care [about his art] so that he can support himself. The challenges are just doing it in a way that it can actually be a business. It’s not like someone is going to come along and build a better Buddyhead — there’s only one, that’s a fact. And he can disrupt anybody that’s out there — if people would rather read Buddyhead than Spin, it’s no harder to get to Buddyhead.com than Spin.com.”
The key, Rogers adds, is having a valuable relationship and direct connection with Buddyhead fans, which Keller has. Even if it often means disrupting the status quo, Keller works artfully in the business of making fans because he gets people to talk about music both on the site and among their peers, in real life.
“I don’t think we’re anywhere close to hitting critical mass with music blogs, but I think we’ll see more tastemakers than ever,” Rogers concludes. “We’re all going to have our trusted sources — we’re going to trust Buddyhead, Aquarium Drunkard, and five other people. Those are going to be our channels. I’m superoptimistic. I think now is a much better time for the music business than anytime in our lifetimes.”
Today visitors to the Web site can find the Buddyhead stamp of approval on recommended artists such as A.A. Bondy and Darker My Love, plus the new albums from Kasabian, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Dios — the first band to release music on the revamped Buddyhead record label using Topspin software. Dios is a straight-up, soulful homegrown rock group from South Bay comprising singer Joel Morales, keyboardist Edwin Kampwirth, drummer Patrick Butterworth, and bassist J.P. Caballero, all the newest additions to the Buddyhead family. “The Dios record is really fucking good,” Keller says of the band’s third full-length, We Are Dios, released on July 15, in addition to the band’s Cosmic Rays EP, which hit in June.
Keller admits that a common mistake in the past was spreading himself too thin over mediocre projects and not concentrating on the really great releases. This time, with the Dios record, he is focusing solely on the digital release and a limited box set and does not want to screw it up, although he’s not opposed to getting sued.
“I wanted to call the album Dios. But the band thought we’d get sued [by Ronnie James Dio]. I’m like, ‘Yeah, we will!’ He already tried to sue them once. I think we’d win — DIO versus Dios. Even if they lost, fine, let’s change the name after we get on the news. Let him take us to court; it’ll be rad.” Keller grins and there it is, that flicker of a challenge in his eyes, that characteristic Buddyhead attitude.
“Buddyhead is still in these baby stages, but so far we’ve exceeded our expectations in terms of growth. I didn’t know if anyone would give a shit after we’d been dormant a few years,” Keller says of the site’s progress thus far. Buddyhead.com is averaging 15,000 page views per day, and although he is funding it out of pocket with the help of money earned from high-end DJ gigs with the likes of Peaches and Maynard James Keenan’s Puscifer, the overhead is low, and there are advertising deals that will kick in if the site reaches a profitable level of traffic.
With the Web site and record-label overhaul, it will be interesting to see how fast Buddyhead grows and how long it takes to rebuild its core audience. But, no matter what technology has been pumped into the site, much of Buddyhead’s success will depend on how much Keller writes. The same content that brought readers to the site during its peak in 2004 will likely bring them back again: unpredictable interviews and record reviews, plus Buddyhead’s merciless skewering of musicians in that notorious gossip column. Fueled by reader tips and insider information from close friends in the entertainment industry, the column consists of anything that makes its writers laugh.
In addition to Buddyhead gossip’s recent claim that “Moby is a panty sniffer,” one entry posted on June 29 takes aim — and fires — at musician John Mayer and gossip blogger Perez Hilton concerning their reported cat fight, and also calls Hilton out for biting Buddyhead’s snarky style:
“File this one simultaneously under “dorkus” and “malorkus”. “probably” gay soft-rock cracker shithead John Mayer is in a twitter-fight with that tubby Hispanic dude with gelled-up parrot hair and whiney bitch voice, Perez Hilton, that does some gossip site, that might remind you of this one (we did it first fat-ass) if it were run by. well by a tubby gay Hispanic dude with gelled-up parrot hair, and a freaky whiney bitch voice. Turns out that right after Perez got clocked in the face by some dude associated with The Black Eyed Peas for calling Will Smith I Am, a “faggot” and “fucking gay” (that also sounds familiar.), John Mayer, who isn’t just a member of the pink team, but also the president, decided he couldn’t not fumble over his BlackBerry to vomit out his first thought of the day that didn’t have to do with Man-ass or tribal tattoos … The best part is the whole thing went down on TWITTER. DORKS!”
Contrary to the way the column was updated in the past with no particular schedule, now the gossip is updated on time every Monday. Maintaining regular content is all part of the new Buddyhead.
“I finally stopped fighting that title of businessman,” Keller says. “That’s the new Buddyhead — we’re not fighting being an actual business.” He smiles slyly. “All of the rules have changed [on the Internet] and there are so many new sites, so how do you make a big bang? I guess you get sued a couple times.”