Karl Buechner (born December 23, 1970) is an American musician from Syracuse, New York, best known as the frontman for the metalcore band Earth Crisis. He is also the singer of Freya, Path of Resistance, Vehement Serenade, Apocalypse Tribe and 1000 Drops of Venom.
In the mid- to late 1990s, Buechner attained a great popularity within the hardcore music scene as the frontman of Earth Crisis due to their outspoken advocacy for the straight edge and vegan lifestyles. He has been featured and interviewed by CNN, CBS, The New York Times and Fox News, and addressed the Congress about teens and substance abuse.
Buechner was born on December 23, 1970 in Syracuse, New York. He has German and Irish roots. In his early teens, Buechner got into punk rock through his cousin and skateboarding, becoming a fan of bands such as the Dead Kennedys and Subhumans, as well as having traveled to other cities to participate in skate competitions. Around the age of fifteen, he saw the Cro-Mags‘ video “We Gotta Know” that “was the spark that set off” his love for hardcore punk music and, years later, he would describe The Age of Quarrel as “still the greatest hardcore album of all time”. During that time, Syracuse was going through a lingering recession where crime and illegal drug trade began to proliferate. Many of Buechner’ skater friends started using drugs and alcohol, one of whom died while others were progressively affected, which motivated him to become straight edge. His and other Earth Crisis members’ families also suffered from tragedies and random acts of violence at the time, including robberies. According to Buechner: “to an extent we were kind of the products of [those] experience[s], but we didn’t join with it, we rebelled against it.”
Most of Buechner’s family is vegetarian. He became a pescetarian at the age of sixteen after his sister handed him a PETA magazine with photographs of caged animals in a slaughterhouse. At eighteen, he transitioned into vegetarianism and shortly afterwards veganism, getting into animal liberation issues through conversations with his grandmother. The first vocalist of Earth Crisis, DJ Rose, states that he and Buechner traveled to Albany where they met Dave Stein and Steve Reddy, who also taught them about animal rights before they established the group in 1989. Subsequently, Buechner became a volunteer at the Syracuse Wildlife Rehabilitation Center where he witnessed animals that were doused with gasoline and tortured in different ways, leaving “quite an impression on” him and which he attributes to the anger expressed in their early records.
Buechner graduated from Henninger High School in 1989. He attended college to become a history teacher with the intention of supporting a career in music or sports, but left it after two years when Earth Crisis was signed by Victory Records.