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2002-04-29 - Everbody wants to rule the world (zap2it.com)
by Kate O'Hare

In the universe of UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Adam Busch plays Warren Meers, a techno-wiz (introduced last season as the builder of the BuffyBot) who is attempting to take over the small world of Sunnydale, Calif.

In real life, Busch is a member of a self-described funk-folk band called Common Rotation, whose motto is "Different folk to rule the world."

While attempting global domination on both the TV and music fronts might seem daunting, Busch doesn't see a problem. "I've always done both," he says. "As long as I've been doing one, I've been doing the other. I don't see why I should choose. If everything keeps going in the direction that it's going, and I keep living the same kind of life that I am, then I should never have to."

The native Long Islander currently juggles recurring appearances on "Buffy" with recording and touring with the band. While Busch readily acknowledges that the band's actual leader is singer-guitarist Eric Kufs, he also admits that it's his "Buffy" fame that brings a lot of bodies through the door.

"A lot of the kids who come to see the band hear about it through some 'Buffy' Website or something like that. They come down, and they really like the music, and they stay, they keep coming back. If 'Buffy' is going to bring them there, then I'm all for it."

"But if you want to keep them, and have it be about something other than your relationship to a television show, that's where the quality of the product has to really step in."

Whether on its own or opening for such acts as They Might Be Giants, Common Rotation tours on both coasts and has released its own CDs. A recent gig at music club 14 Below in Santa Monica, Calif., sold out in under 12 hours -- but it's hard to say whether that was fans of "Common Ro," as the band is affectionately known, or fans of the other act on the bill, "Buffy" regular James Marsters.

Either way, Busch feels that once people see the band live, they're likely to be hooked. "Playing live with the guys is just ... I don't know anything that's better than that, that I've experienced. It's theater, and it's song, and it's rock and roll. It just feels like an experiment is happening. It feels like something really important is going on, and I love that. I love feeling like that."

The juggling act has become a bit more complicated this season, as Busch's role on "Buffy" has increased. Seen in two episodes last season, Warren has joined forces this year with two science-fiction obsessed geeks -- Andrew (Tom Lenk) and "Buffy" recurring character Jonathan (Danny Strong) -- to bedevil the Slayer (Sarah Michelle Gellar) with a combination of technical wizardry and black magic.

When the show returns with its first original episode in a while on Tuesday, April 30, called "Entropy," an arc begins that will lead to a tragic and deadly confrontation between Buffy and the trio sometimes referred to as the Troika.

There's even a visit to an amusement park that was anything but fun. "There are rumors about that," Busch says. "All I can say is, we didn't get to go on any rides. Not one."

Things went very wrong for Warren in a February episode called "Dead Things," in which, failing to win back ex-girlfriend Katrina (Amelinda Embry) with sweet talk in a bar, he turned to a device that made her subservient to his will. When that wore off, Warren's desperate attempts to keep Katrina from going to the police ended in murder.

For Busch, Warren isn't about being pure evil, like the show's usual demonic villains. "He's a guy, like any guy. He's got some wrong ideas about the way things are. He's got a lot of problems in terms of communication and insecurity. He's got a misdirected sense of confidence, but he's just a guy. He's a guy who gets hurt, scared, upset by it, and doesn't know how to deal with it."

"Because it's television, and because of who he is, it comes out in horrible ways, and he makes the wrong choices. What's so great about Warren and the show is, just like that scene with Katrina in the bar, he's always given a chance at redemption. There's always a point where you see where he could make the right choice, and he never, ever does."

"That's what makes him such a great villain, if you want to call him a villain, because you can relate to him. You can see where he went wrong and hate him even more for not making the right choice, for going the wrong way."

Unlike Buffy's supernatural foes, the very human Troika can't just be staked or beheaded. "No, we can't," Busch says. "We're subject to the laws of the United States government, not this higher power, not the demon world or anything like that."

The trio also echoes another theme of the show -- what it means to be an outsider. With Warren and his friends, rejection has turned to revenge. "No, it doesn't turn out harmless, because I feel what's been done to them isn't always harmless. They feel real pain from what's happened. They don't have any social means with which to balance things out, to judge what's right or wrong, because they've always been outcasts."

"If you don't know what's right or wrong or where it falls into society, you just know that you've been wronged your whole life, and that seems to be all right with everybody else, you think, 'Maybe me wronging you will be all right. Maybe that's what I've learned through what I've gone through. That's what you have to do to get what you want.' Deep down, you know it's not right, but you get blinded by it, especially when you're hurting people you love, because you don't know how to love them."

Don't expect Warren to escape unscathed. "You mean repercussions?" Busch says. "There's bound to be some splashback."


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