Josh Todd, 2006

 

Written & Photos by: Jason Perlman

 

Buckcherry played several of those large radio shows this summer, but Buckcherry seems to be a band that is made for the club atmosphere as when you play Columbus at the Newport. How excited are you to be back headlining clubs again?
Well, we treat every show like it is out last, really. So it doesn't really matter if there is 20 or 20,000. We just go out there and give it 110%, so it doesn't really matter to us where we play or whom we are playing to.

 

I remember even a few years ago when you were touring with the Josh Todd Band and we talked then, there sort of always was this undercurrent of rumors about Buckcherry getting back together. What was it that finally got you back with Keith (Nelson)?
It was never really planned. Keith had some personal things going on in his life and I reached out to him about some things going on in his life just as a friend. But we started to rekindle our relationship, because that was really important to us. We have a lot in common in our personal lives and eventually the timing became right. We were both just open and available to give this a shot. Keith and I never really wanted this to go the way it went. There was just so much going on at the time and we had to go our separate ways for a while. There was a lot of disappointment going on in a lot of different areas in our lives. But now when we talked, it just naturally came up in conversation and we had some guys in mind that we wanted to try to form the band with. One thing people don't know is at the end of the Time Bomb tour, our second record, we came home and three of the guys had quit at different times, but three of the guys trickled off and quit. So it was just Keith and I holding it together. It's funny, because we were the guys that started the band. We write a majority of all the material and everything, and we were trying to find band members and we couldn't find anybody who wanted to be in the band for the right reasons. They thought we had all this money, which we didn't. It just wasn't good. It wasn't a good time and we weren't getting good people. But the guys we got now are just great players, they have been friends of ours for a long time and up until now and we are just having the best time as a band.

 

In Dayton, the band sounded pretty tight and seemed to have that comfort level on stage. Did it take awhile for this band to gel or did it just click from day one?
Well, it always takes time for a band to sound great as a unit, no matter how great the players are. But these guys are all really good players; they have been playing in bands for a while, so it didn't take us long. After our first rehearsal, we all had big smiles on our face because we knew there was some curious chemistry going on. I just basically said at the end of that rehearsal that if you want to be in the band, show up tomorrow with studio rent, and they all did. And that was it. We knew they were in it for the right reasons and we just started working five days a week at that point.

 

You just touched on you and Keith doing a lot of the writing. When you got back with Keith, did the writing process just fall into place or did you have to work to get back to where you were before the band split?
No, not at all. It was weird, because Keith and I never stopped writing songs when we parted ways and we wrote with other people and stuff. So we always kept our songwriting chops up and we just have a really good chemistry. I think the time away helped us understand how special it really was and when we started writing again, it was just really inspiring and exciting and the songs came very quickly.

 

It is strange to look back to the 90s and realize when Buckcherry hit the music scene nationally; straight up rock and roll was not all over the radio like it is today. Nowadays, everyone is tattooed up and playing that style of rock and roll. Did you know a trend was going to start once Cocaine became such a mainstream hit?
No, to be honest we never really did think about those things. We just thought about making music that we loved and the rest would work itself out. That is really where we were at during that point. I was in a long-term band situation for like 5 years and it fell apart and it was very discouraging for me even prior to starting Buckcherry. And Keith had been in his share of bands, so we just really wanted to enjoy ourselves and make music that we love. We didn't really want to chase radio or be a part of the scene that was going on at the moment or any of that stuff. We just wanted to do what made us happy, and at that point in time we were playing rock and roll and everybody was laughing at us. But we kept moving forward because we had something as far as the songwriting went. And it really is about that. If you write timeless songs, it doesn't really matter what period of time you are on, as long as it is a great song and you believe in what you are doing, the rest will follow. But I think we were definitely ahead of our game at that time. We were way ahead of it. When we put our first record out, it was the end of the grunge thing and there were a lot of Weezer-type bands out there and we were just playing rock and roll. So we managed to sell 700,000 copies of a rock and roll record, which was hard to do in that climate, which was why everybody was so, impressed with it. But we were still skating along underneath the surface of real commercial success, so we have always been the underdogs.

 

You mentioned just being under that surface, and when the second record came out there seemed to be disappointment, at least from the labels and what press was saying. How did you and the band feel about that record? Was it a disappointment?
It wasn't about Buckcherry in why Time Bomb didn't sell. Time Bomb was not promoted. Our record label completely dropped the ball on us as soon as we released the record. None of the songs were exploited on that record. We completely believe in that record and love that record and we toured 11 months on our own without anyone's support, without any radio support or anything. We toured as long as we did because we believed in that record. It was the record label dropping the ball on us and not promoting that record and that was why nobody got to see the record for what it was. That was what was really disappointing and discouraging. As a result, we had problems with our management. Internally, the band was not getting along for other reasons than that, just a lot of things. I learned a lot from that, and in retrospect, that may have been the best thing to happen to us because now we made the record of our careers so far. We got the band that we always wanted and we got a new record label that is totally behind us.

 

When you did the Josh Todd Band; that was really funded by you and others willing to invest in the band. What brought you back to being with a major label again after going through what the band went through?
Well, we didn't go right back to a label. I am not sure if you know the history of this record and how it finally got to the people. But nobody wanted anything to do with Buckcherry. We had all the songs in the can and nobody wanted anything to do with us except Japan, our loyal fan base in Japan. We did a lot of work over there and they wanted the Buckcherry record. So we got a small little deal with Universal Japan, they gave us a little bit of money and we made our record with that money. We were all working day jobs while we were making that record. We took the entire advance we got from them and made our record with it. That is why the record is called 15, because we made that record in 15 days. We tracked that record in 15 days. And it came out sounding amazing. So we went over and we toured Japan. We have been on the road since November of last year, almost a full year with this record. This record came out near the end of October last year in Japan. We put it out over there and we still didn't have a record deal. But we got a little independent record deal in the states when we got back and we did Universal in Canada. Once Crazy Bitch started taking off on radio, Lava/Atlantic wanted to upstream us. So it just really happened from us believing in our record and working our asses off regardless of what people thought. And now, everyone wants to be a part of it.

 

You mentioned before about writing good songs, and reading plenty of music magazines, they are quick to shoot down Buckcherry songs as immature or whatever words they want to use. But there is something about a Josh Todd written song that will have you singing it whether you want to or not.
That is the challenge of being a lyricist and writing great melodies. It is really tricky to write a song where you have enough of your personal experience so that you can attach yourself to it so you can sing it 1000 times and be passionate about it, but you also want everybody else to be able to relate to it. So I try to write in a way that everybody can have a piece of it and relate to it in their own lives. That is the challenge of being a lyric writer. And I have always just loved big rock and roll songs. I like big hooks. I have always liked timeless songs. I always like listening to songs on the radio and even though I grew up on Orange County punk rock and when I was listening to all that stuff, all those songs had big hooks. All the old punk rock from there, like Minor Threat and Seven Seconds DI, they all had hooks so I just try to apply that. I love AC/DC they have big hooks. And you just write about what everybody loves. And everybody loves to fuck; everybody loves to party and everybody loves to fight. So if you do all those things then you have a good song.

 

Looking back now, do you think doing this record in 15 days was a blessing in disguise in that you couldn't over think and had to go with your gut instinct more?
Well, we calculated those 15 days. We knew exactly how much time we were going to have in the studio and we were really clear on exactly what songs and the arrangements were done. So when we got in the studio, there was absolutely no fucking around. Everything was planned out, so when we got there we just went to work. We worked really hard and were really efficient and we spent a lot of time outside the studio making sure the songs were right before we went in there. And you don't need to spend a ton of money to make a great rock and roll record. And we don't like to second-guess ourselves, we never have. We like to go in there and capture the true essence of whom this band is and what we are is a live rock and roll band. That is why everyone likes Buckcherry, because when you hear Buckcherry on a record and then see the band live it is the same thing. That is what we want to project. We don't want to clutter up the music with a bunch of samples and sounds that take away from just what the song is.