Josh Todd , 2007

 

Written by: Jason Perlman

 

This record started as a small project in Japan and grew into one of the biggest comeback stories in a decade. Did you know at the end of 15 that the acceptance and recovery would be this huge?
I believed that when we finished this record, it was the best product Buckcherry has put out. It was the best record thus far as far as songwriting and creativity, so I knew we had a good record from start to finish. But in the music business, everything is an unknown. This is a hit or miss business, and it comes down a lot to having a good team of supporters and having the right timing. For this record and this band, we had both of that plus quality material. So we just got on the wave and are riding it. We have been on the road for 16 months with this record, too. So we have put in the time and energy to help make this a success.

 

Being on the road for 16 months with any record can become a bit of a drain. Are you itching to get in the studio to put out new material or are you really just digging the vibe and energy of 15 and touring with it?
I love being on the road, so I really haven't spent a lot of time thinking about new songs. I am just now beginning to cultivate new ideas and songs. But I will say I am not really itching to get back into the studio. We just take this one-day at a time. We learned from our mistakes early on and what we did after our first record. Rather than live in the moment, we thought too far ahead and didn't really enjoy what we had. Now, we are just really sitting back and enjoying each day and respect what we have as a band. So, I am thinking about songs, but I am just focusing on each day and what needs to be done tat day.

I remember talking to you before about songwriting, and you said something along the lines of, people like to fuck, fight and party and if you write a song about one of those, then chances are people will relate. Do you think those will be the emotions you will convey on the next record or will you go a different direction?
Yea, you know, songs are really just mini-emotional stories and expressions of emotions. You have three to four minutes to get what you want to convey across. But I am always going to sing about love, lust and conflict the raw emotional aspect will always be a part of what I write about. But 15 really has a huge amount of emotional elements on it. For example, Broken Glass is about war and then I think Crazy Bitch is pretty self-explanatory. But from beginning to end, we wanted to have a quality record with quality songs throughout, and I think we accomplished that. And I think we have a complete body of work covering a lot of various subjects. But if you are asking if I will ever write a concept record, I can safely say no. I didn't like those records when I was growing up, so I am not going to write them now. I liked the records that were raw with emotion and sound, so that is what I try to capture. Music and a rock show should be about letting yourself go and forgetting about your life for 90 minutes. I like to celebrate life and have a great time and that is how we like to have our shows.

In the 16 months of being on the road, Buckcherry has hit Columbus twice and Dayton once. You have played the Newport, which is a small club, Lifestyles Community Pavilion, which is larger, and then the radio festival in Dayton with thousands of fans and over a dozen bands. Do you prefer the club shows with your die-hards or the huge festivals with just a shitload of people?
I like the festivals. I am a competitive guy, and when there are a lot of bands on the bill, it really helps me get focused to put on the best show because I want to be better than the others. I am not saying I think we are always better, but that competition helps keep me focused on putting on the best show I can. And when you have all those bands getting together, it just makes the day much more fun. We are playing our 200th show tonight with this record, and we are still having a lot of fun. But it is also fun to have that pressure of competing with the other bands on stage. But don't get me wrong, I love when we headline and we get to play a full set of songs for our die-hards. Either way, it doesn't matter where we play; we try to give each show all the energy we can.

 

Like your records, your live show has a lot of hard, fast moments but then is quickly brought down with a ballad. How much of that is planned in your set list? Or do you really just try to think of the songs your fans would most want to hear?
When I am making a set list, there are a lot of different aspects that go into it. I have to think of the dynamics of the highs and lows and try to pay very close attention to the tempo of the live show. You don't want to go too fast or too slow, so we want to pace ourselves so the audience can get time to breathe and take a rest. If we went fast for too long, we could tire the crowd out or even ourselves, so we rally try to keep the pace of the show in careful consideration when we put together our list.

 

Just thinking of that tempo that is one way a frontman can control the audience. You seem to have total control of the crowd when you are on stage. Does that come natural?
To be honest, nothing came natural to me. I had to practice a lot. I was a horrible singer and had to practice to get better. I wasn't a good songwriter from the start, so I had to write hundreds of songs to get better. And the same goes for being in front of a crowd. I needed a lot of practice. But I did read books on crowd management and one of them was Jim Morrison's book. In the book, Morrison said he read about how to get everyone on the edge of their seats, holding them there and then just erupting. But that never came natural. I had to play a lot of shows to get better and am always still learning and trying new things.

 

Over the years of Buckcherry, there have been some line-up changes. After 16 months on the road with the same five guys, I have to assume everything is going well and everyone is getting along.
This band is the best it's ever been. When we started Buckcherry, this is exactly what we wanted the band to be. The rhythm section has come up a lot since we got this crew together. The foundation of the band with this rhythm section has made the band better and tighter than we have ever been. And we all get along so well. We have been on the road for 16 months, and we still sit down every night and hang out together. That is a great thing and that never happened early in the band's career.

 

I know you were home for about a week, but after being on the road 16 months, is it hard to get back into daily life? Not to mention, you then have to get in recording mode.
It takes a little time to get back into normal life, but because of what we do on the road, it only takes a day or two. We are very passionate about what we do, and we can recover very quickly. Our bodies are trained, and after a couple of days of rest, we are really ready to get it on again. So, after this run we will head home and take about a month off, or a few weeks, and then we will get to work on the next record.

 

The record 15 was named due to the time it took to record, mix and get the record ready. This time around, I am assuming the label will give the band some more leeway and time. Are you comfortable with that scenario or do you like the pressure of having to get a product done and complete in a certain period of time?
I definitely work better under pressure. Yea. That record took 15 days to record and get ready, but we spent a lot of time writing and getting the songs ready for when we went into the studio. We like to have the songs ready, so when we go into the studio we can begin recording it and try and capture the performance of the song. We want to get the recording done as soon as we can, so we have the time to arrange and mix the record. I think that is just as important as the recording. We want the raw performance captured, but from there it is about putting the final product out to make sure we have a record that has quality songs from front to back. In order to do that, we write a shitload of songs. For this record, we had 30 songs to choose from, so we like to be very prepared when we walk into the studio so we can focus on what needs to be done to put out a great record with great songs. Not just a single or two with some filler around them.

You mentioned you like the festival atmosphere, and you are coming to Columbus, Ohio with the Rock on the Range tour with like 20 acts. You also mentioned you like the competition, and it will be there with bands like Z.Z. Top, Three Days Grace and others. Do you like to experience the festival and watch the bands, or do you try to stay focused on your task at hand that day?
I definitely enjoy the atmosphere. I will go out and check out the bands I want to see. I am definitely looking forward to seeing Z.Z. Top. Keith is a good friend with one of the guys in Z.Z. Top and we are really looking forward to seeing them. I was just on a show where Flyleaf was playing and I really dig that band, so I went and checked them out. As I said, we are enjoying the moments of this band, and festivals like this are another moment we want to enjoy as well. Also, I want to watch what other bands do on stage as I am always learning for myself what works and what doesn't. I will pick stuff up on what to do or not to do in order to make me a better performer.

 

That is cool that you are not over-confident in your ability and see a need to always improve.
Well, I am confident; don't get me wrong. But I am also teachable. There are always things to gain when watching others perform. I am always wanting to learn and an always learning.

 

Well, I know your fans in Ohio are excited about seeing the band one more time before a new record is released.
Ohio fans just flat out rock. No matter where in Ohio we play, we know the fans are going to be great. The fans have been great to this band, so we are definitely looking forward to coming back and playing in Ohio.

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