Josh Todd of Buckcherry
On August 3 Buckcherry will unleash their latest studio release “All Night Long” which is a return to their signature sound of in your face, raunchy rock with no apologies. The title track gets the party started with what will undoubtedly be adopted as the anthem to many summers of 2010.
A decade into their career, Buckcherry’s longevity can largely be attributed to their steadfast approach of churning out straight up rock and roll minus the bells and whistles. Often referring to themselves a “what you see is what you get” kind of band, it’s that rock n’ roll attitude that has made them a favorite among rock n’ roll purists.
A healthy mix of rockers and ballads “All Night Long” has a little something for everyone – including a good cause. The band lyrically tweaked the tune “Our World” to offer it up as a charitable download to help those suffering in the wake of the recent oil disaster.
In an industry that is inundated with “the next best thing” it’s always nice to have a band you can depend on – and Buckcherry gives us just that. Without trying to reinvent the wheel the band consistently delivers on “All Night Long” with a great rock album from start to finish.
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette
In listening to the new album “All Night Long” from start to finish, I’m hearing a lot more of the vibe from Fifteen than from your previous release Black Butterfly. Did you put a focus on returning to that sound?
Black Butterfly to me was my favorite album, I like a dynamic album. I understand what people love about us though. It wasn’t a real conscious decision, we just wanted to make an album that rocked from top to bottom and was more anthemic and I think we made the record we wanted to make. We worked really hard on it, we got to spend a lot of time on it – a lot more time than we’ve had in the past to work on the record and I think it came out really special.
You mentioned that you spent a lot more time on it but Buckcherry seems to record albums pretty quickly – didn’t you record it in like three months? A lot of bands might not consider that a “lot” of time?
Yeah but the thing is we recorded it up at Keith’s house and when we were actually in the studio we weren’t under the gun. In past albums when we headed in to the studio we wrote and recorded demos so before we hit the studio we had it all mapped out and all the arrangements and we recorded really quick. This time, it’s a little more laid back and I think it reflects in the overall body of work. But yeah, we don’t mess around. When we start writing we have a schedule going five days a week and we knock it out.
So correct me if I’m wrong but the general writing process starts with you and Keith (Nelson) and then the rest of the band is brought in later on in the process?
We put everything together as a band. I write the lyrics and the melodies and Keith writes the majority of the music but Stevie and Jimmy write music and we bash it all out together as a band and put it all together. Marti Frederiksen with Keith again so we kept the same team from Black Butterfly. He’s co-written a few songs with us now over the years and we love him. He comes in and he’s great to work with. He understands what makes the band great and he works on our strengths and really gets the best out of us.
So as a producer Marti is able to bring out the best in you?
The guy is so super-talented. He’s always writing songs and he really understands rock and roll. He’s written with Aerosmith and many other great rock bands. When he comes in to our camp he’s almost just like a sixth band member, that’s how we look at it. We just have a great chemistry and lots of fun working together. He’s great at playing the role of the guy on the outside looking in and we definitely need that sometimes.
One of my favorite songs on the new album is the last track “Dead” so I wanted to ask you what you could tell me about that song came together?
When I was in my youth in high school I got hassled a lot by my teachers and authority figures in general because I wanted to go my own way. I didn’t go with the majority and I had an opinion on a lot of things and I was one of those guys that If I didn’t like something I would tell you I didn’t like it. I was always discouraged by other people from following my dreams but it didn’t discourage me, I continued on my own path. I always thought that was really fucked up. It’s kind of a big “fuck you” to all of the people who tried to take away my passions – telling me my generation’s dead, that I should have something to rely on or fall back on because music isn’t a good idea – stuff like that. It wound up all working out okay because I did what was right for me and that’s what the song is about.
You re-wrote some of the lyrics of “Our World” to speak to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, why was that important for you to do as a band?
On Black Butterfly we wrote a couple songs about a book called “A Child Called It” and we teamed up with ChildHelp.org and did a charity show in New York where we were able to raise ten thousand dollars for foster care and that just felt really amazing to us. I’m a father, I have three kids. I pay attention to current events. We wrote “Our World” before this oil disaster happened but it seemed so fitting for the times so I went in and re-wrote a couple lines and we teamed up with i-Tunes and all the proceeds go to helping people who are down and out down there and there are still a lot of people that have shit to handle because of it. We want to be a part of things of like that because it makes us feel good. We’re in the limelight so we feel it’s really part of our job to give back.
Let’s talk about the softer side of Buckcherry because you’ve written some beautiful ballads in the past and many of them have been pretty personal songs to you personally. Can you tell us what the inspiration lyrically was for “These Things”?
That song is about my relationship with my wife. I’ve been married eight years and it’s the longest relationship I’ve ever been in. It’s challenging, marriage is really challenging for me – I think it’s challenging for everybody really. Dealing with this lifestyle and being away from home is a lot of sacrifice. It’s a lot of work and a lot of things come up. Sometimes we find ourselves dwelling on little things that become really big things and you have to pay attention to that so you can keep the love alive and that’s what the song is about.
You’ve described yourself as a “what you see is what you get” kind of band – and I think that’s a huge part of the reason that fans are drawn to you. Is that something you take into consideration when you go in to the recording studio – keeping the bells and whistles to a minimum?
At the beginning when we started doing this we just wanted to be a rock n roll band and everyone was laughing at us. That was over a decade ago. What we found out over the years is that we’ve kind of developed our sound just by being a straight up rock n roll band because there’s no one being a rock band these days –t here’s so much noise and shit going on in rock music – we’re starting now to hear every now and again a younger band doing really cool, soulful rock n roll which is refreshing. We always just said that if we couldn’t recreate a song on the record live on the stage then we probably shouldn’t be recording it and that’s really how we got to the less is more formula. We don’t want a lot of noise cluttering up the music. If you play a song and it sounds good with one vocal then it’s not going to sound good with ten back-up vocals and five guitar layers. We don’t sample live so what you hear is what you get. And I think you’re right – people know what they can count on when they come to a Buckcherry show.
You mentioned the decade milestone – Buckcherry has always been a band that’s endured when lots of rock acts have sort of run their course, what do you think it is about the band that has given you the longevity and success in such a tough market?
I think it’s because the music is genuine and people need that, and that’s why they keep coming back. That’s the truth –this is what we are and what we love and we’ve never deviated from that. With Buckcherry you really love us or hate us and even though many have hated us over the years we’ve stayed the course and continued to put out the best rock n roll records we can put out. We’ve had this really quiet, large career over the years that not a lot of people have talked about in the press but we’ve been doing it over a decade and we have a huge worldwide fan base. We’re just grateful, we’re really grateful –we’ve been through our own hard knocks and we know what it’s like not to have it and we just want to put out honest records.
The past few times I’ve seen you it’s been on big ole arena stages with KISS and on CrueFest, are there any plans for a more intimate type of tour where you might play smaller venues?
We’re doing that right now – tonight we’re playing behind this club in a parking lot on an outdoor stage for 2400 hundred people. We play everywhere – clubs, theaters, arenas – it’s always the same approach when we get onstage.
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