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INTERVIEW – Josh Todd, Buckcherry – September 2015

| 23 September 2015 | Reply

INTERVIEW – Josh Todd, Buckcherry – September 2015
By Shane Pinnegar

Sleaze rock champions Buckcherry are back with another slab of fast n’ furious hard rock n’ roll on album #7, the does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin, Rock ‘n’ Roll. One of their best albums yet, Rock ‘n’ Roll is ten slices of rock that tick every box we’ve come to expect from Buckcherry. SHANE PINNEGAR corners singer Josh Todd for the inside story.

Buckcherry Josh Todd 01
Josh: Hey, what’s up buddy, good, how are you?

100% ROCK: Yes, all good man, it’s like six o’clock in the morning and it’s pitch black in Australia, you guys must have night time?

Josh: [laughs] It’s six o’clock in the morning there?

100% ROCK: Yes, that’s right.

Josh: Wow, okay. Well good morning buddy.

100% ROCK: Thanks for your time today man, it’s much appreciated.

Josh: Yes sir.


100% ROCK: The new album, Rock N’ Roll, it does exactly what it says on the tin man: it rocks n’ rolls. You must be stoked with the end product.

Josh: Yeah, I think it’s one of our best, we had a lot of fun making it and it’s a ten song record which was something that we all wanted to do and it’s just fun from beginning to end. That’s the big challenge – getting a record that you can put on and leave on. That’s what we strived for in the record.

100% ROCK: It pretty much encapsulates everything that we know and love about Buckcherry. Was that part of your mission statement as you went in, ‘Let’s make the quintessential Buckcherry Record’?

Josh: Yes, we wanted a well-rounded record, we wanted slow songs and mid-tempo songs, and hard rock songs. Those were always the records that we were huge fans of when we were kids, we had rock records that had a lot dynamics and all of our records had that so that’s our formula and we stick with it.

100% ROCK: I really like the fact that it’s 10 songs, there is not an ounce of fat in there, and you just go in you do the job and you get out saying, ‘yes: rock ‘n’ roll!’ That’s Buckcherry, man, right there. You know those albums that are 16 songs long and by the 12th song you’re thinking. ‘they really could have trimmed a few songs, there is too much filler’? There is none of that on this record.

Josh: Yeah – I’m a listener man, I’m a fan of music. But it doesn’t matter what artist or how much I love ‘em, I’ve got about 40-45 minutes tops of listening to one album anyways. People make records that are, like, 12 song records with bonus tracks and we never wanted to do that, but we had to do that to satisfy the record label. NOW, we have our own record label, F-Bomb Records, and we get to call the shots – these are the type of records we want to make! It’s just enough to get right into and if you kind of want more, you go back and put it on again!

100% ROCK: Excellent. The album came together pretty fast, I believe. I’ve read that you had three or four weeks each to write and then to record. That’s the sign of a band that knows what they’re doing and is getting along pretty well, right?

Josh: Yeah, we’re always working. We’re out touring, when we’re at home we’re writing songs, last year we put out the Fuck EP and then this year we are putting out an LP. We want to try to have something new and interesting for our fans annually. That’s the goal, that would be fun for us.

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100% ROCK: Things seem pretty good in the Buckcherry camp man, you all seem pretty healthy and happy, you got your record label, as you mentioned, the music from the EP and the album both sound amazing. Is this the payoff after lots of years of hard work and struggle?

Josh: Absolutely, I think every year that you stay in something and you work hard at it, and kind of get through the peaks and the valleys, you start learning really what makes it special, you get close to the audience and know how to act so that everybody is really happy and you keep expanding your fan base and it comes down to passion as well, you’ve got to be passionate.

100% ROCK: Yes absolutely. I’m guessing, judging by the album title and the music in there, you guys don’t agree with the assertions certain people have made saying rock is dead, right?

Josh: Yes, this is the thing, our first record was in 1999, right? People were laughing at us for being so rock n’ roll – you had all the metal bands and you had all the Seattle bands, and the shoegazer bands. Everybody was laughing at us back then and no-one thought you could be in a rock band: everybody was telling us rock was dead back then, every time we put out a record, rock was dead. Rock ‘n’ Roll was a title that Keith and I have been throwing around for a few years, ‘is this the right time to use it?’ We’re coming up on two decades of Rock ‘n’ Roll as far as our careers go, that’s extraordinary when the climate is [that] rock ‘n’ roll is dead… we really are having a very quiet, long career.

100% ROCK: [laughs] It’s not that quiet: I’ve seen you live.

Josh: [laughs] Yeah!

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100% ROCK: I want to talk about a couple of the songs on the album. Tight Pants really stood out to me, it’s funky as fuck man. It sounds like something Lenny Kravitz would do. I think a few people are going to be surprised about that song on your record.

Josh: Yeah, I listen to a lot of old school funk, and I went through another major James Brown phase while we were writing, and there is not a lot of soul and not a lot of faith in rock anymore. That song was so much fun to write and it really came quickly because it’s fun and it’s a lot of fun to perform and sing. We have a great video which is basically a day in the life of a girl’s ass.

100% ROCK: [laughs]

Josh: You’ve got to see the Tight Pants video, it’s fucking awesome.

100% ROCK: There is another song on the album that stood out to me: Wood. It’s a really fun song, and it’s awesome to know – I’m almost 50 and you’re a few years behind me I think – it’s kind of cool to know that you’re still a bunch of priapic sex-obsessed school boys, mentally, that’s reassuring.

Josh: [laughs] Yes! [laughs] I’ve got to write that down, that is a great line!

100% ROCK: [laughs]

26 Apr 2015: The Masquerade, Atlanta. Josh Todd of Buckcherry.

26 Apr 2015: The Masquerade, Atlanta. Josh Todd of Buckcherry.

Josh: Yes, we are. I’m a horny toad, I’m always going to be a horny toad, and Wood actually was an idea laying around from the Confessions record. Originally it was going to be seven sins, and four elements or whatever and wood is an element, right? [errr… no – Editor] How am I going to capture wood in a song – I was writing about my hard on. We came up with the first chorus after Confessions, and all of a sudden Confessions kind of evolved into this other thing with a storyline and all of that. This kind of got scrapped and when we were starting to write for this [I said], ‘Keith, we got to get back to Wood, we got to get Wood happening, I’m telling you – it’s gonna be great.’ So we went back to the song, we rewrote it a little bit, and we kind of tuned it up and it’s a lot of fun.

100% ROCK: It’s awesome man. My colleague Todd Jolicouer wrote of the new album, that you, ‘sing your ass off without ever going over the top’. Is that a skill that took a while for you to learn?

Josh: Oh yeah. I’m not a classically trained singer. I wasn’t just born with a really great sense of pitch and musical knowledge. I had to work really, really hard for everything that I did. I practiced a lot, I’m always constantly trying to learn more about my voice, more about how to use it. Yeah, it took me a long time to get to this point on a record. If you look at the first record and you listen to all the records, you can see how I evolved a little bit from record to record as a singer, and my range, and how I hit the melodies. I’m a work in progress and I wish I could have perfect pitch and have a crazy ass range but it is what it is and I’m doing the best that I can with what I got.

100% ROCK: You and Keith, especially, have worked together for a long, long time. Do you think you would have got this far without each other?

Josh: You know what? I don’t even think about that. I’m just glad we have each other. There’s a reason why we met, and there’s a reason why we are still together, and I’m going to just embrace that, and I cherish it, and I respect it, and it’s just going to keep on going. I’ll tell you what, when I was dreaming about my career, and dreaming about being in a rock band, I always wanted to be in one band for my whole career, and have a whole catalogue of music – that’s what I visualised and that’s what’s going on, so I’m really happy, I’m grateful that we have the opportunity to be here, to keep showing up for it, and it’s awesome. It’s awesome that it’s out in Australia, I’m super pumped.

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100% ROCK: Excellent. In many ways I hate the digital age – having had the record sent to me digitally to review and to listen to, I don’t have the booklet to have a look at the credits and things, so can you tell me – the song writing, was this a band effort or was this mostly you and Keith [Nelson]?

Josh: A lot of it was Keith and I, but at the end of the day we arrange the songs together as a band, and every now and again Stevie will chime in with some music and songwriting.
100% ROCK: I mentioned that I was interviewing you and a couple of ladies asked me to ask you: “Is there any more space on your body left to tattoo, and if so, what are going to fill it with?”

Josh: It’s funny you say that because I just got off the phone with Red Cross blood donations and I was like, “I have really rare blood,” and I was going to start giving blood again, because I used to give blood in the past and I haven’t been tattooed in three years. [But] I just got tattooed on my thigh, I got this big panther head, so I’ve got to wait 12 months before I give blood again. But my thighs aren’t done so I just started my thighs.

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100% ROCK: Look if you could wipe the slate clean and take all your tattoos off instantly and start from scratch, what’s the first one you’d get exactly the same as you have now?

Josh: I couldn’t imagine them not being there. My back piece probably, it’s something I really cherish, it was really painful, I went through a lot to get that thing done, it was about four and a half months on and off but I love it so that’s probably something I definitely wouldn’t change.

100% ROCK: Well it’s so distinctive isn’t it? You could just spot you a mile off with that thing.

Josh: Big and bold, baby!

100% ROCK: [laughs] There’s not a lot of truly exciting rock bands out there doing exciting things at the moment. Who are you listening to that really floats your boat?

Josh: I really want to embrace new rock, but I just can’t find anything that really is awesome for me. So I go to pop – I’m really into pop because they have some really great singers in pop and they write about stuff that I’m into; a lot about fucking and dancing and sex, I like all that shit and that’s what’s missing in rock music. So I’m really big on Bruno Mars right now, I love Sam Smith… but as far as new rock, I don’t know, if there’s something that I need to look into, let me know, but I can’t think of anything right now.

100% ROCK: I’m on the same page as you man, there’s not a lot out there doing much different. If anything, I find myself veering towards a lot of the retro acts that are digging up old stuff; you know, Blackberry Smoke, Blues Pills and stuff like that.

Josh: Yes, those guys are all great, we’re friends with Blackberry Smoke and that’s all good. I’m also listening to really old school stuff, like old school funk and old school gangsta rap. I just went and saw Straight Outta Compton, which is the new NWA movie. I grew up in Orange County, California and Straight Outta Compton was a huge record for me and all my friends, I used to get fucked up to that record and the story is incredible itself. I really enjoyed that. That was inspiring. But I mostly listen to really great songs, and I like grooves. When we make Buckcherry records I always like to say, “I want to make a record that’s going to satisfy my 16 year old self” – if I can do that, because when I was 16 I had strong opinions about music, I had a huge record collection, really obscure. I listened to a lot of independent records, and I would go above and beyond to get music from my friends, I’d get music at the record store, I’d just find ways to make compilations and bootleg CDs and cassettes, so if I could satisfy that kid… I felt like I never went with the majority either, I never listened to mainstream music when it was mainstream. So that was the goal when we made the first Buckcherry record: I [was] like, “God, if Buckcherry were around when I was fucking 15 I would have loved this fucking band!” That’s what it has got to be for me.

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100% ROCK: Awesome man. One more question and then I’ll let you go and do your stuff. When are we going to see Buckcherry in Australia next?

Josh: You’ve got to ask my manager when we’re going to be there. We’re ready, we start full on touring next week, and right now we’re in Canada but we’re ready to get back there so ask them, I’m sure they’re working on it or we wouldn’t be doing this interview – but we’re ready!

100% ROCK: Awesome man. Well we can’t wait to hear you live again back down under and thank you very much for your time today, it’s been awesome and good luck with the record man, it’s a killer.

Buckcherry Josh Todd 03

Josh: Thank you, man, make sure you come out say hello when we’re over there.

An edited version of this story was first published in X-Press Magazine’s 16 September, 2015 issue.

Category: Interviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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