Article by Mary Boukouvalas
Josh Todd’s scene is simply his family and his band. “That’s pretty much my scene,” the lead singer of Buckcherry states. “I’m a workaholic. I love Buckcherry and I love everything Buckcherry. And when I come home all about my family and my kids and my hobbies and that’s my scene”.
Rocking for twenty years, Los Angeles’ notorious, multi-platinum-selling rock band, BUCKCHERRY, has just released their 7th studio album, Rock ‘n’ Roll, via F-Bomb Records/Caroline Australia. Todd says that this is the band, and rock n roll, at its’ finest. Todd states: “I think this is one of the best records. It’s just a fun listen, you know. We always wanted to make a 10-song record because I feel that’s all the listener has of one artist to down. It’s a lot, a lot of music. Making 12/13 song records is overkill. Our favourite records, when we were kids, were 9 or 10 songs. So we have our own record label now, f-bomb records, so it’s nice to be able to do everything in house. It’s the best time to be Buckcherry right now. You don’t hear many traditional rock n roll records anymore so I think that Buckcherry fills a void for rock n roll”.
Buckcherry’s latest release, Rock n Roll, is jammed packed with just that: rock n roll. And sex. Tracks such as Wood, Sex Appeal and Tight Pants dominate. Todd states: “You know I love women, you can tell that. All my favourite songs are about women: You Shook Me All Night Long and Sweet Child O’ Mine, so many songs, I could go down a list. [pullquote]Rock ‘n’ roll used to be about sexual innuendo and had a lot of sexiness.[/pullquote] I listen to a lot of new rock bands now and I don’t even know what they’re singing about like. It’s like they’re bitching about their inner child; I don’t know what the fuck they’re on about. Still the best things about life are still the same, and that’s what I want to celebrate. I want people to come to Buckcherry show and fucken have fun. I listened to rock records that had ballads, that had mid tempo songs, that had hard songs. And that’s what we try to do with every record, have some dynamics and take people on a journey”.
This Buckcherry release definitely has different levels and layers. Tracks such as The Feeling Never Dies and Rain’s feeling are softer approaches to their sound, both musically and lyrically. Todd discusses these different approaches. “I have two kids, a boy and a girl,” he begins, “and The Feeling Never Dies came about when my nine-year-old girl and I just wanted to write a chorus that we could both sing together. So I wrote the chorus on guitar and I said, ‘Listen honey, Willow, this is how I want you to sing it’. I would take the low and she would take the high; she would just really enjoy that. And then I would hear her singing it a-cappella round the house and I’m like, ‘that’s a good chorus I should probably play that to Keith (Nelson)’. So, I take it to Keith and play the chorus and I say, ‘this is all I’ve got: I’ve got a chorus of got some chords’. And we have so many songs that started like that and I just say, ‘Let’s finish it’. And then Keith will come back with some great verse and I’ll just write some verses and then we put in one of the best bridges I think we’ve ever written in a Buckcherry song. I love it”.
Todd continues, “And Rain Falling is one of my favourite Buckcherry songs ever written. I wrote the chorus, verse, melody, words -without any music. I just came in and I sang this melody to key and I said, ‘I want it to have a smoky beat and a lot of groove and a lot of space and I wanted to be sexy’. We really captured it”.
As for layers of emotions, Todd reflects on the track, Madness, stating: “Oh, I feel so many emotions. That’s what’s great about songwriting. You can take one piece of music and I just sometimes listen to music and before I start writing, I asked myself how does this make me feel what kind of emotions does this bring out in me, and sometimes it’s anger. So I want to write about why I am angry. It’s so easy for me to write songs about why I’m angry. That’s what’s weird. It’s very easy for me to write about fucking or wanting to be intimate because these are emotions I really enjoy. And that’s why you’ll find these songs on BC records. But there is this part of me, and a lot of entertainers, we all have these really colourful childhoods, we’ve all had a lot of weird things happen, we all have a lot of loss, a lot of stuff along the way, and that’s why we’re artists and that’s why we do what we do and so you know there’s always that pain that underlying pain that you always want to get to the next level”.
He continues: “I Wish To Carry On is about a time I went through when I was at home where I had to forgive myself for a lot of things, a lot of my actions, in the past and there where times I had to forgive myself and I didn’t realise that until I came to the conclusion – that’s how that song came about. It (songwriting) all depends on what’s going on. You know with forgiveness I always thought was just a bunch of bullshit. But when I started practising it, you know, like forgiving my parents, and just for a lot of stuff that was going down, it just opened me up to whole new things, a whole new bag of tricks, in so far as accepting new ways to talk about emotions and that’s really want people want to hear. [pullquote]They want to relate to an emotion in the song and they want it tied to a melody that they’re never gonna forget and they want to go back to that record or that song when they want to feel that way again.[/pullquote] That’s what I do. I have like or kinds of genres of music on my iPod and I put it on when I want to feel a certain way. So, I always keep that in mind when I’m writing lyrics”.
Rock ‘n’ Roll becomes whatever the listener wants. Similar to Todd description of the Buckcherry sound in food form, he states: “Our sound would have to be Huevos Rancheros: a little bit of spice, but you get some scrabbled eggs in there, to soften up the palette, and you get some tortillas in there, you can wrap it up in something. Your own creation if you want. You can make it feel whatever you want it to feel”.
Buckcherry hope their brand of Rock ‘n’ Roll will influence others just like their idols influenced them. Todd speaks about his love for Australian band, ACDC, and reminisces about the time they toured with them. “AC/DC – that was like the rock ‘n’ roll Fantasy see come true. On our second record, Time Bomb, we did five shows with them in the states and we all love AC/DC so what that was incredible; and what was even cooler was after the last show they said we could hang out with them. So we went up there and I sat next to Angus, and Malcolm was on a couch, and Phil Rudd was there and Brian Johnson was telling jokes and Angus’s wife was making us tea. And it was like they were so down to earth and so sweet to us and let us do anything: ‘Can we take a picture?’ ‘Yeah’. It was awesome. And they would just answer any of our questions and it was a nice outing with those guys and it’s something I’ll never forget”.
Buckcherry’s intuition for what people want to hear is strong, even after all these years. As well as confidence with their sound and direction, the band’s longevity is attributed to certain factors that Todd believes keep the band “still very close coming on to 20 years”. His advice: “Well you’ve gotta have really good communication, you know, so first of all you’ve got to be passionate right about what you’re doing and second of all you have to do whatever it takes in the spirit of the song whatever avenues left to do what’s best for the song you can always go back to the same old melody but you’ve got a feel out everyone’s ideas to see if you can make it the best it can be. Or you can always go back. So, do what’s best for the song, be passionate, be a good communicator and never raise your hand to your bandmates. That’s like a big deal. Those things should pretty much keep you together”.
Great advice and dynamic rock n roll.
Buckcherry‘s Rock ‘n’ Roll is out NOW on F-Bomb Records/Caroline Australia