Thursday, August 29, 2013

Buckcherry’s Josh Todd Dishes on New Out-of-the-Box Conceptual Video, How Crazy The Band Is Off-Stage, and His Favorite Charities

Photo Credit:  Century Media Records
The late 1990’s was a bit of a monkey-see-monkey-do era in music history.  Back then, artists like Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against The Machine, and countless others were all spewing out their versions of rap-rock across the airwaves.  However, one band stood out by going against the grain yet still earning widespread attention in the rock world at that time.  That band was Buckcherry.

And even though many of those rap-rock acts have all but disappeared or have modified their approaches to stay afloat, Buckcherry has stayed its course well into 2013, sticking to its soundtrack-to-a-booze-guzzling-party template to the delight of its fans.  That’s not to say that the band hasn’t tried new things because, as you will read, it has.  It’s just that, better than almost any other band, Buckcherry embodies the rebel-without-a-cause mentality that defines rock-n-roll and plays what it wants to regardless of any trends or business influence.

Helping Hands Rock Reviews recently had the chance to sit down with Buckcherry’s lead vocalist, Josh Todd, to catch up on the latest twists and turns in the journey of the veteran rock band.

Helping Hands Rock Reviews:  I’d like to start off by talking about your new album, Confessions.  Some, but not all, of the song titles revolve around the common theme of the seven deadly sins.  Do you guys see Confessions as a concept album?

Josh Todd:  No, it’s more of a theme record.  Keith (Nelson, guitarist) and I have thrown around the idea of doing a record on the seven (deadly sins) for a long time and it’s not like it hasn’t been done before in films and other records.  We just wanted to do our take on it.  The challenge was just making great Buckcherry songs out of the sins.

HHRR:  Though the themed album is a new concept for you guys, Confessions should delight long-time Buckcherry fans as it stays true to the band’s sound.  Buckcherry has always seemed to play by its own rules instead of trying to be a flavor of the week type of band.  How important do you think that has been to the band being around for going on 15 years while many of your peers from back in the day gave up long ago?

JT:  It means a lot.  I think we stuck to our guns and we always did what was true to us.  And it wasn’t easy sticking to our guns.  We had to slay a lot of dragons along the way - a lot of outside forces that wanted to change us and fit us into some kind of marketing mold that they had in mind.  We always stayed true to ourselves and I think that’s why people still come out and see our shows.  They respect that and they like that.

HHRR:  Earlier in the year, there was talk of a short film being released to go along with Confessions.  Is that film still on the radar?

JT:  Yeah.  I wrote a short film and we got it casted, we had a director, and we had locations.  It just costs a lot of money and there’s not a lot of money to throw around in the music business anymore.  We just had no idea what we were taking on when we wanted to do the movie because we’re not in the movie business.  It’s been a struggle to get the money.  We’re still trying to get the money.  I don’t know if it will ever come to fruition because it only benefits Buckcherry, really.  So, to try to get other people to invest in it, it’s been very hard.

HHRR:  Speaking of films, just this month, you guys just released a video for “Nothing Left But Tears.”  That was more of a dark, conceptual video rather than a slamming performance video, making it quite different for you guys.  How did the idea for that video come about and how do you like the results?

JT:  Well, we read the treatment of that video and thought it was really cool and it was out of the box for us.  It had a cinematic quality which this record has.  So, we thought it was a perfect fit for what we were trying to do and it was outside of the box for us as well.  It wasn’t just a typical performance video like we’ve done in the past.  So, that’s why we went for it and we had a lot of fun doing it.  All the guys played a different sin and I played Lucifer and we had two characters at the beginning of the video – it was good.

HHRR:  The video comes off as very serious but were there a lot of laughs behind the scenes as you guys were getting into costume?

JT:  Oh yeah, we had a great time!  We always have a good time, ya know?  We were really messing around with each other when we were in our costumes because Jimmy (Ashhurst, bassist), the poor guy, had to have his eyes completely shut for about three hours.  It was really tough on him, so we kind of teased him about that.  But we were trying to be sensitive to how isolating it was.

HHRR:  Buckcherry has an image of being a wild band.  What might surprise people about how the band behaves on the road…either in terms of being really over the top or being less crazy than people may expect?

JT:  We’re just not that crazy!  You can’t be that crazy and maintain a touring schedule like we have.  We have a very demanding touring schedule for guys that are our age and that have been in the game this long.  It’s a lot of work and, in order to pull it off, we have to take really good care of ourselves.  We like to get crazy and wild onstage and host the party and make sure everybody is happy in regards to the rock show because that’s our job.  Then, when we get offstage, it’s a whole different thing – it’s a different world.  We’re just used to our routine and what makes every individual in this band operate at the highest level, whatever that means:  taking care of yourself, working out, that type of stuff.  It’s really not what people think.    

HHRR:  You guys have a couple of festival performances coming up:  the Harley Davidson Anniversary Festival in Milwaukee on August 30 and the Monster Energy Aftershock Festival in Sacramento on September 14.  How do festival shows like those feel compared to the shows that you usually play?

JT:  It’s all kind of the same mentality for us when we walk onstage.  We try to give people their money’s worth.  Like last night, we played a small club, and it was a Monday night, and it was crazy!  People just packed the place and it was incredible!  And not too many days before that, we were on a big, outdoor, huge, festival stage in Quebec.  We’re thrown into so many different situations that you gotta have the same game plan for each stage.  It’s just basically to keep people engaged and, to be a headliner, to give people their money’s worth. 

HHRR:  Do you guys have friends in other bands that you are looking forward to reconnecting with at those two festivals that are coming up?

JT:  Honestly, we’ve been on the road since April of 2012.  We’ve put in over 200 shows.  I don’t even know who’s playing.  I just show up – just show up and do our thing.

HHRR:  Are there any new bands that you guys have played with on tour that you’ve been impressed by?

JT:  Yeah, we’re out here with our label mates, Girl on Fire.  They’re a really good rock band and they’re very nice people, so we’ve been really digging those guys.

HHRR:  Anything else that you’d like our readers to know about what’s going on with or coming up from Buckcherry?

JT:  We’re gonna finish out this tour of the States and Canada.  Then, we’re gonna go to South America and Mexico.  And then we’re gonna go over to Europe and Australia to close out the year.  Then, there’s talk of us possibly recording an EP at the beginning of the new year and then keep touring on Confessions and the EP ‘til probably Septemberish of next year and then go make another record. 

HHRR:  What’s the philosophy behind doing an EP between full-length releases?

JT:  I don’t wanna give it away but we got an idea of what we want to do with the EP.  I’m a huge fan of EP’s because, when I was growing up, I bought independent records.  I didn’t even own a major label record until I was like 17. So, I had a huge independent record collection, I had a lot of EP’s.  So, to do an EP would be amazing for this band.  We’ve never done one.  And we’re pretty excited about it.

HHRR:  Our site, Helping Hands Rock Reviews, is all about raising awareness and money for charities.  Does Buckcherry have a favorite charity that you’d like to give a shout out to?

JT:  Yeah, we’ve worked a lot with Childhelp.  I personally give to St. Jude’s and the Tony Hawk Foundation as well.