“I mean we’ve been around 22 years now, so there are people who’ll bring their kids now,” says Buckcherry frontman Josh Todd. Buckcherry are currently on the road, supporting their forthcoming ninth studio album, Hellbound, which hits shelves June 25th.
When their self-titled debut LP and hit single “Lit Up” (the most popular ode to cocaine since Brian De Palma’s remake of Scarface) dropped in 1999, Buckcherry appeared to be saviors of sorts. During the heyday of nu-metal, Buckcherry resembled the halfway mark between Guns N’ Roses and The Black Crowes and easily the best Rock N’ Roll band since the latter. And while the sleaze rockers were crass enough to pull in the Ozzfest crowd, they primarily spoke to teens who preferred their parents’ Aerosmith and AC/DC records to KoRn and Deftones.
After two ridiculously Rock N’ Roll albums, Buckcherry went through a brief, but traumatic, breakup before returning with their biggest album, 2005’s 15, which included smash hits “Crazy Bitch” and “Sorry.” Ever since then the band, throughout various lineups, has been putting out new music and touring nearly non-stop as arguably the last great hard rock band.
Buckcherry have already released two videos from their forthcoming album, “So Hott” and “Hellbound,” which each see the band in classic form, kicking out jams in skintight denim and leather as if they’re playing to a packed arena. And the music is more or less the same bluesy/boozy brand of hard rock we’ve come to expect of the tattooed rockers. The album was even produced and co-written by Marti Frederiksen, who co-wrote “Sorry” and produced their 2008 effort, Black Butterfly. During our recent phoner, Josh tells me that, although the process for writing and recording Hellbound was familiar, it was very important to keep the album concise.
“It was the same approach for us. We write a lot of songs to get down to a 10-song record. We wrote about 28 songs. I mean, I’m not really interested in making an album more than 10 songs. No one really listens to more than 10 songs these days. 12 or 15 songs, that’s crazy. It becomes filler at that point.”
Although Buckcherry fandom tends to be firmly of the hard rock persuasion, Josh tells me that it’s been a lot of years since he’s been a fan of recent entries from the genre and that, when it comes to musical influences, he almost always looks elsewhere.
“It’s always the same. I listen to a lot of hip-hop and pop, because rock hasn’t been dangerous for a long time now, and hip-hop is still dangerous. Listening to hip-hop, the way they craft the lyrics really impacts my vocals, and listening to pop music I think really enhances my melody. I mean, those are the best song writers in the world, so if you wanna be the best, that’s what you listen to. My whole career, that’s always what I’ve done.”
June 1st was opening night of Buckcherry’s current tour, which runs through the end of the year and serves as sort of make up dates for around 100 shows that the band had to cancel last year. As one of the first big bands to embark on a full-scale tour, I’m anxious to hear how the first dates went, but Josh tells me that the shows have more or less already gone back to normal: “It’s been kinda like regular touring. We’ve done a bunch of shows in quarantine and it was a really different, but this feels just like it used to.” Those who made it out to some of the first shows even got a preview of a few tracks from Hellbound not yet available online, including ballad “The Way,” which the band has already said will go over big with fans of “Sorry.”
Aside from an exceptionally extensive tour and a new album, Buckcherry was recently honored when 15 was certified double platinum, in addition to “Crazy Bitch” being certified quadruple platinum and “Sorry” being certified double platinum. What was originally a comeback album very quickly became the fan favorite and commercial highlight of the band’s career, something that Josh tells me he is incredibly thankful for.
“I’m like super grateful. If you knew the story trying to get that record out… That time between Time Bomb and 15 was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. Literally no one would give us a record deal in America. So, we signed a deal with this little label in Japan. That’s why it’s called 15, because we recorded it in just 15 days… Every band has that peak in their career that just marks them as who they are. 15 just seemed to resonate with people and I’m just grateful for that. You work your whole career to make a hit record.”