Buckcherry’s rise and fall has been well documented, as the band heads into Confessions. Sitting down with PureGrainAudio.com’s Mitch Lafon in mid-February, frontman Josh Todd walks us through the band’s painstaking efforts to make the album they wanted to make and stay true to their vision of what it means to be Buckcherry in 2013.
Confessions was completed in April of 2012... Josh: It was actually completed in March (’12).
The obvious question is why did it take so long to come out? Also, have you changed the songs since then? Has it been "re-done"? Josh: Well, there’s a few things. I wrote a short film to go along with the record and we still haven’t gotten the funding for it. We scrambled to get it because we wanted it all to come out together. We’re still working on that (getting the funding) and we’ll try to combine it with a live DVD (that we’ll release after the record is out). We bumped heads with our record label Eleven Seven in the United States. They didn't see our vision and they weren't hearing the songs. So, we went back and wrote more songs, but it wasn't sufficient for them. So, we wanted to move on because we believed in what we were doing.
We found Century Media and that took a few months to get that deal worked out. We didn't want to release the record deep in the fourth quarter because we felt it would get lost in the shuffle. It was actually a blessing in disguise because it’s the perfect time for this record. It’s gotten a lot of love and attention and everything is going really great. We've already been on the radio for three weeks and we’re almost top 5 in Canada. We’re approaching the top 15 in the United States. We’ll be peeking right around the record’s release. Everybody is loving the record and they love Gluttony.
Check out the song "Gluttony"
The first single ("Gluttony") is brilliant. When you write a record that goes in conjunction with a short film - how does the song writing change? Where you more concerned about visual contexts or do you simply connect it thematically? Josh: I’ll tell you how it all rolled out. Keith and I had always thrown around the idea of doing a record around the seven sins. It’s something we've talked about for a couple of years. When we first talked about it, we were like let’s just do an EP - seven songs for seven sins and that’s it, but we had to do an LP. So, I was like, "let’s do seven songs and four elements." That’s where (the songs) "Air" and "Water" came from. At that time, I was writing a script on my own life and I came into the studio one day and Stevie was like, "be cool if you wrote a story around this record." I was like, "ok," so it challenged me. It was a lot of work. I started writing a script, took my life and condensed it down to a thirty minute short film. I loosely based it on a tragic event that happened in my life that kind of shaped me... My father’s suicide.
The story starts there. A teenage boy comes home from school and finds his dad dead. Through the grieving process he acts out the seven sins and, at school, he sees this girl that is the polar opposite of him. He becomes infatuated with her, eventually they find love, he learns how to forgive his father and that’s the end of the movie. It’s a beautiful little film and, basically, the record is just like the soundtrack of the movie. It’s kind of like a theme record. It’s something we've never done and it was lot of fun doing it as a lyric writer (tackling all the subjects). I've struggled with moderation my whole life and I think everybody struggles with, at least, one of the sins in their life. They have to figure out how to manage it.
Since it does deal with something that happened to you in real life - was it cathartic? Did it help you on an emotional level? Perhaps to work through some of the things you've experienced in your life and now can move on from. Josh: I think to some degree, but I had to put myself back there... There’s one song that was really difficult for me. It’s the song, Sloth. Most Sloths will act as suicide. So, I wrote about "that day" and how it made me feel. It was really hard for me to get through and for me to record the vocal.
I can hear that just in your answer. It seems like that was hard for you to answer and there was even a break in your voice. It must have been tough... Josh: Yeah, it was tough, but Keith is sensitive to that. We've known each other for over fifteen years, so he was sensitive to it and he really was great with me. We got through it. We've got a beautiful piece of art that we can look back on and I can be done with "that". I’m glad I got it because it was the perfect way to express how it made me feel even though some of it was really sad and negative. I was angry and a lot of things you know. It was a very personal record for me, but I feel it’s some of my best lyric writing and that’s what makes magic.
You mentioned earlier that you wanted to make an EP, but choose to make a full-length record. In 2013 (with iTunes and others), why did you feel that need? A lot of bands do the one song single. Why did Buckcherry need to make a full-length album? Josh: We've never chased radio. We’re not single driven guys. We want to make records and have a catalogue of music. We want to take our fans on a journey. That’s what we've always been interested in. So, we’re just going to stick to that formula. That’s what makes us happy and, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. People can always buy just one or two songs (if that’s what they want), but we write records for people who like to listen to records.
Has making an album become a lost art? Josh: I think genuine music fans dig deeper than that. If they like a single, they’ll listen to more songs. I do that... I’m guilty of it too. I’ll go on iTunes when somebody’s record comes out... There are certain bands that I’ll just buy the whole record without even... Like Slipknot or Rage Against The Machine... I’ll just buy the whole record because I know they’re going to deliver and even if they don’t I still want the record. But, sometimes if it’s a new artist, I’ll go on and just listen to the verse/chorus of every song and just pick what I want. I know people are going to do that (with Buckcherry), but there are also people that are going to be down for the whole experience and that’s who we cater to.
Will the movie been seen in theaters or... Josh: Like I said, we’re trying to combine it with a live DVD (a live show of us playing). A really great production with a few camera angles put together nice and then you’ll have the movie in there with it.
Let’s go back historically in Buckcherry’s career. The first album came out then Time Bomb and then the wheels fell off. Eventually, you brought in three new guys and started over. How was it doing that? The "real Buckcherry" is that band that recorded 15... Josh: That’s the way we feel. I don’t even think about that first lineup. You have to remember that the first lineup was only four guys and we were pressured by our A&R guy and our record label to add another guitar player. Yogi (Lonich) was a hired gun. During that time, it was never a gang mentality. Once we started having success, aside from Keith and I... We started the band. We were the core. We were the nucleus of Buckcherry and we were always focused on what was best for Buckcherry, but the other three guys were just all out for themselves. It wasn't a good unit and eventually it all just fell apart because those three guys quit after Time Bomb.
When we weren't doing great... We had struggled with our relationship with our A&R guy. He didn't see what we wanted to do, so he stepped down right when we were releasing Time Bomb. So, the whole thing got fuckin' lost in the shuffle and as soon as that happened... We weren't making any money at that point and those three guys just left. So, Keith and I were left there holding the ball. We were having friends come in, so that we could write demo songs. We were writing songs while we were auditioning guys and everybody that came in thought we had a lot of money to pay them... None of them wanted to be in the band for the right reasons. Then along came the GNR thing that lasted a month. Keith and I were involved in that...
The "Project" (which became Velvet Revolver)... Josh: Yeah, The Project and that fell through... I was really over it. Then there was a misunderstanding between Keith and I. So, we decided to part our ways. But there was this "unfinished business"... Even though we were apart, we didn't have any hard feelings towards each other. We didn't want it to go that way, so when we got together we had these three guys in mind (Jimmy, Stevie, and Xavier). Xavier and Jimmy have known Keith for a long time and I had known Stevie for a long time. He was my roommate and was a guy that I had always wanted to be in a band, but it was always bad timing and it just never worked out.
So, we all got in a room and everybody had smiles... We’re all around the same age and we’d all dealt with our hard knocks. It was the perfect setting to make it happen. We started working five days a week and no one cared. We were all working day jobs and no one gave a shit. No one wanted to sign us (even after the 15 demoes were done). Eleven Seven was created for Buckcherry to put out a Buckcherry record (which was 15) and they kind of turned their back on us. We've had to deal with so much adversity... On the professional side of things not even getting to the public. We've had to fight hard for everything we've achieved.
Why continue? And why continue as Buckcherry? Why not create a new band? Josh: Regardless of what anybody thinks, Keith and I knew where all the songs came from. We KNOW where all the songs come from. Regardless of what anybody says about this band, we know who Buckcherry is. When we put this thing together and we knew that it was going to be amazing. We've had more successful records than those first two. We've made more records and the track record speaks for itself. Why? Because we believe in Buckcherry. We believe in what we started and we believe in rock n’ roll. We want to be happy and this makes us happy. If we didn't have success, we didn't really care... We were willing to go down with it and be happy that we fuckin’ went for it. That’s all that matters.
Where do you go in the future? What are the plans for 2013? Josh: Well, you know that we tour our asses off. Since we've finished recording Confessions we've done 119 shows. We've been to the UK, Canada, Japan, the States... We’ll finish up with Kid Rock then do some festival shows then off to Australia and back to Europe... It just goes on and on because, as you know, we have a record that’s very deep with symbols and we’re going to work this record (hopefully) a couple of years. That’s what I’d like and that’s what we do. We tour a lot on our records and we work until you know... That’s why we spend so much time on our records.
Check out the song "Seven Ways To Die"
And of course all these lives shows will eventually lead to the recording of that live DVD... Josh: We’re working on the location where we’re going to shoot it. It’ll be one of these shows because it’s really a cool setting as far as production, lights and all that.
Hoping to have it out in 2013 or is this for 2014? Josh: It’ll be towards the end of this year, but we've got to figure that out.
Will there be another Josh Todd solo album? Josh: No no no... That was a bad situation that happened. I was doing my best to stay busy. I never wanted to put out a solo record. It was a band. It was just something that was umm... A tough thing to go through.
Buckcherry is your future... Josh: Buckcherry has always been my future. It’s pretty obvious. It’s all I do.