“Go get our new record, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll,’ dropping Aug. 21,” demanded Buckcherry vocalist Josh Todd when HNGN got a hold of him.
Known for both risqué tunes (“Lit Up,” “Crazy Bitch” and a whole EP, “F--k,” of songs featuring the F-word in each title) and tender ballads (“For the Movies,” “Sorry” and “Dreamin’ Of You”), the hard rockers' new batch of tracks fit both categories — and everything in between. With songs that easily could have been on Buckcherry’s self-titled debut — which came out 16 years ago! — the band’s seventh studio effort is just as raw and rocking as one would expect.
For both this record and last year’s “Singles Club” EP, Buckcherry used PledgeMusic, a music platform in which fans who pledge money get to follow the group from the beginning stages of making a new album to the finished product through special content direct from the musicians. “Pledge is cool,” explained Todd. “Fans can follow along in the recording process, and get exclusive packages and experiences to purchase. For instance, I write a lot of handwritten lyrics to specific Buckcherry songs that people want and that’s pretty cool.”
The Los Angeles-based group — singer Todd, guitarist Keith Nelson, guitarist Stevie D., drummer Xavier Muriel and bassist Kelly LeMieux — will be on tour throughout the remainder of the year to promote “Rock ‘N’ Roll.” In between gigs, Todd answered our questions about the new album and so much more.
Why did you decide to name your new album after your genre of music?
We were kind of tired of the “rock ‘n’ roll is dead” talk. People have been saying that since our first record in ’99. “Rock ‘N’ Roll” was a title we talked about for a few years — it was just time. We’ve been playing rock ‘n’ roll for two decades.
Was the writing and recording process easier for this album since it’s your seventh record?
Nothing is easy when you’re creating a record from the ground up, but we love what we do and are very passionate about making it the best we can. This record was fun. [Our 2013 album] “Confessions” was very emotional and, on this one, we got a chance to get back to our bag of tricks.
Overall, this album is funkier than your previous ones — was that a conscious decision?
Maybe. I’ve been listening to a lot of old-school funk recently. I went through another major James Brown phase, and I just think rock music in general is lacking soul and sex. Without funk there would be no rock.
Tell us about first single “Bring It on Back.”
It’s a song about [NASCAR’s] Busch brothers [Kurt and Kyle] and how they race. We shot the video where they filmed the last scene in the movie “Seven,” which we’re all huge fans of.
Buckcherry is known for sexually charged anthems and you’ve got two on this record, “Tight Pants” and “Wood.”
I love women! I love how they make me feel! You could make a whole career of songs about women — that’s how rad they are. The second single will be “Tight Pants,” and the video is great — it’s a day in the life of a girl’s ass.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, “The Feeling Never Dies” is a great, heartfelt ballad.
The chorus I came up with on guitar, and I would just sing it to my 9-year-old daughter — so we could have a song to sing together. She really liked it. One day, I thought I should probably play it for Keith. He dug it, and we put a great verse and bridge to it. It came out great!
Another great song on the album is “Rain’s Falling.”
Probably my all-time favorite Buckcherry song! I wrote the verse and chorus melody and the words, and went in and sang it a cappella to Keith, and he put some great music behind it. We wanted it to have a lot of space and groove.
The album is being released on your own F-Bomb Records. Do you like being in control verses having a label directing you?
Yes, labels suck. They spend all your money and try and mold you into a radio format instead of encouraging you to be who you are. Then, when you do make money, they only pay you a portion of it. It’s bulls--t.
Would you ever put out an album from another band on F-Bomb?
Yes, would love to, but they have to have something special and they have to be open to being the best they can be.
Besides the obvious (like digital music), how has the music biz changed since you released your debut disc in 1999?
Dramatically! It’s a lot to go into but, basically, there’s no controlled market anymore, no mystery, very few gold and platinum records, rock bands playing to tracks and are sometimes lip-synching live.... It’s lame. The good news is people still like to see a live performance.
Buckcherry is always on tour. Does playing live ever get boring for you?
No. It’s our passion and livelihood. We are committed.
One of the most random things fans love about your concerts is that you bring out a tambourine. No one does that anymore — especially in rock! Why do you like to play it?
It’s something to do when I take a break from singing. I love the rhythm — it’s sexy.
The band has its own line of sex toys, Crazy Bitch Toys. Are the products hot sellers?
Yes! We have a dildo, condoms and are working on adding a vibrator and butt-plug. People like us to sign them, usually. I hope they use them. We have some things in the works though it’s too soon to talk about them.
You filmed a very funny sketch for “Tosh.0” earlier this year. How did that come about and how much fun was it to make?
Tosh’s people reached out to us about doing a sketch based on the YouTube clip of that couple that got married and the bride was singing “Crazy Bitch” when she walked down the aisle. It was fun! Tosh is cool and talented.
You’ve done some acting in the past, anything new coming up?
Nothing yet. I went out on some general castings, and did one audition and didn’t get it. I hate auditioning. I just want to work, but it’s a necessary evil.