Buckcherry still giving fans their brand of rock n’ roll

Published on March 22nd, 2021

By Jim Dail

When Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson and vocalist Josh Todd first met, they discovered they were both huge AC/DC fans. Of course, that Australian band was about good rock and roll, strong rhythms, catchy lyrics and the live show.

And that’s precisely what has kept Buckcherry, who will perform Friday, October 10 at The Fox Theater in Riverside, going for nearly two decades.

“We’ve seen bands come and go after an album and a couple years of performing, but we’ve never worried about that because we were always so busy,” said Nelson during a recent telephone interview. “We are very fortunate and grateful that we always have something on the horizon, so we just put one foot in front of the other.”

The band found its first major commercial success with the self-titled album “Buckcherry,” featuring the hits “Lit Up” and “For the Movies.” The former was in heavy rotation on MTV.

“Back when MTV and VH1Classic played videos, they really had a good run with it,” he said. “We didn’t have control over it but we were thankful.”

When listening to the band’s albums, it is clear that there is a range of influences.

“We formed the band and already had influences like AC/DC,” he said. “We always look to our heroes and we appreciate what they do. But it’s a range of influences, such as Rage against the Machine, Prince, Robert Johnson, Parliament. We are all over the map in terms of music we like. On the bus you might hear Metallica or Terence Trend D’Arby.”

But their music is definitely rock and roll with an edge, and that’s where the title of their latest album, “Rock ‘N’ Roll” comes from: It’s straight rock and roll.

 “Making the last record, ‘Confessions,’ was going with something predetermined,” he said. “The ‘Fuck EP’ was the same thing, and we didn’t want to repeat the seriousness of the ‘Confessions’ record.  We started to get ideas together, and we just wanted to write the best record we could and not worry about it. We didn’t even have a name for the record until it was being mixed so that was refreshing.”

And it was and always has been a team process between Nelson and Todd.

“Josh will have a melody or I’ll have a guitar riff or something I come up with,” he said. “And we just start to take that idea and make a quick demo of it, or I’ll give him an idea and see what inspires him. I try to capture the mood for what he is thinking and make an idea and start putting it together. Once we have the skeleton then we go in as a band and start playing it.”

From there it is a live demo, putting it in the right key and crafting the right arrangements.

“Once we got that, we move on and collect them and build the album from there,” Nelson said.

One thing is certain and that is the songs feature steady and serious rhythm guitar.

“IF you can get excited about the melody, the rhythm and vocal, then you have something,” he said. “It’s about songwriting first. After that there is plenty of time to do the lead. I mean, the lead solo is a few seconds long, but the rhythm is the entire song.”

Nelson points out that the great bands – and once again all influences of his – had strong rhythm.

“You look at the Stones, AC/DC, ZZ Top, Aerosmith and KISS,” he said. “Those are among my favorite bands and they all have great rhythms. That’s my goal as well.”

He will also stress the importance of good production, and he has produced the last records.

“I produced the last five and there are times I listen to songs later and think maybe we shouldn’t have done it like that, but I am proud of it all because a record is capturing the band at that exact moment in time,” he said. “Certainly some things are better than others but I am proud of what we have done and we have been successful at it.”

But there’s also the live gigs.

“We are so excited to be back in Southern California,” he said. “We’ve been able to just keep it all going, and we really are thankful for it all.”

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