Buckcherry’s Josh Todd Talks ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ Album, Go-Kart Racing + More
Buckcherry are keeping the momentum going this summer, as they start promoting their upcoming album Rock 'n' Roll. As the title suggests, it's rooted in straightforward, bluesy, swagger-filled rock 'n' roll. Loudwire had a chance to talk to frontman Josh Todd about the disc and he spoked about the single "Bring It on Back" as well as some of the album's key tracks. Plus he shared his passion for go-kart racing. Check out the interview below.
Hey Josh, good to talk to you again. I'm loving this record -- Rock 'n' Roll. It just seems like the band is in a really good place right now with cranking out record after record. Can you talk a little bit about what it's like to just keep this momentum going for you guys?
Yeah, it's a lot of hard work, and basically just staying in the game. We get along really well, and I think that's key. We communicate well, and we work year round. We like to work, and we like what we do and I think that's definitely a huge part of it. When we come home, we know it's like, downtime, but it's time to create. We can't just sit around and do fun things, we have to actually get to work. So we're used to coming home and setting up a schedule after two or three days of settling in, and writing songs. So we have stuff going on all the time, I think that when you're really practicing your craft all the time that you just get better and better at it.
How great is it now to have your own label, too? I know a lot of bands are frustrated by the fact that you go on these cycles of two or three years for a record. You guys are now able to turn it around a lot quicker and do it at the pace you want to do it.
That's the joy of having your own label and the creative side. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves so we're always going to go that extra mile to make sure we got the goods when we put out a record. We want to put out consistently good products. That's part of it, and like what you were saying, the music industry has kind of digressed back to like more of like the '70s, where like, a gold record is a huge deal now. There's like barely gold records now. They really need to change that whole, the whole status of gold and platinum records, because it's ridiculous. It's so hard just to sell 100,000 units, like, to be at 500,000 units for gold is like, it should be platinum, that should be platinum now. It should be like Canada as far as the status goes.
What we wanted to do when we started a label was put out 10-song records. I mean those are the records we grew up on and we loved, it was just 10 songs. You don't need more than that on a record. We made records with more songs in the past, and it was always for the record label. And it's like, after 8 or 9 songs you stop listening because it gets tiring. I think just the average listener has about 40 minutes in them, maybe, listening to one artist. We wanted to make just really good 10 song records.
This is a great 10-song record. Listening to this, it's just good times. You've got the guitar, you've got the swagger, you've got the beats. I know this is kind of a salute to rock 'n' roll, but did you have a loose idea of what you wanted to do going into this album?
Well, that's what we do, we make rock 'n' roll records. Our last record was Confessions. That was like kind of a concept record. It was very emotional, we spent a lot of time doing it, it took a lot out of us. And it was off the beaten path for Buckcherry, and I'm so glad that we have it, because I'm very fond of that record. But it was time to just get back to our roots, and ... when we started in 1999 with our first rock record, people were telling us, rock 'n' roll is dead, you can't sell rock records. And then we put out another record, and they said the same thing. And it was like, every record cycle they're telling us the same thing, you know?
So we had it in our heads that we wanted to title a record Rock 'n' Roll a long time ago. It was just the right timing, with the climate of what's going on. Everybody's so terrified of rock 'n' roll, and, so we decided it was the perfect time to put out a record that says rock 'n' roll.
Getting into the music, I love “Tight Pants” on this record. One thing I noticed when listening was thinking how long has it been since I've heard horns on a rock record?
Probably like Aerosmith Pump, I don't know. We're big fans of that record. That was actually Keith's idea. He's like, "Hey man I got this idea for this horn section on 'Tight Pants.'" And I'm like, "Okay, let's hear it, and if we don't like it we can always take it out." He put it in, and we would sit around and listen to the rough mixes of that for so long before he actually mixed the record, and we're just like we can't hear the song without it now.
Sounds great and obviously a fun song to sing ...
Yeah, I went through a huge James Brown phase again before this record, and “Tight Pants” is a direct reflection of that.
And the current single is “Bring It on Back.” They say write what you know, but I'm not sure that everybody knew about your passion for go-kart racing.
Well, it started a while back. We played the Daytona 400 in the infield. And I've never been to a live racing event. And I was like, "Wow, this is incredible." And then I started to get into NASCAR after that. I started really getting into the strategy and everything that goes into getting to the front, and it's very involved, and it's very hard to do. And I was like, "This is awesome."
So then I started doing indoor go-kart racing, which is the slower go-kart racing, and I had a lot of fun doing that. And I'm very competitive, and some guy came up to me at the go-kart track and he said, "Hey, you know you can go faster than these." And I go "What?" And he's like, "Yeah, it's outdoor go-karting, it's worldwide and it's where everybody starts who wants to be a race car driver." And I was like "Wow." So I started doing the research, and I started outdoor go-kart racing. And it's like it's amazing, it's my passion outside of music, and it's so hard. It's so hard to get to the front, and you know, Ayrton Senna said it best. They asked him what the purest form of racing was and he said go-karting, he didn't say Formula 1. He said, because, in go-karting you can have a lot of money, and it can buy you a little bit of speed, but it's all about the driver in go-karting. If you go to any go-kart event, like real racing go-kart event, it's like the best racing you can see.
You mentioned you were inspired by race-car driver Kurt Busch when you penned this track. Does he know he's an inspiration for the song, have you heard from him about it?
We got word to his people, and the crew guys say that when they're in the garage they blast the song, when they're working on their cars. Not at the track. And then Kurt comes in and he digs the song. It's actually about the Busch brothers, Kyle and Kurt. I just love those guys, I love the way they drive, I love what they bring to the sport. I think they're the last outlaws, because you know, these new school racers, they're so clean cut. They all say the right things, they're very politically correct because all the sponsors want them to be that way because they're selling products and these guys just want to race, so they'll do whatever they have to do to have a ride. So Kurt and Kyle, they're a little rough around the edges, they're very aggressive, they're not afraid to speak their minds, and that's why I love them.
I know we're both familiar with the bumper-to-bumper LA traffic. So how much fun was it to basically get out to Lancaster, and shoot the video and just have some wide open space to go drive.
It was amazing. There's actually a go-kart track out there, Willow Springs is out there, and they have a go-kart track and I've raced there. So it was great to be out there, and I'm a huge fan of the movie Seven, and the performance scene in that video is the exact location where they shot the last scene of Seven.
Now I've got to go back and look. Another great song on this record, a little more ballad-y, bluesy, “The Feeling Never Dies.” If you can tell me a little bit about that track.
Yea, “The Feeling Never Dies.” I just wanted a chorus I could harmonize with my 9-year-old daughter with at home. So I wrote this chorus on the guitar, and she kept coming downstairs and I'm like, sing this melody with me. So I would sing the melody, and then she would take high, and I'd take low. And it was just a fun thing for us, and then after we started it a lot she was like really excited about the chorus, she kept singing it around the house, and I was like, I think I better play this for Keith because it's pretty good. So I played the chorus for Keith, and he came up with some great verse music, and then I finished the song lyrically. It came together very quickly, and the bridge in that song is like one of the best bridges I think we've ever written in a song. It just flows very nicely.
Listening to “Sex Appeal,” I just envision like this sweaty club jam. I think that's just going to be a great live song. I know there's dates coming up, have you thought about some of the songs that are going to start making their way into the set at this point?
Yeah, I mean, my favorite songs on the record are “Tight Pants” and “Rain Is Falling.” I can't wait to sing “Rain is Falling” live, that song is very cool for me. I just think it's such a cool sounding Buckcherry song. And yeah, “Sex Appeal” is going to be so fun live, we've already done “Bring It on Back” live, but I think “The Madness,” “Tight Pants” for sure. I mean, the whole record's going to be fun live, but you know you have to be selective because we have six other records, so, I think we'll try all those.
Yep, pick and choose. “Rain Is Falling” is also very kind of cool and bluesy, but more swing to that song. It just feels a little different for a Buckcherry song.
Yeah, and it's very naked. It's got a lot of space, and a lot of soul. That's what's missing in rock music. There's not a lot of soul and space in music, and alls it does is enhance everything else, because you can have really great dynamics when you do that. When it's just all, chopped up to a grid, and 50 guitars, and tons of vocals, it just starts becoming muddy, you know? That's why I like that song so much.
There are certain parts on this record that feel very blues-rock influenced. I'm picking up maybe a little Stevie Ray Vaughan stuff in there in some of the guitar licks. I'm just kind of curious, did you have any touchstones, or thoughts of influences that you kind of wanted to go for on this album?
Well, Stevie D is very influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughan, so that's probably what you're hearing there. Just both those guys, Keith and Stevie working together, they have two different schools, and when you put them together it's just really cool. I love what they're doing, and I love that, you know, they're guitars, you know what I mean? It's like, you don't hear guitars anymore. You don't hear guitar solos, and you don't hear a lot of guitars anymore, so it's cool to hear it, and there need to be more guitar heroes.
Thoughts on what's coming up for the band?
We're just gearing up to tour for awhile on this new record. We got a lot invested, and it's a great record, we have a worldwide tour out there, so we're just taking a good rest here, before we get going, because we've been touring nonstop. We put out the F--k EP last August, and we toured on that, so we just need a little rest, and we're going to get back to it.
Many thanks to Buckcherry's Josh Todd for the interview. The band's 'Rock 'n' Roll' album drops Aug. 21. You can currently pre-order the disc via Amazon and iTunes. Look for the band on tour at these locations.
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