Interview: Buckcherry’s Josh Todd Talks Rock ‘n’ Roll

Fresh from releasing their latest album Rock ‘n’ Roll, US rockers Buckcherry are ready to take over the world once again.

Thanks to our good friend John Howarth from Bullet Proof, we had a great chat with the band’s gorgeous and witty frontman Josh Todd about the album, which is being released on their very own record label, F-Bomb. This will definitely be the next go-to album this summer, with its great guitar solos and harmonic lyrics. You will just want to grab a beer, watch the sun go down, and kick back to the sounds of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

This is a band that knows how to have fun with music and life, in general, after 20 years of playing together. Josh talks about their wild fans who inspired Crazy Bitch, the band’s own range of adult toys, and much more. As Josh says, ‘Buckcherry does crazy things to people.’

SR: Hi Josh, thank you for talking with us today. Congratulations on 20 years of Buckcherry and your 7th studio album, Rock ‘n’ Roll, being released today by F-Bomb.

JT: Yeah, thank you. Feels good, man, I’m so excited to finally get it out to the public, you know? It’s really exciting for us.

SR: I’ve been listening to the album on repeat. It’s fantastic. Can you tell us what inspired Rock ‘n’ Roll and what was your part in developing this album?

Buckcherry_Rock_'n'_RollJT: Well, I write all the lyrics and all the melodies and some of the music. And I feel like it’s one of our best records. We have our own label now. It’s called F-Bomb Records. And everything I’ve done is in-house with Buckcherry. We don’t have any outside forces trying to mess with us and it’s like the best time and the funnest time to be in Buckcherry and you know, it’s exciting and I feel like we’ve really matured over the years and we’re really just coming into our own right now.

SR: Oh, definitely. I suppose it makes it a lot easier for you guys ‘cause your lyrics can sometimes be a little bit naughty and sexy, so being able to have that freedom without someone saying, ‘Oh, no.’

(Both laugh)

SR: You’ve got that freedom now. You don’t have anyone telling you what to do.

JT: Yeah, I mean you know I grew up in Orange County, California and all the records I listened to as a kid were independent records.

I listened to a lot of old punk rock bands and stuff – and it was all these bands that were putting out records on their own. And they had no rules. They didn’t have anyone telling them what they could say or do, and that was a good career. I wanted honesty out of my artists, I wanted something that I felt was real, you know affecting me as far as all the stuff that was going on inside of me as a kid. So, I think Buckcherry’s a reflection of that and we’ve always had that mentality and it’s been tough. It hasn’t been easy to stick to our guns and be who we are. We’ve had a lot of outside forces trying to stop us from doing that and sometimes it’s worked for us and sometimes it’s worked against us. But as we look back over the years, you know, it’s kind of the charm of what we do and what we’re all about.

“…before I got into music I wanted to be a professional surfer…”

SR: Oh, that’s great. I understand that. When I was a teenager, I worked in an independent music store called Chaos Records in Victoria, and I think the freedom of that time of your life is really important to develop who you are as an open-minded person. And I totally agree with that sort of upbringing.

JT: Yes.

SR: Well, I just love the Bring it On Back film clip. It’s sexy (laughs) with the hot cars and bikes and it was directed by Billy Jayne. Did you let Billy take the artistic reins or was that purely Buckcherry?

JT: No, you know I have a good relationship with Billy. We all do. He’s done a few videos now and he just really gets it. He’s a fun guy. He’s very smart. He’s been on each side of the camera. I called him up and told him what the song was about. You know, I’m a big motorsports fan. I also race go-karts as a hobby at home. And so the song is about racing, it’s about these two particular drivers from the United States who I really like who’s pretty aggressive and they’re called the Busch brothers – Kyle and Kurt Busch. And so that’s who I had in mind in my head when I was writing it and so I told Billy all this and he had this location down in Lancaster, California. It was the same place where the performance scene in Bring it On Back, the video – the same place they shot the last scene in the movie Seven. And we were big fans of that movie, so that was a lot of fun for us.

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SR: Yeah it was a great movie. Well, musically and lyrically you guys all like to have fun, but is there someone in the band that’s a little bit more serious?

JT: (Laughs) Is there someone more serious? I mean, we can all get serious of course. There are songs like The Madness and Wish to Carry On and all the ballads of course. But we like to have a good time. We like to party. We like to bring the house down and get everybody rowdy and having a good time. And you know, crazy stuff happens at Buckcherry shows, but I don’t know that anybody’s more serious. We’re always sort of the same mentality.

SR: Oh that’s great, yeah. The Madness is a great song. Some of your merchandise is not the typical norm. Buckcherry has a range of adult toys under the label Crazy Bitch, named after, of course, one of your songs. Whose idea was this and how involved were you with the designs and types of toys? (Laughs).

JT: Oh, the Crazy Bitch toys? The sex toys?

SR: Yes.

crazybitch-toysJT: Oh, it was stuff that Keith and I had talked about, you know? We just thought naturally we should do it because our fans are really the ones that inspired that, because we have crazy fans. We’ve got fans that like to party that like to do crazy shit at our shows, you know. And we were like, ‘We’ve got to get sex products for these people.’ So we started out with like a dildo and we got an organic tattoo care kit to help heal your tattoo faster. And then we’re working on a butt plug and a vibrator, so that’s going to be fun.

SR: Yeah (laughs). I had a look at the range online. I think I’ll order first, though, the tattoo kit when I go for my next tattoo. (Laughs)

JT: That’s classic, yeah.

SR: Well when you were younger, did you ever imagine you’d be where you are today? And what else did you want to do besides be an awesome singer in a rock ‘n’ roll band? I know you’ve done some movies as well.

JT: Yeah, well before I got into music I wanted to be a professional surfer, you know? I surfed a lot, as a kid. Then I always had a good music collection and everything but I wasn’t actually in a band. And then somebody came up to me at school – a kid that I surfed with who was a drummer and he was like, ‘Hey, we need a singer. Do you want to come down to rehearsal?’ So I said, ‘Okay.’ And I wasn’t really a singer. I didn’t know what to do, you know. So I just plugged a microphone into a guitar amp and I just kind of started screaming. And we had a little punk rock band going. And then something happened to me that day. I don’t even know why I said it. I just said, ‘Let’s write an original song right now.’ And the guitar player kind of just started playing some riffs and I got down on the ground and just started writing words and melodies. And we wrote a song that day. And I don’t even remember what the song was. It was probably a really shitty song, but the bottom line is I was really inspired that there was this outlet that I could talk about what was going on inside of me through song, and that was, like, it. I had found my calling that day. It was like it changed my whole direction in life. And then surfing eventually just went out the window. I kept surfing, but not like as crazy as I once was about it. I started developing my skills as a musician, you know, and then that was it. I was never not in a band from that moment on.

SR: Well, that’s fantastic. Of all the greats that you’ve played with, like ACDC, Mötley Crüe, and Rob Zombie, who were you most excited to play with?

JT: Well I mean we’ve played with a lot of our heroes. We’ve been very fortunate. We did the Millennium New Year’s show in Osaka, Japan with Aerosmith, and that was amazing. We did five shows with ACDC in the States on our second record. And that was like a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy come true. You know, we played the State Theatre with Iggy Pop in Detroit which was unreal.

SR: Oh, it would’ve been.

buckcherry 1JT: The list goes on. One of the highlights of our career was that we played Woodstock ’99 in the States and got to meet James Brown – me and Keith. And we got a picture with him, and now I have the picture; and, you know, he died not too long after that. I’m such a huge James Brown fan. I don’t think there’s one artist out there who has influenced more people than James Brown. And that’s kind of what inspired the song Tight Pants. And so those are the highlights. And as far as people I’d love to play with… You know, my dream list is to be on the same stage the same night with Prince or Bruno Mars, you know. I really think they’re amazingly talented. And I know it’s not, like rock, but I like mixing genres of music into one thing. I think it’d be really cool. That would be my dream next.

SR: Well, that kind of leads me into my next question. What was your first record purchase?

JT: Wow, I don’t remember what the first record I ever bought was, but I remember the first record that was given to me and it was given to me by my father. It was The Eagles’ The Long Run. He gave me that record, and I remember that and I really enjoyed that. And then I would go to elementary school and there was this one kid who played guitar. He was the only kid who played guitar and he would bring a tape recorder to school and he was really into KISS. So we would listen to KISS and play like handball. And then I started buying KISS records, so that was probably the first record I bought.

“… Buckcherry does crazy things to people…”

SR: Oh, okay. Cool. Well, you’re pretty heavily tattooed. What was your last one and why did you choose it?

JT: I just got my thigh tattooed. I haven’t been tattooed in a couple of years, and I got a big panther head with a Chinese star like stuck on the on its hand and I also got the F-Bomb Records logo on the Chinese star. And I got that mainly because I’ve got this friend of mine who started tattooing not too long ago and he’s really talented and I wanted to get tattooed by him because he means a lot to me. And that’s why I got tattooed. So yeah, that was my last tattoo.

SR: Great. Well, do you have any funny fan stories that you could share with us?

JT: Tons of funny fan stories. Mostly like sexual acts during the show, you know? That’s happened a lot. Probably the last time was a couple was up against the front rail of our show. We went into Crazy Bitch and he lifted up her skirt and they started fucking during Crazy Bitch and I was like, ‘This is crazy’. Not that that hasn’t happened before but that was pretty much the way it happened. They were putting on a show, you know?

SR: Yeah (laughs). It would be very hard to continue playing, seriously. (Laughs).

JT: Yeah, I mean one time this guy got blown onstage right behind the PA speaker while we were performing Lit Up and I remember that one. That was pretty interesting.

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SR: (Laughs) Bit explicit. Sounds like you guys have had a wild time on your tours.

JT: Yeah, yeah. I mean, Buckcherry does crazy things to people.

SR: Ohh, definitely. I love your albums. Oh, they just pull you in. You guys have just written everything so perfectly. Just every album that I listen to…It pulls me into a place where I imagine that you’re trying to do to your fans, you know? Like, with Rain’s Falling, I just feel like I’m there. That is an amazing song. It’s probably my favourite song on the album as well as Cradle. But, we’ve got to wrap up. Do you have any message for your Australian fans? A hint of a tour, mainly?

JT: Well, yeah. You’re going to have to ask our management 5B when we’re going to be there, because I think they’re in the process of working it all out right now. You can ask Corey or Brad. I don’t know if you’re in contact with them, but right now we’re going to start back touring a week from today in the States and Canada. And then, hopefully, we’ll start coming your way. It’s interesting that you picked Cradle. That’s one of my favourite songs on the record, along with Rain’s Falling.

SR: Yep, those two are my favourite songs on the album as well. They’re just amazing. They really pull you in. I’ve put it on repeat a few times already today and I just keep playing it. I think it’s going to be my summer’s go-to song. We get a lot of rain here in summer as well. (Laughs). But I know the song’s not just about that. It’s a fantastic song. Again, congratulations on your awesome album, Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s been great talking with you, and good luck. I know you’ve already had a fantastic career, but I hope you guys come out to Australia soon and pick all the major states because Brisbane missed you last time. So, we’d love to see you here.

JT: Yeah, we look forward to it. Make sure you come up and say hello when you get there.

SR: Oh yeah, we will for sure. Thank you, Josh.

JT: Alright, be good.