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Gnarly Charlie’s Backstage Exclusive With Buckcherry Singer Josh Todd

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Saturday, April 29, 2006 @ 3:30 PM

At The Whisky, Hollywood, CA

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Buckcherry has just released 15, their third album which was released April 12th here in the States. It includes a true-to-form Buckcherry ditty, “Crazy Bitch” –a song that’s heating up satellite radio and is also catching fire on commercial radio. I heard it some time ago on KNAC.COM and was underwhelmed. I recently had an opportunity to listen to the CD in its entirety and was forced to reassess my position, realizing that it was a good ol’, ass-kicking rock and roll record.

Sitting in a noisy dressing room at the Whisky, I had a chance to grill lead singer Josh Todd about the genesis of “Crazy Bitch” and other relevant nuggets.

KNAC.COM: Your band has three new members. Where did you and Keith [Nelson] find these guys?

TODD: They’re actually old friends of ours. The guitar player, Stevie D., I’ve known for about 16 years. I was a roommate of his back in the day when I first moved to LA. He’s a great guitar player, a great friend, and we’ve always stayed in touch. I wanted to be in a band with him in the past –the timing never worked out, and then the timing was perfect. It was the same kind of situation as with Xavier [Muriel], our drummer, and Keith. They were roommates back in the day when they first moved to LA. He was available, Stevie was available and Jimmy [Ashhurst] has been a friend of Keith’s for a while, and Keith told me what a good bass player he was and we just set up a rehearsal. That was really how it happened. It was really effortless and fun and cool, and they all wanted to be in the band for the right reasons. It worked out.

KNAC.COM: Tell me about Keith’s involvement with Velvet Revolver, co-writing “Dirty Little Thing” on the Contraband album. Was that really what made you guys want to reform the band?

TODD: Absolutely not. It wasn’t. The whole GnR [Guns and Roses] thing happened after we did a show together for a Randy Castillo benefit in L.A. Me and Slash and Duff and Matt and Keith—we did a show. And that’s how it spawned this whole “doing a band together” thing. It was way before Velvet Revolver, and it was before the GnR thing. It was before Keith and I had split up, so it definitely wasn’t the reason. We split up after that. We had the experience; we had fun for about a month and wrote a bunch of songs. Keith and I were writing songs for the third Buckcherry record, three of our band members had quit. It was after the time on tour, we did this GnR thing –it felt really cool—it was fun, and we’re like “Hey, maybe we should do a band with these guys.” They were thinking the same thing, and we got in the studio and wrote for about a month and then, all of a sudden, Slash came in and pulled the plug on the whole thing …and that was it. At that point in time I was just kind of sick of the dick dance. As far as not being in a band, it was just becoming a drag and I wasn’t really happy, musically, so I made it a point to step away. I really just wanted to get in a band again and have some fun and continue to be a singer—a songwriter. So that’s when I went off and did my own record, Keith went and did some production work, and then a year and a half later we started talking, and that’s when …it wasn’t like we got together to talk about this, we just were rekindling our friendship and it came up. The timing was right. It was the beginning of last year, so …

KNAC.COM: I understand that as a teenager, after playing in a few small bands in Orange County, you left to pursue your dream of becoming “the biggest piece of shit life had to offer”.

TODD: Yeah (laughs).

KNAC.COM: Describe your thinking back then, Josh.

TODD: You know … (laughs) that’s the way I described it, but I just wanted to be this guy, who I am now, as far as how I want to project myself –as a singer and a songwriter and an entertainer, you know? It really was upsetting to my mother of course, but I had to do what I had to do. It’s the only thing that really excited me –was being a piece of shit … and doing it professionally… a professional piece of shit.

KNAC.COM: A professional piece of shit. That’s respectable. Not an astronaut or the President.

TODD: Right.

KNAC.COM: And so far you allude to coming to some arrival as far as filling the hole, to kind of quote it from your song “So Far”. It seems like your low self opinion has come up a bit, if the piece of shit thing was about that as well.

TODD: I say it tongue-in-cheek. “So Far” really describes my attitude when I was a youth, as far as pursuing my dreams. It wasn’t about chicks and money –it really wasn’t. I really wanted to get out what was going on inside of me. I write all the lyrics for this band, I’ve written all the lyrics for every band I’ve been in, and that was the most attractive part of being a musician to me –was writing words. I really wasn’t a great singer when I started and then eventually I wanted to become a great singer, so I really worked hard at that, too. I didn’t have natural ability, but I had good work ethic.

KNAC.COM: It comes across. Buckcherry songs have some of the nastiest lyrics. You’ve probably pissed off a few women here and there …

TODD: Maybe.

KNAC.COM: Have you ever been confronted by a woman or anyone who has found your lyrics distasteful or offensive?

TODD: Sure.

KNAC.COM: Feminists?

TODD: No, I would really like that more, actually. It would be fun. I actually thought that when we put out Timebomb with the song “Porno Star” that we were going to get Christians picketing and protesting in front of our shows and all that good stuff, but it never happened. The record never got enough recognition to have that mass movement of haters, but whatever, you know? You gotta take a risk. There’s no more risks in rock and roll. The only people who are taking risks in music are rap artists. Nobody’s taking risks in rock and roll. It’s silly. I’m not saying that you have to sing about chicks and bitches and that kind of stuff, but take a fuckin’ risk. Say what’s on your mind, ‘cause we know you’re thinking it. That’s what I do …I just tell it like it is. I don’t really worry about the results, I don’t worry about getting on radio, and everything seems to fall in place.

KNAC.COM: With contrast to “Crazy Bitch”, “Sorry” is a really sweet, emotional love song. What, or who, was the inspiration for that?

TODD: My wife. Just spending a long time away from her and the struggles of maintaining a relationship and being a music man, and all of that is really what “Sorry” is about.

KNAC.COM: Back to “Crazy Bitch” –that song has really blown up. It’s had a lot of airplay on satellite radio.

TODD: It really wasn’t planned. We weren’t thinking about having it to be our first single. We really just thought “Crazy Bitch” was going to be our street track to say “here we are” …we were going to do this big internet campaign and that was about it. It kind of goes back to what I was saying is like we just kind of stayed out of results. And that song just took off on satellite radio on its own. It was number one most requested on Squizz on XM and Octane on Sirius, and we were getting all this response from it and it was blowing up on the Internet –that we were like “Let’s do a clean edit for radio”, free radio, and we’ll see what happens. We entered at 76 and we’re at number 10 …and it’s climbing …and it’s just doing great. I think, maybe there was a big void for this kind of song, I guess.

KNAC.COM: The video is pretty explicit, right?

TODD: Yeah, we got an explicit one; we got a clean version, too. Then we got a “Behind the Bitch” documentary, behind the video. It was a lot of fun. All we did was did an open casting on our My Space page and just said “Hey, if you wanna be in the video, and you’re a crazy bitch –come down. And they came down, we gave them an open bar with free liquor and we just basically had a party. We put the song on, over and over again, and turned the bottom of the Key Club into a strip club, and it was fun.

KNAC.COM: The song “Brooklyn” –is that about one of your personal experiences in debauchery?

TODD: It’s loosely based on one of mine, when I was in a band called Slamhound and I did my first tour on the East Coast and I just got fuckin’ loaded and wound up in Brooklyn –hanging with some chick. It’s loosely based on that, but it’s kind of a road song, about the road. Everybody loves it, though.

KNAC.COM: It has a bluesy feel with the slide guitar.

TODD: We actually did it electric and faster, and one of the people in our management suggested that we take one of our songs, slow it down and do it acoustic. So we did “Brooklyn” that way and everybody loved it. I wanted Keith to play slide. He’s great slide player – he played a lot of slide on the first record. It adds good flavor to the record …has a nice little flavor.

KNAC.COM: It’s a great record.

TODD: Thank you.

KNAC.COM: I hear a lot of AC/DC in your music.

TODD: Yeah, we’re huge AC/DC fans –that’s one band that we all collectively can agree on—that we love. I’m into timeless rock and roll, and with AC/DC you can put on Highway to Hell right now and it’s fuckin’ amazing.

KNAC.COM: In parting, do you have any thing you want to say to the general audience?

TODD: I just want to encourage everybody to get involved and check out our new record 15, go to our website and sign up for our street team if you want to help out. It’s always great for us to have help and get people involved if they want to be. If you haven’t had a Buckcherry experience and “Crazy Bitch” is the first song that got you into Buckcherry—check out our other records. We got two other ones.

Click on the thumbnail shots for large pictures.

Photos by Charlie Steffens, aka Gnarly Charlie

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