Buckcherry Discuss Their New Album & UK Tour, Winter 2024
High energy, party rock
2023 was an incredible year for California rockers Buckcherry. It was the year that saw the band release Vol 10, their 10th and arguably best album to date, and also play over 150 shows. With Buckcherry celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2024 and with extensive touring across the UK, Canada and Australia already booked, this year promises to be even bigger. We catch up with lead singer Josh Todd at his home in California where he’s brimming with excitement for the forthcoming UK shows. With the early promise that fans will have a Good Time, our conversation begins…
Before we start talking about some of the exciting things that are happening in 2024, let’s take a look back at what an incredible year 2023 was for Buckcherry. It was the year that saw the band again tour extensively – something like 150 shows - including 2 tours with Skid Row, shows with Kid Rock, a tour with LA Guns, and shows with Puddle Of Mudd. And it was also the year that marked 24 years as a band and Buckcherry releasing your 10th album Vol 10, which is absolutely staggering! You also releases the very festive Tell ‘Em It’s Christmas track. That’s a big year! What were the highlights of 2023 for you?
First and foremost to release our 10th record and to be at that place in our career was like a huge milestone for me personally. I just think that it’s rare for a band to put out that many records so to hit that milestone was like really incredible. So I was soaking that up! And there were a lot of great shows, like you said, like the Kid Rock shows and the Skid Row dates were a lot of fun. I still after all these years really love to perform and that’s really good news you, you know. If I didn’t it would make all this very challenging. It’s a lot of sacrifice and a lot of time away from home, but that being said we’re getting along really well as a band and we’re just a fine oiled machine right now. I’m just comfortable in my place in this game, you know? I’ve had a lot of transitions throughout the years and at this point in time I’m feeling really good.
Well let’s talk a little bit more about the Skid Row shows because surely you must agree that this was an ingenious pairing, bringing Buckcherry and Skid Row together? How did this come about?
Our manager kind of put that together with their management and we just thought it would be a good fit. Then we put it on sale and it was really selling well. It was a great package tour so we were like “Okay, this is working so let’s do more”. That’s what you do. They were feeling the same way so that’s what we did and it worked out. They’ve had some hiccups along the way where they had to cancel some shows but other than that it’s been smooth sailing and just a good package.
It’s interesting that you said earlier that they were fun shows. They must’ve been incredibly fun, because you undertook 2 full tours with the band, and not only that but you will also be touring with the band Skid Row again in 2024 on the fourth leg of The Gang’s All Here tour. How much are you looking forward to trekking across Canada with Skid Row?
Those were actually supposed to happen in 2023 but we had to move the whole month to 2024, and yeah, we’re going to be going across Canada. It will probably still be pretty cold up there! We do really well up there. I love Canadian fans – they really love rock music. It’s kind of like UK fans, in that they really appreciate rock ‘n’ roll still to this day, and that’s the way I feel when we come to the UK. You just don’t feel that way too much in the States anymore, but in those areas it’s a lot of fun!
As I mentioned, you released the album Vol 10 in June, an absolutely stunning record! It’s interesting that you called it album Vol 10, simply because it’s Buckcherry proudly recognising the milestone that it is – 10 albums! To what extent is that a fair thing to say and also taking yourself back to 1999 when Buckcherry released your self-tilted debut album, did you ever imagine that you would be releasing your 10th album nearly a quarter of a century later?
I had definitely dreamed about being in one band and making a catalogue of music. That was something I always wanted to achieve, but did I think I’d be doing 10 records at that time? No, I mean there are so many hiccups during the making of our that record that I didn’t know what was going to happen. We had to change our name at the beginning of that record which was weird. We started with one producer and our A&R guy said “No, I don’t want him producing any more” and we had to find another producer. So that was tough for us. And then we finished our record. We had been sitting on that record for like 6 months before it was released because we’d finished it the year before but the label said it would be better to put it out the first quarter of the next year. We were like “What!?”, and we just all these decisions were really bad decisions but they turned out to be really good decisions. We just didn’t know because we were so young and we’d never been professional musicians at that time as far as releasing on a major label is concerned. It was all new to us. After all that and we got our first hit with Lit Up I was just riding a wave! I was just trying to soak it up and then as much as I could so that I could stay in the game.
Let’s talk about some of the tracks from Vol 10 and I would like to start with Good Time. This is 100% Buckcherry bringing the party with its uptempo, high energy rock. Lyrically, it very empowering with its message ‘So shut up and hit the floor, let’s go and hit the floor’ and ‘Hooked up and ready to go, I’m ready to go’. How important is it to you that people can feel empowered by Buckcherry’s music?
That’s what we definitely want to do – we want to empower people with a spirit of what this band is all about. That is definitely what Good Time is about. We had the whole pandemic and it was just a whole real challenging time in our history, not just the pandemic but lots of other things that were going on in the United States that were really brutal: the election and all kinds of protests going on and gun violence – all kinds of stuff. We made a great record during that time. Hellbound is a really great record but at this time, cut to Vol 10, it was time to have a good time and get back to greasy rock ‘n’ roll, what Buckcherry is really good at and what we love to do, and that’s how Good Time came about. That’s exactly how I explained it when I told Stevie (Dacanay, guitar) that I want a really quintessential, greasy rock riff and he came up with that. And the rest is history!
Another song I wanted to talk to you about is Turn It On. You have been clean and sober from drugs and alcohol for a very long time and this song appears to be one which shares what it means to be sober and how you manage your sobriety. I think yours is a highly inspirational story and it’s one that I wanted to share a message on, especially at the start of a new year where people may be thinking about or are ready to make a change, but they may understandably be feeling nervous or even scared. How have you managed to stay so focused and been able to ignore external influences and pressures? Is it as the song lyric suggests ‘I surround myself with people who are going my way’?. Does that make sense?
Absolutely! It all makes sense. I just celebrated 29 years clean from drugs and alcohol and man, if you would’ve seen me when I was using you wouldn’t recognise me. I was a really brutal alcoholic and drug addict, and I had to get in a lot of pain to make that decision. I was in a lot of pain, physically and mentally! Really the only way was either jails and institutions or death. That was where it had come to. I had gotten arrested for a DUI which is driving under the influence, I blew a 0.21 blood alcohol content which was very high, and I had this court-appointed lady that gave me this questionnaire about drinking – it was like this ‘yes or no’ questionnaire. I lied on the whole thing as she saw through all my bullshit. But we started talking. I’d had a suicide in my family and she’d had a suicide in hers . It just so happened to be a person who had the same thing going on, and we just started talking personally on that issue and I started trusting her. So I told her frankly where I was at with my drinking and using, and she said that she was going to assign me all these AA meetings on top of the ones I had to do for the DUI program. I was like “Okay”. I was just so defeated at that point that I was ready and I had this sort of spiritual awakening. As I started going to the AA meetings a lightbulb just went off. I just thought maybe I can do this. I had no idea that people lived sober, you know? So I raised my hand as the newcomer and I just started my journey. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and it’s the top of my list. Without that I have nothing really. I just really kind of embraced it and I had to change a lot of the things I was doing in my lifestyle at the time and eventually it just all kicked in and everything in my life got better. My singing and writing got better, my personal relationships got better and the list goes on. I got this big, incredible, very challenging life for sure! (Laughs!)
This was obviously before Buckcherry. Were you actively involved in music at that time when you were having those problems?
Yeah, I’ve been in bands since I was 15. I’m a southern California native. I’m a surfer, skateboarder kid, punk rock records and all that kind of stuff. That was what was going on for me, and I was very big into music, I had a huge music collection. There was only one band in my high school and I happened to be surfing with the drummer of the band at the time and they needed a singer. And I don’t know why he asked me – I wasn’t singing. I had a knack for writing words, I wrote a lot of creative writing and poetry, so I said “Yeah, I want to come down and audition for you guys“. So I talked my grandfather into buying me a microphone. I didn’t know anything about audio but I plugged it into a guitar amp and I’m trying to sing but it’s all distorted and I just started screaming (laughs!). I had a lot of ambition and fire and they loved that. I could sing a little bit but I didn’t know much about it and I was just screaming. We were doing cover songs at the time and something clicked inside of me. I was really inspired and I said “let’s write an original song right now!” and they were like “What!?” and I just started conducting the rehearsal. I said to the guitar player “Give me a riff - do you have any riffs?” and he said “Yeah!“ And started noodling around and hit on something where I said “I like that!” and I just started writing a song on the floor. I got a pen and paper and wrote a whole song and that was it! I was like ‘This is all I want to do!’. Do you know what I mean? It was really exciting! At that point in time I really wanted to be a professional surfer. I was surfing a lot but surfing kind of took a backseat and I started really working on music.
An incredibly rockin’ year ahead...
Let’s look ahead of some of the really exciting things are happening in 2024, starting with which we have the UK tour which begins in Bristol on the 23rd of January. You’ve already given us a hint about what it means to be back in the UK but it’s important to state that Buckcherry really does have a very special relationship with UK fans. What does it mean to be coming back to the UK for what is quite an extensive tour?
We haven’t been there in sometime because we tried to get there during the pandemic but there were so many hoops to jump through to get over there with all the testing and all the bullshit. We had to put that on the back burner unfortunately. It’s been a long time coming but a lot shows have sold out already so I’m like really, really excited! The band is really excited! I rehearse here at home by myself – I have a lot of pre-recorded Buckcherry instrumentals to keep myself in shape. I do a lot of headlining shows here by myself and I always visualise UK crowds! They embrace Buckcherry for all the right reasons, they like songs that are not just singles, they will get really deep into our catalogue of music. So all these things are really exciting for us, and to come all that way and to be in those clubs and feel that energy and a genuine love for this band is what you dream about as a musician. Needless to say we’re really excited, we’re gearing up and it’s gonna be fun!
The other wonderful thing about your visit to the UK is that you’re also going to be doing some independent record store appearances and signings. How important is it for you to be able to do these special events and to connect directly with fans?
You know, Earache Records has really done such a great job on Hellbound and Volume 10, promoting it and getting us on the radio over there, so all these things that we are doing are really aligned with them and we love it. We love to meet people and to do it in that kind of setting where we don’t have a show or a performance around it is nice. It’s better for us - we can just relax, meet everybody, answer questions, take pictures and we can then just go and have our day off or whatever we are going to do for the remainder of the day. That’s better for us. But we haven’t done a lot of that because there aren’t many record stores anymore so we embrace it!
Buckcherry will also be touring Australia and playing some shows with perhaps the most perfect, and of course iconic, Australian band, Rose Tattoo, in September. Rose Tattoo have been rocking for nearly 50 years. What will it mean to have this band open the shows for you?
Billy (Rowe, guitar) is friends with the singer of Rose Tattoo (Angry Anderson – Ed) and he came to the show when we were over there doing our own shows and he was really lovely guy. He looks great and he is in great shape and I’m sure he’s singing great. So to go over there and do the shows with that historical band is going to be amazing. I’m sure it’s going to be bananas! Australians, the UK and Canada all have the same vibe as far as rock goes. They party and they cut loose and who knows what’s going to happen when we go on! It’s going to be crazy!
Finally, 2024 is the year that Buckcherry reaches its 25th anniversary. What plans do you have to celebrate this amazing achievement?
You know, just doing what we do and doing it well, you know. I’m really crafting a headline set that’s got all the flavours. We try to get to all the records but it’s hard and sometimes we can’t get to all the records just because we’ve got to do all the usual suspects like Crazy Bitch, Sorry, Lit Up – those type of songs – and then we’ve got the rest of them. Sometimes we can’t even cover all of it. But it’s great because finally I feel like in the set, from beginning to end, every song is good! And that’s a lot of fun for me!
As our conversation draws to a close, we reflect on what an incredible achievement it is for Buckcherry to be celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2024, carrying with them the pride of an absolutely first class album in Vol 10 and the strongest of back catalogues, as well as the excitement of a full year of touring.
To find out more, head over to www.buckcherry.com and in the meantime check out the video for Let’s Get Wild below.