Buckcherry has been one of the best live bands I’ve seen for an incredible two decades now, and whilst the line-up around Josh Todd has changed over the years Buckcherry’s ever present front man still manages to capture that trademark sound with every new release. After Covid delays 2022 sees them back in Australia for their ‘Hellbound’ tour having already caught up with them earlier in the year in the U.S. It’s a show not to miss as they also bring along Fozzy who we saw kick up a storm with them a few years back. We talk about coming back to Australia, new music and so much more…
Mark: Hey Josh.
Josh: What’s happening Mark?
Mark: Plenty! You guys are coming back to Australia I hear?
Josh: Yeah, yes were are.
Mark: It’s always great to catch up with you and always great to see Buckcherry back down under. As you know I’ve been there since that first time and you’re back again at the end of November.
Josh: Yeah, it’s gonna be fun, those guys bring it live, they’re always a good time so it’s gonna be a rowdy show for sure.
Mark: It will, we’ve been following you since you’ve been back on the road again. We covered some dates earlier in the year in the U.S. when you were out there with Alice (Cooper).
Josh: That was a lot of fun man, that organization is so professional and nice, the band and crew had a really good time.
Mark: Tommy our man on the spot over there certainly enjoyed himself!
Mark: Ove the last few tears Covid has robbed us of a lot, but the shows are coming thick and fast now and with Hellbound just a year or so old how are things looking for the follow up?
Josh: It’s looking great. I’m in Nashville now, I’ve just finished all my tracks, we’re all done except Stevie, and I leave out here tomorrow to go home. It’s an amazing record, we’ll probably drop it June of next year. it’s great! Our tenth record!
Mark: The last few albums have been outstanding. I know when Keith left a few people were wondering what was going to happen and if the sound was going to change a bit…
Mark: But you’re sounding like Buckcherry than ever!
Josh: Stevie’s been in the band since 2004 and he never really got a chance to shine, and he’s a really talented guy who never had an opportunity to write songs or anything. You know he and I have been friends since I was 19 so I knew him long before Buckcherry. So to be writing songs with him and Marti Fredericksen is just a labour of love, it’s fun! And we all have the collective mentality to just do the best for the song. And because of that everything is effortless and it’s a lot of fun, I’m learning a lot too.
Mark: Marti just seems to intrinsically understand the sound of Buckcherry.
Josh: You’re absolutely right, he becomes like a sixth band member. He really gets it, but he’s also spent a lot of time working with a lot of different and talented songwriters, you know, so he can really get in there. We all have strengths and weaknesses, all of us in what we do, and it’s all about having a balance and someone to balance you out, and he’s really good at figuring that out, you know.
Mark: You were last here in 2019 with Hardcore Superstar who are back in a couple of days’ time, and you always put on a great show, I think the time before you were back with Fozzy and Steel Panther as well. It’s wonderful that you’ve made us a regular stop on your itinerary. What do you enjoy most about touring down here, you play all over the world, what keeps bringing you back?
Josh: You guys really appreciate real Rock and Roll you know for all the right reasons. You guys get crazy live, you’re a very rowdy bunch and all of that is a really good catalyst for Buckcherry because as you know we base our reputation on our live shows and when you put those two together it’s gonna be an unforgettable night for sure.
Mark: Absolutely, and there are few bands out there who understand real Rock and Roll like you do, and it’s been over twenty years now and there have been some wonderful moments along the way including teh first solo album and the ‘Conflict’ album too which I loved. Obviously the focus is on Buckcherry now, and so it should be, you’re producing some wonderful music, are you working on any side projects no matter how slowly!
Josh: Oh, I just don’t have any time right now you know Mark, I mean where is the time, I’m always working, but we’ll see. Like you I loved the Conflict record, it’s a really great record and I really appreciate you bringing that up. You know, it was a labour of love and the first record that Stevie and I got to do together. We felt like we had a lot to prove and it really shows on that record. I got back to my roots, which were a heavier style of Rock , you know and a four piece band – it was a lot of fun.
Mark: I was just playing it the other day and it was great to remember just how good it sounded. I have a signed copy by the way.
Mark: One of the things that must be hard these days especially with Covid is keeping fit on the road, how do you stay in shape and make sure that you avoid those pesky viruses?
Josh: I’ve been into fitness in general for a long time. I really enjoy it and i do it mostly for my mental health which is why I got into it. I love working out and I love to compete, I play a lot of tennis. I play basketball when I can, and I do the boxing work out where you jump rope, push-ups, sit-ups, Pull ups. That will keep you very fit. I don’t lift weights, just my body weight and that keeps you strong and fit and you can do it anywhere, and that’s really important, and I work out like six days a week.
Mark: Sounds like I should be doing more. You challenged me to a game of tennis last time we spoke, but that got postponed due to covid.
Josh: (laughs) Oh did I! (laughs) I remember that.
Mark: You were telling me the story about the old guy, the silver fox you played in Melbourne, who gave you the lesson!
Josh: (laughs) That was a lot of fun, he cleaned my clock, maybe not today though, I’ve been playing a lot.
Mark: (laughs) We’ll see if we can find him for you when you come back for the rematch!
Mark: Buckcherry is one of those bands that hasn’t gone down the route of revisiting albums from their past, were you ever tempted to go out there and do the whole ‘First album 20th Anniversary Tour’ thing?
Josh: Now you would think there would be a huge demand for that. (laughs) But there’s just not Mark, you know what I mean. We could do it for sure and it would be a lot of fun for us, but it’s not like people are beating down our doors for that first record tour. We did the 15 one. But I was thinking about how many songs we have out there now once we drop this new record – it will be over a hundred songs, it’s just insane, crazy, we can’t do the all, ever,
Mark: It is isn’t it. The whole revisiting past albums thing for me personally with a band like Buckcherry is why would you when the new music is this good? I was in the States when Aerosmith did the ‘Toys in The Attic’ in its entirety dates and they lasted about 5 shows – people just wanted the hits so sometimes even for a band that huge is falls on its face even though I personally loved it!
Josh: We were on a Kiss Cruise recently and we were stuck on there for five days and we had three shows so it’s basically the same audience for three shows so you gotta mix it up. And we were so focused on the new songs that we were about to record, you know we didn’t really think too much about that till we were on the boat. So people were requesting songs up in catering “Hey can you do ‘For the Movies’ and ‘Dead Again’ ” and we were like “Yeah” so we’d do those in the set one day and it was a lot of fun for us, So we’ll pull out all that stuff, we do a lot of songs off ‘Time Bomb’ and of course ’15’ and ‘Hellbound’ – we’ll throw it all in there.
Mark: I always loved ‘Dead Again’ that song was my ringtone for a few years
Josh: (laughs) that’s cool!
Mark: It was interesting especially in crowded spaces.
Mark: You’re here soon I think the first date is in Auckland on 28th November and then you jump over the ditch to come and see us in Australia, closing in Adelaide on 4th December: so it’s a short sharp tour and that almost wraps it for a very busy 2022. What are the plans for next year?
Josh: 2023 we’re going to take 2 months off and then we’re gonna get back on the road in March in the United States and then probably drop the first single off the new record, then maybe drop the record first week of June and tour – that’s what we do.
Mark: So may dates, I don’t think there’s a harder working band out there!
Mark: So many dates in so many cities in so many countries, I can just imagine the logistic and the airports.
Mark: The being away from home must be hard though at times?
Josh: It’s very hard. My kids definitely feel it, so I do all I can do, but you’re always playing catch up. But this is my livelihood, this is what puts food on the table, you know, so we all have to sacrifice.
Mark: Picking a setlist with as you mentioned a hundred songs must be pretty hard, I’ve got my favourites as you know and would be happy to submit a setlist if it would help?
Mark: I see that you’ve changed things up since last time we saw you, great to see so many songs off ‘Hellbound’.
Josh: Yeah it’s such a great album it’s hard not to do the songs off of it and it really makes the set so much more interesting but the ones we do a lot are ‘5,4,3,2,1’, ‘So Hott’ for sure, and ‘Hellbound’ the song and then we kind of rotate the mid-tempo songs like ‘No More Lies’ and ‘Wasting No More Time’ and we’ll rotate that with ‘Everything’ from the 15 record and we’ll do ‘Barricade’ sometimes and ‘Gun’ and we have to be really careful because people are going to multiple shows and so you have to throw in some of that older stuff because people really enjoy that too, so I take it day by day as far as crafting a set.
Mark: Well if ever you get stuck you have my cell! Day or night…
Mark: I made the mistake again of telling readers who I was talking to and so I have a few questions I promised to ask you. This is one I’ve never asked you before. I know we’ve talked about tattoos in general and what they mean to you but I’ve never asked you this one “As someone who is well known for their incredible tattoos, what was your first tattoo?”
Josh: (laughs) I mean it’s under my watch, but I had it covered up, I had a little Betty Boop (laughs) put on my wrist! It was like two inches long and I got it covered up, but I was really hammered and I went into a tattoo studio. I tried to get tattooed at 16 actually, I think I told you that before, but they refused to tattoo me, but this was when I was 18 and I finally went in there and it was a really bad decision – I just picked something off the wall and I think anyone who has a lot of tattoos has one of those stories!
Mark: I can imagine!
Mark: We saw a wonderful duet recently at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where Dolly Parton the lead singer of Judas Priest duetted with the well-known County artist Rob Halford and they sang ‘Jolene’..
Mark: Or maybe the other way round. Which brings me to our next question – “Who would you love to duet with?”
Josh: That was cool. It would definitely be with Bruno Mars, I feel like he’s the most talented artist in the world at the moment, you know, he’s a really incredible talent so that would be amazing. I feel like we only have only have one of those guys every so often – we had Michael Jackson, Prince and now it’s Bruno Mars – he’s just a tremendous artist so that would be incredible, but I know it probably won’t happen, though you never know.
Mark: You should mention that when you both get into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame next year. Now that I would love to see! Some real Rock and Roll!
Josh: That’s right! (laughs)
Mark: I have another: “What was the song that got you into Rock and Roll?”
Josh: All my first records were Punk Rock records. I grew up in Orange County California so they were all independent Punk Rock records, so I didn’t really hear major label Rock records until later in my teens. But I can tell you that there was one record that really got me into real Rock music and that was AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ like it did for so many people. I remember hearing that record, I think it was ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ and I was like “Damn, this is amazing!” because it had everything I needed as a youth. I didn’t really get teh ‘Hair Metal’ teasing up the hair, the make-up, I just didn’t like those type of bands. But when I saw AC/DC I knew this was good, it felt real to me, it felt honest and that’s why I loved it so much. I remember I would put that cassette in my back pocket and go to house parties and I would hijack the stereo and put it on and just watch to see how people reacted to it, you know. And when I saw them react to it I would be like “This is what I want, this is what I want to do. I want to create something so cool that people have that reaction.” So that was like my mission.
Mark: And I think you’ve done that for a lot of people a generation later.
Josh: I hope so.
Mark: It will be fantastic to have you back in Australia Josh, safe travels. Before you go we’d love to play something on our radio show – something from the first and the latest albums if you’d like to introduce something?
Josh: OK I’m gonna request the title song of ‘Hellbound’ it’s called Hellbound – and this song, I was driving when I got the music to this song and I was listening to it and I asked myself “What kind of picture is this painting for me in my head?” So it took me back and made me want to write about my first show I ever did live, and that’s when I knew I was Hellbound. It was Orange County California, I played a house party and the first song I sang was Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock and Roll’. And that moment in time – the house was packed, everybody was drunk, and I started in on ‘Rock and Roll’ and it just became bananas, Animal House, the placed erupted. There was a fist fight and people were slam dancing, it was crazy, and that was when I knew everything was gonna be different in my life, right at that point in time. I was like “This is it, this is all I want to do.” I wanted to do this for the rest of my life, so that was the turning point, and that’s what ‘Hellbound’ is about, so check it out.
Mark: That’s fantastic, I love that story.
Josh: I’ll request ‘Check Your Head’ off the first record. That song is really personal to me, it was about multiple things. I had lost my father at a very early age and I used the name Jessie in the song, that was my father actually but I disguised the name so it was personal to me but so people could relate to it. I didn’t want it to be so personal that I was asked about it all the time, you know. So that song to this day makes me very emotional, and Nick in the story is a real name, it was the first funeral I’d ever been to, It was a very young kid in High School who unfortunately passe away early. I used to go on double dates with him, my girlfriend and his girlfriend were friends , and I just remember walking up to his coffin, and it was very disturbing for me, and so that’s what came out.
Mark: I think a lot of us can connect to those feelings of loss. Thank you so much for your time Josh, I always love to catch up. See you on the tour.
Josh: Thank you Mark. We’re gonna have a good time and I hope to see you at the show, make sure you come and say hello.
Mark: Take care man, safe trip.
Josh: Alright man, be good! Great interview, see you.