Buckcherry are finally heading to Australia again. After a range of technical issues with Zoom (on my side) I’m finally talking with the one and only Josh Todd. He’s speaking to me from Nashville, breaking some big news in his first sentence.
Hi, how are you going? “I’m good, in Nashville right now, we’re just finishing up the recording of our tenth record and it’s going really great”.
I’d noticed you had some downtime from the constant touring, so I was wondering what you’d been up to. It’s going alright then? “Yeah, a great record and it’ll probably drop around beginning of June next year”.
Well, it’s been a while since we chatted, July last year actually. We chatted about you guys heading out here in February, but COVID was still making its mark felt. Now with COVID pretty much endemic, it seems the planets have finally aligned. We are now two weeks away from Buckcherry and Fozzy in Australia. So how much are you guys looking to getting out here? “Yeah, you know. Like you were saying it’s been one delay after another. We’ve been dealing with that for a while now. We started the Hellbound tour back in June 1st of last year 2021. It’s just par for the course, we got used to it and rescheduled playing and all the musical chairs of COVID. Finally, we get to come and we’re excited, it’s going to be fun. We’ve got about two hundred and thirty somewhat shows under our belt since the start of the Hellbound tour, so it’s going to be fun.
You’re definitely a hard-working band, I see the tour schedule that you’ve been on and it’s nonstop. I’ve been looking at the tour schedule here in Australia and you’re basically in and out. So no down time for you guys, won’t get to see any of this beautiful country? “No, that’s a total budget thing, we’ve got to get in and out to make it work”.
You’re kicking off the tour in NZ, must be great to go all around the world and have such a decent fanbase everywhere? ” Yeah, that’s really the icing on the cake for us. I try to tell people all the time. You know Americans are great fans, but they are really spoilt in that we have a lot of entertainment. It seems like when we go out of the US, the hunger for a great live rock show is elevated to new levels, especially in Australia. We feel that when we’re there. It’s very exciting for us to be so far from our homes and plus, I don’t think Australia is a radio driven market. A lot of people like all types of songs on Buckcherry records that usually don’t get a lot of attention, so that’s really cool for us”.
Your tour is touching on the East Coast, but also getting to Adelaide. A lot of tours generally only get to the East Coast, so heading over that way you’ll get a lot of grateful fans. “We’ve done that our whole careers, you know some people call us the kings of B markets. We’ve played every nook and cranny of the US and Canada, we’ll go anywhere where people want to show up and have a rock show. It doesn’t matter what market, if it’s a major city or not. Those shows are often a lot more fun, when you got to a remote area and people just show up and get a little crazy”.
In your short tour, are you returning to any of the venues you’ve played before, and do they hold any memories? “I think there is, but you know what I honestly haven’t looked at the specific venues. There’s one of them that we’ve been to before and actually came up today because our manager is in town, and we had a meeting. But I don’t normally hone in on that stuff until I get there”.
I can understand, you’d be totally focused on the new album. You’re coming over here and you’re bringing Fozzy along, you guys have toured together before here, I got to catch you all back in 2013 with Steel Panther. What are Fozzy like as tour buddies? “They’re really nice. A great bunch of guys who are very passionate about what they do. We get along very well, and it’s tight quarters in some of these smaller clubs. So it’s good to have bands that are fun to be around, that’s not always the case (we both laugh at this)”.
What do you think the strengths of both bands are and what that will bring to this tour? “I think we are just both great live bands. We like to raise hell and have fun. The Fozzy show is really great and they have a built in fanbase, a really big fanbase. They are maniacs for that band, which is really great. We have our own similar situation, when you combine the two, they jive really well. It’s kind of a no brainer”.
Well, here is where I was going to say I’d seen you had some downtime from September and I was going to ask what you’d been up to. But you kicked off with telling me you’ve been recording a new album. How far are you into the process? “Yeah, well into the Hellbound Tour we’d come home and have little pockets of time, so Stevie D. (lead and rhythm guitar) and I got started writing for the new record and we would accumulate a song here and a song there. It started adding up and then we had some spill over from the Hellbound writing cycle, songs that didn’t make it that were pretty good. So the goal was to have enough songs for when we got here to September so we would have a lot to go in on. Then we got to Nashville early, so Stevie and I we did nine days of song writing with Marti Fredericksen, our producer, who we’ve written songs with before and that went really well. We wrote nine songs in nine days. It was great and there’s just this magic between us and it’s a lot of fun. We had the record, we had more than the record. That’s what we do with our time. When you are Self Employed, and that’s what we are. We’ve been doing this for twenty four years, when you’re at home you want to just kind of decompress and do nothing, that’s not… You have to start thinking about, ok, what’s on the horizon, what do we want to do next? We have to be prepared, you have to start creating a schedule for yourself and we’re always way ahead of that. That’s what you do”.
Is it the stuff on the road that gives you ideas around the writing, is it the news? What gives you inspiration? “I get that question a lot, it happens all different kinds of ways, what you want to write about. The challenging part of writing songs is… for me, because I write all the lyrics… is like I want a piece of myself in every song, a piece of emotion of myself, so I can feel the song when I have to sing it hundreds of times. That’s very important, but also, I want to craft it in a way that a lot of people can relate to. That’s the challenge and that’s the fun of it. That’s what I try to think about, you know songs are basically emotions. I can get a composition, a song with no vocal on it. Let’s say it’s a hard thrashy rocking song, I will think of, I will immediately go to “how does this make me feel?” I’ll start asking questions of myself, and I’ll just start riffing out. I’ll just scout out a melody, and that melody will take me to a word. That word will define the subject matter or whatever and sometimes it happens like, other times I just start writing. Then you write, and you rewrite, and you craft, and then you rewrite, it’s like a puzzle. Until you get to a place where it’s this is what the song is about, these are the melodies, this is how I want to approach it and that’s really how it works” .
That’s really interesting and gives a great insight into your process. The other thing I’d been reading about was, you are doing a lot of constant touring, and you’ve been sober for over twenty seven years. How hard is it being in the Rock ‘n Roll environment with all the drugs and alcohol and not being tempted? “I’m lucky; before I started touring professionally, I had about two years of sobriety under my belt. So I had a really good foundation and there’s tools that I accumulated in recovery to deal with that exact thing that you are talking about. Once you have those tools and you put in the work, it becomes very easy to be around people who are drinking and using. I like it in small doses, I can hang out for a little bit and then I’m good. When you’re not partaking in drugs and alcohol, you see people under the influence and it’s just not attractive anymore. It’s like either you are with them or you’re not. I have no problems with people who like to do that because obviously I did it for a long time, but it just stopped working for me”.
So, you just get to the point where you get of there, do your own sort of stuff? “No, I have fun, I’ll roll a joint for you or buy you a drink. I don’t like to be around people who are doing cocaine or stuff like that because that kind of triggers me. I’ll hang out for a bit and then I’m good. There’s other things for me to do”.
Last time we chatted about you being a Phlebotomy technician. I’ve just read that you had a recurring role in Season one of The Shield as well. You certainly live a busy and varied life. “You guys like to bring that up, and you guys bring that up a lot. (laughing) I’m kind of a strange guy like that, I don’t… I like to learn, and I don’t mind being put into situations where I don’t care that I’m the singer for Buckcherry, whatever, I just want to… I went to Phlebotomy school and I was with a bunch of people, young people that were taking up phlebotomy. I think it’s interesting and I learned a lot, I had a lot of fun. I also worked in a clinical setting for two months during the pandemic. You know it kept me busy, I need to be busy, idle time is not good for me. I want to continue to learn stuff and phlebotomy was really great for me as it took me out of music. I’ve got to get away from music because I’ve been doing it since I was fifteen so I like to learn all kinds of things that take me away from music. I love to compete as well, I’ve really got heavily back into tennis. I’m playing USTA tournaments now, you know I’m crazy like that, I do a lot of stuff when I’m not actually writing” .
It’s very good to keep yourself busy because once you stop…The old saying Devil’s work is Idle Hands or something like that. “My grandfather used to say that to me. Nothing to worry about… you might as well just die. You’re dead, and I was like, alright. You’ve got to get up and face the day, my grandfather used to come in he’d be like the sun’s up, get up! I’d be like, ok. I just adored him and I would just follow him around and I started working at a very young age. I started working for him when I was thirteen, he was a shining light in my dysfunctional childhood”.
Really looking forward to seeing you guys. I’ll be at Sydney, hopefully in the photo pit. “My pleasure, see you guys soon”.
Buckcherry are touring with Fozzy in November/December – dates below:
Monday, November 28
Powerstation – Auckland, New Zealand
Wednesday, November 30
The Tivoli – Brisbane, Australia
Friday, December 2
Max Watts Melbourne – Melbourne, Australia
Saturday, December 3
Manning Bar – Camperdown, Australia
Sunday, December 4
Lion Arts Factory – Adelaide, Australia