News Segment


February 22, 2007

They’ve been away for a while, but after taking some time to regroup and recharge, the sleaze-rockers of Buckcherry are gettin’ all lit up again.

A formidable presence in the late 1990s, when straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll could still hold its own against hip-hop and tween-pop, Buckcherry imploded sometime in 2002, after three members abruptly quit.

Luckily, founding singer Josh Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson weren’t quite ready to give up the ghost and after reconnecting with each other a few years later, they found they still shared enough energy to spark the band’s second coming.

“Buckcherry was always Keith’s and my baby, and we never wanted it to go the way it went,” says Todd, 32, from a tour stop in Denver, Colo., en route to a sold-out show this Sunday at mybar. “We’ve had a lot of hard knocks, with both the industry and other band members, and we just needed some time apart. Now it’s all effortless and fun.”

Hoping to fill the classic-rock-with-a-modern-edge void, Todd and Nelson enlisted friends Xavier Muriel (drums), Jimmy Ashhurst (bass) and Stevie D. (guitars), then churned out the album 15 in just — you guessed it — 15 days.

Released last spring, the disc spawned the band’s biggest crossover hit yet, a hard-rock anthem partly inspired by Paris Hilton, titled (appropriately enough) Crazy Bitch.

What’s more impressive is the fact they recorded the disc without any label support, meaning they did so without knowing if there’d be a payoff at the end.

“It wasn’t easy, but it was great from an artistic standpoint,” says Todd. “Nobody wanted anything to do with us, so we really had to prove ourselves again.”

Somewhat less difficult was the process by which Todd and Nelson hired their new bandmates, all of whom they’d known from other bands around L.A.

“We didn’t even have to audition anyone else, just those three guys,” Todd says. “We all had smiles on our faces at the end of the rehearsal.”

Of course, Todd’s musical career might have taken a somewhat different turn, given that sometime after Buckcherry’s demise, he and Nelson were both called on to perform at a Randy Castillo tribute with ex-Guns N’ Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum. After a month of studio time, Slash scrapped the project, only to resurrect it again as Velvet Revolver, but this time with Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots at centre stage.

“Everything happens for a reason in my life,” says Todd, who insists he’s not bitter about the experience. “We’ll never know what could have been, because ultimately Slash just wasn’t into it.”

No matter. If Todd and Nelson had been absorbed by Velvet Revolver, they never could have experienced what he describes as Buckcherry’s “second chance.” His only mission — at the moment, anyway — is trying to supplant the youth-friendly emo movement.

Suffice to say, he’s not a fan.

“I’ve always felt like Buckcherry is the black sheep,” he says, after delivering an expletive-filled rant about the glut of guyliner-sporting emo-ters out there. “I feel like we’re the only band in rock ‘n’ roll that takes risks, either lyrically or musically. The only other genre where they’re doing that right now is rap.”

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