You know what’s wrong with rock music? it’s not reckless and it’s not dangerous anymore.
Josh Todd – Buckcherry
This is the best lineup of Buckcherry that we’ve ever had.
On longevity in the rock music business:
“I had to kind of you know sit back and look at my whole career because it was 20 years since the first album. You know, I’m really grateful. When I was dreaming about this as a young man you know I always wanted to be in one band and have a catalog of music and really make my mark and that’s what I’ve been doing for twenty years now and I’m proud of it.”
About temptations while on tour:
“The way I look at it is that you’ve got to put your sobriety and recovery first. It’s really important and sometimes we do it gracefully and sometimes we don’t.”
Listen to the audio interview here:
XS ROCK: I guess it’s been maybe a couple years ago, since the last time I spoke with you. You had just released the Josh Todd & The Conflict album, “Year Of The Tiger”. A lot of stuff has happened since then of course including the new album Warpaint which is awesome. It’s a really great album
XS ROCK: So the debut album for Buckcherry was released 20 years ago now. Does it seem that long since that was released?
Josh: I’m always looking ahead you know I don’t really look back that often, so yeah you know it starts to fly by with touring and you know, my kids are growing fast and so all of it is… I don’t really think about it because I’m so busy but recently, I had to kind of you know sit back and look at the whole career because it was 20 years since the first album. You know, I’m really grateful. When I was dreaming about this as a young man you know I always wanted to be in one band and have a catalog of music and really make my mark and that’s what I’ve been doing for twenty years now and I’m proud of it, absolutely man.
XS ROCK: I mean you guys have a great discography and the new album “Warpaint” is just off the hook and you’re obviously doing something right because the reviews for that album have been very positive To me it bring backs some of the earlier sound, from the roots of Buckcherry. Was that on purpose or did that just sort of happen naturally when you guys were writing it.
Josh: I think some of the songs have that flavor like the actual track Warpaint and you know maybe songs like Closer and The Devil’s In The Details, stuff like that, but then songs like “The Vacuum” are a little more modern sounding and “The Alarm” . We really worked hard on the song writing. We wrote about 30 songs for an 11 song record.. You know we are very thorough and we knew we had to come out with a really good body of work. Not like we don’t think about that every time we go to start writing songs but it had been a while since the last record..
XS ROCK: So what happened to that extra material that you for Warpaint? Was it just not up to the quality you would want on this album or maybe just didn’t all fit cohesively? Will that stuff get released at some point?
Josh: I get that question all the time and you know , usually the songs that don’t make a record…don’t make it for a reason, you know? Mostly because it’s not good enough. There’s always those songs just keep hanging around, but as far as the good ones go, they make the record. But the other ones that don’t, they just kind of fade off into oblivion. Sometimes on rare occasions we’ll take a good verse or a good chorus from a song that we just thought was really good and could be better and we’ll kind of revamp it, but rarely does that happen. We like to just start fresh. I’m growing so much as an artist and individual and so by the time I get down to writing songs, I want to just start with nothing.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the current tour for the Warpaint album?
Josh: The tours going great. We just had a little break at home, like a 2 weeks break, and it’s been amazing. Well needed a break, because we went to the UK and Canada and the States and put in over a hundred shows. We were pretty crispy after all those dates, but the great news is that it’s really the best Buckcherry lineup that we’ve ever had. It’s like the most talented group of musicians that have ever been in Buckcherry. The live show is amazing and because we did so many shows, it’s just a fine oiled machine at this point. We’ve really had a lot of fun and added these two new guys Kevin Roentgen on the guitar and Francis Ruiz on the drums and the funny part is that We knew these guys from back in the day. So, we’ve come all this way and now being in a band together. We are just having so much fun and it’s effortless and everybody is enjoying themselves. That’s what’s most important.
XS ROCK: So there’s a Bon Jovi song. “Wanted Dead or Alive” where he says “I’ve seen a million faces and I’ve rocked them all”. How many people would you say that you’ve performed for over the last 20 years?
Josh: I have definitely seen over a million faces, that’s for sure. We definitely have got to be up there with the top 5 percentile of rock bands that have toured because we have averaged over 200 tour dates for a long, long time each year. We’ve been out there with all the greats, and it’s been amazing. We got to play with our heroes and travel the world like a few times over and we’re still going.
XS ROCK: When you’re out on the road I know there’s got to be a lot of temptations, not just groupies and such, but I’m sure you’re offered an endless supply of party favors. How do you guys stay focused and sober?
Josh: That’s a great question and I’ve you know I’ve been sober my whole professional career; I went out on my first Buckcherry tour after getting sober. The way I look at it is that you’ve got to put your sobriety and recovery first. It’s really important and sometimes we do it gracefully and sometimes we don’t, you know and that it’s. I haven’t always done it gracefully for sure and I think that goes for some of the other guys as well but that’s their own thing and yeah you know you got to put in the work and I got to tell you, I don’t know if you’ve ever struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction but like when you’re sober and you see people that are really fucked up, and we see them every night… It’s really not attractive, you know. So it makes it a lot easier to kind of stay away from it because you see those glaring issues and I can say it worked for me for a long time and it stopped working and it became very dark, that’s why I had to stop but that being said… “We Don’t Preach”. We love hosting a party and I love reminiscing about those days because they were a lot of fun for me. I had a lot of fun partying for a long time and then it just stopped working.
XS ROCK: A lot of stuff has changed obviously too with your career and personally. You’re married and have kids now. Do you ever have your family come out and visit you on the tour?
Josh:They came out to Memphis and we played this venue that’s at Graceland now and we’re one of the first bands to play that place. I had my kids and my wife out during that time and whenever we can make it work or if it’s a place where I’m going to be for more than just one night.
XS ROCK: How about the current crop of new bands that are hitting the tour circuit these days Anybody seemed poised for superstardom that you’ve seen?
Josh:I mean you just never know right? It’s all about the right song at the right time and the right chemistry of guys. I don’t want to like keep putting a dark cloud over the state of Rock right now but ,it’s just… I don’t know…I’ve really tried to get into new rock and you know I want to hear some big songs and I want to see some big personas in the videos and none of that is going on so that’s the only thing I struggle with. I think there’s a lack of melody in rock music. Turn on any active rock station and it’s like one continual sound for like 45 minutes and there’s no dynamics between this band the band before I was thinking about the state of rock. You know what? We haven’t had real rock stars, like big rock singers since the whole decade of the 90s. It’s been like nothing. It’s been faceless and nothing and that’s not to say that there hasn’t been good bands that have dropped good records and all that stuff, but I’m talking about like in the nineties you had Layne Staley and Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain. You had Zack De La Roca and Rage Against The Machine and all these incredible frontmen and now it’s just gone. I think there’s a lot of things that are contributing to that. I think that now it’s big rock shows, they’re all a lot of these headlining big rock acts They’re all playing a track so whole shows are cut up on a grid and there’s no spontaneity and they got they got perfectly tuned vocals coming through the PA and pre-recorded instruments. There’s a lot of pre-recorded stuff and so that takes a lot of the spontaneity out of it. I like to see a real front man that can be charismatic. But, there’s absolutely no spontaneity. There’s no showmanship. When I was starting out…those shows where you’re not a hundred percent that’s where you find a lot of magic. I don’t think I don’t think the average rock band understands the disservice that is going on in rock where they’re coming to shows and they’re basically hearing a CD playing through the PA and that’s their live show.
XS ROCK: My next question for you actually was going to be what you think is wrong with the rock music industry and what do you think’s going right?
Josh: You know what’s wrong with rock music? it’s not reckless and it’s not dangerous anymore. It’s just not. It’s really G-rated, muddied down and no rock stars. That’s why it’s not on any major award shows. I hate to say this but hip-hop is like is where it’s at as far as people taking a lot of risks and dangerous stuff. Hip-hop bands have the whole crowd jumping up and down and you there is mosh pits and stuff. A lot of them are creating these empires without a record label so that’s making money like a gangster, that goes back to like NWA and without all the labels involved in anybody dictating what you say or what you do. You create this movement and it becomes dangerous because nobody’s got control over you and I love that. That’s really powerful and when you listen to certain hip-hop artists they have their own language some of their own words…words that I’ve never heard that just sound so cool and the way they’re putting hooks together. There’s a lot more to it than it’s just what’s popular with kids these days. It’s very clever and there’s a lot of work put into it and that’s why I like it so much.
XS ROCK: Do you ever feel a little bit trapped by the Buckcherry sound?
Josh: I’m very passionate about Buckcherry I write all the lyrics and all the melodies to the Buckcherry music so it’s very personal for me. When I go out there to perform it, you know I don’t get tired of it. But sure, do I get tired of writing rock songs every time I come home. I do. That’s why I challenge myself and get outside of my genre and write with other people or I’ll just write a song that has an electronic beat at home, just to Inspire myself. I believe it just expands your field of knowledge about music in general.
XS ROCK: So let’s talk about your tattoos. You’ve got so many that you’re like the Illustrated Man. Does your art tell a story? It’s a cohesive story or just random images that merged together over time?
Josh: I think it’s more about your relationship with the artist and I’ve had the majority of my work has been tattooed by this guy named Kevin Quinn. He tattoos out of this place called Tattoo Deluxe on Van Nuys Boulevard here in California in the Los Angeles area. I always loved his flow and so we talk about everything before we do it of course. He has gotten to know me over the years so he really understands what I love, the type of artwork that I love. I love taking bold pieces. I love Japanese art and I love traditional Americana and so he puts together stuff for me and then we just kind of beat it in to shape.
XS ROCK: So how much of your body would you say is tattooed at this point percentage-wise?
XS ROCK:Is there any place you won’t go?
Josh: Yeah I’m not going to tattoo my butt cheeks and I’m too old to get like a face tattoo. I would look like I was chasing something. I think he know I’m not going to get a face tattoo or anything but I’m not going to touch my butt or my genitals or anything like that. I’m going to get my legs done at some point. So when my kids are older. if they ever want to get tattooed. I’ll go in and get tattooed with them. That would be really fun to me now
XS ROCK: Supposedly, Nikki Sixx has hot rod flames tattooed on his penis and he said that he did that just to make the guys at the morgue laugh when he dies.
XS ROCK: What about streaming music? I mean we’ve all gotten used to it as far as being convenient for us, but is that getting any better for you as an artist or is it still pretty much just pennies for the bands
Josh: Yeah it’s weird it doesn’t mean a whole lot but that’s what it’s all about now… streaming! I think it’s changing a little bit though. Everybody’s kind of working on it to get together and change that and that’s been happening over time. It has changed a little bit, so we’ll see it’s weird. Because in rock right now, Platinum and Gold records are kind of a thing of the past, which is bizarre. Now they’re judging it on streaming. Like, how many streams depend on my Platinum Status or whatever. There’s so much information that people are getting it’s really hard to get eyes and ears on you, you know what I mean? I’m just grateful that we kind of made it when we did, when it was more about controlling the marketplace because I know bands that are in the top five with radio and they barely move 500 units which is crazy bad, you know. It’s just so bizarre these days.
XS ROCK: Anything you’d like to add or anything you can think of you want to get out there? Josh: Check out the latest single that we just dropped. It’s for the track “Radio Song”. We also just dropped a new video for it and people can check that out
Photo credits: rebekkahraven and all original unknown owners.