By Nathan Eden
Buckcherry started chasing their rock ‘n’ roll dreams in Los Angeles circa 1995. The world, and more specifically the music industry, has changed almost beyond recognition since then but founding guitarist Keith Nelson refuses to give credence to the often exclaimed cliché that somehow rock n’ roll is no longer alive. Quite the contrary he reckons. His band aim to prove that with the release of their seventh full length on the 21st of August.
“We’ve been very fortunate. Our first record (Buckcherry, 1999) came out on cassette and then CD, if you know what I mean,” says Nelson in reference to his band’s longevity.
He explains that their fan base is a mix of old and new. “There’s fans who’ve been with us since the early days when they first heard Lit Up and then there were a lot of new fans who were hip to the 15 record”.
The guitarist hinted that it’s not so much the quality of music which has changed but perhaps the way in which people access it that has left the market saturated with bands that might be bringing down the average.
“The music industry is completely different to when we first started. You’ve got Facebook and social media now so the way a fan discovers new music is different. But I think that a good band will always rise to the top. A great band is able to maintain a fan base,” insists Nelson.
“We’re coming up on twenty years and I’ve still got the best f#@kin’ job in the world”.
Nelson lists Victorian hard rockers Airborne amongst his current favourites and points to the fact that some legends of the game are still kicking, ensuring that rock n’ roll is full of life. “You’ve got young guys like Airborne, who I’m sure you guys are familiar with. Then you’ve got The Rolling Stones and AC/DC still touring. Now is a great time for rock ‘n’ roll,” maintains Nelson.
His band settled on the title Rock ‘n’ Roll for their seventh album as a sort of statement to aid in proving their point. It’s a collection of ten tracks in the Buckcherry tradition of mixing heartfelt songs like The Feeling Never Dies with those that were clearly meant to put a smile on your face and a twitch in your tail, such as Tight Pants and Wood (For the record, it’s exactly the type of wood you think it is and you’ll be singing the chorus for days).
Nelson says that first single, Bring It On Back, seems to go down well at shows and the guys enlisted Billy Jayne to help them make a video for it. “We basically just got our motorcycles and our cars and went out to the desert. We didn’t worry about getting permits or anything. We just made a cool video,” he explains.
Buckcherry’s tunes sound like they were written with the stage in mind and sound like a live band, if ever there was one. However, Nelson loves the opportunity to craft a finished product in the studio. “Personally, I love being in the studio. I just love to be able to hear the ideas in my head come out of the speakers,” he says, but insists there is very little in the way of studio trickery. “But yeah, we’re a live rock ‘n’ roll band, so what you’re hearing (on the album) is us just getting down and playing”.
With a lengthy career, one might imagine that it would be difficult to keep all fans happy at a live show. As a musician, the desire to play the fresh songs from the new album must be in opposition to play the crowd favourites you’ve been playing for years. Nelson says the band solves this problem with ease. After all, just because they play doesn’t mean they aren’t fans too.
“I’m a music fan,” he begins. “I get it when all a band wants to do is play stuff from their new album and all you wanna hear is their hits. You’re like, ‘What the f#@k man!’
“We’ll be playing one or two from the new album over an hour and a half show. But you know, we’re not just playing hits. We’re also digging up old stuff from our back catalogue for the hard core fans. Then there’s times that Josh will just grab the microphone and say ‘We’re playing this’ and we change it ‘cause, why not?”
Buckcherry last found their way to our shores in 2013 with Steel Panther and Fozzy. Nelson says another visit to Australia is definitely on the cards.
“It’s always a goal to get to Australia,” he says. “Unfortunately, other forces often conspire against it. But each time we go there it gets better and better. So we’re definitely hoping to get there with this record”.
Rock ‘n’ Roll is out on 21 August via F-Bomb Records/Caroline Australia.