OK, look. Nobody here is going to try and tell you that Buckcherry is the second coming of Guns N’ Roses. Hell, they are not even the second coming of Velvet Revolver. But the one thing that comes close to redeeming the band in any way is the fact that they are not trying to be the second coming of anyone.
There is something refreshingly genuine about the way front man Josh Todd and his merry men deliver themselves. You do not have to like how it comes out, but in a strange way, you do have to admire the way the guys go about their business. There is no posing here, no facade to be packed up and put away after the show is done. Buckcherry is just five dudes who are playing straight to the trailer park in everyone.
Consider the following juxtaposition: In 2013, Buckcherry went about as highbrow as they are likely to ever get, and released “Confessions,” a quasi-conceptual look at the seven deadly sins.
“I wanted to kind of capture the seven sins in a new way,” Todd said in a phone interview from the road. “It was tough, because you want them to be good Buckcherry songs, but you have to add a new twist to them. The material is timeless. It was a really challenging album to write. But it was time to challenge ourselves. It was a time to release something really different for the Buckcherry fans.”
“Confessions” reached No. 7 on the rock charts, despite only having one track that was deemed radio-ready. It is a weird album, but unarguably creative. So, of course, they followed it up with the “Fuck” EP, so named because every song title on the album includes the word “fuck.”
“It was totally a way to blow off steam after all the work we’d put into ‘Confessions,’ ” Todd said. “We’d all grown up with 6-inch EPs so we always wanted to do one. There are all these different meanings to the word ‘fuck’, so I wanted to just have some fun with it.”
“That was a really easy album to write,” he added with a laugh. “If you can believe that.”
And right there is why, even if you are not a fan of songs like “Lit Up” or “Crazy Bitch,” it can still be surprisingly easy to like these guys as guys. This is not Bono and his messiah complex, or Prince and his weird, incomprehensible genius. This is the kid in high school who ate weird shit for a dollar, then grew up and started writing his own destiny simply because nobody told him that is not how the world works.
Buckcherry has started hosting meet and greets after almost all of its shows on tour in support of its latest album, “Rock ’N’ Roll,” which was released last month. Todd says that it is a way for him to find out who his audience is — the ones buying the merch, and the ones for whom Buckcherry is a guilty pleasure.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “Because I like to understand why people like my band. That helps me as a songwriter, to know who I’m writing songs for.”
They are not Zeppelin. They will never be in the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But they can still have fun.
“I think that there’s an honesty to Buckcherry,” Todd said. “When I was a kid listening to records, I could tell when a band wasn’t real, and I didn’t want to be into that. There’s an honesty to us and a charm, I think. From our first album, people were telling us that you couldn’t sell rock albums like these anymore. Well, we’ve done OK.” CV