Keith Nelson – Buckcherry – 7/23/2010

 By Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.

On August 3, one of the hardest working bands in rock, Buckcherry will be releasing their 5th studio release “All Night Long.” This is the band’s most solid effort with eleven well crafted anthemic songs, all worthy of airplay. This Cd has the potential to take Buckcherry to the next level of superstardom, In addition, Buckcherry will be hitting the road in mid-September with Nickelback and Three Days Grace. This promises to be one of the biggest tours of the year.

We caught up with Buckcherry co-leader, guitarist/songwriter Keith Nelson for this exclusive interview in which we discuss the new Cd, upcoming tour and much more.

RockMusicStar: Your new Cd “All Night Long” is a solid release and shows a new maturity. I’m impressed in the bands ability to progress to the next level without losing your trademark intensity. How did you go about maintaining that?

Keith Nelson: You know, I don’t think we really thought about that. We’re fans of music and I think the goal really is making records that we want to buy. So it really starts there. But the longer the band is together, the more comfortable we get with each other, the less thinking is involved and the music is just coming out. And I think you are hearing some of that too.

RMS: Another very noticeable aspect of the Cd is that there is no profanity on any of the tracks.  Was that done intentionally for airplay?

KN: Our singer, Josh Todd challenged himself to say what was on his mind without dipping into the bag of expletives. That was something that he personally wanted to explore and I think he did it with great success. You take a song like “Oh My Lord,” he sang a lot of stuff in there that can be taken in a very sexual way, but without being so obvious. I applaud him for his approach and for pushing himself.

RMS: You toured with KISS on the first leg of their “Sonic Boom” tour last fall. Was touring with them and seeing all the families with kids in the audience an inspiration to be less explicit?

KN: No, not really. Kiss inspired us in that here they are 30 years later and they can still fill up an arena. And not just the people that were there from the beginning, but all generations, old and young. Its living proof that rock is alive and well and you can fill an arena if you are entertaining enough and write good songs.

RMS: What is the writing process like in the band? Is it a band democracy or is it just Josh and yourself?

KN: The majority of the ideas start with Josh or me. But it ends up with the five of us in a rehearsal room sitting in a circle looking at each other and working the songs out. Everyone’s ideas are considered and appreciated and there is no ego involved in it. It’s really about making the best song. It ends up being the five of us and that’s what gives us our sound. And that’s what makes it what it is.

RMS: The song “Our World” addresses social issues, which is a bit unique for Buckcherry. How did that song come about?

KN: It started with the music. I had the verse and music and then Jimmy and I got together on the chorus, we started beating it around. And Josh started singing some lyrics. It was pretty standard, us jamming on a couple riffs. But I think Josh did a great job on this song. As we get older, and we all have families, we are concerned with the things going on around in the world. That is much more on our radar then when we were young kids running around Hollywood. There is another generation and we have to look out for them. All those social things that pop up in that song are things that are on our radar.

RMS: Do you think that the band is headed in the direction of writing more songs like that?

KN: No, we will leave that to U-2. We are just going to go ahead a host the party like we always do. There are multiple facets to Buckcherry. It’s not all just “Crazy Bitch” and “I Love the Cocaine.” There is another side to us.

RMS: Another interested aspect of the Cd is the intro clap on “It’s a Party.” That song has the potential to be a big rock anthem.

KN: The intro is very similar to “We Will Rock You.” But it’s got our own little twist to it. It was just kind of the beat that fit and we thought that it sounded good.

RMS: I agree. What kind of role does your record company Eleven Seven play in the bands creativity. Do they get involved or do they give you total artistic control?

KN: The nice thing with an indie label is that we are not dealing with some A&R schmuck who doesn’t know what he is talking about. But we are kind of left to do what we do. They do have input at the end with their likes and dislikes. But for the most part, we really just get to make our record. When they feel they have what they need to adequately promote us and we are in agreement, we release the record. But, there certainly are no things on our record that was forced on us by the record company. It all comes from the band.

RMS: You have been on the road forever. How did you find time to write and record this Cd?

KN: We are constantly working. They way it usually happens are that we tour for 18 months to 2 years and we just compile all of our song ideas that we have while we are on the road. Then when we get home, we go into writing mode. That’s when everything comes out, we work very quickly. And there is always a barrage of ideas. We will work on five different songs a day. As we go through, things just start getting completed.

RMS: Do you enjoy the actual recording process and being in the studio or would you rather be touring.

KN: it’s a completely different head space. I love both of them. We get to play over 300 shows for each record we make, but we only make one record. It’s a pretty intense experience. One of the things that have changed about the way we make records is that I own a studio now. So it’s taking the pressure off of having to do things very, very quickly to keep the expense down. Now we can go down and do what we want when we want to do it, which really opens things up for us.

RMS: I was just reading an article with a musician and he said that he was driving himself crazy trying to find the right guitar tone for each song.  Do you find yourself in the same boat or are you satisfied with your tone?

KN: It’s never just one way. I know what I like to hear and I know what gear I can use to achieve that. When we are in the studio, I have my four or five main amps and four or five main guitars and I know I can go to them and get a certain sound and I’m very happy with that. That’s part of the blessing of being a gear fanatic that I am. I have a pretty big collection of guitars and amps. So getting the guitars sounds usually happens very quickly. Part of it is knowing the limitations of each piece of gear.

RMS: The last question I have for you is in regards to the huge tour you will be going on this fall with Nickelback and Three Days Grace. How long was this tour in the planning?

KN: I don’t know how long it’s been in the planning, but they presented an opportunity for us to join up with them and tour and we jumped at it. It’s an opportunity to get in front of some people that we might not usually have the opportunity to play in front of. Nickelback is really successful and play in front of a lot of people. We are happy to be a part of it and we are going to have some fun with it.

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