The cycle of songwriting-recording-touring is enough to wear anybody out. Some bands watch their creativity drop through the floor. Others get their emotions rubbed raw and it isn't long before band members can't stand to be in the same room with each other. When a couple weeks off, here and there, fail to do the trick it makes sense to go on hiatus. For Buckcherry, there was a lengthy gap between their "Time Bomb" CD and "Fifteen." But it was more than simple fatigue hampering the group.
In '95, two L.A. denizen's, vocalist Joshua Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson were introduced through their tattoo artist. The two wrote songs and recruited bassist J.B. Brightman and drummer Devon Glenn. After making an impact on the local club scene Buckcherry added second guitarist Yogi. Soon the group was signed by Dreamworks. Buckcherry's self-titled debut contained "Check Your Head," "For The Movies," and "Lit Up." The '99 release was produced by Terry Date and former Sex Pistol, Steve Jones. So far, so good.
'00 saw the release of "Time Bomb" which earned Buckcherry some opening dates for their heroes, AC/DC. Though things were still on a positive track, it wouldn't last.
Dreamworks ceased to exist, swallowed in a corporate reshuffling. Then Todd bailed in '02. It looked as though Buckcherry was down for the count before they even had a chance to realize their full potential.
It always pays to do charity work. Todd and Nelson played a benefit with ex-Guns N' Roses members, Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum As a result, Slash, McKagan and Sorum formed Velvet Revolver while Todd and Nelson decided to give Buckcherry another shot. They enlisted drummer Xaiver Muriel and guitarist Steven Dacanay for their '06 effort, "15," which logically, was recorded in fifteen days. The set featured "Out Of Line," "Onset" and the AC/DC influenced anti-war track "Broken Glass."
Motley Crue's '08 Cruefest tour featured Buckcherry along with Papa Roach, Sixx: A.M. and Trapt. Next on tap for Buckcherry was a co-headlining trek with Avenged Sevenfold but M. Shadows' strained vocal chords (which had already caused A7X to cancel shows) forced the group to miss the first leg of the tour. Still, Buckcherry went out with Shinedown and Saving Abel in support.
Days later, Buckcherry's fourth album, "Black Butterfly," was released. The follow-up to their platinum-certified '06 set, "15," was named after a song that didn't make it on to the album. "In the big picture of the record that piece just didn't seem to fit," explained Nelson. "We loved it and certainly it will see the light of day at some point."
"Black Butterfly" debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 and at #1 on the Rock Albums chart. Buckcherry later opened for KISS on the latter's North American tour. Then the band recorded their first live album, "Live & Loud 2009" which was recorded at stops on their Canadian tour.
It's not often Rock musicians are associated with literary works but bassist Jimmy Ashhurst, in the band since '05, was referenced in Paul Miles' '10 book Sex Tips from Rock Stars, which publisher Omnibus Press called "the world's first extensive study of Rock stars concerning sex, in which many of music's most celebrated Rockers share their dos and don'ts on a long list of sexual topics."
Returning to music, Buckcherry released their fifth studio album, "All Night Long," later that year. The title track lead single was available as a free download to fans.
The album debuted at #10 on the Top Billboard Top 200 Album chart and was the #1 Rock debut. The title track single peaked at #9 on the Mainstream Rock radio chart.
Following the two month Jägermeister Music Tour with Hellyeah and All That Remains, Buckcherry contributed "Wherever I Go," for the Avengers Assemble soundtrack. One reviewer called it the worst song on the soundtrack.
While probably not the reaction they were hoping for, Buckcherry kept moving forward releasing their sixth album, "Confessions" in '13. The set contained the single "Gluttony."
2001 Time Bomb
2008 Black Butterfly
2010 All Night Long
You'll have to look long and hard to find a better debut than Buckcherry's. It Rocks. Todd and Nelson are an awesome team who interact and drive each other just the way a vocalist and guitarist should. The AC/DC influences are there but not overbearing. Buckcherry is on its own trajectory. Aside from the tracks listed above, "Crushed" is another standout. Though poorly received, sophomore album, "Time Bomb" is nearly as good.
If Buckcherry was out to dispel any "Time Bomb" doubts, they succeed quickly and powerfully with the opening tracks on "15." "So Far" is L.A. Punk, pure and simple. "Next 2 You" has infectious vocal breaks and a hypnotic backbeat. Then there's "Out Of Line" which could have fallen straight out of the AC/DC songbook. The album slows down a bit for the sincerely apologetic "Sorry" which is naturally followed by the totally unrepentant "Crazy Bitch." Surprisingly, the dobro and Bluegrass touches on "Brooklyn" work. Wouldn't think a song about a NY burg would lend itself to a melodic strum and twang but it does. Returning to their core strength, Buckcherry close the set with a real kicker, "Broken Glass."
"Too Drunk" from "Black Butterfly" is not a song you want blasting out of the car speakers when pulled over by the cops at 2 AM. But then, you're probably going down anyway - might as well do it big. "Too Drunk" (the title says it all) is one of those songs that is guaranteed to rile anyone with even a peripheral belief in decorum and common sense. That alone makes it the perfect party anthem.
"Black Butterfly" could be called "15: The Sequel." Todd's lyrics cover the usual turf (sex, more sex and getting/being wasted), though he tries for a profound moment here and there. And just to make sure nobody has an excuse to pass on this album there's the power ballad "Dreams."
"All Night Long" opens with the title track which could pass for an AC/DC cut (still bowing to the Aussie Rockers)- a good one at that. Then Buckcherry lifts a Zeppelin riff for "It's A Party." So far, so good.
Following the power-ballad "These Things," the band hits their pseudo-80's mark with the strutting "Oh My Lord," "Recovery" and "Never Say Never." "I Want You" and "Liberty" are OK but they aren't in the same league as the closers "Our World," "Bliss" and "Dead."
When is a concept album not a concept album? When it's "Confessions."
The "Seven Deadly Sins" are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Each of the sins is the title of a track on "Confessions." Far and away, the best 'sin' is the swaggering "Greed." But those songs only account for half the album. The Mars Volta could have taken the "Seven Deadly Sins" theme and turned it into a double set.
The concept gets stretched with the potent "Seven Ways To Die," power ballad "The Truth," and the ordinary "Nothing Left But Tears." But "Dreamin' Of You," an acoustic ballad with strings, is simply out of place as are the songs "Air" and "Water."