Buckcherry, a rock ‘n’ roll band best known for cocaine and crazy bitches, got serious on its 2013 release, “Confessions,” a concept album based on the Seven Deadly Sins. But the fun is back on its latest offering, an EP titled simply “Fuck.” All six songs have that popular four-letter word in their titles, including the first single, a rocked-up cover of the ubiquitous Icona Pop hit “I Love It,” rechristened “Say Fuck It.” The band is starting the promotion of the new release with a stint headlining the second stage of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival, which also features Godsmack, Seether, Skillet and many more. When the tour came through Camden, New Jersey, Live Metal’s Greg Maki sat down with guitarist Keith Nelson to talk “Fuck” and more.
LIVE METAL: You’re out on the Uproar tour. How has it been going so far?
KEITH NELSON: The tour’s been great, man. A lot of great bands, a great event for the fans. It’s been really good.
Are there bands you weren’t familiar with that you’ve had a chance to check out and have impressed you?
Sons of Revelry has been a really nice surprise. I really wasn’t that hip to those guys, but they’re a great band. They go on in the afternoon. Great rock ‘n’ roll band.
How do you like playing out on the outer stage?
Any stage is fine for us. We’ve been in so many different situations over the years, and this is one of ‘em.
I like the outer stage better. The fans get closer.
It’s working out really good for us. We’re reaching a lot of people, the new songs are going over really well, and we’re having fun.
Speaking of the new songs, how did you decide to do the cover song, the new single?
(Vocalist) Josh (Todd) had heard that song—everyone on the planet has heard that song—but Josh was really the one that kind of came to me and said, “I think we can really make this our own and put our own spin on it.” I was reluctant at first, I will admit. But then we just kind of reworked it, threw some guitars at it, Josh fucked with the lyrics a little bit (laughter), and we got the version that you have now. It’s been great for us.
The new EP is lot of fun, kind of lighthearted.
Yeah. We take not taking ourselves seriously, very seriously. So to do something fun and irreverent, there’s no deep meaning behind it. It’s just having some fun with one of those words that you’re not allowed to say and really just having some fun. We made such a serious record on the “Confessions” record, so it was nice to mix it up and just have some fun.
Yeah, I was going to ask if it was a reaction to doing “Confessions.”
I don’t think consciously. There was so much going on when we were making that record, behind the scenes with a lot of us personally; business-wise, there was a lot of upheaval going on behind the scenes; Josh writing these lyrics about some really heavy stuff in his life. I really felt challenged to make the music of the “Confessions” record match the emotional weight that the lyrics were conveying. So the whole thing was just heavy. There was not a lot of feel-good moments on the “Confessions” record, which was a turn for us, because we’re pretty loose, lighthearted guys. So it was fun to just blow it out on this one.
To get more serious like that, was that difficult for you?
No. That’s always been there in moments on our CDs. I think if you look at every record we’ve made, there’s always those more introspective moments, but to do a whole concept around the sins and the suicide and all the feelings around that—At some point on every record, we’ve been like, “All right, we need to just let it all out and have some fun.” And we didn’t do a lot of that on the “Confessions” record.
You put the new EP out through your own label (F-Bomb Records). How did that affect things?
We’ve been making records for a long time, and we’ve been in every possible scenario, from major label, very expensive, big record deals to indie label to another indie label. When we did the “15” record, the person that managed us at the time used that record to launch his own record label, and we had a lot of success with that record.
We’ve just watched so many people do this record business thing, and we’ve been in the business for so long that it was just really the time for us to step off that cliff and say fuck it and try to do it ourselves and use the experience that we’ve gained over the years. I think if you’re gonna be successful in this business—and what I mean by successful is just sustaining being relevant in the marketplace—unless you’re completely tuned out, you learn some things as you go. And we’ve learned a lot about the record business. We’re not experts at it, we have so much to learn, but we looked at some of the people around us and some of the deals that we were being offered and how records were being put out, and we’re like, I think we can do at least that good, and maybe not make some corporation a bunch of money. Maybe we can actually use that to fund our touring and facilitate prolonging our career.
Is this something you see continuing going forward?
I think so. I think it’s also a good excuse for us to make records more often. My goal would be to not wait two years to put out records, but to do them more frequently and have more control over how they’re put out. Now, it’s all in-house. I produced this record, and we did it on our record label. The responsibility and the credit lies solely with the band and our mechanism. We have a great management team that works really closely with us and kind of acts as our people on the ground for the record label.
You’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of this band.
(laughs) Yeah, I met Josh in 1996, and it will be 20 years.
What would you have said back then if someone had told you that 20 years later you’ll still be doing it together?
I wouldn’t’ve believed it. Man, when we started out, we were both working shitty day jobs and just dreaming about that and writing songs after work, trying to find band members. Just getting in a van to tour was a really huge deal. So to be doing it almost 20 years later is pretty surreal.
You’ve accomplished a lot in that time, and you’re still going. Do you have any goals going forward, things you still want to do?
I was just talking to (drummer) Xavier (Muriel) about this the other day. Sustained success often feels like failure, but really, when you think about it, we’re still doing it. And that right there is the success of the whole thing. So just to be able to keep doing it is really the goal: Make music that’s relevant to people, that still moves people.
What’s next after this tour?
We’re gonna do a lot of North America, some Canada. We’re going over to Japan in December. We’re looking at South America again. We’ve been very fortunate in that we’ve toured so much that we can pretty much go all over the world at this point. So Europe, Australia, Japan. We’re gonna be everywhere.
What’s been your favorite place to play?
I love touring the United States. Region to region across the world, fans are really a lot different. They get their music differently. Traditionally, fans in Europe don’t get their music from radio. They get it through press and the Internet. You tend to find when you get out of the United States, people are familiar with not just the hits that they’ve heard on the radio, but they go deep into your catalog. So we can be in Brazil playing for 4,000 people and they know the album tracks. It’s pretty awesome.
It must be fun getting to play some different songs.
It is. We switch the set up every night. We’re one of those bands that doesn’t have to rely on the computer running behind us with backing tracks. We switch songs mid-set if we want. We play different songs every night, and we go deep into the records. It’s a lot of fun.
Anything else you want to say?
The “Fuck” EP is out. We are on Twitter at @buckcherry. We are on Facebook. We are on Instagram at buckcherryworldwide. And we’re always updating it, we’re always tweeting and putting stuff up there. We have a really awesome thing that we did starting a few months ago with PledgeMusic. If you go to PledgeMusic.com/Buckcherry, we did six cover songs of our favorite songs, and we’re releasing one a month. You can go to PledgeMusic, and you can buy those songs; you’ll get one every month. You can also buy different upgrades from that—everything from signed lyrics sheets and drum heads to taking a motorcycle ride with me or going go-kart racing with Josh, dinner with the band, bowling with the band. You can do all kinds of stuff.