Tonight at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET, Yahoo Live will live stream Buckcherry's concert from the Wicked Moose in Rochester, MN. Tune in HERE to watch!
REMIND MESince they entered the music scene in 1999 as cocky, freewheeling rockers singing about cocaine in "Lit Up" and looking like they wanted to follow Guns N' Roses and the band most likely to self-destruct, Buckcherry have dug their own dangerous path of discovery, destruction, and recovery. Between 2002 and 2005, they exploded before reforming under the leadership of vocalist Josh Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson and releasing 15, which featured the raunchy and controversial and "Crazy B---," which turned out to be their most popular song to date.
So it should come as no surprise that for the first release on their own label F-Bomb, Buckcherry have recorded six slabs of confrontational rock 'n' roll, each of which features the F-word in the title and throughout the lyrics. The F--- EP will be available Aug. 19 and Buckcherry plan to play three songs from the release at their Aug. 12 Yahoo Live livecast, including "Somebody F---ed With Me," "I Don't Give A F---" and the first single "Say F--- It," a rocking cover of Icona Pop's hit "I Love It" with a guitar lick that sounds like AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" and some slightly modified lyrics. The band has been playing the song live for months now, and Todd says it receives a stronger response from the crowd than "Crazy B---."
"Doing that song was my idea, but I didn't want to make fun of it or anything," he insists. "I love pop music. I'd drive my kids to school every day and I'd hear that song on the radio and that verse always sounded like a punk-rock verse to me. I love taking a song that's not necessarily a rock song and making it our own. I think that's more challenging than rehashing some old rock hit and covering it."
"Just F--- It" sets the stage nicely for the release of the full EP, which despite the gimmicky quality of all that profanity, features some great, gritty rock 'n' roll, from the Rage Against the Machine-meets-Aerosmith propulsion of "Somebody F---ed With Me" to the funky, swaggering, percussion-fueled groove machine of "I Don't Give a F---."
The day before Buckcherry arrived at the Wicked Moose in Rochester, Minnesota, to perform a livestreaming concert, Yahoo Music talked to Todd about the motivation behind Buckcherry's EP, the recording process, what some of the songs are about, the freedom of owning one's own label, and what Todd does when his kids drop the F-bomb.
Was the idea to offend behind the F--- EP to offend as many people as possible?
That wasn't the point. It's not about offending anybody as much as celebrating the word. There are so many ways to use the word. We wanted to capture that on an EP and not hold back or censor anything. We're big fans of the movie Scarface and I remember for a long time the movie had the most "f---s" of any movie and I thought that was so rad.
As irreverent as the release is, it doesn't seem like a joke.
It's not just some silly rock record. We put a lot of thought into it and the songs definitely have a lot of dynamics. We set out to make a great product and just have fun with it. Our last album Confessions was a huge undertaking. It was a very emotional record, and so the F--- EP was really fun for us. We would come in every two months for a couple weeks and write songs, and we finally came out with a really cool little piece in the Buckcherry puzzle.
By working on it sporadically over many months, did that make the songwriting easier?
We still labored over it. We don't want to put out stuff that's not great. But we didn't overthink it. We're starting our own record label, F-Bomb Records, and this is the first release.
Was there any particular incident that encouraged you to write an EP with this title and use the word in the title of every song? Was it a real middle finger to the music industry?
We were thinking of names for the label and we thought F-Bomb was a great name. But it's not like I had to get this out of my system for a certain reason. We just wanted to put something together that was fun, reckless, and quintessential Buckcherry. There are no rules. We just go out there and have fun. We decided to have a theme to it and the only criteria was to have "F---" in every title of every song. That's as deep as it got.
Did anyone in the band have reservations about covering "I Love It"?
I presented the idea to [guitarist] Keith [Nelson], who's the other main songwriter in Buckcherry. I said, "Dude, hear me out on this. I know it's gonna sound weird at first. But there's this cool pop song and I wanna make it a Buckcherry song and go 'Say f--- it" instead of "I love it.' We can even tie in the 'Crazy B----' hook." He didn't really get it at first, but he saw it all the way through with me, and I think he's glad he did.
How old are your kids?
One is 20, one is 8, and one is 5.
Do your kids get exposed to profanity in the house, or do you draw the line with the younger ones?
I don't swear around them. I keep it clean as best as possible. Occasionally things slip.
What if they swear?
I say, "You can't use that word. That's an adult word. When you're bigger, you can use that word."
They don't get a time-out?
No, not unless they say it in a mean or aggressive way, and that hasn't happened.
What is "Somebody F---ed With Me" about?
It's about that moment in time when you kind of lose your innocence and everybody's a little bit full of s---. In every situation, whether it's religion or politics, whether it's in school with authority figures or with your parents, somebody's full of s--- at some point. That was comforting for me to discover as a kid. I wanted to shout it and scream it, so that's one of my favorite songs on the record.
What was the worst incident as a kid of someone effing with you?
I grew up around a lot of dysfunction. My grandfather used to make me go to church on Sundays and at a very early age I would get up in the morning on Sundays and debate the Bible with him. I'd break it all down and not believe it. Nothing made sense to me — the Heaven and Hell and a punishing God. I asked my grandfather who wrote the Bible and how could it be the word of God. That's one of the things that really bothered me as a kid. Because I'd see everybody's actions around the community and they'd go to church and act all fake.
Is "The Motherf---er" about someone in particular?
No, it's about all the negative f---in' s---heads out there that want to take you off your throne, discourage you, and take you down. We've had to face a lot of them over the years in our business. We have slayed a lot of dragons just to be able to stay true to what we are, and that's a rock 'n' roll band. It's crazy. We just want to be able to do what we want to do and say what we want to say and go out there and present it the best way we can. And it has been continually tough for us. But at the end of the day it's all those negative f---ers who motivate you to succeed, and that's the way we view it, and we use it as fuel.
Are you talking about all the haters or the people at the record label who have tried to tell you what to do?
It's everything, man. We had to fight for "Lit Up" to be the way it was. The label wanted us to change the lyrics to "I love the Coltrane" or "I love the propane" [instead of "I love the cocaine"]. It got ridiculous and I was like, "No, it changes the whole purpose of the song." The same thing happened with "Crazy B---." And those are just the little things.
Is "It's a F---ing Disaster" about partying too heavily?
Yeah, it's about the disease of drug addiction and alcohol and how, if it's not an asset for you, it's such a liability. The line, "Is this what I'm after?/It's a f---ing disaster/It's another timebomb ticking away," is about all those bad decisions you make when you're under the influence and you just can't seem to figure out how to stop. That happened to me a lot in my life.
You're still sober, right?
I've been sober for 20 years. I lived really fast really young. I started when I was 13, I got loaded until I was 23, and then I got sober.
What triggered the desire to kick the booze and blow? Lots of rockers keep the party raging for decades before they're finally dragged onto Celebrity Rehab.
When my first daughter was born, I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't show up with her and be f---ed-up. I dealt with that in my life and I didn't like it. So I decided that if I could do it for her, that was good enough for me.
"Fist F---" is a pretty naughty title for a song, even on an album which every track features the F-word
I have punk-rock roots and I wanted to make an old-school-style punk-rock song. That song is about the movie Goodfellas. It's about the moment in time when Ray Liotta has got a bad cocaine problem and he's skimming tons of money so the mob is onto him and feds are onto him, and he's out of control. We got Brian Baker from Minor Threat to guest-star on in. It's the first time we've ever had anybody come in and play on our record. All those holes where you hear those guitar leads are Brian Baker.
How'd you get Brian Baker to agree to play on a Buckcherry record? He started out in a straight-edge band, you started out as a toxic basketcase. It seems like you're from two different worlds.
We just reached out to him. We told him what big fans we are of Minor Threat. He's in Bad Religion now, and Bad Religion loves Buckcherry. Brian said they play Buckcherry on the bus. It just worked out. He was totally honored to come down and do it.
Any good stories about hanging out with Brian sipping iced tea?
I just told him how much the Minor Threat album Out of Step meant to me. I was a 15-year-old kid and I just sat and listened to that record from top to bottom and read the lyrics, and I felt like whoever wrote those lyrics knew what I was going through in my life. It really touched me and got me through a lot of stuff. We talked about how short the lifespan of that band was. They were so great and influential, but they were only around for three years. And then we talked about Bad Religion. It was just cool to hang with him.
This EP is the debut release for your label, F-Bomb. Does it feel good to be out of the grips of someone else's record company?
This is the most exciting point in time for our career. We're so hands-on and it's so fulfilling in every way. When you have your own record company, you get to decide exactly where you want to go creatively and get the people involved that you want to work with. And you get to manage the money. It's so much better than being on a major. They basically spend all your money the way they want to and then you've got to recoup it all. And most of the time, you don't even like what they're doing with it. Everything's different now. We could never ever put out a record like F--- anywhere else. No one is putting out rock 'n' roll records anymore from bands that are taking any risks. The only rock records I hear have tons and tons of production and it's very safe and the melodies are regurgitated and sound muddy, like everything else on the radio. We never want to be like that. We always want to do our own thing, and I don't know of any other bands that sound like we do.