15 Label: Eleven Seven Music
ALSO! Check out our interview with frontman Josh Todd.
1999, I remember it well. No, not the Prince record, dummy, I’m talking about the calendar year and the new music therein. While the world was holding out for Axl Rose to change his tampon and finish the forever-delayed Chinese Democracy album with whatever incarnation of Guns n’ Roses he might be able to scrounge up, a pill-popping, booze-guzzling band of renegades hit the same Hollywood strip with a raw fury and guitars-blazing conviction that Axl would’ve murdered for. Buckcherry’s self-titled debut that year, with the pile-driving detonation “Lit Up” (who can forget “I love the cocaine, I love the cocaine”?) single-handedly served a warrant to anyone thinking that rock and roll had died.
Buckcherry’s debut landed such a blow among the hard rock ranks, it earned them an immediate spot that summer at the 30 year anniversary Woodstock concert, alongside industry juggernauts Metallica, Korn and Kid Rock. Then a grinding tour schedule, conflicting personalities, and way too many drugs started taking the inevitable toll on the young start-ups. Rumored splits persisted for two years as the band disappeared from the radar. They finally re-emerged in 2001 to deliver Time Bomb, an accomplished hard rocking treasure in its own right. Over the next several years, however, Buckcherry proved the rumors true, and began fracturing into many pieces. Frontman Josh Todd dragged his wiry, tattoo-rich frame onto a few movie sets (see his classic cameo in “The Banger Sisters” with Goldie Hawn if you ever get the chance), while guitarist Keith Nelson just kept writing and playing. He was recruited by Slash and Duff McKagan at one point to reconstruct G n’ R, a short-lived failed attempt. Nelson also penned a couple tracks for Velvet Revolver’s great debut record a couple years ago.
All the while, Nelson and Todd, the only two remaining original members of Buckcherry, left the door open for a future endeavor as the old band. Last year they enlisted the help of songwriter Marti Frederickson (of Aerosmith fame) and began laying the foundation for what became 15. No clue what the album title represents, but rest assured that within these 11 new tracks lay unwavering proof that the stinky, sweaty underbelly of guitar-fused anthem rock has still not died. From the opening rings of “So Far,” a full-throttle, riff-heavy thrasher that recalls early Black Crowes, to the overwhelming candidate for a single (“Everything”) and the no-holds-barred “Crazy Bitch” (which sports a video that must be seen to be believed!), these songs pack one hell of a wallop. It couldn’t be any more apparent that these guys craft wide-open three-and-a-half minute romps tailor-made for live concert performance. “I didn’t do it for money. I did it all for free / I did it all to fill the fucking hole inside of me,” Todd yowls on “So Far,” as if to say “Don’t call it a comeback, muthafucker!”
Make no mistake about it, friends, this is the kind of disc you want in the car CD player when you and your buddy are killing an hour and a 12-pack on a Saturday night waiting for the club to open. This is the kind of record that summer soundtracks should be based on, and tumultuous romances everywhere will salute the power ballad “Sorry” for its sheer mindlessness and sexy vibe. Is there any such thing as an all-skate at the local roller rink anymore?