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- 2Right Now03:35
- 3Head Like A Hole03:59
- 4Radio Song04:42
- 5The Vacuum03:56
- 7Back Down03:40
- 8The Alarm03:14
- 9No Regrets02:55
- 10The Hunger03:33
- 12The Devil's In the Details03:11
Info for Warpaint
Ask Josh Todd about the inspiration behind Warpaint, Buckcherry’s eighth studio album--and indeed, the frontman’s goal in making music--and he’s got a ready response: “I want to connect with people, host the party, and give people a night they’re never going to forget,” Todd says. As he sings in Warpaint’s title track, “I wanna have fun blowing out your eardrums keep it rocking state to state.” The Los Angeles-based lineup has been doing exactly that since the 1999 release of their self-titled album. Hits including “Lit Up,” “For the Movies,” “Crazy Bitch” and “Sorry,” not to mention Grammy nominations, international touring and Platinum sales, have solidified Buckcherry’s rock ‘n’ roll bona fides. Warpaint, produced by Mike Plotnikoff (Halestorm, All That Remains), with a March 8, 2019 release date, adds to that impressive legacy, boasting the dynamics and immediacy of the band’s incendiary live show, coupled with Todd’s personal, no-holds-barred lyricism.
Recorded at West Valley Recording Studios with Plotnikoff, who also helmed the band’s 15 album, Todd’s goal for Warpaint was for it to be “sonically current. We didn’t want it to sound retro.” Going into the studio in late 2018 with an arsenal of 30 songs written by Todd and guitarist Stevie D., the band worked around the clock for several weeks to capture the energy of the 11 cuts ultimately chosen for Warpaint. The first single, “Bent,” is anthemic but raw, with big drums and even bigger guitars. And, of course, Todd’s relatable, agro lyrics, as he snarls: “the chaos always turns to rage and now I feel so alone and I’m always insane,” before ultimately “breaking all the rules” and emerging as triumphant and “bulletproof” as the song itself.
Todd and Stevie D. had written together on a few side projects prior to Warpaint: An electronic EP for the Spraygun War project, and songs for Josh Todd and the Conflict. “So when we came to the table for a new Buckcherry album, we were in full song. It was a great foundation to launch this great record,” Todd explains. Following the 2015 release of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Todd was faced with issues “both business and personal. And I’ve grown a lot. I can’t say that it’s been joyous. But any time that happens, I get to a new level, and expressing it through song is something I’ve done my whole life.”
The lyrics of “Right Now” speak to Todd’s goal of living in the moment. “There is no past and there is no future… If you really think about that, it’s heavy,” he says. While rock ‘n’ roll is a spiritual catharsis, the singer also works to stay in that state offstage. “I’m coming up on 24 years of sobriety. I meditate 45 minutes a day, and I focus on the now. So much of society is really ‘contempt prior to investigation,’ and I try to be present and non-judgmental and not come from a place of resentment. So many of the songs on Warpaint reflect that.”
The tune “Warpaint” is about Todd’s own heavily tattooed warrior self—but also much more than that. “When I was a little kid I was fascinated with Native Americans and warpaint. People paint themselves or tattoo themselves to not only show up for battle, but to mark really amazing times in their lives. It’s a celebration. I like people who cut off the lifeboat and go for it, and not look back. I feel Buckcherry is that band. It represents perseverance and passion, and not censoring yourself. Sometimes it’s worked for us and sometimes against us, but we always put our best foot forward.”
Buckcherry is the rare band whose talent has allowed them to get away with using F-bombs in their biggest radio hit—‘Crazy Bitch.’” Yet Todd didn’t hesitate when it came to looking at all sides during the creation of Warpaint. “I don’t censor myself when I write,” he understates. “I use profanity in my everyday life and it’s all around me, and us. So, on this record, I looked at all my lyrics, and if I felt swearing might be overdone, I changed it. But if it was needed, I left it, because, ultimately, I have to be happy with it.”
Warpaint delivers an aural punch, a refreshing boldness even on the ballads, and stellar lead guitar work (check out the fretwork on “Vacuum”) and the album closes with an unexpected kick. Todd explains: “’Radio Song’ is introspective look at myself my part in things. And ‘No Regrets’ is so heavy for me to listen to. Stevie came in with this music, saying he wanted to write a punky, Social Distortion-type song. It was amazing, so I went back to my 15-year-old punk rock self and what was going on with me. I thought about the independent records I listened to then, and what they meant to me, plus all the dysfunction that was going on in my home when I was growing up. And it all came out of me in this song.”
The raucous “Devil in the Details” ends Warpaint with “a fiery burnout. I like to put songs like that deep on the record so that people who are really into your band--for more than just the single--get to discover something cool. Just a little thank-you for sticking around to the end.”
Then, of course, there’s the wild-card on Warpaint: Buckcherry’s take on Nine Inch Nails’ classic “Head like a Hole. It was just done as a lark, live in the studio, but came out so cool it made the album. “Yeah, it was very organic. I don’t know Trent [Reznor] but I really admire him,” Todd says. “He did his own thing and created a sound for himself--and a brand--and really stuck to it. When I listen to Nine Inch Nails, I admire the honesty, and no rules.”
In fact, those “no rules,” are what he judges Buckcherry by: Is there unbridled, reckless honesty? “That’s what I ask myself when I listen to Buckcherry: Would my teenage self-put a stamp of approval on it? If the answer is yes, I can go out and represent and feel great about it. I want to compete at the highest level,” Todd concludes. “Keep the integrity, but still please people. If you can do that, great things happen. I feel like we’ve done that on this record.”
Josh Todd, vocals
Stevie Dacanay, guitar
Kelly LeMieux, bass
Kevin Roentgen, guitar
Francis Ruiz, drums
Rock and roll should make you want to do a few things. Let Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson explain.
“It should make you want to drive fast, fuck, and dance,” he grins.
On their seventh full-length album, Rock ‘n’ Roll [F-Bomb Records/Caroline], the Los Angeles quintet—Josh Todd [vocals], Nelson, Stevie D. [guitar], Xavier Muriel [drums], and Kelly LeMieux [bass]—staunchly uphold the commandments of rock music with an arsenal of new anthems primed to explode on impact and teeming with riotous energy, sexy swagger, and primal chops intact. It’s something that the boys have done since day one, but it’s more necessary now than ever.
“There’s been so much talk about how rock ‘n’ roll is dead and all of this bullshit,” sighs Todd. “The funny thing is, that’s been going on since we put out our first record in 1999. We wanted to call the new album Rock ‘n’ Roll, because this is what we’ve been doing our whole lives. We focused on making a record that encompasses all of what we are. You get every flavor of Buckcherry.”
2014 saw the group unleash their Fuck EP, the first release for their own F-Bomb Records. Bolstered by the hit single “Say Fuck It,” a sizzling take on Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” the six-song set quickly became a commercial and critical success. Immediately after it impacted, they cut the ten tracks that would comprise Rock ‘n’ Roll, once again produced by Keith Nelson. “This is the best time to be in Buckcherry,” he continues. “We’ve got our own record label, and we’re making all the rules. We had so much fun on the Fuck EP, and it gave us a foundation as far as putting out an album independently. The momentum was so great that we didn’t stop.” They rev up Rock ‘n’ Roll with the propulsive first single and opener “Bring It On Back.” From the jump, a robust guitar groove struts right alongside an unshakable refrain. It’s got the band’s signature hallmarks, but Todd pulled lyrical inspiration from a new source altogether. “When I’m not on the road, I race Go Karts for my hobby,” he says. “The song is really about racing. I had a driver named Kurt Busch in mind when I wrote the lyrics. They call him ‘The Outlaw,’ and he’s a badass. It captures that intensity of racing and the mentality. I love it.” Then, there’s “Tight Pants,” which continues a tradition of seductively slithering rockers, while embracing a funk charisma, boisterous horns, and a swing that would make James Brown proud. “We worked on that the most,” recalls Nelson. “I really pushed to try the horns, and we ended up with this catchy arrangement. That’s ballsy for a rock band to do.” “It’s quintessential Buckcherry,” exclaims Todd. “We love women. They’re a great subject, so that’s what it’s about.”
Elsewhere, the hyper hop of “The Madness” details “struggling with urges and loving things that are bad for you,” while the soaring ballad “The Feeling Never Dies” gave a the frontman an opportunity to collaborate with someone he’d always wanted to—daughter.
“I wrote it to have a song in the house that I could sing with my little girl,” he smiles. “We would just sing it together at the piano. On a whim, I showed it to Keith, and he loved it. We really rounded it out so it’s got this big epic feel.”
Buckcherry have added fuel to the genre’s fire for nearly two decades now. The Grammy Award-nominated multi-platinum outfit is responsible for smashes including “Lit Up” off their gold-certified 1999 self-titled debut as well as “Crazy Bitch” and “Sorry” from 2006’s platinum 15. Along the way, they’ve shared stages with everybody from AC/DC and Mötley Crüe to Slipknot and Rob Zombie as well as festival bills including Bamboozle with Bon Jovi and In-N-Iron, Sturgis, and more.
Ultimately, with Buckcherry at the wheel, Rock ‘n’ Roll is in good hands. “It’s always been about having a good time,” concludes Nelson. “You tune the noise out of your life for 40 minutes and enjoy yourself. That’s why we started doing this in the first place.”
Todd agrees, “Buckcherry fills a void. There aren’t any other records like this in the genre. I hope it can capture a certain time for people. That’s the goal.” — Rick Florino, April 2015
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