The Confessions Of Buckcherry

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When their debut record hit store shelves in 1999, the musical odds were stacked against Los Angeles hard rock band Buckcherry.

As much as many proclaim that rock and roll will never die, the time around the turn of the century was not overly kind to rock bands. N Sync, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears were ruling the charts around the world. Teenage hormones were in overdrive and not for the raw, tattooed likes of Buckcherry.

It wasn’t just the teens who didn’t initially appreciate the group, either. To hear founding member and guitarist Keith Nelson tell the story, adults weren’t all that quick to embrace the group either.

“Rock and roll wasn’t a big commodity when we first got together,” Keith says from a tour stop in North Dakota. “It is a pretty well-known fact that we had a lot of people laughing at us at our first shows in Los Angeles because back then, you just couldn’t be a rock band. You needed some kind of shtick to draw people to your show.

“If you look at the time our debut record came out, we kind of stood out like a sore thumb. The big things at the time were Limp Bizkit and Lilith Fair. There weren’t a lot of calls for dudes in rock bands. It didn’t necessarily deter us, though. Rock and roll is like wearing blue jeans – it is something that will never go out of style. There is ebb and flow to its popularity but there is always going to be a place for it.”

Owing an obvious influence to the time-honoured rock sound of Guns N Roses, Buckcherry’s self-titled debut album, propelled by singles such as “Lit Up” and “For The Movies” became a hit, selling more than half a million records in the United States alone.

Two years later, the group released their sophomore effort, Time Bomb, then landed an opening slot for rock legends AC/DC. But things weren’t all that harmonious within the band and in July 2002, Buckcherry disbanded.

Looking back, Keith says it was probably the best thing for the band at the time:

“There were just so many different forces at work at the time. Not being able to eclipse the success of the first record played into it somewhat but there were a lot of voices telling us that we needed another ‘Lit Up’ on the second record, not understanding that songwriting is the kind of thing that needs to unfold organically.

“There were some members of the band that didn’t get along. Through our own hard-headedness, we had basic alienated ourselves from our record label, some of the people that we worked with. As much as it hurt at the time and as much as it really was a bummer, it made us a stronger band. Had we not gone through those lessons then, we probably wouldn’t be around today.”

If you haven’t already figured it out, Buckcherry’s story has a happy ending. With Josh and Keith remaining at the helm, the group got back together in 2005 with a new Buckcherry band in tow.

In 2006, the group released 15, their third studio effort. Perhaps ironically, the album, driven by the single “Sorry,” would be their biggest release to date.

“Talk about lightning striking twice,” Keith laughs. “We went into making that record with no record deal, no management and no expectations. We just wanted to make a record that we could feel proud of. In our initial discussions, we thought we could maybe get the album released in Japan and tour there a couple of times a year.

“We had a fresh outlook as a band but had the benefit of experience on our side. To some people, we were done. We were getting passed over just because we had this stigma associated with us. There weren’t many people that wanted to get involved with us. But here we are, nine years later and going stronger than ever.”

The group’s most recent effort, last year’s Confessions, was preceded by 2008’s Black Butterfly, Live & Loud (2009) and 2010’s All Night Long. Keith says that the band is already working on new material and is in the midst of making plans for how their next studio album will be released.

“There are a lot of different conversations taking place,” he says. “Do we put the record out on our own label? Do we release an EP instead of a full-length record? We want to take a fresh look at what we are doing and how to get music out to the people. We want to work to stay ahead of the curve as much as we can.

“No matter what though, we just want to keep doing what we are doing. We are a band that believes in writing great songs and putting on a great live show where we are not playing along to backing tracks. We might be considered dinosaurs in a way but people appreciate it and that makes it all worth doing.”

Supporting Buckcherry at Casino New Brunswick will be Hamilton rock band Monster Truck as well as Minneapolis group 3 Pill Morning.

2013 turned out to be a phenomenal year for Monster Truck. In addition to winning the Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the group landed prime opening slots for the likes of Alice In Chains and Vista Chino. Their full-length debut record, Furiosity, debuted in the Top 20 of Canada’s album charts upon release.

Formed in Minneapolis in 2004, 3 Pill Morning’s debut record Black Tie Love Affair reached the No. 62 position on Billboard’s Heat Seekers Chart.

What: Buckcherry, 
with special guests Monster Truck and 3 Pill Morning
When: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
Tickets: $44.99 plus taxes and service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Casino Gift Shop, by phone at 1-866-943-8849 and online at casinonb.ca