Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Keith Nelson (of Buckcherry) Interview

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Buckcherry hit the top of mainstream rock charts with its single “Lit Up” in 1999 but failed to follow the single and album up with anything that brought much mainstream attention. Shortly after the release of the band’s 2001 album entitled Time Bomb the band broke up, with lead singer Josh Todd pursuing a solo career and the other members in disarray. When sparks surrounding the possibility of a new Guns N’ Roses-based supergroup started flying, word began circulating that Todd would be the lead-singer for the group that eventually became Velvet Revolver. As time went on it Scott Weiland would prove to step into the position; the result, an unhyped Josh Todd solo album that failed commercially and a hugely successful Velvet Revolver album. With that Todd reunited with Keith Nelson, who had previously played live with the pre-Velvet Revolver project, resolved a list of friends that the two would like to play with and reformed an updated Buckcherry. In this interview guitarist Keith Nelson discusses the formation of the new group, modern rock bands and playing with The White Stripes’ Jack White.

What are the main creative differences between the current line-up and the band’s original line-up?

Keith Nelson: I think the thing about the new line-up that most influences the creative aspects are not musical at all. This is really a band of five creative guys that are great friends, beyond music. Having said that, it’s the friendship and camaraderie that creates and environment for great music. The free-flow of ideas and creativity, and ultimately a body of work we’re all involved in and excited about.

How did Xavier, Stevie and Jimmy come into becoming members of the band?

Keith Nelson: They were all, in some way, a friend of Josh or myself or both. The choices were obvious, and we put this band together on paper before we played a note together…kinda like, “If we could put anyone at all in this band, who would it be…?” The chemistry was there at the first rehearsal.

What separates Buckcherry from its contemporaries now as opposed to when the band first broke?

Keith Nelson: I think most musicians today don’t really do the history lessons with regard to rock and roll, and they should. This was way more evident when we first got together, so it’s nice to see a few bands around that you can tell have record collections. Most of the time, unfortunately, they only go as far as copying someone’s hairstyle, but at least it’s a start. If you’re in a band and you can’t follow the “family tree,” limb by limb, from what you hear on the radio today to Robert Johnson, Son House, even Bo Diddley and Little Richard…you’re really missing the boat. I think this band has a great reverence for where this rock and roll thing came from, and the great challenge is to make all those influences our own and end up with something that defines us as unique. When the band first “broke” Fred Durst ruled the airways, now it seems like it’s Tool, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, AFI and My Chemical Romance. We’re in much better company.

Looking ahead to the future what groups are out there that you’d most like to play with?

Keith Nelson: So many. For so long I just hated what I heard on the radio, but now it seems like there is hope! All the bands I just mentioned would be great to play with. Anything Jack White does is cool with me, too. Maybe he and I could cut heads one of these days.

Are there any modern influences that are showing up in the band’s latest album?

Keith Nelson: We tend to create in a bit of a vacuum, at least I do. I wasn’t much concerned with what anyone else was doing, it’s really a matter of getting the songs in your head to magically come out of the speakers.

Which bands in the L.A. scene are emerging as the most talented and are you working with any standouts?

Keith Nelson: Is there an LA Scene? The last thing I do when I’m home in LA is go anywhere near a “scene.” But, the Bangkok 5 are from LA and I like them a lot. I really liked Chelsea Smiles, but I heard they were no longer, which is too bad. A cool band. The nice thing about being on tour is getting to see more of what’s going on outside of LA, which is usually far more interesting. A lot less posing and a lot more music. Blackberry Smoke, Nonpoint, Supagroup…a few of the bands that we’ve seen out here that are doing their own thing and do it well.

Right now I’m not working with anything outside of this band. The touring schedule has been hectic for the last seven months and there is no end in sight. I am looking forward to working with some other artists but that’s all on the back burner right now. Call me in a year when the bus stops.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]