Buckcherry Interview — Ben Bojanich sits down with Keith Nelson, guitarist of Buckcherry for a face-to-face interview.
Read the transcripts below:
How would you define Buckcherry’s sound?
Keith: I think we’re just a rock and roll band. I think it’s really simple, it’s based on all of our favorite bands; two guitars, drums, bass and a lead singer. It’s pretty simple.
The music industry has changed a lot since the band started. How have you guys adapted to the changing music climate?
Keith: Back when we started in ’95 there were a lot differences. One was that we relied on a major label to give us an opportunity to be successful, bands really depended on a major label to put an album out there, it used to be all about the record, but that’s just one facet of what we do now. Making a record is still really important, but where the album is on the charts isn’t exactly the indicator of success it used to be.
What’s the band’s songwriting process?
Keith: We usually have an idea starting with Josh or myself, whether it’s an idea Josh has lyrically or some chords I have that he puts lyrics to. The other guys are involved in the songwriting too, basically we all end up in a room together throwing ideas around and that’s where the song comes together.
Does the band feel stronger now since you reformed in 2005?
Keith: Absolutely. The old band, while it was successful, it always felt like we were forcing a square peg into a round hole. This lineup with these guys, it’s like five best friends in the same band, we hang out a lot when we’re not on the road or playing, it really gels in a way the old band never did.
Tell me about the new single “All Night Long”
Keith: It’s the title track off our new album, it came together really simply in my kitchen, I wrote it on an acoustic guitar and switched to the electric obviously. It reminds me of one of those songs that could’ve been on our first record, it really had that spirit about it. It came together really quickly, everybody just kind of fell into place.
Your biggest crossover hit is “Crazy Bitch” how did you feel when it really started to blow up?
Keith: I mean, you gotta remember, at that time, we couldn’t even get a record deal, we put the record out independently. “Crazy Bitch” was a song that Josh and I had written years before that and it never made it onto a record and it almost didn’t make it onto that record either, it was an afterthought. So I was pretty surprised and then it started moving up the charts and more radio stations started playing it and it was a ringtone for so many people. It was definitely a surprise.
What is your favorite song to play live?
Keith: “Lit Up” never gets old. We’ve been playing that for a long time but it gets a great reaction. The songs that I really love are the ones where the crowd participates, obviously “Crazy Bitch” is one of those songs. We have a track off our Time Bomb album called “You” and I really love to play that one as well.
I got a look at your touring rig a minute ago, is it any different from what you use in the studio?
Keith: My studio rig is completely different. Right now I have a Victoria Twin out there and I have a Star amp designed by Mark Sampson who used to work for Matchless. He made me an AC50 clone. I’m a pretty avid guitar and amp collector; the records are made with old guitars and old amps. So it’s not really similar to what I use live at all.
Who were your earliest musical influences?
Keith: The earliest stuff I heard was stuff my parents were playing. My father listened to James Brown, The Four Tops, Sly and the Family Stone, and a lot of country music. So that was the first stuff I gravitated to. Then I got into the stuff that I bought like KISS, AC/DC, The Eagles, Peter Frampton, those are the records that I actually went out and bought.
What was your first guitar?
Keith: My first guitar was a bastardized Fender Telecaster Custom. Someone had painted VanHalen stripes on it. I saw the guitar and it was a Tele so I had to have it. I stripped the paint off of it and painted it black, and that was my first guitar.
So you’re a big Telecaster fan?
Keith: Yeah I’m a pretty big Tele fan.
Can you tell me what it is about Telecasters that draws you to them?
Keith: Well obviously it’s the sound. The Stratocaster bodies are contoured but a Tele body is like a big slab of wood. Something about that feels so substantial when playing it, it just feels right. Think about it, Leo Fender’s design from 1950 still holds up, nothing beats it. Telecasters and Les Pauls are pretty much my guitars of choice.
How do you and Stevie decide who plays the lead parts?
Keith: We usually just fall into it, sometimes I’ll go “dude take that solo”, but for the most part it’s natural. It just usually seems to work itself out.
Do you have similar styles or would you describe them as being complementary?
Keith: They are complimentary and they are different, Stevie is a phenomenal guitar player. He’s way more technical than I am. I tend to play a little slower. Stevie is like a shredder, and I’m more of a… un-shredder (laughs).
Who’s your favorite band to play/tour with?
Keith: We just got done touring with KISS, that did not suck. There’s a lot of new bands out there that have been a lot of fun to play with, the Shinedown guys are a lot of fun, Papa Roach is always a lot of fun to play with. We’ve got some shows coming up with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. It’s a good job man.
What should fans expect from Buckcherry in the future?
Keith: Oh wow, a lot of touring. We’re a live band; we pride ourselves on our live show. Obviously the new record, I’m really proud of the new record, we took our time recording in my personal studio. Instead of recording in two weeks we recorded in three months. From the outset it was a very analog record, even though the final product was recorded using ProTools, there wasn’t editing and computer processing. I really wanted to get that analog warmth that I feel like is missing from modern records.
Head on over to Buckcherry’s official website and order their latest album, “All Night Long“.
Rundown of Keith Nelson’s stage gear
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