Why did you choose to put out your first live album Live & Loud 2009 at this point in your career and what can we expect from it?
Keith Nelson: This is the first time that we’ve ever had the opportunity to do it in the way that we wanted to do it. Luckily we are back with Eleven Seven Music and there was no reason not to do it. We wanted to have an accurate representation of what a night out at a Buckcherry show is all about. We recorded six Canadian shows this spring and listened back to what we had and we put together the songs giving fans what a typical night was like with us.
Josh Todd: We have a reputation for putting on a great live show. We recorded a week of shows and selected the best from them. From a live record standpoint, we’ve listened to a lot of live records and ours is definitely is up there with other great live albums in terms of sound quality and vibe. We wanted to capture what this band is all about live. There are imperfections and there are extended songs, and it’s a very cool experience and I think everybody’s going to enjoy it.
Buckcherry has so much going on in September with the enhanced edition of Black Butterfly, Live & Loud 2009 and the KISS tour kicking off. When will you start work on a new album? Do you have songs written?
Keith Nelson: We don’t really have a timetable as much as we’ve got a bunch of great ideas that we’re kicking around and we’re very excited about writing new material. But right now I think our focus is on the tour ahead. But you will most likely hear something new from us next year.
What can you tell us about “Highway Star” which is on the enhanced edition of Black Butterfly?
Josh Todd: We recorded a cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” for NASCAR and that hey made their theme song for the year. We got such great feedback on it and we don’t do many cover songs. So we kind of cut the song up a bit and put our own little touch on it and it now sounds like a Buckcherry song. We thought it would be cool to release an enhanced version of Black Butterfly and put the song on there so everybody had it. The song sounds so good with all the other songs - like it belonged there from the beginning.
How would you explain the success you’ve had with Black Butterfly compared to previous albums?
Keith Nelson: I think there was ten years of really hard work leading up to it and that really set the stage for the success of that coupled with the fact that we’ve toured relentlessly. So, you know, one thing about this band is we’re going to be in your town sooner or later, and we’re 182 shows deep touring on that record alone. So I think that our work ethic and sincerity and the fact that there isn’t really anyone else in the marketplace doing what we’re doing quite the way we do it. I think that we have something really unique.
How would you describe the partnership and cohesion and connection between you and Josh?
Josh Todd: Keith and I are opposites in a lot of ways and when we get together, it just works. He fills up all the things that I can’t do and vice versa and when we make music it’s just a really, really good fit. We found that really early on when we first met – even before we formed the band. In the beginning we started writing songs with just a drum machine in my apartment and we figured out back then that there was a spark, there was something going on there. And that’s what led us to start the band, and the rest is history. And we just keep getting better and better and better at understanding each other in terms of what we can bring to the table as far as songwriting. Sometimes we can just look at each other and we know like if something is working or not in a song.
It’s great that the band is involved with the Child Help charity. Will you continue to be involved with them?
Josh Todd: We would love to do another benefit show for Child Help because it is such a worthwhile cause. We raised and donated $10,000 to them, and doing more is definitely on our radar.
It’s been a while since you first toured with KISS. How much has the band changed and matured since that first tour with them?
Keith Nelson: Not only has the band matured, we’ve got three different members since that time. When we toured with them in ’99 we were a new band who had just finished our first record and hadn’t even released it yet. Now, we’re four records deep into our career and can play a bunch of material fans will be familiar with. And I think that we’re about 700 to 800 shows better than the last time we played with them. With our current lineup, there’s a level of musicianship that’s definitely a few steps up and I think there’s a level of maturity and camaraderie that just wasn’t really apparent early on and I think we’re better for it and I’m really happy with the place that we’re in.
Is there pressure playing with a legendary band like KISS?
Josh Todd: I don’t think we feel pressure, I think it’s more excitement. We’re just excited to be able to join forces with them again with all this experience that we’ve gained over the years. And we just think it’s going to be a monstrous rock show because we already know what they bring to the table and we learned a lot from that over the years. Fans are definitely going to get their money’s worth, it’s going to be awesome.
When on tour with KISS, are you going to come out and jam with Paul and Gene?
Keith Nelson: If asked to, I will do everything including don the platform shoes. I’m not afraid.
Josh Todd: We did a full tour with KISS on our first record, playing 24 shows in Europe with them and we didn’t get asked to do something on stage with them. I don’t know if they’re the jamming type of band.
Why tour with KISS?
Josh Todd: The reason we’re touring with Kiss is because we want to be involved in events and this is a huge event. KISS has been doing their thing for 35 years and in rock and roll and that’s impressive for anybody to do especially in this time. They broke a lot of rules and we love that and they stuck to what they love to do and that’s important to us. Plus we’re huge KISS fans and they put on an incredible show and we want to be a part of that.
How was KISS an influence at all on your becoming musicians?
Josh Todd: I like their simplicity and how they wrote their songs, simple hooks and not too much cluttered up stuff in their music as far as instruments or, added harmony or anything like that. It was just straight up rock and roll. And that’s what we’ve pretty much been our whole career as well. We kind of stick to the plan of less is more. It’s not easy to do and they did it really well. And on top of it, their imaging was something that no one had been doing, and it was incredible.
Do you think KISS belong in the Hall of Fame?
Josh Todd: Hell yes.
Keith Nelson: Absolutely. They have outlasted everybody except the Rolling Stones at this point and they took the commercial art of rock and roll to a new level that I don’t think anyone has even come close to what those guys have done. I think they absolutely belong in the Hall of Fame.
With your Madison Square Garden show coming up, is there anything special about going back to New York playing on that stage?
Keith Nelson: Madison Square Garden is the Holy Grail of rock and roll stages. It’s something that you just dream about. It will be our third time on the stage but the first time with KISS and it’s the cherry on top of the sundae.
We know that Detroit is hallowed ground for KISS. What does playing Detroit mean to Buckcherry?
Josh Todd: We’ve had so many historical shows in Detroit. We got to play with Iggy Pop at the State Theatre there and we’ve had so many great nights playing for rock and roll fans there. We’re so excited to be able to go there with this monster rock and roll show. It’s going to be incredible. And we’re happy we get to play Cobo Arena before it gets torn down.
Is this tour with KISS going to be the last leg of touring you do for Black Butterfly?
Keith Nelson: That’s still to be determined. By the time we’re done with this tour we’ll be well over 200 shows in support of this record. So I think we’re all kind of curious as to what’s going to happen in 2010.
After this tour is done, are there other projects that you’re looking to work on?
Josh Todd: We’re working on a project that we’re kind of keeping secret right now but it’s definitely going to be a departure from what we do and it’s coming out really great. The only hint I’ll give is that it’s music.
Keith Nelson: You’re just going to have to be patient on this one.
How do you feel about KISS not touring with all four original members? They have Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer now?
Keith Nelson: Well, I mean, you’re speaking to two guys that know what it’s like to try to keep a band together and have it kind of have some of the hubcaps fall off. I absolutely respect the tenacity and the longevity of that band. And you never know what goes on behind closed doors, you never really know the reason why those two guys aren’t there. And who are we to say? I’m just glad that they’re out there doing the music and, you know, keeping KISS alive.
Josh Todd: Yes both those guys are great players so I’m sure it’s going to be a tight, powerful rock and roll show machine.