Interview & article by Jenna Williams ‘The Scream Queen’
It was around noon on Tuesday, August 15th of 2023, the weather outside was Sunny and slightly humid, and the temperature was beginning to rise. The Southern California Rock ‘n Roll quintet, made up of guitarist Stevie D, guitarist Billy Rowe, bassist Kelly LeMieux, drummer Francis Ruiz, and vocalist Josh Todd, who are all known as Buckcherry, rolled up to the Butler Machinery Arena in West Fargo, North Dakota.
After unloading their trailer, our crew had the pleasure of setting up their stage, which was complete with four amp cabs that said “Buckcherry” in the style of a classic Marshall Amp font, and right below it, painted in white, was “B/C” with a lightning bolt in between the B and C, reminiscent of AC/DC’s iconic logo. During their performance later in the evening, the amp cabs Lit Up, creating a multi-colored rainbow beam that hovered above the dancing and grooving audience.
Buckcherry are currently on tour with L.A. Guns in the United States, celebrating the Summer release of their tenth album, cleverly titled, Volume 10, through Round Hill Records. Volume 10 was recorded at Sienna Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and produced by Marti Frederiksen, who also worked with the band in 2021 for Hellbound, as well as their 2008 Black Butterfly album, and their massive hit song, Sorry, which is from the band’s 15 album in 2006, when Stevie D joined the band. Marti is known for producing albums for Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, and our beloved Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne.
“We had such a good experience reuniting with him on Hellbound, we set aside some days to write & record with him, and we ended up using everything from those sessions. What you’re hearing is what we wrote, recorded, and demoed in ten days,” said Stevie D, as he touched his can of Monster Energy in the luxury trailer parked behind the busses, one of the only quiet places to conduct an interview as the crowd began making their way into the venue.
During the recording process in the mornings, Stevie would grab some coffee, sit down with Marti, and come up with the riffs with the mission in mind to have it demoed and sent off to Josh to write the lyrics before 2PM in the afternoon. One of the main elements Stevie wanted to incorporate for this album, was the sound of what producer Bob Rock did in the 80’s and early 90’s, who’s worked with everyone from Motley Crue, to The Cult, to Metallica.
The very first riff that transpired was for their single, Shine Your Light. A song that came together effortlessly, along with some of their party anthems on the album, Good Time, which he wrote in his hotel room, and Let’s Get Wild, one he wrote in the studio. Feels Like Love is a song he began writing during a soundcheck one day before they went into record the album.
Tom Flynn, who directed the Music videos for Shine Your Light and Summer of 69, also directed the video for Good Time. He came to the band with the storyline idea of having two guys entering an abandoned house that suddenly surrounds them with smoke, and turns into a party where Buckcherry are playing, and the partygoers and band turn into zombies, “it was supposed to be more tongue-in-cheek, not whimsical, but more funny than serious Walking Dead… Like a Bill and Ted go into an abandoned house, they pass out, and then they wake up and there’s this party where the girls turn into zombies and the band turns into zombies. It was good clean fun for the whole family, I had a Good Time.”
Shortly after their load-in was complete, right before LA Guns and Venrez pulled up, Buckcherry stepped on stage to focus on their soundcheck. To our surprise, they began playing Judas Priest’s Electric Eye with Stevie D on vocals. Josh Todd was in the background, behind the amp cabs shadowboxing. “During soundchecks, if there’s time and we get all our stuff dialed in, we like to play this little game on our Facebook broadcast called Butcher The Classics. So, what we do is, without putting the song on, just going by memory… A lot of these we haven’t listened to or much less played, maybe we haven’t played it ever, but we haven’t heard it in maybe 20-30 years. Electric Eye came up today and You Got Another Thing Comin’. Motley Crue comes up quite a bit, we Love those first two albums. We’ll do The Cult, sometimes we’ll do a request. People always request Buckcherry songs, and we do that all the time, we butcher those all the time.”
Buckcherry are no strangers to covering songs, back in 2014 they released their EP of covers titled “Singles Club”, where they created versions of Beast of Burden by Rolling Stones, Rock ‘n Roll Damnation by AC/DC, and Devil Inside by INXS, among others. They also released a version of Head Like a Hole by Nine Inch Nails on their 2019 War Paint album. And one of their most beloved covers is a song called I Love It, originally done by Icona Pop featuring Charlie XCX, however the band changed some of the lyrics and title of the song to “Say Fuck It”, a song they play as an encore during their performances.
Their most recent cover of Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams manifested from Buckcherry playing a show, where Josh told the audience one night that it’s the last song, and asked what they wanted to hear…Stevie recollected how everyone started screaming out for Crazy Bitch, “and one time he just took the piss out of it and said, “what? Bryan Adams, Summer of 69?!” As a joke. I know the song from playing Butcher the Classics, so I went into it, and the rest of the band played it because they remember it, and we played it through a verse and a chorus and stopped. Our manager had heard it and he Loved it.”
Our conversation randomly turned over to one of their most iconic songs that is off their 15 album, titled Crazy Bitch. It is played by cover bands all over the world, especially in bars around North Dakota. When it first came out, Stevie remembers Girls Girls Girls by Motley Crue being the national Strip Club anthem, and then Crazy Bitch took over for a little while. A lot of people have sent videos from all over the world of cover bands playing the song, “It’s taken on a Life of its own. It’s weird, a lot of bands don’t play it right, it’s all right there in the recording, but I think there’s nuances a lot of Rock fans just don’t hear, there’s a big Funk element underneath.” The Funk undertone in the Crazy Bitch riff is inspired by guitarist, Tyree Judie.
Stevie’s sound as a guitarist comes from when he first began learning guitar, he chose the Rock classics to learn from, like Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Angus Young from AC/DC, “I remember as I got to be an older teen, I liked Randy Rhodes, Eddie Van Halen, I even dabbled in listening to Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai, just to round out being a better guitar player. I never really got snobby. I always try to find something great about every guitar player.”
He also shared an experience that helped him round out his sound even more when he was younger, “I got booed off the stage in Chicago when I was about 21, it was a Blues bar. It was because I was trying to shred over a bunch of Blues changes, and I got booed off. So what I did, I was crushed, and I vowed to never play that shreddy stuff again. But I did… But I went back, I started with Stevie Ray Vaughn and then I went backwards. There’s this guy in Chicago named Dion Payton, that was amazing. I found the three Kings, BB King, Freddy King, and Albert King.”
You can catch Buckcherry on their co-headlining tour with Skid Row starting August 31st in Dallas, Texas at the House of Blues. Dates and tickets can be found on their official website!