Interview: Buckcherry – Keith Nelson and Stevie D.
Buckcherry have hit the road in support of their latest album, Confessions. The band landed in Jacksonville for the Welcome to Rockville festival and despite some sound issues early in the set, had the crowd rowdy and rocking throughout the show. Guitar Trump caught up with guitarists Keith Nelson and Stevie D. backstage before their set to talk about what is new in the world of Buckcherry.
Keith, you’re a founding member of Buckcherry and Stevie, you came in later. Can you tell us a bit about the formation of Buckcherry and then how Stevie came to be part of the band?
Keith: Sure. Buckcherry started in the mid 90s when I met Josh through a tattoo artist friend of ours. We were just local Hollywood guys who put a band together. Our common bond was a few bands that Josh and I both liked. We made a couple of records and then fell apart. I kind of think of it as a false start. Josh and I were kind of left holding the bag. So, we took a few years off and then Josh and I started talking about putting the band back together. Stevie was friends with both of us actually.
Stevie: In their hiatus Keith and I almost started our own band. I actually rehearsed with another band right next to the Buckcherry rehearsal room.
Keith: Stevie was running this quiet conspiracy of actually getting the band together.
Stevie: It was all part of my diabolical plan!
Keith: He would go over to Josh’s house and say, “Keith really missed you.” Then he would come to my house and say, “Josh really misses you.”
Stevie: But it was the truth.
Keith: So one thing led to another and I actually ended up speaking to Josh, and when we started talking about putting the band back together one thing that was really important to us was that everyone was a good musician and everything, but we really wanted to get guys around us that were kind of in the same headspace. I had no idea that 9 years later we would still be here doing this.
Stevie: It was really an honor because at the time Buckcherry were still the kings of Los Angeles. So to get that call….
Was there any trepidation on your part?
Stevie: Well, you know, for me I was already a hired gun for a long time, and I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I was about to hang it up. Keith gave me a call, and he told me it had to be fun. It would be with a bunch of guys that he knew personally. They had their pick of the litter in Hollywood so it was an honor to get the call.
What was the writing process for Confessions like?
Keith: Most of the songs start off as really simple ideas. I’ll come up with a little piece of music, or I will get Stevie or Jimmy up to the house and they will come up with a piece of music, and before we really get it too far down the road we make a quick demo of it and we send it over to Josh. If he can kind of get a chorus going then we will take it from there to the five of us all playing it together. When the five of us start to play the song then it starts to take shape and evolve when everyone puts their little stamp on it.
Can you tell us a little bit about your gear, what you use, or any guitar collections?
Stevie: Live gear its Marshall JCM 800 amps. I run two of those. My main guitar has been a Gibson SG. I have used a few Les Paul’s throughout time, but usually a ’61 re-issue SG. In assorted colors.
Keith: Live for me is the 4 input Marshall usually at 50 watt and an AC 30. I’ve been playing the Dr. Z Z wreck as well. I run the two amps together all the time. Guitars: It is usually a Les Paul with the occasional Telecaster thrown in there. The Zemaitis guitar company has been very good to me, and I love their guitars, so I use their stuff as well. In the studio is actually a lot more simple than people might think. We tend to have like one or two guitars we go to for our main sounds. We have two amps set up and my rhythm guitar comes out the left and Stevie’s come out of the right. I usually play and old Les Paul and on this record there was a lot of Rickenbacker for the extra parts.
Stevie: In the studio the guitar I used for rhythm parts was a JTM 50 watt and then for solos it was a 310 Bandmaster. It’s pretty simple. Sometimes a Strat.
What about any collections?
Stevie: Let me go first! He can go on all day. I just got rid of a ’61 SG. My real favorite is a ’68 SG, but I don’t take it out with me because there is not a nick on it.
Keith: It’s not a secret that I am a fucking gear maniac. Getting a ’59 Les Paul, an original ’59 Sunburst Les Paul, really kind of chilled me out on all the gear because once you get one of those and you play one, it really removes the search. I am quite happy with that and it gets played 99 percent of the time I am in the studio. I found my guitar and there you have it.
Can you tell us about the movie you guys are writing?
Keith: In the course of writing this record we started putting together some songs and we realized that Josh’s lyrics really had this cinematic quality about them. We had also been talking about doing a concept record on the seven deadly sins. All of these ideas were kind of floating around the room, and after Stevie and I were hanging out one day he said that Josh should write a movie. So we told Josh he should think about writing a movie to go along with these songs. Josh had been working on a screen play based on his life. He decided to put it all together and tie the sins in to his story loosely based on some events of his childhood and that is how Confessions was born. So, now that the screenplay is written, we are trying to see it through to being made in to a movie.
How did you come up with the idea for the Gluttony video?
Stevie: The Gluttony video, well that was part of the screenplay. The main character is Gilby Stretcher and it is how he deals with the suicide of his father, and it takes him through the seven deadly sins. The video was put together by director Billy Jayne, he did two videos for us. It was a church in North Hollywood. Street Jesus showed up.
What are your favorite albums or biggest influences?
Keith: I think for me that is always changing. I think we are really fans of music. We are either going back in history to find something we missed, or scouring the world for something new that we think is relevant. It is no secret to the guys in the band that I have been on an Eagles kick for the last six months. I’m a little obsessed with Hotel California right now.
Stevie: We were watching the documentary on the Eagles. It is funny that a lot of problems that they had are the same problems that most bands have. But for me the music is always changing too. My go-to album last week would be different than this week. I guess something that has always been a constant would be Led Zeppelin, maybe Zeppelin 4 or Zeppelin 2, or some Hendrix or Highway to Hell, one of those things where it is always a good thing when it is on.
Keith: It wouldn’t be a guitar magazine if we didn’t mention, Vintage Trouble, Blackberry Smoke and what else Steve.
Stevie: I like a new band from L.A. called Goldsboro. That’s the new stuff.