Tue, 12 Aug 2014 14:03:50
"We do what we do," exclaims Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson. "We find a way to connect with people, and that's just so fucking rewarding."
The boys connect like never before on the Fuck EP out August 19 [iTunes link]. This is Buckcherry at their most unbridled, and that's a damn good thing for rock 'n' roll. Revved up with high-powered riffs and unshakable stadium-size choruses, it epitomizes the group's spirit, while delivering some of the best rock songs you'll hear all year. Cut loose and get ready to Fuck...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson talks the Fuck EP and so much more.
The Fuck EP might just be the most rock 'n' roll thing you guys have ever done...
I love this EP because I think it really covers a lot of the bases we touch on. You've got songs like "I Don't Give a Fuck", heavier tracks like "Somebody Fucked With Me", and straight-up rockers like "The Motherfucker". I really like the width of it even though it's only across six songs.
It captures many facets of the band.
Thanks man! There was a mindset going forward with calling the record Fuck and knowing that it would keep us off certain playlists. The attitude was really like, "We're going to do exactly what we want. These are the kinds of records we want to make".
Did you approach it differently as a guitarist? Did you get to do anything you'd never done before, or do you build from the same place?
It feels like it's a natural continuation of where we've been going. I always think, "Simple is best". The longer I play guitar, I'm still searching for things. I'm still trying to improve as a musician, listen to things I haven't listened to, and learn things I might've have said, "I don't really like that about", when I was younger. I have more of an open mind about music in general. It's opened some doors in songwriting, guitar playing, and record making.
Is there anything you've been listening to lately that you might not have listened to in the past?
I went back and revisited a bunch of music from Cheap Trick and Tom Petty for songwriting to Van Halen. There was also some music from the eighties. The first Badlands record is one of my favorites. Going back and listening to that, it really rocked me as a kid. I was just getting back to that place.
How did "It's a Fucking Disaster" come together?
I came up with that music. There were some things going on personally that inspired a bit of a blue mood and a sadness. That's where the music came from. I wanted to juxtapose it with something up-tempo and in-your-face. That's where the verse and the chorus come from. Our songwriting process is primarily coming up with music, hoping it will inspire Josh to write lyrics and melodies. I think this is a personal example of that. I gave the music to him, and he really nailed the vibe and the feeling I was looking for. I was hoping the music was getting across.
It's one of your most epic moments.
If you go back to the Time Bomb record, there's a song called "Helpless". We've been coming up with musical ideas like that from the very beginning. We extended that thought with a song like "Cream". Even "Out of Line" goes there a little bit. I like the idea of having a moment where we stretch out and showcase a little of the band's musicality. It's got two guitar solos in it. One of them is really long. Stevie is such a great guitar partner to play with. I like to put in moments we can play harmonies and have fun. If you notice, "It's a Fucking Disaster" slows down and fizzles out. That's the mood I wanted. I wanted it to just slow down, dirge, and grind to a halt. That's where it goes.
The sound you capture production-wise stands out.
I take a lot of pride in trying to make records that aren't the cookie cutter, grid rock records people are making the decisions to make. You can't really program a computer to do that. You can't really fix that. You just have to play it right. Thankfully, this is a band that can actually fucking play. We don't play to tracks live. What you see is what you get. Songs like that really showcase it.
Was "Somebody Fucked With Me" a riff you had for a while?
That was a riff I had been fucking around with. Initially, we were going to do that song in Spanish, and it was going to be called, "Chinga Te" [Laughs]. We thought it would be more fun if it was actually in English. Josh came up with those lyrics, and I was like, "Holy fuck, this is really over-the-top". He captures that angst-y feeling a lot of us have had growing up. It feels like someone is always fucking with you. He nailed it. We started playing it live, and people are moving to it!
If you were to compare the EP to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Scarface is a good reference, because that was the record-holder for the most "fucks" in a movie for a long time. There are moments of Apocalypse Now in there or any good Martin Scorsese movie.
"Say Fuck It" seems like it's really gone over well live.
"Say Fuck It" has gotten such a ridiculous response. I was the one skeptic on the song. I thought, "Let's do it, but I don't know about it". Then, we started playing it, and I was like, "Holy fuck". It's a ballsy move for sure. I'm a believer. I love the song.
Are you looking forward to the Rockstar UPROAR Festival?
I really enjoy playing festivals with other bands and getting to hang out with guys from different bands and seeing what they're up to. The beauty of it is none of them are the same. There are a lot of different flavors on this tour, and I think it will be really great for the fans. They're getting a lot of music.
What's your favorite Les Paul?
I will never understand mail-order guitar buying. Every guitar is so different. They can come right off the assembly line next to each other. One can have a certain thing, and the next one doesn't. I've got to play it. It has to be done. For the non-guitar players, Gibson made the Les Paul starting in 1952. In 1959, they made the Gibson Les Paul Standard. It's one of the most collectable guitars because of it's rarity and also because of how it feels and sounds. I'm fortunate enough to own one of those from 1959. It's my go-to guitar. It's on every recording. I've been taking it on the road with me and playing it live every night. It's an inspiring instrument. It's really The Holy Grail.
What's your favorite Buckcherry song?
See our "First Reaction" to the EP here!