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Buckcherry aren’t afraid to push buttons. This is the band that vaulted to stardom on the dangerous and dirty fuel of the 1999 smash “Lit Up” from their gold-selling self-titled debut. Every time it plays to this day, somebody’s clothes come off—and that’s a fact. These are also the boys behind the rousing, raucous, and raunchy “Crazy Bitch” off 2006’s 15, which turned them into a multi-platinum phenomenon and a household name. Lest we forget, 2013’s Confessions, a bold and brave concept album tackling the seven deadly sins and courting controversy head-on with razor sharp riffing and pensive, poetic lyricism. So, it only makes sense that 2014 would see them unleash their most audacious audio statement yet—the Fuck EP.
For years, the band—Josh Todd [vocals], Keith Nelson [guitar], Stevie D. [guitar], Xavier Muriel [drums], and Kelly LeMieux [bass]—wanted to put out an EP.
"We've been throwing around the idea of doing an EP for a long time," says Keith. "Actually, the earliest conversations about Confessions were about doing it as an EP. We didn't make any rules or set any parameters for this. It was nice to make an irreverent, reckless, rock 'n' roll record. To me, it sounds very analog and raw."
Josh explains, “My whole foundation was punk rock records. Growing up in Orange County, I had so many seven inches from Black Flag, The Replacements, D.I., Pillsbury Hardcore, and Crass. Confessions took a lot out of us, and it was an emotional roller coaster. This was the right theme and the right time to do an EP.”
As for the theme itself, it’s something that only Buckcherry could pull off given their unbridled punk ethos and rock ‘n’ roll history. The collection’s six songs pay homage to everybody’s favorite four-letter word.
“We wanted it to be the Scarface of rock ‘n’ roll records,” grins Josh. “It may have been outdone, but Scarface had the most fucks in a movie for a long time. This is a tribute to the word ‘fuck’. There are a lot of different flavors on the EP, and it’s everything we encompass as far as rock ‘n’ roll goes. Over the years, we’ve been told so many times to get away from the honesty that makes this band special. It’s a part of who I am. It’s not about the profanity itself; it’s about using it cleverly.”
Keith adds, "I'm sure we aren't the first band to have the idea of calling a record Fuck. Maybe we're just the first band with the balls to actually follow through with it!"
In between successful tours supporting Confessions, the musicians cut and self-produced what would become The Fuck EP at Nelson’s own home studio lovingly dubbed “The Bastard Ranch”. They also founded their own label F-Bomb Records and partnered with Caroline for distribution, making this their first completely independent release online and physically.
“Now, we have freedom,” says Josh. “This is the template for records to come. Everything has gone back to the independent way of thinking, and we love that! We’re building our own catalog for ourselves and the fans.”
For the first single, Buckcherry amped up Icona Pop’s hit single “I Love It” in their own words as “Say Fuck It”. Sliding from a kinetic guitar line into the punchy and provocative refrain, they deliver another ballsy, bruising, and bona fide anthem. The band debuted the song in late 2013, and it quickly became a live favorite igniting sing-a-longs at every subsequent gig and fanning the fervor.
“I would drive my kids to school, and I’d always hear the Icona Pop song,” recalls the vocalist. “I became such a huge fan of it. I love taking songs you would never think to approach in a rock ‘n’ roll way and making them rock. The verse felt so punk to me. We made it our own.”
"This was totally Josh's idea and a very good one," smiles Keith. "He wanted us to take something no one would expect and make it our own. He tweaked a lyric or two, and we just made a more guitar-driven version. It's just guitar, bass, drums, and vocals."
Meanwhile, the EP opens with the vibrant yet vitriolic “Somebody Fucked With Me”. Its infectious intensity belies another lyrical rumination from Josh though.
He goes on, “There’s a lot of depth to these songs. ‘Somebody Fucked With Me’ is that moment where I was losing my innocence as a kid, and I was figuring out everybody is full of shit. There’s constantly some loophole or some fucking lie we’re being fed in every situation. That was a heavy moment for me. I didn’t like it. There’s always hypocrisy between religion, politics, your parents, and teachers.”
At the same time, “It’s A Fucking Disaster” wraps a massive hook within another expansive soundscape from the band reminiscent of their Top 10 Billboard crossover “Sorry”.
“It asks, ‘When are you going to start making good decisions?’,” says Josh. “Bad decisions can compile into an avalanche of drama in your life. It gets down into the heart of the sorrow and pain inside all of our inner child. You act those out through drugs, alcohol, or sex. Are you chasing another disaster?”
The finale “Fist Fuck” made a dream come true for the singer as well. The group enlisted the guitar talents of the iconic Brian Baker from punk legends Minor Threat. It’s a rip-roaring conclusion locked and loaded with piss and vinegar. “It’s the quintessential punk rock song,” Josh adds. “It’s the first time we had a guest player on one of our records, and it was amazing. I wrote those lyrics about GoodFellas when Ray Liotta is hitting that point where the feds and the mob are on to him. It’s crazy. I love that part of the movie!”
Buckcherry hit the road with Godsmack and Seether as part of the 2014 Rockstar UPROARFestival shortly after the EP dropped. It follows up a history of incendiary tours and festival appearances everywhere from Bamboozle with Bon Jovi to headlining Ink-N-Iron with Misfits and Pennywise and Sturgis. They’re just at home alongside Slipknot and Rob Zombie as they are AC/DC and Mötley Crüe. “Fuck” will undoubtedly come to life on stage and up close and personal.
Ultimately, Fuck is Buckcherry at their purest and most potent.
"I hope everybody enjoys the fact that we're always pushing for something new while staying true to our rock 'n' roll roots," Keith leaves off.
“I hope people are inspired by how we put it together and its honesty,” concludes Josh. “The big payoff is when someone finds inspiration in our music. Everything we do is right from the heart.”