The Return of… Buckcherry

Written By: MusicSUBMIT

When last year’s smash single “Sorry” by rock group Buckcherry reached #9 on Billboard, lead singer Josh Todd had to be smiling. He and guitarist Keith Nelson had tasted a bit of success before, but not like this. Who would have thought the band that had been abandoned and dropped by their major label in 2002, could come back and release a new album on an indie, and eclipse their previous, short-lived fame? – It doesn’t happen very often in the music world, but it does happen…

It was the summer of ’00, and things were looking good Buckcherry. The band had just come off a full length U.S tour with Lenny Kravitz. On the strength of three radio hits, Buckcherry had toured non-stop in support of their self-titled debut album, released by major label DreamWorks Records in 1999. The band was about to hit the studio for their follow up CD, “Time Bomb.” By the time the album released in ’01, the title “Time Bomb” proved befitting for a self-fulfilled prophecy. Slow initial sales of “Time Bomb” and a disinterested DreamWorks helped to all but tank the record. Add in the inevitable inner band tension and Buckcherry was all but a flash in the pan rock group for one summer, a footnote in music history…

Early Years

Buckcherry originally formed in 1995, then under the name “Sparrow”, playing mostly in clubs in the LA rock scene. For the next 3 years, after countless club gigs, the band built up a noticeable following. A few demos later and they finally caught the attention of the label DreamWorks and long time rock producer Terry Date. The album “Buckcherry” (after a band name change) was released in 1999, and soon after the band scored their first radio hit, “Lit Up”.

At this point, some musicians might feel lucky or satisfied to reach the level of success attained by Buckcherry. When the band added two more radio hits in 2000, including “Check Your Head”, indeed they were in an enviable position: a successful tour supporting a gold-almost-platinum record, with 3 radio hits, for a powerful record label. But one album seldom makes a band, and what you do on the follow up album is just as, if not more, important than the first record, if your goal as a band is to remain relevant (i.e. employed) for years to come. Perhaps the early fame and (relatively) quick success contributed to a sub-par effort that resulted in “Time Bomb.” And of course, bands that get dropped by their record label after a poor 2nd record is nothing new.

The Comeback

By 2002, lead singer and band leader Josh Todd had left the band. Not that this mattered much, as all the other members were long gone anyway. Todd & Nelson continued to work collaborative projects with other musicians, but the band Buckcherry had completely faded from the scene, a one-hit-wonder band.

In 2006, a full 8 years after first signing with DreamWorks, Todd and Nelson regrouped with new band members and began writing songs. For any band that was once signed by a major label, the chances of having a new record released again on a major are pretty close to nil. Wet newspapers are usually treated better than dropped rockers. Instead, the group enlisted the help of indie Eleven Seven, a record label of basically musicians with loose affiliations to Warner.

In just 15 days, the band recorded an album, and perhaps with no expectations for a release, titled the record “15”. It wasn’t long after the release of “15” that radio stations began picking up the song “Crazy Bitch” for airplay rotation. For many music fans, the song “Crazy Bitch” was their first introduction to the band Buckcherry, whose initial fame was so short-lived they were mostly missed the first time around. Or, because comeback albums for one-hit-wonder bands are so rare, the name Buckcherry didn’t resonate. Whichever the case, a whole new level of success came rushing back to the band. Timed radio releases of the next two singles, “Everything” and “Sorry”, the latter reaching all the way to #9 on Billboard’s Mainstream Charts, completed the comeback. Buckcherry was once again touring with the likes of Motley Crue and Avenged Sevenfold. Next up – a touring opening up for perhaps the greatest comeback rock band of all time – KISS. How cool is that???

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