Ahead of their Australian Tour with Hardcore Superstar this October, I sat down with Buckcherry guitarist Stevie D for a chat on what’s been happening, chatting all things touring, set lists, the new album Warpaint and a slew of other topics. This is going to be one hell of a tour and is guaranteed to sell out!!!
Hey Stevie, welcome to Wall Of Sound. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me.
Hey mate, how are you? I’m good; no actually I’m great! It’s great to chat with you.
I am so stoked to be talking with you about the upcoming Australian leg of the Warpaint Tour this October and man what a tour it will be as you have Sweden’s finest Hardcore Superstar out with you. It is a billing that I thought we would never see in Australia and is already causing quite a stir.
I gotta tell you when I heard we were touring with Hardcore Superstar again I couldn’t be more pleased. On top of them being monster musicians and great fun songwriters, they are just fantastic human beings. There is nothing more pleasing than being on a tour like that for me.
Can you tell me if it is a full set co-headline from both of the bands?
I honestly don’t know. I would imagine so. I want the Hardcore Superstar guys to play an hour and a half set, we will see. I don’t know exactly how it is being put together, that hasn’t been told to me, but I do know we will be playing an hour fifteen to an hour and a half.
Last time you guys did a co-headline with Steel Panther you unfortunately only got a thirty-minute slot and a lot of fans thought you deserved longer.
Thank you, it’s great to get that kind of feedback. We love playing so the longer the better (laughs)
If I’m correct you have a touring history with the Hardcore Superstar guys dates back to 2013 on the Confessions tour.
Yeah we did the UK through Europe with them. On that tour we flip flopped, one night they would close the show, the next night we would. Man what a great show and tour that was. We are such similar bands with such similar styles. Both Jocke Berg (Hardcore Superstar) and Josh have such similar styles vocally; they are both kind of in the same range. A lot of other bands in active rock tend to sing in a lower range, these two guys are more in the Bon Scott and Brian Johnston kind of upper range.
Congrats on the Warpaint record too. It’s a cracker of an album. But I do have to say that as a long time fan it took me a little longer to appreciate and grasp the record completely. It is one of those records that with each listen I found something new and after my interview with Josh at time of release it took on a whole new perspective and understanding for me.
Thank you man, thanks for your ongoing support of the band and the record.
Can I ask you what your favourite track on the album is?
‘Right Now’ I like different songs for different reasons. Early on songs like ‘Warpaint’ or ‘Closer’ stood out as they were easier to digest as they were in the same Buckcherry spirit and sound that we were accustomed to. But I really like songs like ‘Back Down’ and ‘No Regrets’, which are still Buckcherry songs, but are a little on the outside. ‘Back Down’ is closer to Aerosmith/The Rolling Stones or The Rolling Stones/The Black Crows in style, where as ‘No Regrets’ comes more from our punk rock background. We also stretch into different areas with song like ‘The Alarm’, where we messed around with new technology in a rock n roll riff style. Do I have a favourite? It’s hard to pick just one, but if I had to it would probably be Back Down, and it’s fun one to play live as well.
It’s funny you mention ‘Back Down’ as that was the most instant track for me on the record and certainly stands out. It for me is one of those songs you could put to an ESPN highlights/hard hits clips. I actually had that discussion with my son as he really like the track as well.
Ha-ha, yeah!!! Awesome! We just paired up with some MMA fighters and Affliction here in the states with the song ‘Right Now’ for the same sort thing.
The other stand out track for me was ‘The Devil’s In the Details’, I just love the tip of the hat to Ace Frehley in the intro. How did that come about?
I co-wrote that song with our other guitarist Kevin Roentgen and he is a huge Kiss fan. Kevin being the massive Ace Frehley/KISS fan that he is it just started out that way, it was an idea we were jamming on and the next thing you know it’s the opening riff to the song. Kevin was in another band just before he joined Buckcherry called Goldsboro which was driven by Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden and KISS riffs and that’s where the idea built from. It’s a wild kind of song.
Warpaint also marks a new chapter in the book of Buckcherry; what have Kevin Roentgen (guitar) and Francis Ruiz (drums) brought to the band?
Well it’s different. I don’t want to say its better or worse and then people get all upset, but they add a difference in swing and solidness to their respective jobs. They have both been around the block a few times; they both know what it takes to interact with other guys. For me that is how it has gotta be about. It has to be a good hang; sure we could have had anyone come out and jam with us, but what we really needed were guys that we would get along with in the good times and the bad times. We spend the majority of our time together off stage.
Both Kevin and Francis we have known since the early nineties; they have been in other rock bands that have carried the torch for a long time. Francis spent some time with Motorhead and then spent quite a few years as a drum tech for Slayer and Black Label Society. He just understands, not that Xavier didn’t, because he was an absolute joy to work with; but since Keith Nelson and Xavier Muriel left the band we had to find guys that we could work with and hang with, Kevin and Francis are those guys. Kevin I have known for years and years and we play together in another band from the early nineties called Soul. I just love these guys and Kelly LeMieux (bass) also goes way back with Josh and I. We were drinking buddies in Hollywood, so yeah we grew up and threw up together. It’s just really great to be together with these guys.
Just touching on the past, I believe that you first met Josh Todd in 1989 and your friendship has stayed strong ever since. What makes your personal and professional relationship with him so solid?
We aren’t easy guys to get along with, I know this. We are both alcoholics, we are both ex drug addicts and we have just found a language that allows us to communicate with one another. I guess we have found that frequency and vibe with each other; and there is a mutual respect. I love the guy, I knew him way back then, I knew him when he got married and after he had kids, we have always been friends. Then we got into a band together and did a lot of miles on the road and we are still friends. I am grateful to know Josh; I have looked up to him for a long time. Before I was in the band I was a big fan of Buckcherry, so the dynamic is cool and I am glad that we have it.
Standing on the outside of this as a fan, it becomes really obvious that both Josh and yourself feel extremely comfortable with each other and share a love of not only creating music, but being on the same wavelength in terms of style and diversity. This is obvious on the two side projects in Spraygun War & Josh Todd and the Conflict which you have done together since joining Buckcherry. You are just having so much fun with it all.
We have a lot of fun doing these projects together, but it doesn’t mean that it is always easy. At the end of the day we both want the same thing which is to write great music, have great fun doing it and we want it to be successful and make money. This is what we do to make money, to be perfectly honest it’s the music that we create together that is feeding our families. It is really cool that we get to do this and that we have done it all this time, we are grateful that we can make a living doing what we do.
Jumping back onto the subject of touring; The Warpaint Tour has a pretty relentless schedule, you have already done fifty three shows across the UK, Canada and the USA with another sixty plus shows to come on the US leg; taking you through to the end of September. You follow that up with The Australian dates and shows in Japan and the UK into November, just how taxing is it to keep up that pace?
There is a saying the farmers here in the States say ’you gotta bail hay while it’s light out’. There was a time where we burnt out all markets here in the States and didn’t spend a lot of time abroad. Consequently it was the laws of diminishing return and it put a lot of strain on the band members. So it was suggested to us to take a break. In taking this break the band ultimately splintered, Josh and I kept working under another band name.
Having a new record label, a new record deal, new band members it allows us to go out again, be creative and make new music; which is tough thing to do in this climate for rock n roll. Mostly everything is hip-hop and pop music, so the slots in active rock radio here in the States are really slim. We realize that we sound different to a lot of the others and the fact that we get to do this with much being new, we have a new lease on life. We are taking advantage of it, we are going out on tour and everyone has welcomed us back with open arms. They have proved this with a lot of sold out and capacity shows so far. This time we are doing it smart; instead of over touring, we will do a couple of years on the road with this album, take a break and take the time to make the best record we can at the time and then do the same again. The past has taught us some important lessons.
Having looked at the setlists for this tour so far it’s great to see that you have a core of about eight songs that are always in the set and then you slot in some classics and change things up. How hard is it to choose a set list with over 100 songs in the catalogue? Is there a song you miss playing?
I miss playing songs like ‘So Far’; but we really do try to alternate as many as we can like getting ‘Broken Glass’ in there. I miss songs like ‘Sunshine’, ‘Porno Star’, but we still try to get those in the set every few months. In terms of comfort and familiarity and where we are in the tour Josh will put in certain songs. All of a sudden Josh is adding songs like ‘Dead Again’ to the set and we are just like Yes!! (laughs). We eventually get through all the good ones.
Each show on the Australian leg of the tour has VIP packages available in addition to the ticket for the show in that particular city. What can the fans expect from the VIP’s?
When the come, they get a bunch of exclusive merchandise, a souvenir laminate, a meet and greet with the band and photo with the band. We sit and chat with them for a little and then I think they get a tour with our production manager. It’s good fun to be able to hang with the fans, I really enjoy it.
Stevie, unfortunately we are out of time already. Thank you again for taking the time to chat with me here at Wall Of Sound. We can’t wait to see you guys out here in October. Until then take care on the road and we will see you soon.
Thanks Andrew, we can’t wait to get back down under again. Thank you again for your support. See you soon!
Interview by Andrew Slaidins
Buckcherry – Australian Tour 2019
with Hardcore Superstar and Bad Moon Born
Oct 8th @ Rosemount Hotel, Perth
Oct 9th @ The Gov, Adel
Oct 11th @ Max Watts, Melb
Oct 12th @ The Zoo, Bris
Oct 13th @ Metro Theatre, Syd