Heavy New York recently spoke with guitarist Stevie D., bassist Kelly LeMieux and drummer Francis Ruiz of the hard rock group BUCKCHERRY. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group’s new album, “Warpaint”:
Stevie: “Josh [Todd, vocalist] and I started writing that a couple years ago. The band was splintering, and we were also working on another group called JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT. All along the way, we would start archiving ideas. We did that for a couple years, and [last] year, we got together with Mike Plotnikoff, who produced our most successful album to date, ’15’. We pulled it apart, put it back together and recorded it. That’s what’s coming out March 8.”
Kelly: “I told Mike, ‘I just want to channel my inner Cliff Williams.’ Much like my philosophy in life, ‘keep it simple, stupid,’ I laid it down. Nothing fancy — don’t bore us, get to the chorus.”
Stevie: “This has been a different experience, because several of the last records were done at one place with the same producer, and this one, we kind of went back to the beginning. There were different people in charge — different writers, and different players. The one constant is me, Kelly and Josh, so it still stays in line with who BUCKCHERRY is, but I think the spectrum is a little wider.”
Kelly: “It’s always going to sound like BUCKCHERRY because of Josh, but I think definitely, it did expand. There’s a little more of an edge on some of the stuff too, and the ballads came out [great]. I listened to them after I got the mix, and I’m like, ‘Wow, these are really good.’ Usually, I’m like, ‘More rock!’ [But] a good song’s a good song.”
On the band’s writing process:
Stevie: “There’s a couple of things that happen. Either Josh comes with a vocal line that we put the song around, or one of us will come up with a riff and we’ll see if he connects with it. We’ll sit down [and play] the riff with a click [track], and then he’ll sing along to it. If it connects, then we build. It’s a skeleton at that point, and then we put the flesh on it [and] build the personality. I would love to say it’s one set way, but it’s constantly evolving… We wrote over 50 songs [for ‘Warpaint’], and then we whittled it down to, let’s say, 20, and then we whittled that down to 11. When it gets to the 11, we’re not messing around — we’re really hyper-focusing on what we want for those specific songs.”
On the band’s place in the rock landscape:
Stevie: “I think in this environment, BUCKCHERRY‘s an anomaly. We’re still a rock n’ roll band, but we’re heavily influenced by ’60s and ’70s guitar rock. When we came out, it was on the radio, so they would just pair us up with other bands that were kind of drawing the same numbers. We’d end up with AVENGED SEVENFOLD or PAPA ROACH or HELLYEAH, because there were no other bands like us. We would just go out with whoever, and it seemed to be fine. I would say there was a few instances where there were some goth kids in the front row [giving us the finger]… but we won a lot of people over in the process.”
On performing ballads live:
Stevie: “Sometimes, playing a slower song is a little bit harder to play than a heavy, fast song.”
Kelly: “When you’re playing a fast song, it’s skipping along so quick, you might stumble, but as long as you keep up, you’re good. [If] you’re playing a slow song and you slightly botch a note, your keister is hanging in the wind, and everybody knows you’re the one that messed up.”
Francis: “Have you ever been on a regular bicycle and tried to pedal as slowly as you possibly can? It’s easier when you’re pedaling fast, because it almost goes on its own, but when you play that slow – and try to go in a straight line when you’re pedaling that slow — [it’s harder].”
“Warpaint” will be released on March 8 via Century Media/RED Music. The 12-song disc features 11 new BUCKCHERRY songs along with a cover of the NINE INCH NAILS classic “Head Like A Hole”. The album art was created by Aaron Marsh.