In 2019, Buckcherry released their eighth album, Warpaint, and played 154 shows with additional dates booked for 2020. As the spring months quickly dissipated, forcing more cancellations and postponements, singer Josh Todd saw the rest of the year as a wipe out and decided to switch gears—into a ninth album.
“I just thought we have to make a new record,” Todd tells American Songwriter, “because by the time the dust settles, we’re going to need to have a new album.”
Reconnecting with guitarist and co-writer Stevie D, the duo started writing Hellbound. Their system in place, Todd and D, who live 15 minutes apart in Los Angeles, already had 22 songs in tow when the band’s new label Round Hill Records suggested they head to Nashville to write with Marti Frederiksen (Mick Jagger, Aerosmith, Carrie Underwood), who also produced the band’s fourth album, Black Butterfly, and wrote the band’s 15 hit “Sorry” back in 2006.
Down in Nashville in November of 2020, the trio wrote an additional six songs in five days, five of which made the album, “and the rest is history,” says Todd.
“That’s where we got the songs ‘So Hott,’ ‘Hellbound,’ ‘Waste No More Time,’ and ‘No More Lies,’” he says. “They all came from those sessions.”
Todd adds, “The cream rises to the top. We want a great record, and when you’re writing for record, maybe you’ll have a bunch of up tempo songs, and then a bunch of rockers and mid-tempo songs, and a bunch of ballads, so you take one from each.”
Songs are like short stories and feelings, says Todd. “We’ve gone through a lot of them, outside of the political issues, COVID, racism, and all that kind of stuff,” he adds. “Some of that tension makes for good, harder rocking songs like ‘54321,’ but we saw it all the way through to what are people going to be wanting to do when all the dust settles? Are they going to want to just be reflecting on 2020, or are they going to want to party and have a good time.”
Buckcherry attached to the latter on Helbound.
Hellbound is one hell of a ride. Shedding the pent up energy of a stagnant year, Hellbound blasts off in an opening trifecta of “54321,” “So Hott,” and the title track through a twisted turbulence of bluesier “Gun,” the rapid flight of “Here I Come” and the slower reflections of “Wasting No More Time” and “The Way.”
Nearly a quarter of a century in with the band, writing is a skill Todd says has thankfully improved for him year over year. ”You keep writing better songs, better melodies, better words, and that’s what you’re trying to always do,” says Todd. “As a singer, I’m also trying to expand my range on a record, and do more things with my voice.”
Working through the pandemic, the band have rescheduled tour dates through 2020 and more material to eventually kick off a 10th album, but thinking back, particularly on more than two decades with Buckcherry, is something Todd doesn’t do often.
“I don’t really look back,” shares Todd. “I only look forward. We’ve been in this game 22 years, and this is our ninth record, and I’m super grateful. I just want to continue to grow and figure out new ways to get new people into the fold as far as checking out what BC is all about.”