September 14, 2017 Interview – Josh Todd
Change is all around us, it is part of life. Looking for that spark plug, rowdy Frontman Josh Todd made the move to try something new when bringing together his new band The Conflict. Spending a total of over two decades with Buckcherry, rising to Rock-n-Roll fame at the hands of a list of successful albums, Todd has become one of the most distinguishable vocalists around.
Known for his slender, fit, tattooed physique, unhinged vocals, and tireless energy on stage, Todd yearned for something fresh, something heavy! Such is the story with Josh Todd & The Conflict who look to blow Hard Rock fans away with their debut album Year of the Tiger. Not what the average Buckcherry fan may expect, it is Todd in his natural element, and it feels so good. Recently we caught up with Todd to talk the chaotic years gone by, the story behind Buckcherry’s past, present, and future, the concept of The Conflict, staying in shape, plus much more.
CrypticRock.com – You have been involved in Rock-n-Roll for over two decades fronting Buckcherry, one of the most respected bands in Hard Rock. Through all the years of writing, recording, and touring, how would you describe your experience?
Josh Todd – How would I describe it? Enlightening, amazing, a dream come true. This is what I worked so hard for. I have been in the game since 1999, the record with The Conflict will be my eighth. I am really excited. I feel like Year of the Tiger is one of my best records, I am so excited for it to finally be out to the public.
CrypticRock.com – That is great to hear! Beyond Buckcherry, you released a solo album entitled You Made Me back in 2003, and now you have begun Josh Todd & The Conflict. What inspired this new project?
Josh Todd – That solo record was over 10 years ago and it was never meant to be that. It got convoluted and a lot of stuff that went along with that. Cut to right now, I was out on the road with Buckcherry and Stevie D – my guitar player and songwriting partner – I have known him for years, he has known me since I was 19 -and I was just ready to make new music, to be honest. I always wanted to create a different band situation, I wanted to have two bands. I kind of took the model of Slipknot and Stone Sour as my template, and what I was thinking about when I started all this.
I have a clothing company called Spraygun War and I always wanted to put music to it. We made this electronic EP out on the road; we did it on a laptop with an Apogee mic. We wrote 5 songs and it is called Into The Blackness (2016). We did it all grass roots and put it out on TuneCore. We had a lot of fun doing it and that is when everything kind of started. We realized we had really good songwriting chemistry. In the past, because of the politics in Buckcherry, Stevie didn’t really get an opportunity to write a lot.
This was a lot of fun for us, it became a labor of love. As soon as I got off the road with Buckcherry there was a lot of disarray going on with that camp. I didn’t know what was going on and I wanted to make new music. I said to Stevie, “I want to make a Rock record!” I wanted it to be more along the lines of my foundation and roots. I came up in Orange County, California and all my record collection was Independent Punk Rock records. I was always in 4-piece bands and he knew exactly what I was going for since he has known for a long time. We just started writing and the first song we wrote was “Year of the Tiger.” That was the fire that ignited the whole record and we haven’t stopped since.
CrypticRock.com – Very cool. The album, Year of the Tiger, hits the public on September 15th. This is a very diverse record. There are heavy and also some more introspective tracks. That said, there is a sense of rage and fire among many of these songs. What headspace were you in writing these tracks?
Josh Todd – It goes with my aggressive nature; I am a pretty aggressive guy. There was just a lot of stuff going on in my life. A lot of people that became people I didn’t know, that I thought I knew, but I didn’t. It really rubbed me wrong. There was just a lot of nonsense. Whenever there is a lot of chaos in my life it always makes for good records. That is what was going on right before 15 (2005), a lot of chaos. Anyway, I just started writing, started getting it out, and it just made for really good songs.
CrypticRock.com – It worked well. Adversity makes for good music. It is ironic because everyone is talking about the politics and the craziness of what is going on in the world. The fact is, these things make for good art, it strikes a chord with people.
Josh Todd – Absolutely! Gosh, people are so surprised by the stuff going on in the world, but this is just the natural process of what has been going on for decades. It is nothing new to me, but it does get everyone’s emotions going. Like you said, it makes for good songs.
CrypticRock.com – Agreed. As a vocalist you have a very distinct style. It is very raw at times and really strikes a nerve. How did you go about developing your singing style?
Josh Todd – I think I developed it by not developing it. I never had traditional training; I am a very emotional singer. I eventually had musical vocal training later. When I started in this game I was not really a great singer, but I had a knack for writing melodies and lyrics. I have written all the lyrics and melodies for all my songs. That was really the attraction. I had a lot of dysfunction at home. There was some harmony and some dysfunction, it made for good songwriting. Combine all that stuff and that is how you get me. When you hear me, you know it is me. That works against me and for me a lot of times too.
CrypticRock.com – It is great to have a distinctive style, and people always do know when it is you. That is really special. Another aspect that makes you who you are is your stage presence. You are all over the stage; very energetic. How do you keep up your energy level while on stage?
Josh Todd – I am either on or I am off – I either collapse or am on 11. That is just my personality. When I get on stage I have this mentality I just want to be unforgettable. That is kind of my formula, I want to put on an unforgettable performance. I want to be consistent every night, as consistent as I can be with whatever I am dealing with. I really work hard on my craft. I practice a lot. When I am not on the road, I don’t go more than 1 day without singing. It is something I am very passionate about and hopefully it translates live.
CrypticRock.com – It certainly does. You condition yourself well. You are into your workouts correct?
Josh Todd – Yea, I do boxing workouts. I have been sober 23 years so I take really good care of myself. I drink only room temperature water, lots of boring singer stuff.
CrypticRock.com – You look to be in great health and it shows on stage. Obviously The Conflict is the focus with the album set for release. That said, is Buckcherry being put on the back burner for a little while?
Josh Todd – Buckcherry has definitely wound down. Some people are a little confused, but we have had the new Buckcherry lineup since February of this year, we have done a lot of shows with the new lineup. Buckcherry is in the best place it has been in a few years, it is doing great, but it needs a rest. We have been touring non-stop for a few years. We are definitely going to give that a rest. All my focus is on this record and doing a full worldwide tour with The Conflict. Then we will deal with Buckcherry after that.
CrypticRock.com – A change of pace is good. As stated, you are working with Stevie D. along with a fresh group of musicians. What is it like working with a new collection of players?
Josh Todd – It is so refreshing and great to be with a group of guys who are hungry and want to be there. That is what was lost with Buckcherry for a few years, we just weren’t a band anymore. We were just getting on the stage and doing it. It was heartbreaking, but you can’t have success when that is going on.
Now I have Sean Winchester on drums. He is doing double duty with Buckcherry and The Conflict. It is just easier for me. I am a very rhythmic singer and I like having a good drummer behind me. We get along real well too. Gregg Cash, he played bass with Dorothy and a bunch of other bands. Just such a solid guy, a really nice person, and what an amazing player! I just wanted to surround myself with people who were really passionate about what I was doing, the songs, and nice people to be around. At the end of the day, you have to live with these people, you have to be in a bus, and really tight quarters.
CrypticRock.com – There is no question you have to get a long. Being on the road can be draining. That said, Buckcherry were on the road a lot. What is it like being away from home so much and how is that wearing on your body?
Josh Todd – You have to take really good care of yourself. For me, I don’t take a day off from working out. I don’t work out a crazy amount on a good day. I will work out for about 30 minutes in the morning just to get my joints, body work, and my core strong. We had Jeff Rouse filling in for Kelly LeMieux who had leukemia last year and had to get treatment. Jeff is a really lovely guy and when Jeff filled in for him he said, “Man, you never complain about being sore or anything.” I told him, if you work out everyday, I am talking jumping rope, push-ups, pull-ups. Just all your own body weight and boxing workout, you don’t get sore if you prepare your body for the trauma you are going to put it through. That is what I try to do.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, conditioning is important. Keeping it simple with exercise routines work out. Everyone tries to get fancy, and it is not really needed.
Josh Todd – No, and I exercise mostly for my mind, not so much because I want to have this amazing physique. I do it because it feels good in my head. First of all, I hate waking up. So when I get up, going through that whole process, I have to deep breath, it opens up my lungs, and it makes me feel really good inside. That is the main reason I do it.
I always tell people, listen, your body is designed to move. If you were an animal in the wild, you have to move to get your food! That is the way you are. If you break it down, we are animals, and I think a lot of people have forgotten that. They wonder why they are so miserable, they are not working out, they are sitting around, carrying around more weight than they need to. I am just saying, if you just kind of do it and you do it more than 6 months on a regular basis, you will do it for the rest of your life, I think.
CrypticRock.com – That is very true. With The Conflict, the music is a bit heavier than Buckcherry. Some may think it will just be like a Buckcherry record, that is not the case. What have been the reactions from people who have heard the music?
Josh Todd – It has all been very positive and now it is about to hit the street. As far as BC fans, there are always going to be people who say, “It’s not Buckcherry.” We have done probably about 10 shows, and the last show we did, a bunch of people came up to the merch booth, a lot of them Buckcherry fans, saying, “I think I like this better than Buckcherry.” That is not what I want, all I wanted to do is do something that was true to who I am in my heart.
I didn’t want to make a Buckcherry record, if I wanted to make a Buckcherry record I can do that right now. I wanted to create a band that was heavier, that could live on its own in its own world and have its own sound. I already have 7 records with Buckcherry. That was the plan and it was really easy for me to make a heavy record because that was my whole foundation, as I said.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, and it will be exciting to see people’s reactions once they hear the album. My last question for you is pertaining to films. CrypticRock.com covers all area of music but also Horror/Sci-Fi related films. If you are a fan of these genres, what are some of your favorite?
Josh Todd – Horror for sure! All the old school movies like The Shining (1980). I like the more Psychological Horror flicks, the ones you feel like could really happen. Something like Freddy Kreuger doesn’t really scare me. When I first saw Halloween (1978), it scared the crap out of me! When I was a kid, I knew someone who disappeared from my neighborhood and they found him dead. He was kidnapped. When I saw Halloween, you see the girl walking home from school, and you see this masked guy hiding behind a bush two blocks ahead, it is so eerie. I think that approach is a lot scarier for me than blood and guts.
CrypticRock.com – Halloween is a classic. Did The Exorcist (1973) get to you?
Josh Todd – You know what? It didn’t freak me out, but when I read the book, it scared the crap out of me! I had no idea how many exorcisms are done every year. When I found out that fact I really went wow..it is insane. I just finished the Mr. Mercedes book and I really liked it, I think they may be doing a TV series on it.