A slice of the Sunset Strip

Toben Shelby

Seventeen years into its existence, Buckcherry shows no signs of slowing down. In just the past year, the Los Angeles-based rock group toured with Guns N' Roses, appeared on the soundtrack of one of the most popular movies ever ("The Avengers"), returned to the studio to work on a new album and is even planning a short film to accompany the record.

But before new album "Confessions" and the corresponding film project are released, Buckcherry has a summer full of shows.


Buckcherry formed in 1995 under the name Sparrow, before a conflict with Sparrow Records led to a name change. Under the new moniker -- a play on Chuck Berry -- the band released two albums, 1999's "Buckcherry" (featuring the hit single "Lit Up") and 2001's "Time Bomb." In between albums, the group opened for legendary rockers AC/DC, which ended up being the first of many times Buckcherry has shared the stage with classic rock acts.

But before a third album could be put together, a shakeup within the band resulted in the replacement of most of the lineup -- eventually leading to a hiatus in 2002.

Lead singer Josh Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson reformed Buckcherry three years later, adding Stevie D., Jimmy Ashhurst and Xavier Muriel to the fold (all remain in the current lineup). The band's rebirth yielded its biggest mainstream success. "Crazy Bitch," the first single off the band's third album, "15," landed big, going double-platinum and scoring Buckcherry a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock Performance. It's one of the group's more enduring songs and still gets pretty regular radio airplay, including local station 94.7 The End, which helped bring Buckcherry to Anchorage.

"We get a lot of requests for 'Crazy Bitch,' surprisingly from a good amount of women," said 106.5 KWHL's music director Matt Collins, who goes by the name DJ Alice. He went on to describe Buckcherry as a "Sunset Strip rock 'n' roll throwback band."

As a throwback band, the group has played with some of rock's most iconic bands: Aerosmith, Motley Crue and KISS along with the shows last fall with Guns N' Roses.

"There's always something to learn from bands like that," Nelson told the hard rock and metal website Noisecreep last year. "The older bands that came before us are also the most gracious, as far as my experiences. They understand that we are a pure rock 'n' roll band ..."

Something to confess

This year found Buckcherry spending more time in the recording studio. Along with an upcoming sixth album, the band also recorded the song "Wherever I Go," which appears on "Avengers Assemble," an album featuring tracks from and inspired by the mega-blockbuster super-hero film "The Avengers." Buckcherry was one of several groups asked to write original songs for the album.

"When I sat down and I had the music, I was like, 'OK, if I had super powers, what would life be like?' " Todd told Oklahoma radio station Z94 in April. "So that's what the song is about."

As for the new record, "Confessions," it's expected to arrive in September. Todd told Z94 that the plan is to release the accompanying movie at small film festivals with the band performing the album in its entirety.

"The record is really the soundtrack to the movie," Todd explained. "I wrote the screenplay to the movie, and it's based around the seven sins and true events that happened in my life as well, when I was younger."

By Toben Shelby
Daily News correspondent