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July 28, 2014

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Buckcherry eager to lace ‘em up, tone it down in Las Vegas

Singer censors himself for family friendly shows with KISS

“Crazy Bitch” doesn’t exactly scream “family-friendly” – but Buckcherry is trying to make it as multi-generationally palatable as possible.

“We have to make sure we’re not too crass for the youngins,” the band’s heavily tattooed frontman, Josh Todd, said.

The five-piece is currently touring with KISS, which has forced them to modify their live show to accommodate a somewhat different demographic than they’re used to.

“All the generations have got together at these KISS shows,” Todd told the Sun over the phone, as the band stopped in Sacramento last week.

“We’ve had to modify my language a bit,” he laughed.

“A bit” might be a bit of an understatement for the oft-foul-mouthed frontman.

He has been unleashing an offensive-yet-entertaining streak of blue air upon audiences for years – whenever he introduced the band’s biggest mainstream hit, 2006’s “Crazy Bitch,” especially.

The 38-year-old father/rocker has toned things down for this tour and now saves the (and most potentially offensive) song for last.

“We just say, ‘This is your last song, what do you guys want to hear?’ And everybody screams ‘Crazy Bitch’ and we start it,” he said.

This, of course, effectively lets him off the hook.

“You’ve got to be careful,” he said. “It is a family affair so there’s a bunch of little kids.”

Despite the self-inflicted censorship, Todd isn’t complaining: He and his bandmates knew what they were getting into before they signed on to open for KISS’ 48-date North American tour.

“We toured with them on our first record (when) we were just a baby band,” he said, adding, “It’s been nice to be reunited with these guys.”

“Those guys are legends,” Todd gushed about the iconic headlining act. “They’re celebrating 35 years and their show is just as good as it was 10 years ago.”

The KISS/Buckcherry road show rolls through Pearl Theater at the Palms on Nov. 29.

He said touring with KISS has been “inspiring, powerful, (and) explosive.”

“It’s going like a freight train and it’s a good rock ‘n roll event,” he surmised.

And he’s OK with the lack of swear words in his inter-song repertoire.

“It’s still great, you know, we had to trim the fat,” he offered.

And the important stuff – the music – has yet to suffer any losses.

“All the usual suspects -- ‘Crazy Bitch,’ ‘Sorry,’ ‘Everything,’ ‘Tired of You,’ ‘Talk to Me,’ ‘Rescue Me’ -- they’re all in there,” he said.

In fact, the band has worked a few of their other tracks, including “Highway Stars’” and “Out of Line,” into their set list.

Tough the tour has them performing five nights a week, Todd has been keeping busy on his off days, too.

“After this tour’s over with we’re going to start making a new record so I’ve been writing on my days off,” he said.

And he has no shortage of material.

“I feel like we’re going through a transition,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on with the world: We just got a new president; the green issue; and the 2012 predictions … There’s just a lot of stuff to write about.”

“Right now I’ve been focusing on songs that kind of bring it all together,” he said. “I’m wanting to write a song that sort of incorporates all of that, all of our ambition, what we’re really working towards. I’m going to get a little deeper on this one so it’s going to be fun.”

Beyond politics, the environment, and the possible end of the world, he says books are also a source of inspiration.

And when it comes to books, his 15-year-old daughter is more than happy to help.

“She is actually the one who tuned me on to ‘A Child Called It,’ which I wrote two songs about on our last record,” Todd said.

(“A Child Called It” and “Rescue Me” were both inspired the 1995 Dave Pelzer novel.)

This time around, though, Todd has taken a somewhat darker approach.

“Right now I’m reading ‘The Great Influenza Epidemic of 1819’ which killed more people than HIV has,” he said, noting, “I like disease and famine and all that kind of s---.”

Still, fans should expect more than just doom and gloom on Buckcherry’s upcoming release.

“Songs are really emotions,” Todd said. “I read a lot so there’s been a few songs on our records about books that I’ve really enjoyed; I take some of my personal life … (I) take my experiences of living around the world, basically … you know, the culture, the people that I see – and incorporate it into my lyrics.”

In terms of Vegas, Todd wishes he and the boys had been in town a few weeks ago.

“When I go to Vegas I like to really see boxing events,” he explained. “The one I really wanted to see was the Pacquiao-Cotto fight but I’m going to have to wait until Maywather-Pacquiao.”

Though Money and the Pac Man have yet to formally, officially agree to fight, Todd thinks it’s just a matter of time – and well-worth the wait.

“It’d be the biggest fight of both of their careers so they should just make it happen,” he said. “People want this fight and (Floyd Mayweather) needs to step up and do it.”

“I know he can do it,” he continued. “I feel like if anybody can beat this guy, he can. I love Floyd Mayweather but he needs to step up and take this fight.”

Todd speaks about the inner-workings of boxing with the same sense of confidence and passion that he uses when talking about songwriting or life on the road.

Perhaps it’s partly because at least all three have been known to overlap.

“Boxing events are a big thing on the Buckcherry bus,” he said. “Whenever there’s boxing on, we’re watching it. … We’ve seen many huge fights on this bus: De La Hoya-Mayweather, Pacquiao-Hatton, Pacquiao-Cotto, you know, the list goes on.”

“We’ll watch any fight,” he confessed.

Yet when Pacquiao defeated Cotto in a bloody 12-round bout on Nov. 14, Todd wasn’t ringside or even in front of his Pay-Per-View-enabled TV.

“We were (onstage) in Vancouver,” he lamented. “We watched it as soon as we got offstage; we TiVo’d it.”

Todd insists things will be different if and when Mayweather and Pacquiao lace ‘em up.

“I’ll definitely be there,” he said, adding, “Floyd Mayweather better agree to do it or people are really going to have something to say about it.”

Melissa Arseniuk writes about Las Vegas entertainment and celebrity events. She can be reached at 702-948-7823 or by e-mail at [email protected].