Following BUCKCHERRY since their early days and really diggin’ their 2006 release “15” after they reformed in 2005, I was elated to know I was afforded the opportunity to have a discussion with Keith Nelson (lead guitar, rhythm guitar and backing vocals). Based out of Los Angeles, California, BUCKCHERRY has been a mainstay in the world of rock and roll. Known as “the Crazy Bitch band”, they are so much more than that. Working hard and paying their dues along the way, BUCKCHERRY continues to be one of the leaders with the in-your-face rock and roll bands, having fun and delivering their best every night to you, their fans.
Read on to see what Keith had to tell me about the Jagermeister Tour, their music, what 2011 holds for the band and Steelers football.
This is Marcy Royce with away-team.com speaking today with Keith Nelson from BUCKCHERRY.
AWAY-TEAM: Hi Keith, how are you?
KEITH NELSON: Good, how are you hon?
AWAY-TEAM: Great, thanks! I hear you are in Denver tonight. How cold is it there compared to Pennysylvania?
KEITH NELSON: It’s actually not that bad out here today. Where are you in Pennsylvania?
AWAY-TEAM: I’m in York, just south of Harrisburg.
KEITH NELSON: Yeah I know it, I know it well.
AWAY-TEAM: And you’re from Pennsylvania as well.
KEITH NELSON: That is correct. Western Pennsylvania.
AWAY-TEAM: Glad to know you’re familiar with the state more than some other people are.
KEITH NELSON: Yeah. I’ve spent some time in Indiana, Pennsylvania as well. So, I know it.
AWAY-TEAM: Thanks a lot for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today. I really appreciate it.
KEITH NELSON: No problem. My pleasure.
AWAY-TEAM: I’ll get to my questions as to not keep you too long.
KEITH NELSON: Alright babe.
AWAY-TEAM: You’re coming back my area, Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, February 12. And since BUCKCHERRY performed at the Raven’s Kickoff Party in August of last year, what is it that you and the band like about Baltimore?
KEITH NELSON: Well, Baltimore really has been one of those cities that’s always just welcomed us with open arms even from the very early, early days of the band, ya know. It’s such a rock and roll town and the response has always been awesome. We’ve gotten a lot of support from the radio station there and some really loyal fans. It’s really been a great place for us.
AWAY-TEAM: We are so glad BUCKCHERRY is coming back!
KEITH NELSON: Right on! It’s gonna be a good time.
AWAY-TEAM: How did this Jagermeister Tour come about for you guys?
KEITH NELSON: They approached us with the idea of doing the tour and packaging up with some really cool bands. We started talking to them and HELL YEAH got on board, and then ALL THAT REMAINS and THE DAMNED THINGS kinda confirmed as well and it really started to pick up momentum. It’s just a cool opportunity for us and Jager has been a really good sponsor. They’ve provided a lot of things for us and it’s really been a good thing. They did a really successful tour with ANTHRAX and MEGADEATH and a couple of the heavier bands last year. We actually went to see one of the shows because we’re friends with the ANTHRAX guys. So, it’s been a good partnership .
AWAY-TEAM: And you’re just on the front leg of this 26 U.S. tour for Jagermeister so I’m sure your raring and fresh and ready to go.
KEITH NELSON: We’re always raring and fresh and ready to go.
KEITH NELSON: We are about 80 shows into this tour in support of our new release, All Night Long, and it’s a good way for us to spend this winter.
AWAY-TEAM: I really do like your new release, All Night Long. I did review it for Away-Team.
KEITH NELSON: Nice!
AWAY-TEAM: And it has grown on me. At first I was wondering, do I like it do I not like it? The more it spins in the ipod the it’s doing well in my opinion.
KEITH NELSON: Well, thank you!
AWAY-TEAM: You’re welcome.
AWAY-TEAM: What is different about this Jagermeister tour from other tours that you’ve been on?
KEITH NELSON: Well, first of all four bands, four kick ass bands. That’s been a big difference. Usually you have one or two bands out with you. But you’ve got four bands. It’s a very, for your entertainment dollar, there’s really a lot of entertainment. So thankfully we’ve been able to, with our partnership with Jager, keep ticket prices low and really just give people the most bang for their buck.
AWAY-TEAM: I think you are definitely doing that! Us fans thank you.
KEITH NELSON: Well, it really is all about the fans. If we can’t provide something for the people that support us and hear our music then why are we doing this in the first place. It’s been very much at the forefront of our thinking. Keep the ticket prices low, keep the merchandise prices low, and just provide an evening of entertainment.
AWAY-TEAM: Thank you. We all appreciate that. I went to see SEVENDUST, DISTURBED and KORN on the Music As A Weapon Tour last week and Lajon said the same thing to the fans. He said without you we don’t have a job.
KEITH NELSON: Yeah. We just did some shows with SEVENDUST. Great guys, love Lajon, there all really good peeps.
AWAY-TEAM: They are one of my favorite bands out there. They definitely, just like you guys, put on one hell of a show.
AWAY-TEAM: What do you like so far the most about this tour and how does it feel to be headlining again?
KEITH NELSON: It’s fun to be out with the HELL YEAH guys. We played with then before. ALL THE REMAINS is a band that we really weren’t all the familiar with, but they are going over really well and they’re really good guys. The biggest surprise has really been THE DAMNED THINGS. I don’t really know that anyone knew what to make of them based on the bands that these guys came from. But they’re really just kick-ass rock and roll band. It’s been really, really fun to go and watch those guys play every night. The thing that I am really enjoying the most is that we are finally doing a headlining show where we are playing for an hour and a half and we get to really dig deep into our catalog and play some stuff that we haven’t got to play in a few years. And we can dig deep into the new record and play a few songs that we might not normally play when we play a shorter so. So that has been fun.
AWAY-TEAM: I’m one of those fans that like to hear the deep tracks. Glad to hear some of that is going to be in the set. Especially when I see you guys in Baltimore in a few weeks.
KEITH NELSON: Right on!
AWAY-TEAM: What is it that you want the fans to take away from this Jagermeister tour about BUCKCHERRY? Maybe some of them haven’t seen you guys before or they’ve only seen you once or twice.
KEITH NELSON: Ya know, I think that we look around at our peers and the people that are out there touring successfully in this day and age, I think that we’re one of the only few real rock and roll bands that are out there. Not saying that we’re the only one but there aren’t many and we really want fans to walk away from that thinking there are five guys making music on stage, there’s no backing tracks, there’s no smoke and mirrors. Just five guys making music.
AWAY-TEAM: Pure and raw.
KEITH NELSON: Just the way nature intended it.
AWAY-TEAM: Right! (laughing)
AWAY-TEAM: I do have a question about your set list. Is there a song that all of you agree must always be the show opener?
KEITH NELSON: No. Ha ha ha ha. We always disagree what song should be the show opener. But we disagree mildly. There are so many good choices for that. We’ve decided on one song that we will open with on every date of this tour. We’ve never opened with that song before. So we all definitely agreed on this one.
AWAY-TEAM: Good, that’s great. I can’t wait to see it, to hear it, to feel it. Because you guys definitely have the energy that I love to take in.
KEITH NELSON: Right on, thanks for that.
AWAY-TEAM: I have a question about your dream tour. Who would be on the bill with you guys, of course with you guys headlining.
KEITH NELSON: Well, I would probably be with something like Led Zepplin and the Sex Pistols and we would be sandwiched in between them somehow.
AWAY-TEAM: (Laughing) You would want to be in between instead of headlining?
KEITH NELSON: Oh yeah! We’re gonna let Led Zepplin headline, come on.
AWAY-TEAM: Well they are the epitome, one of THE best bands that everyone look to. You’re right.
AWAY-TEAM: What are the plans for BUCKCHERRY when the Jagermeister tour ends in February?
KEITH NELSON: Well after that we go up to Canada for three weeks and we’re taking Papa Roach up there with us. Continuing another leg of the Jagermeister tour. I know we are looking to getting over to Europe again in the spring and summer, playing some festivals over there. And some of our own shows. Really just spreading the word on this record and taking it out there and playing it for people.
AWAY-TEAM: The new release has been out since last August. How are the sales both physical and digital?
KEITH NELSON: Well, ya know, sales of records these days is really a weird subject because the bar keeps getting lowered and lowered. You can see that about two weeks ago the number one record on the billboard chart only sold 40,000 units. That’s unheard of. That wouldn’t even get you into the top 20 three or four years ago. So, sales are definitely declining across the board and I think given that we’re at a really good place in the market with where our record is. I think judging your success as a band based on solely on record sales is a big mistake. Because records just don’t sell by themselves. In 2011 we’re earmarked to play for more fans than we’ve ever played for and in more cities and more countries than we’ve ever played. So overall things are really good, really healthy with what’s going on with us.
AWAY-TEAM: That’s great to hear you have that many shows in 2011. That is awesome!
KEITH NELSON: Yes, it is.
AWAY-TEAM: If you were able to cover one artist in your set, who would it be?
KEITH NELSON: Wow! If you would ask the five of us, you would get five different answers. I always wanted to do God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols. I just think that is a song we would do really well. That would get my vote.
AWAY-TEAM: Have you ever done it for soundcheck?
KEITH NELSON: No.
AWAY-TEAM: Do you think it would go over with the other guys?
KEITH NELSON: I think they would be into it.
AWAY-TEAM: Well, maybe toss it out there sometime.
KEITH NELSON: You never know.
AWAY-TEAM: I’m interviewing you but if you could interview any one musician, who would it be?
KEITH NELSON: Ahhhhh. Steven Tyler. I would want to talk to him and get inside his head and ask him some questions.
AWAY-TEAM: I’m sure there’s a lot of shit floating around in his noggin’.
KEITH NELSON: Yeah.
AWAY-TEAM: And what are the top tunes in your ipod right now?
KEITH NELSON: All my favorite records are 20 or more years old. Ha ha ha. It’s crazy. Top tunes would be Horesehead by the BLACK CROWS, Seven Nation Army by WHITE STRIPES and Mannish Boy by MUDDY WATERS.
AWAY-TEAM: Some very good choices!
AWAY-TEAM: Last question Keith. You’re a Steelers fan. What do you think about the Superbowl?
KEITH NELSON: There’s only one way to think. Ya know, I think the Steelers are gonna win. I’m also lucky enough to be a Steelers fan AND a Ravens fan. It was very hard to watch those guys square off against each other. So I’ve kinda go neutral on that day. But, I’m a big Ravens fan as well. I think the AFC is going to prevail.
AWAY-TEAM: Amen. I think so too. I’m rooting for the Steelers even though I’m a Redskins fan.
KEITH NELSON: No doubt.
AWAY-TEAM: Gotta go with the PA team!
KEITH NELSON: That’s right.
AWAY-TEAM: Thanks so much Keith for all your time and your patience with this interview. And I’ll hopefully see you in Baltimore.
KEITH NELSON: Alright hon. Take care.
AWAY-TEAM: You too!
Check out all that is ‘pure and raw’ with BUCKCHERRY at their site: http://www.buckcherry.com/
Here is the 2011 Jagermeister Music Tour schedule:
Wed 19 Jan – San Diego, CA @ 4th and B
Fri 21 Jan – Anaheim, CA @ The Grove of Anaheim
Sat 22 Jan – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
Sun 23 Jan – Reno, NV @ Grand Sierra Resort
Tue 25 Jan – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Great Salt Air
Thu 27 Jan – Denver, CO @ Fillmore
Fri 28 Jan – Kansas City, MO @ Midland Theatre
Sat 29 Jan – Des Moines, IA @ Seven Flags Center
Mon 31 Jan – Peoria, IL @ East Peoria Civic Center
Tue 01 Feb – Chicago, IL @ Congress Theatre
Wed 02 Feb – Waterloo, IA @ McElroy Auditorium
Fri 04 Feb – St Louis, MO @ Pop’s
Sat 05 Feb – Minneapolis MN @ 1st Avenue
Tue 08 Feb – Youngstown, OH @ Covelli Center
Wed 09 Feb – Louisville, KY @ Expo 5
Fri 11 Feb – Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
Sat 12 Feb – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live
Sun 13 Feb – Sayerville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
Tue 15 Feb – New York, NY @ Best Buy Theatre
Wed 16 Feb – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
Fri 18 Feb – Albany, NY @ Northern Lights
Sat 19 Feb – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Sun 20 Feb – Manchester, NH @ Verizon Wireless Arena
Tue 22 Feb – Charlotte, NC @ Fillmore
Wed 23 Feb – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
Thu 24 Feb – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
The 2011 Jagermeister Music Tour will feature Jagermeister custom tour prizes from Schecter Guitars and Peavey Electronics. In addition, Jagermeister will be hosting nightly text-to-win giveaways including tap machines, tee shirts, hats and other branded POS.
Special thanks to Keith Nelson for taking the time to speak with me, and to Pavla Mikula at ‘Stache Media for helping to make it happen.
Have you ever been entranced by a band at first listen? Knowing that, even though you can’t pinpoint it, there’s something special about that band? Revelation Theory, as they were known then, first took our ears by storm back in 2005 with the hit single “Slowburn”. I remember being taken back by the soaring vocals of Rich Luzzi, backed by the harmonies of Matty McCloskey, and the heavy riffs of Julien Jorgensen, and having just that feeling. Turns out I have good instincts. Since then, they’ve added more fuel to that “Slowburn” with the addition of killer axe man Rikki Lixx, an abbreviated name, and a sophomore album that produced four hit singles. Six years later, as Rev Theory prepares to release their third major label effort entitled “Justice”, I had a chance to chat with guitarist Julien Jorgensen about everything from producers to presidents. Keep reading, but be careful… my theory is that this “Slowburn” is about to become an inferno!
AWAY-TEAM: First off I wanna congratulate you on the upcoming tour, and the release of your new album “Justice”, which hits stores Feb. 15th. It’s an amazing piece of work.
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Thanks bro!
AWAY-TEAM: Your last album “Light It Up” was a tremendous success. This time around you’ve enlisted the services of super-producer Terry Date. Aside from his stellar resume, what made you pick a guy like Terry?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Umm, I think it was just obviously, like you said, we’re such big fans of all the records he’s done, and the bands he’s worked with. And ya know, I talked to my A & R guy in Kansas City, we were playing Rockfest in 2008 I think it was, we were in the middle of the cycle for “Light It Up”, and… I’m sorry 2009, and he had said to me “Man, to capture the sound and energy of you guys live…”, which is what we wanted to do, “I think Terry Date would be perfect”. I looked at him and was like “Absolutely”. So he reached out to Terry, and Terry was interested, and we felt like it was just the right fit. Definitely the right guy for the music, and the record we were making.
AWAY-TEAM: Was there a certain quality that you feel like Terry was able to bring out in you this time around? I mean, what was the recording process like?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Terry is great at capturing the true essence of the band. And ya know, he’s really great at capturing the character of a band. I think that’s why his records stand the test of time. Recording with him was awesome, he pushed us to… basically we recorded the bass and the drums live off the floor. The record was really raw, and it was a really good experience. We didn’t take any shortcuts, we really dug into the parts, and he was just a wealth of knowledge. So the whole process was awesome, from stories from what he had done before, to all the little tricks he had up his sleeve, the whole thing was just a treat man. It was a good time.
AWAY-TEAM: On first listen, the title track “Justice” gives you the impression that the song was written for a certain someone in Washington, D.C. The video for the song even further supports that belief. Is that a correct assumption to make?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Well, I think ya know, we had written the song a while back with some good friends of ours… our intention was kind of a bit political, we were a little bit upset about what was going on in the country at the time. We’re really not a politically driven band, so we weren’t really going to use the song, and it sort of brought itself back into the fold when we were writing this record. We just felt it was indicative of a lot of things we were going through. Ya know, socially, stuff that we were pissed off about in our own industry. Just a little frustration going on in the music industry in general. So we felt like it was the perfect song, it says a lot about our fight, what we’ve been through the last eight years as a band. It also encompasses the full body of the record as a whole, so we felt like it was the right song to use as the title track.
AWAY-TEAM: The song “Hollow Man” features your bassist, Matt McCloskey singing leads. How did that come to be?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: It was just… Matt had actually written that song when we were on tour, probably a year and a half ago. It was just one of those that came out in the back of the bus, and literally made it all the way through. And I think it made it because it was just a real honest song, and Matty had sung it originally and just kinda did it on the record as well. It was from him, and from his soul it sounded great with him singing.
AWAY-TEAM: So was this just a one shot deal? Or is this maybe the start of an Alice in Chains type thing where, as Jerry Cantrell would put it, you have two lead singers?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Well, I mean we’ve sort of felt that way for a long time, we just never had the right opportunity to showcase it. I think that this record we do alot of sort of, I mean obviously we’ve done alot of harmonies in the past, there’s alot of counter-melodies and counter-vocals in there. We just try to feature Matty as much as possible, and we feel like this song is definitely the stepping stone…
AWAY-TEAM: With the last album, the WWE took notice. They actually made “Light It Up” the theme song for Wrestlemania 24. Then you went on even further to work with them, giving them “Hell Yeah” and “Voices”, and you were even part of a WWE skit?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Yeah, we did a couple of skits with them backstage. It was actually pretty funny, we’re big fans of Festus and Biscuits and Gravy…Jesse & Festus, they’re funny, they’re characters. So we actually got to do some skits with them backstage. It was fun.
AWAY-TEAM: Cool! Now “Enemy Within” seems like a song that’s tailor made for the WWE. What inspired that song? And are there any plans for the WWE to use any of the songs off of “Justice”?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: That song was written as a full collaboration with the whole band. I’m really proud of that song. It’s just a sort of “Take the world over” song, and “take a look at yourself in the mirror”, and all that type of thing. We felt like it was a bad-ass tune, I mean if you think it could be for the WWE that’s cool. We wrote it kind of for ourselves, and it’s fun to play live so we’re excited to put that one in the set for sure.
AWAY-TEAM: As we speak, you guys are on the road making the 20 hour drive up to Denver. You guys have toured relentlessly, and with a new album to kick off 2011, there appears to be no end in sight. When you’re out on the road like that, how do you escape and find solace, just to keep from going insane?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Well this one’s a little.. we’re on a radio tour right now, we’re in a van and it’s really close quarters. We’re actually having a bit of fun with it, because we haven’t done something like this in a while. We’d been fortunate to have a bus during the last touring cycle; we’re all taking turns driving, and so we haven’t had much time away from each other in the last two weeks. When we are on the road in the bus each of us have things we do during the day to kind of… we have our own tour regiments, ya know, some of us like to go to the gym and at least get a shower, and other guys just chill in the back, play video games, and watch movies. Ya know, write songs, nap… some guys nap a lot, ya know what I mean? (laughs)
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Everyone’s got their own thing, and when it comes to like an hour and a half before gametime, before the show, we all start getting in the same mode. We have a pre-game warmup that we all rock out to, and we put a playlist together, and the cameraderie kicks in, and we take the stage together. So when it’s like an hour out, we’re ready to go.
AWAY-TEAM: What do you do to get amped up for a show like that? Is there a certain song or album you listen to?
JULIEN JORGNSEN: Yeah. We have a ton of go-to’s. I mean, on the last record, the last cycle we had “Whiskey in the Morning” by Buckcherry, some newer stuff from Filter, we had some Avenged Sevenfold, some Pantera on there. Followed by some Jäger and some Monster Energy Drinks. We have the Matty Mayhem special cocktail, which consists of Monster Energy Drink, and the Monster shots (The Hitmen), and Jäger. So we usually pound a few of those before we go out there.
AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) Sounds like you’d have to pound them! Holy Shit!
JULIEN JORGENSEN: (laughing) It’s a good time brother, it’s a good time. Well back in the day we used to drink Jäger and Monster out of a bowl. Cuz we didn’t have cups, ya know we drank them out of those cereal bowls.
AWAY-TEAM: (laughing) Lap it up!
JULIEN JORGENSEN: (laughs) We’ve graduated to shot cups that Jäger gave us.
AWAY-TEAM: (laughs) Despite the tremendous success of “Light It Up”, ya know, aside from the wrestling fans and the true rock fans, to the casual fan Rev Theory is still a bit of an unknown for some reason which is a sin. Is that a role you’re comfortable with? Or crave? Ya know, cuz some bands don’t want the spotlight if it means sacrificing who they are. Or is that something you’d like to change?
JULIEN JORGENSEN: I mean, we wanna get our music out there to as many people as we can. Ya know I think that the last record was a great stepping stone for us. I think it got our music out to alot of people, and I think that we’ll be able to kinda build on the success of that, and I think this record is that record to do it. I think it’s a defining record for our band, and we’re really proud of the whole record. We’re really excited to present this, I think that if we can get it to the people’s ears, they really gonna dig it. It’s not that we love the spotlight, but we’d definitely love to grow the band, and grow the listenership because we feel like we have a really great record.
AWAY-TEAM: I agree. I think after this one you’ll be drinking outta pint glasses. (laughs)
JULIEN JORGENSEN: (laughs) That is awesome. I hope so brother, I hope so.
AWAY-TEAM: Well hey man, thanks for your time. It’s been a great pleasure. Best of luck with the new album and the tour, I know you’re gonna do great. Look forward to seeing you when you make your way through Florida, and we’ll do this again.
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Yeah man. Stay in touch. Come out to a show.
AWAY-TEAM: For sure. Thanks again Julien, talk to you soon.
JULIEN JORGENSEN: Be good. Thanks Jason. Bye.
Rev Theory’s latest album “Justice” hits stores February 15th, and the Monster Energy Outbreak Tour featuring Rev Theory, Pop Evil, Hail the Villain, and The Black Cloud Collective kicks off February 16th in Phoenix. For more info on Rev Theory including tour dates, and to find out where to purchase music and merchandise visit http://www.revtheory.com/