Josh Todd is a rock and roll survivor. Currently he is fronting Josh Todd & The Conflict while his other band Buckcherry is on hiatus. One of America’s leading rock bands — thanks to hits like “Crazy Bitch,” “Sorry” and “Lit Up” — few people remember the lean years between Buckcherry’s second and third years, when Todd and then-guitarist Keith Nelson were abandoned by their bandmates, record label and just about everyone around them. The Californian group ultimately made an unprecedented comeback with Fifteen. Yet, even before Buckcherry took off, Todd was part of a signed act named Slamhound, which faced music industry turmoil when its label went bankrupt before the group’s album could be released. In turn, when Josh Todd announces a new band and talks about it being the real deal, you listen.
On September 15th, Josh Todd & The Conflict released its debut album, Year Of The Tiger (co-produced with Eric Kretz of Stone Temple Pilots), via Century Media. As Todd mentioned during our phone chat, The Conflict — which includes Buckcherry guitarist Stevie D. — is not just a one-off as plenty of recording and touring is planned.
First, I want to ask you about your new album. Do you call this a solo album or do you think of it as a band record?
Josh Todd: No, it’s a band.
Because I remember you did a solo record about 15 years ago, now do you consider that a solo album?
Todd: You know what, that was a band album. It got messed up along the way, I got talked into calling it that, just my name. But this is definitely a band, Josh Todd & The Conflict. We’ve got a great new record, Year Of The Tiger which dropped September 15th.
Watch the video for the band’s title track “Year of the Tiger”.
Sure, do you have a favorite song on the new record?
Todd: A favorite song? I just, I like the record as a whole. I think it’s one of the best records I’ve been a part of, but let’s see, I would have to say “Conflict.”
Now did the song’s name come first or did the band name came first?
Todd: Yeah, Stevie D. and I, he is a guitar player, he pulls double duty, he plays in Buckcherry too, and it all kind of started last year. We were on the road and we made an EP for a clothing line that I started, SprayGun War. We had a lot of fun doing that and we figured out we had really good songwriting chemistry because he didn’t get to write a lot in Buckcherry.
I’ve known Stevie for a long time, way before Buckcherry, so it was really a labor of love. When we got off the road I wanted to make a new record, I hadn’t made a new record for a while and there was a lot of changes going on in BC at the time. We just started writing for this record and I said I want it to be a rock record, I want it to be heavy. I want it to be more along the lines of my roots and so we started writing and “Year Of The Tiger” was actually one of the first songs that came together. It was just the one that sparked everything… we knew we had something.
When you play live, being that it is you and Stevie, do you think there will be pressure for you to do any Buckcherry material?
Todd: No, I mean, we’ve got a whole headlining set with The Conflict. I mean, if we had to do that to get a certain gig or whatever, we would do whatever we had to do because we want to get this music out there. I’ve got a great band and so whatever we’ve got to do, it doesn’t matter.
That’s a great attitude. One of my favorite things about you, besides the music, is the fact that Buckcherry is arguably the greatest comeback story in the history of rock. You’re the one who actually had to go through all that but looking back, is that a satisfying thing? Like “I told you so…”
Todd: Yes, it’s so satisfying. I mean there’s no greater revenge than success, and the funny thing is this whole layout of what we’ve done with The Conflict has kind of mirrored the whole Fifteen thing in a weird way. So, yeah, it’s a trip, it’s a real trip, but I’m so grateful for all the accomplishments and being in the game coming up on twenty years. It’s pretty cool.
Get “Fucked Up” with the band’s single and music video there of.
Going back in your catalog, Buckcherry was a big success, and of course 10 years or so before that you had Slamhound going. What was it that kept you going? I ask because you know you were really slogging along for a long time, and a lot of people would not be able to hold on for that long.
Todd: Yeah, it’s funny you bring that up. You know, a lot of people don’t know that I was slogging away, I was in Slamhound for over five years and I was very passionate about that band. We made a record called Resentment and it’s a really great record and we were on a small little indie label called Sky Tower Records. They lost all their financial backing right before we were supposed to release our record, so it was kind of a drag and the band kind of imploded after that… I was devastated, I thought, “Man, my career is over, I’m too old.” I was only 26 and that lasted for like two days and then I just got back to work, and not shortly after that is when I met Keith [Nelson] and we started just writing songs and then Buckcherry was born shortly after.
So, looking back on everything, having worked and toured with some of the biggest stars of all time, having sold millions of records, is there anything that you haven’t accomplished yet that you’re still working towards?
Todd: Yeah, I really want a worldwide market, because Buckcherry really screwed up Europe. We didn’t do it right as far as like being consistent and it messed it all up over there. You know, we should be huge in Europe and it’s just not the case. I mean we do really well in the U.K. but I really want to go to really cool places like Russia and Germany and, you know, all these places and bring my bag of tricks. There’s a lot there so that’s sort of what I want to do with The Conflict. I really want to make it a really great worldwide international sensation, you know?
Sure, you mentioned Europe. I believe when I interviewed Keith around ‘99 or 2000, he’d mentioned coming off the road with KISS in Europe. Was that your first tour over there?
Todd: That was our first tour, and it was crazy. We’d never been to Europe, we’ve never been in a bus and that was our first like arena rock tour. To be a part of it was such an eye-opening experience, really cool and challenging.
You mentioned SprayGun War before. A lot of people saw that music video. Is that an active project or was that a one-off?
Todd: No, I created a clothing line called SprayGun War and I always wanted to put music to it. At the time Stevie and I were out on the road with Buckcherry, so we made it electronic because we didn’t have anything else to work with and we just really wanted to create something cool. We did it all on our own, all grassroots, we made that video on our own, we put it out on TuneCore, we weren’t under a label. We just wanted to make some new music and have a really good time, and it’s cool because one of those songs is “OMG,” which was the single, and we converted it into a Conflict song…SprayGun War just morphed into The Conflict and being a rock band you know?
In terms of acting, you’ve randomly been in a lot of movie and TV projects. Do you have anything coming up on that front?
Todd: I don’t, the last thing I did was Bones and that was a lot of fun. I had a guest starring role in that, but you know, the acting thing is kind of just…it’s like I got to have time to do it and music’s always top priority. I’ve been really hustling to get The Conflict going and then finishing some Buckcherry shows…I’ve been also doing Buckcherry shows since February, so my plate is pretty full right now.
So, the fans can rest assured that Buckcherry is keeping on, the solo album is just a fun thing to do?
Todd: Not a fun thing to do. It is a band and it’s going to be making more records and my goal is to have two bands like I wanted. I’ll do a record cycle with The Conflict and I’ll come back and do a record cycle with Buckcherry and so on and so forth.
Well, you sort of answered this but I’m still curious. If you have downtime and you’re not doing music, do you have any hobbies or things you like to do?
Todd: I mean, I have children, so when I’m not on the road I tend to my kids and spend as much time as I can with them. When I do want to kind of just get out of my head, I like to race go-karts. That’s something I’ve been doing for a long time and I enjoy that or just wrenching on them, setting them up or working on go-karts, I love it.
So finally, Josh, any last words for the kids?
Todd: For the kids, about the record or…?
Just in general.
Todd: Yeah you know, listen, Year of the Tiger, the new record came out September 15th. You can go buy it right now and get pumped up right now…It’s a great record, mark my words, you won’t be disappointed, so go out there and order the record and come out to one of the shows. Join The Conflict!
Check out the Spraygun War music video for their single “OMG”