BY MICHELLE PEREZ-VEGA
Right off the bat, Josh Todd wants to make it clear: Buckcherry hasn’t broken up. His latest musical venture, Josh Todd & The Conflict, is NOT a side-project, a solo effort on his part, nor Buckcherry Part Two.
Josh Todd & The Conflict is a true, bonafide band in every sense of the word.
And, oh, what a band it is. Put on the band’s debut album, Year of the Tiger, and prepare to have your ears bleeding with the sheer awesomeness of it all.
Todd has it all figured out – by giving each respective band a break between the individual releases, he said he knows he can give 110 percent to both Buckcherry and Josh Todd & The Conflict when the occasion calls for it.
But what about Todd? What about making time for himself?
“Well, that’s a really great question,” Todd laughed. “I have kids, too, so it’s time to hustle, you know. Yeah, I mean, I would LIKE to decompress, but I really don’t know how long I could do that. Even a week off, that’s enough for me. I’m really not a guy that likes to sit around and do nothing. I just can’t do that, okay?”
TAKE IT FROM THE TOP
Josh Todd & The Conflict was formed by Todd and fellow Buckcherry guitarist Stevie Dacanay, aka Stevie D. The two friends made an EP for a clothing line that Todd started, SprayGun War.
“We kind of figured out we had really good chemistry,” Todd said. “We didn’t have a lot of opportunities in the past because of some of the politics of Buckcherry to really, you know, spend a lot of time writing songs together. So, when we were given this opportunity, it opened up this whole creative thing for us and it was really exciting. We had a lot of fun doing it. It became a real labor of love.”
Todd said that when he got off the road, he decided he wanted to put out a record.
“I wanted to put out an aggressive record,” Todd added, “More along the lines of my roots and my foundation. I wanted a four piece band. That’s all I played in prior to Buckcherry. I kind of wanted to get back to that whole school of thinking as far as a rock band was concerned, so we started discussing how it needed what sound, how we were going to get that sound, and we started writing for Year of the Tiger.”
Todd and Dacanay then began looking out for a bassist and drummer who could not only deliver the music, but the belief as well. Enter Bassist Gregg Cash and Drummer Sean Winchester, who, as well as Dacanay, is Todd’s Buckcherry bandmate.
“We were looking for a drummer first off to do the tracks,” Todd remembered. “We had another guy that was going to do them, but he bailed on us at the last minute, so we got Sean into the fold. It was a blessing in disguise, because he was just the right fit for the band. He came in and really killed it. Then we were looking at different kind of bass guys,” he continued, “you know, as far as the type of person we wanted to attack these songs and to really be great live. Gregg was recommended to us through a friend. I started watching some of his performance videos and saw how great this guy really was. Stevie really liked the videos, and so we had a brief meeting with Gregg when he was in town. He’s a perfect fit totally, he was meant to be. He just jumped in and started recording the bass.”
KICKING DOWN THE STUMBLING BLOCKS
So, the groove was in the hearts, the recording process had begun, but obstacles quickly became apparent for the band.
“If you would have only known all the obstacles, you wouldn’t believe it,” Todd stated. “Stevie and Eric Kretz (drummer of Stone Temple Pilots) were producing the record. There was some label interest, but it wasn’t the right kind of label interest, so we didn’t even have a label in place when we started recording.”
And, the band was recording and tracking at warped speed on top of it.
“We literally tracked the whole thing in under 12 days,” Todd said. “I think I did all the vocals in six days! The thing was, we were really prepared before even going into the studio. We knew we had really great songs and it was just time to capture it.”
The band eventually did a showcase at the Viper Room in West Hollywood – Century Media Records President Don Robertson signed Josh Todd & The Conflict reportedly on the spot.
“It’s was a challenge, you know, getting people to focus on this, but our label got everybody to understand it,” Todd said. “Other obstacles I don’t want to get into – let’s just say that I was feeling like I’ve had to make the record of my career once again. It was really challenging, but a lot of fun. I myself am very passionate about it. I think it’s one of my best records and we’re determined to go out there and really give it to the people live.”
NOW COMES THE EXPLANATIONS
Todd is adamant that Josh Todd & The Conflict is a band. So, why put his name out in front?
“My great manager, Larry Mazur, Stevie and I, we just sat down and started talking,” Todd said. “We just thought, you know, if we use my name, it was going to be a lot quicker getting awareness out there, which is what we wanted to do. We wanted to create an audience as quickly as we could. It’s not like I’m Mick Jagger or anything,” Todd laughed, “but I was looking at it like, hmmm…Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers…Eddie and the Cruisers?”
And where did all this Conflict come from?
“You know, back in the day when my wife and I got our first house, I don’t really buy into this type of stuff, but my mom as a present paid for this guy to come out,” Todd revealed. “He said to me, ‘you have lots of conflict in your life, but you’re good dealing with adversity. You will never get knocked out, but conflict is going to be your path.’ I mean, it was crazy, but I thought, yeah, that word has come up a lot in my life, and in my music, especially with problems encountered in Buckcherry, there’s been a lot of conflict there. So I was like, okay. There’s the band name!”
So, being that conflict is going to surround Todd until the end of his days, what’s his plan for keeping Josh Todd & The Conflict afloat?
“Well, first of all, you have to have a great product,” Todd began. “I feel like I have a great product. Then you gotta have a great live show, because even if you have a hit on the radio, that doesn’t really mean a whole lot in record sales anymore, so you know you better be good live!”
Todd is determined to find, and keep, an audience.
“I know that there’s gonna be a certain percentage of Buckcherry people that are gonna climb aboard, just as there’s gonna be some people that are just not going to get it,” Todd said. “I really want to find that young, hungry person that really gets it. And that’s the person I want to keep, because I’m going to continue to make more Josh Todd & The Conflict records.”
AND THE INEVITABLE QUESTION
Comparisons naturally abound between Buckcherry and Josh Todd & The Conflict. Todd said he understands.
“Hey, at first I couldn’t figure out how Slipknot and Stone Sour existed,” Todd laughed. “Slipknot is heavier, and then Stone Sour…a lot of people were calling it Slipknot Light. Turns out, Stone Sour is just as great as Slipknot. I was like, this guy (Corey Taylor) really has it going on. He’s really diversified; he’ll go and make a Stone Sour record, go score on it, and then he’ll come back and do a whole Slipknot run.
“I just thought, that’s amazing,” Todd continued. “I want to do that; I want to be able to give Buckcherry a rest, and then go and do something else that I’m very passionate about in the same genre of music, and then keep building on it. Then, I’ll make another Buckcherry record, go on tour, then back to The Conflict. I can do that, because I’m a workaholic. I love it, I love to work, so that’s what I’m attempting to do right now.”
What does Todd want from fans? Passion, he replied.
“You know, I want people to put it on and just become loyal fans because they are connected to what is going on, that it’s a movement,” Todd said. “I feel Josh Todd & The Conflict as a movement, and now I’m carrying it out. I’ve got a great label involved, I have a great production on this, I have great songs, we got a great band. It’s just time to get it in front of people. The fun part is coming up.”