Hitting high marks and surviving low points
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A few years back, Buckcherry experienced an upheaval that saw two veteran players depart the band. A revamped version of the band will perform at the Eclectic Room in Angola on April 24.
In a phone interview, longtime guitarist Stevie D. said the split was the result of changes in the music business and the band’s misguided-but-understandable response to them.
Easing back on touring
“We were relying so heavily on touring,” he said. “We made a great business touring, but after 10 years of it, we had burned out most markets. We were victims of diminishing returns. That is really hard on a band. It became not fun anymore.”
For example, the band was performing in Rochester, N.Y., three or four times a year.
“It was ridiculous,” he said. “You really only need to go there once. Maybe twice.”
Keith Nelson and Xavier Muriel left Buckcherry and the band went on hiatus for a while. Eventually, Nelson and Muriel were replaced with Kevin Roentgen and Sean Winchester.
The new members were not chosen solely for their musical acumen, Stevie D. said.
“We could have called anybody because we had to know that the hang was going to be good,” he said, referring to the smooth meshing of personalities. “Because we were going to do a lot of miles with these guys.”
The new Buckcherry is now touring on a new record (Warpaint) and under new management.
“We had to let (the new management) know that we just couldn’t burn out the United States,” Stevie D. said. “We were burning out the A markets, B markets, C markets. We were driving it all into the ground.
“What we’re doing now is hitting an area and then we’re waiting six months to a year to go back,” he said.
Expanding their reach
Buckcherry is also trying to expand its global reach as a way of diversifying its audience and cultivating new prospects.
“We’re building the presence of the band in Europe, the UK, Asia, and the Eastern block,” Stevie D. said. “Also South America.”
Building an audience in Europe is not just about addressing current challenges. It’s about anticipating the future.
“We can go back to these other places like Europe and have a career there,” Stevie D. said. “There are a lot of bands that play there that don’t play in the states anymore because they have built a nice career over there. The audiences over there aren’t quite so single driven. They are more about the body of work.”
Weathering the Storm
Sustaining a career in rock music is not easy, as this article had made abundantly clear. Sometimes success is defined less by what you have achieved than what you have survived.
“One thing you learn is that it really does ebb and flow,” Stevie D. said. “If you can survive those low points — because it gets dark and it gets desperate — and you still get to do what you love after those hard times…If you can weather those storms, there’s not a better feeling in the world.
“Selling a million albums — that’s great. But weathering that storm? It’s 10 times (expletive) harder,” he said. “When the hit parade goes away and album sales drop and the fanfare is all done, you find out who your friends really are.
“Weathering the storm is a personal accomplishment that’s a high water mark. Now I feel like I can do anything.”
Stevie. D said he believes the band is “bulletproof” now.
“There’s nobody that can tell me differently,” he said. “This line-up, where the head space is, where the heart space is, our management and our label…we’re all running on 11.”