Buckcherry's Keith Nelson:
No, Do It Again
Part 1: Pre-production / Rewrites / Studio Lock-outs
Style over substance? In both tone and tailoring Buckcherry continue the hard rocking, anti-establishment, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll posturing pulled off so believably by Aerosmith in the '70s and Guns 'n' Roses in the '80s. How fitting then that the group scored big with "Lit Up," the powder-fueled hit from their self-titled 1999 Dreamworks debut.
But behind the tattoos and trash talkin' is a lot of hard work, both in the rehearsal studio and on the road. Six years of practice and eighteen months of touring left the band in fine form to record Time Bomb, the John Travis-produced follow-up to their gold certified Buckcherry.
In this enlightening Musician.com interview, guitarist, founding member, and Buckcherry demo engineer Keith Nelson shines a little light on the learning curve of pre-production, handling producer requests for rewrites, and home recording.
Guitar.com: Producer John Travis was behind the board for you on Time Bomb, and before that in pre-production. What goes on when you go into pre-production with a producer like John?
Keith: Well, you know: arguments, and someone pulls a handgun, but the police are called [laughs]. No. What goes on in pre-production? Well with John, it started out when he got the copies of the demos that we had been working on up until that point. Then we sat down and had a conversation with him 'cause we still weren't really sure who our producer was going to be. Some producers handle it differently. Some producers will come in and say, 'I love everything you guys are doing. Let's go track it.' But someone like John came in and said, 'You know, I like this and I don't like this. This needs to change, but this is a great chorus here. And I like this riff but the song sucks.' So he really came in with a very clear idea of what he had in mind and the things that he heard were really interesting to me. So that's kind of where we started. So we take the songs that we already have and we go in and we start rehearsing them. We start working on the songs and kind of tweaking them and trying different things with them, in the meantime coming up with more new material.
Guitar.com: Was he in the rehearsal studio with you?
Keith: At the end of the pre-production process he was in there for the entire time. Early on, he would give us our homework assignments. He'd say, 'This isn't right' or 'Try something else here and I'll be back on Thursday. Let me know what you got.' It was kind of up to us. Thankfully, we have such a rigid work schedule that we were always well prepared for him.
Guitar.com: Are you being serious or facetious?
Keith: No, I'm being serious, man.
Guitar.com: How much rehearsal did you guys put in during that time period?
Keith: Every day.
Guitar.com: All day?
Keith: Yeah. As long as we could stand it.
Guitar.com: You'd lock out a studio and play five or six hours - something like that?
Keith: We've had the same lockout since before there was actually a band. Josh and I rented a spot deep in the valley. It's a little out-of-the-way place where there aren't any other bands. And we've been rehearsing there for six years. It's a little warehouse and we go in there - when we're off the road - we go in there five or six times a week. We broke from the studio, loaded our gear back into the rehearsal room and went back into rehearsing.
Part 1 | Part 2