Photo By: Andrew Wendowski/Music Mayhem Magazine

Josh Todd Talks Year Of The Tiger, The Conflict, and Removing Tracks from Rock Music

Josh Todd is a true force to be reckoned within in the music industry. Not only is he the front man of the heavy hitting rock band Buckcherry, he has now unleashed yet another amazing project with his new band Josh Todd & The Conflict. The band recently unveiled their powerful new music video for the title track off their debut album, Year of the Tiger, out September 15th on Century Media Records. We recently had the chance to catch up with Josh Todd to discuss Year of the Tiger, changes in the music industry, his new project and more! Read the full interview below:

Kristyn Clarke: Can you tell me a little bit about what is going on with the new project, I thought that the video for the first single was amazing.

Josh Todd: Thanks. Yeah, it’s actually a new band and I have two bands, Buckcherry and Josh Todd and The Conflict. I started working on this project last year in November, Stevie D (guitar player in Buckcherry as well) and I are longtime friends,  I have known him since I was 19 and we just decided to embark on making this record and having it completely separate from Buckcherry and more along the lines of my roots and how I came up. You know I was originally always in 4-piece bands and more aggressive rock bands, so we wanted to make a more aggressive record and it just came out really well. We worked really hard on it.

Kristyn Clarke: It’s awesome, It sounds a little more raw from what I have heard and I just think that it’s heavier

Josh Todd: Yeah it is, It’s a lot more raw, it’s a lot heavier. I don’t know if you have heard the whole record yet but there is definitely some mid-tempo songs in there and a slower song in there as well, it’s not all like “F**ked Up” and “Year of The Tiger” but yea it’s very aggressive and a lot of fun, there’s a lot of melody as well and like I said I can’t wait to do this live. The album drops on September 15th and we’re going to be touring heavily with the Conflict in the fall. Right now we just have shows scattered about here and there until the fall rolls in and then we’ll start going hard.

Kristyn Clarke: Absolutely, So, with the recording process for the album. Could you pick one or two songs in particular and tell me what the mindset was like when you were putting it together. I know you have obviously been working on it for quite some time.

Josh Todd: I will talk about one of the first songs that kind of sparked everything, which was “Year Of The Tiger.” It was just such a great title for a song and the record. We finished that song and I just remember that the demo of that song was really great, it was really hard to beat the demo on that one so we just ripped it out real quick. It is just kind of one of those songs that clubs you in the head and demands that you listen to it again. So when we finished that song, we knew we had something, we knew that we had some really good song chemistry because Stevie and I began writing together not too much before that with the Spray Gun War EP. We did an electronic EP that we did it all on a laptop while on the road so, this was kind of like we have already gotten our feet wet with songwriting and we figured out that we had a really good chemistry and he was really starting to understand my songwriting language which takes a little bit of time. Ya know? So when we wrote “Year Of The Tiger” we were like, the records got to have this type of a theme, this is it. So that is when we just started kicking in to high gear because we were just so inspired to finish the record.

Kristyn Clarke: Is it kind of refreshing to know that you are at a point in your career that you can kind of take these risks and be honest with yourself and not have to worry about fitting into any particular box cause you are doing it for you.

Josh Todd: Yes, That is the joy of life… it is the unknown. Listen, Buckcherry was in a funky place for the last three years. We were not united, it was not fun, and it was time to come together and be passionate about something again. I feel like I have been reborn with both bands because Buckcherry is in such a good place now with the new lineup, so that’s in a great place now. The Conflict is a great band too, all the people who are involved in it, it’s just effortless and fun again and that’s the way it needs to be. So, that’s a huge reason why the record come out so well because we were all focused on the same outcome. We were all excited to be in one place together and that’s when it means the most.

Kristyn Clarke:  I hate to use that buzz word but when that synergy is there, it’s just there and then you get that sound, it just falls together and all the chips are in place so to say.

Josh Todd: It’s a very unique thing and it’s something you just want to hold on to.

Kristyn Clarke: I can only imagine, I mean obviously you have seen all the changes that have taken place within the industry itself. Obviously some good and some bad, if you could change one thing about the artists today, is there anything you would change or approach differently?

Josh Todd: Wow, there is so much. [laughs] I would get rid of tracks and take them out of rock music. Rock music now is like pop music as far as live shows are concerned. All of the big major mainstream rock n’ roll acts are using tracks live. I feel like it’s just not as interesting anymore, and I understand why they are all doing it, it’s not that it’s a bad thing but I feel like it’s part of the reason why pop shows are so bland and boring and then Bruno Mars came around and he’s like the real deal, so fun and refreshing and interesting and just an extraordinary talent and he can sing, he can dance, he does it all, he is like a true artist and I think that people are better when they are having to deal with all their imperfections live, I mean, that is part of playing live. It is dealing with the imperfections and I think that if all the tracks were removed from rock music, it would be a lot more interesting.

When I listen to rock radio and the top 5 in rock radio, I hear a lot of bands that sound like they are making records and writing songs to fit a radio format and to please their record companies and it just doesn’t sound real to me. As a listener, I don’t hear it and go “oh man” like this band sounds like this is it for them, they are starting a movement. When I first started listening to Rage Against The Machine, their first record I was like “oh my god” what is this, this is f**king incredible. I remember I saw Rage Against The Machine at Roseland Ballroom in New York. I knew nothing about who or what they were, they were just coming on the scene as far as I knew as I did not know anything about them but they were creating quite a buzz at that point and I saw their sold out show at Roseland and was like clubbed in the face and was like “this is f**king insane, this is amazing, these guys are gonna be ridiculous” because I just believed in it. I believed that everything that they were saying was genuine and that they were doing it all for themselves and they believed it in it and that people were just hanging on for dear life to be apart of it and that to me is special and I think that is what is really lacking now in rock music.

I go and listen to new hip hop and I am like ‘oh this is where all the f**king outlaws are’, this sh*t is like f**king ridiculous like the sh*t they are saying in those songs and the risks they are taking and it’s just f**king amazing! Rock needs to get back to that place where it’s just reckless and scary and like ‘wow what is going on here?’… this is cool. I hope that happens and I hope that is what people get out of the Conflict record because we didn’t even have a record label in place when we made that record. It was really just no rules, and go in there and make something that is from the heart and that is when Century Media got in there after it.

Kristyn Clarke: I am so glad that you mentioned that because when you talk about everything being so smooth and so perfect and that is why it sounds like that. I love that perfectly imperfect sound of a live recording or a first time take. I do agree with you completely that is missing from rock music.

Josh Todd: Well it’s not only that but it’s like I have literally been on a tour when I was with bands (I won’t name names) but I was standing at front of house watching the band and I am watching the singer on the mic and I am like these vocals are the most perfect vocals I have ever heard live and I cannot believe that I can’t even hear this guy take a breath, then I find out later from my tour manager that the lead singer is not singing four of the songs live. I am like what? I could not even imagine that happening in rock music like ten years ago. The fact that, that is going on now a lot in rock music is just frightening, its really sad and I just think because of that there is no spotlight in the live performance and were lacking those rock gods that we used to have. Like you don’t have Jimmy Hendrix type guitar players anymore, you don’t have Eddie Van Halen type guitar players anymore, you don’t have front men like Steven Tyler anymore or like these guys who can sing and dance and carry on a show and talk to an audience. You don’t have any of that anymore and it sucks.

Kristyn Clarke: How would you compare Buckcherry with Josh Todd and The Conflict? I always felt that Buckcherry always got kind of lumped in that party band category and it made me angry because I felt like they never bothered to listen closely to a lot of the lyrics.

Josh Todd: They didn’t and that’s my biggest gripe with all of it too. I write all the lyrics and melodies, and it’s like the songs that were showcased just happened to be those types of songs and there’s a whole record of material and I feel exactly the way you do about all of that but it is what it is. We have a lot of loyal Buckcherry fans, like we just did two BC shows and were gonna be doing two more coming up in Canada here. We are going to kind of fade out of BC this summer and into the Conflict in the fall. Then we will go back to BC when we really worked this record really good but I agree with you. That is just the United States, When you get out of the United States it is a much different landscape, when you go internationally people go way deeper into your career, it’s not so radio driven and it’s a different experience but yes I get that a lot in the states.

Kristyn Clarke: I thought Black Butterfly was one of the most beautiful albums as a whole.

Josh Todd: That’s my favorite Buckcherry record.

Kristyn Clarke: It is incredible and I feel like so many people just missed that one, ya know? So you do have some touring plans for the fall after the release, do you have any big plans for release day?

Josh Todd: Yeah, we have done a hand full of Conflict dates, coming up we are playing with Bush and Frankie Perez in Vegas. We are looking really hard for a package tour in the fall but a lot of the fall tours are already booked so it’s been hard and were kind of scrambling here but if we can’t get the package tour together we will definitely be getting some of our own shows together until we can get on those package tours.

Kristyn Clarke: That is awesome and we certainly look forward to seeing you guys here on the east coast.

Josh Todd: Ah yeah, it’s gonna be sick. I feel like it’s hard for me as we have finished recording this album in March and we have been sitting on it. I have a great band backing me, I have Sean Winchester on the drums, Greg Cache on the bass (he played with Dorothy) and Sean Winchester played with Everclear and Stevie D is an amazing guitar player and it’s like I have this great band, we have a great record and nobody has heard it yet but like it’s so frustrating to sit here and wait till people have the record and we can start getting to audiences. It is tough.

Kristyn Clarke: Absolutely, I can’t even imagine how antsy you must be to get it out there.

Josh Todd: Yeah it is tough, but once you get that first record out then it really starts going fast.

Kristyn Clarke: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. We look forward to seeing you in the near future at a Conflict show.

Josh Todd: Nice talking to you and we hope to see at a Conflict show sometime in the near future.

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