Published: 02 November, 2009 - Featured in Skin Deep 146, June, 2007

Formed in 1995 in Los Angeles, Buckcherry went the independent route after being orphaned by the demise of DreamWorks, their home for two records, Buckcherry (1999) and Time Bomb (2001).   TODD and NELSON reunited to play a benefit for the late drummer Randy Castillo, after which they were recruited by Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum to play in the now infamous GNR project that eventually evolved into Velvet Revolver.


Revitalized and inspired after recruiting D., MURIEL and ASHHURST, the band recorded FIFTEEN in 15 days. “BUCKCHERRY is a rock ‘n’ roll band. We wanted to get the vibe back which made us so explosive,” says TODD. “We went into the studio and vowed not come out until we had a successful, ass-kicking, career-defining album.”   

BUCKCHERRY went on to release the follow-up record Time Bomb in summer 2000, followed by a successful stint opening for one of their long-time heroes, AC/DC.

When DreamWorks Records effectively disappeared within the corporate monolith shortly afterwards, however, the group’s momentum stalled, band members split, and TODD and NELSON were left trying to right the sinking ship.  It placed a tremendous amount of financial and emotional pressure on the band, which forced them to take a break to re-evaluate their future direction.   

With their new album Fifteen, BUCKCHERRY hasn’t just returned them to the scene, they’ve grabbed it by the throat and are back in your face with renewed vengeance.   

Skin Deep spoke to the band about their tattoos while they were over here in the UK recently. If you missed them, Buckcherry are back here for the Download Festival on Friday 8th June, then the guys are back for a UK tour in September.


Josh Todd
(Lead Vocals)

My tattoos represent my business suit.  Whenever they come out, that’s when I close big fucking rock deals. They also provide me protection against people who judge a book by its cover - those aren’t the kind of people I want to associate with. I don’t recommend getting one or two little tattoos - you either go big or go home. Some of the coolest and most stand-up people in my life are heavily tattooed and these are guys I would trust with my children.  I am honored to be apart of the tribe.   

My Betty Boo was tattooed when I was pretty drunk one time. I always knew that I wanted full sleeves and it took a while to find the right artist for me. Most of my other tattoos have been done by various artists across America. I suppose my back-piece is my most famous piece.

It’s the King of Hearts. I chose this as he is the only king in the deck with a knife through his head. To me that imagery is really cool. Not long after the design was tattooed I added ‘love’ and ‘desire’ above and below the king as I try to live by these words.  

Some of my other work is quite old school, I have a classic Sailor Jerry Americana tattoo of a girls face, which is really weird as it looks just like my wife!


Keith  Nelson (Guitars)

I got my first tattoo when I was 18 years old in Elizabeth, NJ. It was an eagle with a lightening bolt on my right arm. At the time I was the only one of my friends that had any tattoos. I did not get tattooed again until I moved to Los Angeles in my early 20’s and what started out as a half sleeve has turned out to be the majority of my body. Its funny, when I started getting tattooed people with ink were considered outcasts or misfits. Now it seems even your local bank teller has a tat peeking out from under their shirtsleeve. I guess some things change. I’m not stopping till I am covered. I like tattoos.  They hurt.  I have a lot of them, and I haven’t lost any.  Most of them are by Kevin Quinn in Los Angeles because he is the best tattoo artist on the planet.  Earth that is.

Xavier Muriel (drummer)

My tats vary from my family’s code of arms on my left arm, Japanese dragons on my chest, and traditional headlights on my collar bones to an angelic theme that covers both arms.  They all represent things in which I strongly believe in and they all play a role in my life. The process sucks but I’m always thrilled about the outcome and the way they look.   

I had originally only wanted my family crest because my father and brother have rings with it on them.  But I knew I would loose it if I had it on a ring, so I thought why not a tat - it’ll be there forever.  I got my St.Michael battling Satan on my right forearm to symbolize the battle between good and evil and that is present everywhere - even in myself.  All the rest of my angels I got to watch over me because I need all the help I can get.  I’ve always been really fond of Japanese culture - their loyalty, discipline and honour.  My dragons are a sign of strength and are my newest additions.

Stevie D (guitars)

Like for most, Tattoo’s are such a personal thing for me. Storytellers. Markers in time. Blah, blah, blah. But I guess it really didn’t start out that way because my first was just a piece of flash off the wall at a Hollywood Boulevard shop. I was 18, fucked up and quite careless at the time. I really loved the art form, but lacked any concept of consistency, symmetry, or flow. I didn’t even realize there were different styles. I followed this pattern for a few years.

I’d get something black and grey, then Japanese, then something traditional. I was really messed up once and had a friend, not a tattoo artist, put a pin-up girl on my wrist. He cut me open trying to shade the piece with a 1 needle. I hadn’t slept in a couple days and nearly passed out from all the bleeding.    

I started tying everything together with Japanese. I had Greg James and Sunset Strip Tattoo do a big dragon, fire and wind bars on my right arm, and I had Danny Black do a water theme on my left. For me, the basic meaning behind all of that is protection, strength and balance. The birds on my shoulders are straight up Sailor Jerry. The piece on my back is the Virgin Mary. I’m not a religious guy by any stretch, but have come to know that there were some huge hurdles in my life that I have gotten through with nothing short of a miracle. That and faith is what that represents for me.    

It’s funny, the one that gets the most questions is the simple kanji on my stomach. It means Spring. When we’re in Japan they love to know why. For me it means new life, and new beginnings. That’s what it’s been all about.


Photography And Interview: Ashley Photographer's Assistant: Michele Martinoli


Skin Deep 146 1 June 2007 146