Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson sings the praises of unsung Satellite Rick Richards



Everyone I’ve talked to about new L.A. guitar band Buckcherry—including Vancouver rocker and reporter John Armstrong, the original “Buck Cherry” of the Modernettes—views the group as a rehash of riff-rock acts from the ’70s (Kiss, AC/DC) and ’90s (the Black Crowes). But Buckcherry’s retro raunch-boogie doesn’t bother me; I still prefer it to most of what passes for “modern rock” these days. And besides, I was impressed when I read the liner notes to its self-titled debut CD and saw guitarist Keith Nelson’s thank-you to, among others, Georgia Satellites guitarist Rick Richards.

Anyone who’s a friend of Rick Richards is a friend of mine.

“Rick is just one of my all-time favourite guitar players,” explains Nelson, calling from Dallas on a tour that brings Buckcherry to the Starfish Room on Tuesday (May 18). “I think he’s really underrated and really unsung, and that cat has completely inspired me. I’ve never seen the Georgia Satellites, but I have met Rick, and he’s very, very righteous. Man, he’s so cool.”

Another name in the Buckcherry credits that helped sway me to the band’s side was that of former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, who coproduced the CD along with Terry Date (Pantera, Soundgarden, White Zombie).

“Steve’s the godfather of punk,” Nelson notes, “and it was great to have him along. He had seen a couple of our shows in Hollywood and really wanted to be involved from a production level, and Terry—who’s made a bunch of great records by himself—was cool enough to say okay. Steve helped us out a lot in preproduction, as far as really helping us take what we’re doin’ to another level.”

A third thing that I like about Buckcherry is the way the group came together, and I don’t mean the much-ballyhooed connecting of Nelson and singer Joshua Todd via their mutual tattoo artist. I think it’s cool that bassist Jonathan Brightman hooked up with Nelson and Todd after hearing them rock out through the walls of a rehearsal space.

“Josh and I were hammerin’ out some songs that we had written,” explains Nelson, “and J.B. heard us and just kinda stuck around and waited to meet us. He’s the only bass player that we really played with, man, like it was supposed to happen. And same with our drummer. When we actually set out to look for a drummer, the first guy we played with was Devon [Glenn].”

The fourth and final thing that put Buckcherry in my good books was the fact that it recently added another lead/rhythm guitarist, simply named Yogi, to the lineup. Now the band churns out even more boogie licks per bar.

“It’s a lotta work bein’ the only guitar player,” claims Nelson, “so [the addition of Yogi] is great for me. And there aren’t enough great rhythm-guitar players out there anyway, so when it’s my turn to play rhythm on a song, I’m more than happy to do it.”

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