I recently caught up with Keith Nelson, guitarist and co-founder of Buckcherry. I have photographed him on stage when the band has been on tour. What you may not know about Nelson is that he is addicted to bikes.
“I fancy an older Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I’ve got a bit of a collection going on. I’ve got a couple of vintage Knuckleheads, a flathead, a panhead; I’m the proud owner of an Indian Larry Legacy motorcycle and I’ve got a late model bagger just to go get groceries on,” said Nelson in phone interview.
When you live in Southern California, a motorcycle is definitely your preferred method of transportation. However, spending a lot of time on the road touring with a band will limit the amount of time you get to enjoy the open road. Buckcherry is currently on tour promoting their latest album, All Night Long. The tour includes two B.C. dates – March 1 in Prince George and March 2 in Dawson Creek before they carry on to Alberta.
During our conversation with Nelson, we joked that the new album’s sound was like adding a Screamin’ Eagle kit to your Harley.
“Yeah, straight pipes and a stroker kit,” laughed Nelson.
The title track has been referred to as a rock n’roll anthem and the lyrics penned from the experience of attending one of the band’s shows – four time Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground headliners.
“It [Sturgis] is always such a good time,” said Nelson. “Our first time, we didn’t realize that when people like you they fire up their bikes and rev them in lieu of applause. After the second song, we heard this noise and looked at one another ‘What the hell is that’ but then we figured it out. It was rad. It’s a good time – Sturgis.”
As much as Nelson would like, the band doesn’t get to spend much time in Sturgis. In fact, the band doesn’t get to spend much time in any city their tour takes them to.
“We tour so much, we get to so many different cities but we never really get to see what is going on there. It is always a venue, a dressing room and back on a tour bus,” continued Nelson.
But when the tour is over, riding is a way for Nelson to unwind.
“My drummer, Xavier, is a big motorcycle enthusiast as well. He is the resident wrench in the band. He really knows his way around a bike so I have a riding companion within the band which is nice,” said Nelson. “When we finished the 15 tour a couple of years ago, we flew to Orlando, Florida. Billy Lane, from Choppers Inc. in Florida is a really close friend of ours out there. I had my Panhead out there, and Xavier had his custom chopper that Billy built and the three of us rode from Florida to Los Angeles. We avoided all the highways, took all the back roads and took our time getting across the United States. It was a great nine days of our lives. It was nice to get out there and see some things, you know, check out some diners, grow a beard and ride a motorcycle.”
As far as the music goes, Nelson prides himself on not being one dimensional. He isn’t just about bikes and isn’t just about music. It all blends together and provides a great release and outlet for natural energy.
The current tour for Buckcherry wraps up April 2 ironically at Arizona Bike Week in Mesa.