BUCKCHERRY singer Josh Todd says that the departure of founding guitarist Keith Nelson was "three years in the making" before it finally happened.
Nelson's exit from BUCKCHERRY was announced in May 2017. At the time, no reason was given for his split with the group. He was replaced by Kevin Roentgen, who had previously played with AMERICAN PEARL and SOUL. Roentgen left BUCKCHERRY in July 2020 and was replaced by JETBOY's Billy Rowe.
Asked in a new interview with "The Crash Report" podcast if it was a difficult transition having to continue without Nelson, Todd said: "We'd already been through a few departures from bandmembers. So, at that point, we got really got at kind of — our radar was up. All of us — not just Keith. All of us have [our] radars up now because we've dealt with a few transitions in that department. And we had been on the road. And when you're on the road, you're in close quarters with people, and so you just know when things are about to go down."
He continued: "I feel like [Keith's departure] was three years in the making to actually happen. And I'm sure it was a hard decision for him to make. But everything happens for a reason, and people have to do what they've gotta do for themselves to be happy. And I think that's ultimately what happened. But you'd have to ask him about all his reasons and why he wanted to do what he had to do.
"That being said, I've known Stevie [Dacanay, a.k.a. Stevie D.] since I was 19, way before I even met Keith," Josh added. "Stevie never was in a position to where he got to be a part of a lot of the songwriting, so for him to take over that role was really exciting for him, and for me, because we have a really good friendship on top of it. And we did the JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT record [2017's 'Year Of The Tiger'] first before we even did a BUCKCHERRY record, and that was a lot of fun. We went back to the heaviness of my roots, and we had a lot of fun making that record, and it's a really good record. So by the time we got to the 'Warpaint' songwriting sessions, we were in what I like to call full song, and it was just a labor of love at that point. And so it was pretty smooth transition — honestly."
In a December 2019 interview with "Trunk Nation: L.A. Invasion" on SiriusXM, Nelson stated about his exit from BUCKCHERRY: "I never actually spoke of my reasons [for leaving], 'cause it wasn't just one." He added: "I'm really proud of what I did. We achieved a lot — way more than we thought we could — and I have no hard feelings. I'm just moving forward."
Todd told the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast that things "got really weird" in the three years prior to the departures of Nelson and drummer Xavier Muriel. "It just wasn't a band anymore. We weren't aligned; we weren't all focused on the same things; we didn't all want the same things," he said. "Everything happens for a reason, and it's been nothing but great things for all of us. I can't speak for Keith or Xavier, but I just hope that they are really happy in their lives. That's all I care about, really, because at the end of the day, that's all you want for people. I can't harbor resentment or anger towards anybody. At the time, there was a lot of stuff that rubbed me the wrong way, but since then, I've really worked through it a lot, and now, looking back, it just needed to happen. Now, everything's really amazing. With every lineup change in BUCKCHERRY's history, it's always gotten better, so I had that to kind of reflect on when all this was going down, so I was just optimistic about the whole thing."
In March 2019, Todd said that he had yet to rekindle his friendship with Nelson, despite the vocalist's attempt to bury the hatchet. "I can tell you this. I really gave him an opportunity to set himself up for that, and he didn't take that opportunity," Todd said. "I can only personally tell you that I've done a lot of work on the subject and I can say this that I hope he's happy, and that's it. And I hope everybody who's had any kind of issue with [BUCKCHERRY] and had to leave is happy, 'cause that's all that matters at the end of the day. I don't hate him and I don't hate anybody."
BUCKCHERRY will release their new album, "Hellbound", on June 25 via Round Hill Records. The follow-up to 2019's "Warpaint" was recorded last fall in Nashville, Tennessee with producer and songwriter-for-hire Marti Frederiksen, who has previously collaborated with AEROSMITH, DEF LEPPARD, Jonny Lang and Sheryl Crow, among many others.