JOSH TODD On Fronting Short-Lived Group With SLASH And DUFF MCKAGAN: 'It Felt Like BUCKCHERRY, But With Really Great Players'

December 4, 2019

During a recent appearance on the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast, BUCKCHERRY vocalist Josh Todd discussed the brief period in 2002 in which he fronted an unnamed group with then-former GUNS N' ROSES members Slash and Duff McKagan, who would later go on to form VELVET REVOLVER.

"At the time, we were done with the 'Time Bomb' tour, and three of the band members had quit, so it was just Keith [Nelson, original BUCKCHERRY guitarist] and I in our rehearsal room writing songs," Todd said. "Along that time, Slash called up Keith and said, 'Hey, [do] you want to do this Randy Castillo benefit at the Key Club [Editor's note: a now-shuttered Los Angeles nightclub]? We'll do a couple BUCKCHERRY songs, a couple of GN'R songs, maybe an AEROSMITH song.' We're like, 'Yeah, let's do it.' It was me, Keith, Matt [Sorum], Duff and Slash. That's how it all started. We did this show at the Key Club, and everybody was talking about it in L.A. after we did it. There was this buzz going on. Keith and I got back to the rehearsal room a few days later and I was talking to him — I was like, 'Man, that felt so good.' It felt like BUCKCHERRY, but with really great players. He goes, 'Yeah, I totally feel the same way.' It was so nice to be in a band, because we had been band-less for probably a month at that point, or maybe longer. Slash was thinking the same thing, so we called him, and we're, like, 'Hey, man. Do you guys want to maybe write some songs and put together a band?' He was into it, so we became a band for, like, a month. We were in the rehearsal room writing songs, and we even got the point where we were taking management meetings to find a manager to manage it, and we were trying to come up with band names and all of it."

The Randy Castillo benefit would prove to be the group's only live performance, though. "All of a sudden, Slash came in and said he didn't want to do it [anymore]," Todd recalled. "He pulled the plug without even letting anybody know. We thought everything was [going] fine. That really kind of set me off. I didn't like that — I didn't like wasting my time and spinning my wheels and somebody kind of leading me on. I don't even care who it is, whether it was Joe Blow or Slash. It really irritated me, but it was what is, so Keith and I went our separate ways. It was only after that that VELVET REVOLVER eventually became something. Those three guys just kept on rolling, and then eventually, they formed VELVET REVOLVER... It would have been awesome [had we continued], but it never got there. You know what? Those guys went and did their thing, and they had success doing it, and we went and made [BUCKCHERRY's platinum 2005 album] '15', so it was a win-win. Looking back, it's like everything was meant to be, but at the time, it was frustrating."

Todd said he was never officially told why Slash decided not to move forward. "I don't know," he said. "I think he had a different singer in mind, honestly. What can you do with that? It is what it is, but it all worked out, so that's all that matters."

During their April 29, 2002 performance at the Key Club, Todd, Nelson, Slash, McKagan and Sorum played a brief set that included GUNS N' ROSES' "It's So Easy" and "Paradise City", THE SEX PISTOLS' "God Save The Queen", ROSE TATTOO's "Nice Boys" and BUCKCHERRY's "Lit Up". Steven Tyler then joined the group to perform AEROSMITH's "Mama Kin". Fan-filmed video footage of the set can be seen below.

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