Big bucks: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant; Steve Tyler and Joe Perry; Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora; Josh Todd and Keith Nelson . . . Of all the great singer/guitarist pairings, the latter is probably the least well-known, but it's certainly not for want of trying.

When the two formed Buckcherry in LA in 1999, they were compared to such greats as AC/DC and the Black Crowes, and their debut album, produced by Sex Pistol Steve Jones, was hailed as a return to the hard-ass rock'n'roll values that were lost when Guns 'n' Roses split up. Buckcherry were shaping up to be the successors to G 'n' R, but their rise was halted when their deal with DreamWorks turned into a nightmare, and the band broke up in financial and emotional disarray.

Cherry bomb: Six years after their pre-split album, Time Bomb, Buckcherry are ticking over again, with a new line-up, a new record deal and a new album, Fifteen. "We had to take a break and assess what was important," explains Nelson.


What was most important, they discovered, was making "classic rock with a modern edge", so they recruited guitarist Stevie D, bassist Jimmy Ashhurst and drummer Xavier Muriel, and, in the spirit of such swiftly recorded classics as Led Zeppelin I, completed Fifteen in just 15 days. "We're very fortunate to have guys playing with us now who are true believers in what we want to do," says Nelson.

Reloaded: It was thanks to another break-up that the founders of Buckcherry found their mojo again. Ex-G 'n' R trio Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum invited the pair to jam with them at a benefit gig for Ozzy Osbourne's late drummer Randy Castillo.

How close they came to being in Velvet Revolver we'll never know, but Nelson does have a co-writing credit on a track from VR's album Contraband. But the pair were so energised by the gig and subsequent jam sessions, they decided it was time to get Buckcherry back on the road. "It made us realise how much fun it was to be in a band again," says Todd.

Back to work: With a new line-up, and a deal with Atlantic Records, Buckcherry are hoping to pick up where they reluctantly left off four years ago. They're heading out on tour to reintroduce themselves to fans, and will be doing a gig in Dublin's Crawdaddy this Sunday night.

If you head down, you'll hear such classic-sounding rockers as Crazy Bitch, Out of Line and Broken Glass, along with such older Buckcherry favourites as Lit Up and Check Your Head. A riff-tastic time is guaranteed for all. "My desire never left," says Todd. "I'm a musician, a performer and a songwriter, and I'm still really passionate about entertaining and making records."

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist