BY JAMES COOK
TRAVERSE CITY — Buckcherry singer Josh Todd's designs on getting covered in body art had to wait awhile when he was younger.
As a teenager, Todd tried to get inked up, but was refused due to age restrictions.
"I tried to do it at 16 and they turned me away," said the tattoo-covered singer whose chart-topping rock band plays at the Southside Festival Grounds in Buckley on Saturday, Aug. 11. "I went back at 18 and started the process. I wish I would have, at the beginning, found a really great artist and been more clear on what I wanted, because I got a few tattoos that I got covered up."
One of his early ones that he later covered was Betty Boop.
Todd eventually discovered tattoo artist Kevin Quinn, who in turn introduced him to Keith Nelson. Todd and Nelson would go on to form the basis of Buckcherry, and the pair are the only founding members remaining.
"I really like my back piece," Todd said. "It was really painful, and I really earned it. I love my sleeves. I've got this giant koi fish on my right wrist; I earned that one, too. I've got spiderweb ones on my kneecaps, which are cool. I saw a dude in Japan while we were there, and he had holes in his jeans and when he moved his leg, I saw spiderwebs on his knee. I knew it was going to be really painful, but I wanted the end result. I liked the way it looked, so I got it."
Among his numerous tats are some of the more obvious ones:
- A suicide king of hearts with the word "Love" above and "Desire" below, covering his entire back.
- The word "CHAOS" above his navel and a black widow spider below.
- Skulls over spider webs on both kneecaps.
- The word "STAY" on his right knuckles and "GOLD" on his left knuckles, spelling out "Stay Gold" when put together, a reference to the movie "The Outsiders."
"It kind of all started with Indians," Todd said. "I just thought Indians looked really cool with all their war paint. This is when I was a little boy. I've just been fascinated with that. There's nobody in my family with tattoos. I always knew I was going to be really tattooed."
The ink almost was a problem when Todd approached his future father-in-law to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage.
"I had breakfast with him, just me and him," Todd said. "He's a very intimidating-looking guy — 6-foot-4 and he's got a full head of white hair and big, piercing blue eyes. He's the sweetest man, but I was intimidated. I told him how I wanted to marry his daughter and he said, 'I don't like the tattoos.' I told him, 'I understand,' and that maybe one day he won't even notice them. And that was it. I think he appreciated me at that point. He knows I'm a hard-working guy and a good dad. I think I'm his favorite son-in-law at this point, so it worked out."
Todd — who once was a guest star in an episode of the hit TV show "Bones" — typically performs most of his shows without a shirt on, in order to show off his ink.
That applies even for outdoors venues, such as the one he'll be playing Saturday night.
"I really love it in the summertime," he said of performing outside. "One time we did a show outdoors in Canada and it started snowing while we were on stage, so that was a little challenging."
Buckcherry is nearing the completion of their newest album — "Confessions" — which was originally scheduled to be released next month, but that date has now been pushed back.
"We're still waiting on a release date," Todd said. "It was supposed to (come out in September), but we had a little confusion with our record label, so we're just working it out right now.
"It's our first concept album. We based it around the seven sins. We've got a short film that's going to go with it, so it's just a really, really cool piece of work for us."
The album features tracks titled "Pride," "Gluttony" and "Wrath," among others.
"Keith and I have been throwing around doing a record on the sins for a long time," Todd said. "And then I was actually writing a script on my own life and I combined the two. So it's a short film that's loosely based on my life and the events that took place that really kind of changed who I was as a young man and how I dealt with a lot of things."
The movie portion is being filmed in September.
"It's probably our heaviest record," Todd said. "We've just evolved as songwriters. I think people will really enjoy it. It's very melodic and the riffs are heavy. The guitar work on it is really great. I worked really hard on the lyrics on this record. Keith, who produces our records as well, said he thinks it's my best lyrical effort as well."