“The onstage DJ spins ‘Crazy Bitch,’ the signature hit from resurgent rock band Buckcherry’s third album, 15. For three minutes and 22 seconds, the Kid Rock partisans have only Buckcherry on the brain, singing every word while dancing and pumping fists with such ferocity you’d think the band itself was onstage. It’s a moment of pure rock’n'roll transcendence–” O RLY? Billboard finds a lot of inspiration in the Cinderella story of a late-’90s hype who turned into comeback kings last year thanks to a lot of elbow grease and the usual rock bullshit.
“Crazy Bitch,” a riff-driven, F-bomb-laden rock anthem that celebrates a woman’s sexuality in the tradition of Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” has sold more than 1.2 million digital copies and nearly 1.6 million ringtones. It was also the No. 8-selling ringtone of 2007 and scored a Grammy nomination for best hard rock performance. Strippers loved it.
“It became a song every dancer wanted to dance to,” Buckcherry frontman Josh Todd says, acknowledging he witnessed some of their appreciation firsthand.
“You’re a crazy bitch! But you fuck so good, I’m on top of it! When I dream, I’m doing you all night!” Way to celebrate that sexuality, Buckcherry! But how did their music, which sounds like the Black Crowes dipped in Nickelback sauce, get to those strippers in the first place?
Without a U.S. label stepping up, [manager Allan Kovac] and the band decided to make “15″ the first release on his Eleven Seven imprint, the successor to his previous label, Beyond Music. Eleven Seven then signed an agreement that allowed Warner Music Group’s Atlantic Records to take over a project once it had shipped between 75,000 and 100,000 units.
They didn’t have to wait long. “15,” which shipped 40,000 units to start, made a surprising debut at No. 48 on the Billboard 200, selling 26,000 units. By the album’s third week of release, Atlantic was on the case — an irony, since former executive Jason Flom had expressed heavy interest in signing Buckcherry but was overruled by his superiors.
Prior to Atlantic’s arrival, Eleven Seven drew on in-house research and made extensive use of MySpace and YouTube to lock into Buckcherry’s fan base via the gritty, low-budget video for “Crazy Bitch.”
“The whole thing was really just connecting all the dots, utilizing all the rock’n'roll markets,” Todd says. “Where do rock ‘n’ roll fans go? They go to strip clubs and wrestling shows. They’re out in the f—ing trenches. We wanted to get to all of them, and we knew where they were.”
Where most what-passes-for-glam-rock acts would be happy with those strip clubs, Buckcherry always knew it had an ace up its sleeve with “Sorry,” the once-mandatory ballad of assholish regret that is still clinging to Billboard’s Top 20.
“The aggravating part,” he says with a laugh, “was it was just taking so long to get to that song because ‘Crazy Bitch’ had such a long run. We were just like, ‘This song better f—ing get the shot it deserves’–and it did.”
See? The standard formula of misogynist cock-rock followed by a power ballad still works. You just have to push, push, and push some more until America belches its consent. Sure, there are a lot of meet’n'greets, endless touring, and intensive corporate strategizing. But when you witness a stripper’s appreciation firsthand, you’ll know it’s all been worth it.
Rock group Buckcherry savors “Crazy” comeback [Reuters]