Xavier Muriel Revisits Buckcherry's 15



This weekend classic rock survivors Buckcherry breeze into Donington for what's sure to be a set of party rock anthems. But, rewind five years and the band was on its knees.

Having just returned from several years of hiatus with an overhauled line-up there was little expectation for the band's first studio album in five years, 15.

But, new drummer Xavier Muriel and co hit it out of the park. Fuelled by hit single 'Crazy Bitch' (surely the least likely radio anthem ever) 15 went on to sell more than a million copies and spawn several hit singles. Ahead of the band's trip to Donington new sat down with Xavier to get the inside word in putting together this comeback classic.

How did you approach 15?

"As I was considered the new guy I thought the smartest thing to do was to be just the guy that played drums. When new guys come in they sometimes want to be on the same level, but I had to check my ego at the door. It was everything from drum sizes to tones and how the cymbals were being hit, it was a learning process. On 15 I was dead set on laying down a great pocket, there's not a lot of fills."

Did it come together quickly in the studio?

"I think I did 13 tracks in two days. We were under the gun. There was no record label and no massive support. Time was money."

Were there any tracks that were particularly difficult to nail?

"Mentally I was under the gun as a new guy and I had to prove myself to the other guys and to myself. 'Broken Glass' was really fast and if it's not played right it comes off too much on top of the beat. Other than that they were all very well rehearsed. Even when the band wasn't rehearsing I was in there going over the songs. You can always re-track but I find if you don't get it in the first three tries you're not gonna get it. Then it becomes over thinking."

"We were under the gun. There was no record label and no massive support. Time was money."

Were you going for one take tracks?

"It's so easy now with ProTools. I think it's kinda cheating. We do use ProTools but mot of the time I don't use more than three tracks and I'm a big fan of playing it all the way through. It can all be polished but that then becomes stale and polished to me."

What kind of sound were you going for from the kit?

"I was using a Yamaha 40th Anniversary kit. I downsized everything. I had a smaller kick, rack tom and cymbals. I tried to play as fluent as possible. You can hit a drum too hard and choke it. I wanted that Back In Black drum tone."

Did you realise the strength of the album while you were putting it together?

"No I don't think when we write something we think about what it is or it's going to do. We just picked songs that we really liked and thought had the potential to sell albums and keep fans coming back."

Do you remember first hearing the finished record back?

"I had the master CD and I was in my pad by myself and the first thing I thought was, 'Oh my god, that's me. Playing drums on a real album'. I tripped out and I still trips out today."

How do you feel about the album now?

"I'm really proud of the record. It has some songs that will really stand the test of time, like 'Sorry'. I go back and listen to the record every once in a while and I love the simplicity. Songs like 'Onset' that are just straight out. It's very bang your head. We toured on 15 for 25 months. They kept putting singles out and we all agreed that we weren't coming off tour until it went platinum and that's exactly what we did."

Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).