The secret of Buckcherry's success -- How the rockers made a comeback with ''15''

”A platinum record for a rock band right now is huge. It’s like selling 5 million records 10 years ago, you know?” That’s a lesson in record-industry economics from Josh Todd, 36, frontman of L.A. glam-rock outfit Buckcherry. He speaks from experience: The band’s 15 recently reached that exalted million mark after nearly two years, thanks to relentless touring (300 live shows since the CD’s release) and four slow-building singles, including the power ballad ”Sorry.” Little thanks are due, however, to MTV, mainstream radio, or even the band’s label, Universal — at least initially.

Buckcherry’s debut went gold in ’99, but after lackluster sales of their second release in ’01, ”everybody wrote us off,” Todd recalls. ”Corporate people looked at the numbers and were like, ‘They’re washed up.’ So we went to Japan and got a deal with [a foreign arm of] Universal.” Surprisingly, 15 steadily gained traction with fans of the band’s giddily sleazy sound, a flashback to the days when GN’R ruled the Sunset Strip. In fact, Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson were recruited for an early incarnation of Velvet Revolver. It didn’t work out, but Todd holds no ill will. Why should he? With ”Sorry” still rising on the charts and the band’s fourth album expected this summer, he enthuses, ”We played rock & roll even when it wasn’t mainstream. We’ve been the black sheep…. Now we’re exactly where we want to be.”