Buck Johnson Has Always Had a Rock Edge — but 'Just Feel Better' Shows His Tender Side (Exclusive)

"Hopefully, sharing this song can encourage somebody that it's OK to reach out for help," explains the Aerosmith and Hollywood Vampires musician. "I'll take that all day"

It was 2019, and Buck Johnson found himself in Las Vegas with Aerosmith with nothing to do.

“So I decided to make an album with a mixture of my best songs,” remembers Johnson, 57, in an interview with PEOPLE. “And then of course, the pandemic hit, and I just kind of trashed the album.”

But as is in every ‘trashed’ album, there lied gems — one of which was Johnson’s own rendition of the song that he co-wrote in 2004 and the song that Santana and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler made internationally famous a year later called "Just Feel Better."

The song that turned into an international hit touched on the importance of mental health, something that was rarely talked about back in the day but a subject that now seems to live in the forefront.

“As we evolve as a society in this United States, there's growing pains, but I think there are good things that come about — and one of those things is that we can now talk about things that are painful to talk about,” Johnson says.

<p> Kyler Clark</p> Buck Johnson

Kyler Clark

Buck Johnson

Written by Johnson alongside Jamie Houston and Damon Johnson, the storyline of the song came from personal experience. “It came from a real place,” Johnson remembers. “It was about a close friend who was going through a childhood trauma that was never discussed and dealt with, and the end result was tragic.”

And now, it’s a song that the renowned singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and music producer believes deserves some time in the spotlight once again.

“Hopefully, sharing this song and that story can encourage somebody that it's OK to reach out for help and to talk about it,” explains Johnson. “I have people who know me from being the singer and keyboard player for Aerosmith and for Hollywood Vampires, and a lot of those younger fans and female fans have already commented about how they love 'Just Feel Better.' I'll take that all day, even if it just reaches a few people.”

Related: Steven Tyler Makes First Appearance Since Larynx Fracture: 'My Throat's Been Better but It's on the Mend'

<p>Katerina Benzova</p> Buck Johnson

Katerina Benzova

Buck Johnson

Johnson looks to reach even more people with the upcoming release of his nine-song album Tongue and Groove, set for release this September and an album named after a song inspired by Johnson’s late father.

“I wrote a song not specifically about him, but something he'd always said to me,” says Johnson of the heartfelt song “Tongue and Groove.” “We lived outside of Birmingham, and we lived in this old home that dad was proud that he helped us rebuild. And whenever there was tornado warnings, he would say, ‘Son, you don't need to worry. This house is built tongue and groove. It'll stand any storm.’”

Certainly, on the day “Tongue and Groove” was written, Johnson didn’t seek out to write a song about his dad. And on the day “Just Feel Better” was written, Johnson didn’t mean to write a song about his close friend.

“But that's the thing about music,” says Johnson, who enjoyed a brief stint in the country music realm back in 2006 when he joined the country rock band Whiskey Falls, scoring two Country Top 40 hit singles, "Last Train Running" and "Falling into You." “Music can be therapy if you allow it to be."

Related: Aerosmith Postpones Farewell Tour to 2024 as Steven Tyler Fractures Larynx in Addition to Vocal Cord Injury

<p>Aaron Perry</p> Buck Johnson

Aaron Perry

Buck Johnson

So too can be getting back on the stage that Johnson adores, including the stage he has shared with Hollywood Vampires’ members Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and Tommy Henriksen since joining the all-star band in 2014.

“Last year we did a European tour that was actually originally planned for 2020 that kept getting rescheduled,” Johnson says. “But here is the deal. Alice Cooper is the Energizer bunny. He never stops touring. And of course, Johnny has whatever movie schedule he's doing. And there's hope that Aerosmith will get back to the Peace Out tour maybe later this year. So, we're dealing with all those schedules. Who knows when we'll get that thing back out on the road.”

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Read the original article on People.