Born on the flourishing Seattle musical panorama in the heart of the ‘90s, Candlebox has played a leading role on the grunge and alternative scene of those years. It found immediate success with the release of its self-titled debut album in July 1993. The album was certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), sold over 4 million copies and reached No. 7 on Billboard’s album charts. “Candlebox” featured the hit singles Change, You, Far Behind and Cover Me. The huge radio, concert, and television success gained the band a main-stage slot at the 1994 edition of Woodstock festival. Although the original formation has changed, Candlebox keeps on producing new albums, touring and offering its music to the new generation audience, while offering some “fresh” rock to the fans who have followed the band since the beginning. Candlebox’s 7th studio album, “Wolves“, will be released on September 17. The current members of Candlebox are Kevin Martin (founder, lead singer and front-man), Adam Kury (bass and guitar), Dave Krusen (drums), Brian Quinn (lead and rhythm guitar) and Island Styles (lead and rhythm guitar). Kevin Martin, singer and frontman of the group, answer all of the questions for the Magazzini Inesistenti.
In the 90s Seattle was fertile ground for successful bands. The music companies’ executives were constantly seeking for the future popular band born in the so-called “grunge scene” of the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to the generous production in those years, the local bands were acting in a highly competitive environment, it was surely not easy to be unique and excellent, and in the meantime popular… How did Candlebox experience this situation?
“I think the main thing was that our being so much younger in age than our contemporaries allowed us an outside, all be it a bit skewed, view to their successes as well as failures, what we should look out for if you will, how to protect ourselves from the “dark” side of the Seattle scene. We weren’t old enough to know that we weren’t going to “fit in” so we weren’t afraid to create the music we created, we just went for it“.
Kevin, in a recent interview you said that your fans say you sound like an honest rock band. What’s the meaning of this statement for you?
“We’ve always been a band that said and did what it wanted. We never conformed or tried to recreate what was expected of us, we went our own way, our own direction, sometimes falling flat on our asses but, it was ours to own, no one else to blame and that’s come across in our music“.
Reporting another statement attributed to Candlebox “We don’t sit down and write a record to please the critics, or to please Details, or Rolling Stone, or Spin magazine. We have a solid fanbase. Those are the people we care about”. Thirty years after your debut on the musical scene, how’s your relationship with the fans who follow you?
“I said that 🙂? I’d say our relationship with our fans is much stronger now than it was years ago. There’s a great respect between Candlebox and our fans because we’ve shared in so many things together over these 30 years, were very lucky to have such loyalty, I can’t say that for a lot of my friends that are in bands”.
The albums issued after “Candlebox” have shown a great versatility, going from dark ballads full of emotions to rock ‘n’ roll groovy songs; the release in 2016 of “Disappearing In Airports” revealed a more classic rock atmosphere, with tunes like Vexatious and Supernova. What would you tell us about your musical evolution?
“As we reach forward we look back” I find great inspiration from my musical loves, Led Zeppelin, the Clash, Black Flag etc. and I’ve always tried to draw from those loves when creating but there is an envelope that has to be pushed and I find that very easy when drawing from those that inspired and continue to do so. I try to utilize what I’ve learned from them by incorporating that knowledge into what I’m trying to produce.
Why don’t you tell us about your new bluesy single Let Me Down Easy and the composing team including Peter Cornell, the brother of the late Chris Cornell? How did this collaboration emerge?
“I love this song. Peter and I go way back to the late 80’s in Seattle. We had mutual friends and the ever evolving band members that all knew one another or had played in bands together but he and I never did. We were able to catch up after 25 years in Seattle in the summer of 2018 at a couple of shows we were playing at the Paramount. I mentioned how I was getting ready to record a new record and that I would love to have something he had written on there, he sent me the basic acoustic version of the song a couple months later and I immediately knew that it was going to be a favorite of mine. I wrote the lyrics in the studio a year later. It’s a song about redemption as well as reckoning, answering for those “sins” you are responsible for and accepting the outcome good or bad“.
Considering the previous experimentation, what’s the musical direction of your new album?
“It’s totally bipolar, manic highs and extreme lows. “Wolves” is a very different record for us, fingers crossed the fans love it and that we didn’t go too far this time“.
Due to Covid19 emergency, the shows celebrating the 25th anniversary of your album “Lucy” and your 30-years career, scheduled in October 2020 in Seattle, have been rescheduled in 2021 on Nov. 5 at The Crocodile and on Nov. 6 at The Paramount Theatre, obviously in Seattle. What’s the program of those events?
“The 1st night at the crocodile is full band acoustic “best of” if you will. Very intimate and chill. Night 2 is no holds barred. “Lucy” from top to bottom with some besides thrown in as well as some of our favorite “covers” that we used to play during the tour in 96’“.
Studio album: “Candlebox” (1993). “Lucy” (1995).
“Happy Pills” (1998). “Into the Sun” (2008).
“Love Stories & Other Musings” (2012).
“Disappearing in Airports” (2016).
Compilation: “The Best of Candlebox” (2006).
Next exit: “Wolves” (2021).
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