Kevin Martin (Candlebox)

Kevin Martin Interview

Love Stories & Other Musings is the fifth studio release from Candlebox and also the second since the band reformed a few years back. The recording lineup includes Kevin Martin (vocals), Scott Mercado (drums), Peter Klett (guitar), Sean Hennesy (guitar) and Adam Kurry (bass). The disc includes nine brand new cuts and five bonus songs that feature updated versions of some of the band’s biggest hits.

How are you doing today?
KM: I’m good resting up in Philly. Got a show tonight, everything is great.

Excellent. You know I always felt that Candlebox was the model band that personified “persistence.” You were persistent  getting your debut out in ’93, and even when you guys kinda broke up in 2000, you’re persistent now, regaining that ground now, even when you guys weren’t producing music. With this new album “Love Stories and Other Musings,” how has the creative process changed for you since the early days?
Well I think for us, we used to all sit around in a rehearsal studio and knock songs out 3 days a week . Now, we live in different cities, different coasts and it’s more about MP3’ing different ideas back and forth. Getting together for a week out of every 2 months, in Seattle or Los Angeles, and hammer out ideas, set up studio time and then hone in and focus on the songs in the studio. That’s what we do nowadays.

We used to have pre-production for a record for 2 weeks and then go in the studio for 6 weeks. So now its all about, um really putting ourselves under a pressure that makes us… we’re better musicians under pressure I should say. I think we prefer not working so hard on the songs outside of when they’re actually going to be reordered for the record. So we can keep them fresh and we tend to play them if we’ve got 2 or 3 songs before going into the studio, we happen to be on tour, we’ll try them out live. We used to not do that to much.

Cool. You have about 5 re-recordings on the album to fill things out. Now I read the reason for this is you had done some songs for a video game, and then you decided to add some more. Was there any thought to a different arrangement on when you revisited these songs?
KM: Yeah, we actually discussed that in depth on every single one of them. The conclusion we came to was is that, people love these songs, we love them, we like to play them live a specific way — let’s leave the “live” version as a “live” version. If we’re gonna re-record these for the purposes of re-licensing them at some point, let’s keep them as straight to the original as possible.

And I’ve said before, they are very, very challenging. I don’t think we expected it to be as difficult as it was. I think we were gonna pop in there one day a record it all 12 songs, which is ridiculous and there’s a lot more put into those tracks than we remembered. And it took us quite some time. I remember the vocals for “Far Behind” took 3 hours to finish.

Wow. Let me talk about the new album, I love the song “Sweet Summertime.” It’s great that you’ve gone in a melodic direction with that song it’s not all about the hard rock riff. Not to say that you can’t do hard rock riffs like you used to, “Lifelike Song” is an awesome riff song. But tell me about “Sweet Summertime.”
I happen to be sitting in my kitchen one day and playing guitar. Talking to my wife, and she’s asking “When are you going on the road next?” and “being away from our 4 year old son, and I don’t want you gone so long…”  That concept. That conversation we were having in spite of the lyric of the song, it’s kinda my.. uh what’s that Journey song (“Faithfully”) or  Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” It’s that road song about how much you both love and hate the road at the same time. It’s such a difficult process. I don’t think people realize how much pain it can cause you – being away from people that you really, really love. That’s why a lot of musicians get so screwed up on dugs and alcohol. It makes your day go by that much quicker. So you can see your family again. My wife really inspired those lyrics.

And the music… I’m really an amateur guitar player. I really liked the combination of chords, the E to the D to A, and then I like the C# movement to a chorus. I just started playing it (the song). I took it to the guys and they said “cool” and we sat on it for a couple of months. And then it was studio time and Kenny Anders says “I really love this song, I wanna make it sound like a Tom Petty song.” It’s all about the melody and the story, let’s not overdo it. And it came out really good.

Awesome, I want to wrap up things up — what’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you at a performance?
KM:  I’ve fallen off the stage several times. 

Ha Ha!
KM: You know, I got a cake shoved in my face for my birthday just recently. Mostly, I think for us touring with Metallica was really really hard. Because their audiences, they’re so passionate. They just want Metallica, they don’t want Candlebox. For God sakes… Suicidal Tendencies – Candelbox – Metallica,  doesn’t even sound right.  It was a hard tour. We took a lot of crap from their fans. Shit thrown at us every night. Hit with Jack Daniels bottles, hit with rocks. For us, as strong as it made us as musicians, it also was a little like… “people don’t like us” you know. It’s not that we did something embarrassing onstage, it was like… let’s not ever do a tour like that again. It’s not really our audience.

You’re really suffering for your art with that one.
KM: Ha! Ha! talking about paying your dues!

I love the variety on this album. Not only do you go through the classic album cuts you re-record, your original sound so to speak, but you have a variety of really good hard rock, riff rock, and melodic rock. Which one of the reasons I’m talking to you… that’s what I cover. Really good melodic rock. And I think you hit the nail on the head here. Fans will give you the second look now. I read you’ve got a follow up to this album in the works?
KM: Yeah. 7 or 8 in the can that we worked up. We’re working on another 5 or 6 out here. We’ll pop in the studio around August and track a few of those and see how its going. So we can get a spring release next year. It would be nice to follow this record up, year by year. Rather than…. a long time between records. That’s not gonna happen anymore.

Awesome thank you Kevin Martin of Candlebox – I really appreciate this interview. Take care. 
Take care.

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