Candlebox to light up the Clyde Theatre on Sept. 22
Bite into band’s new album, classic tunes
Singer Kevin Martin and his Candlebox bandmates had 2020 all planned out. They would release their seventh studio album, Wolves, in the fall, then head out on the road for the remainder of the year to support it. But, like just about every other blueprint for 2020, those plans changed.
Now, a little more than a year after the first expected release date, Wolves has found its way to store shelves and streaming services. The band will play some of the tunes from that album, along with the hits you already know, when they stop by The Clyde Theatre on Sept. 22, with special guest The Dead Deads.
Releasing Album into the Wild
In an interview with Whatzup, vocalist Kevin Martin said that he’s happy to finally be able to share Wolves with fans.
“We’ve been sitting on this album for two years,” he said. “The record was recorded in August (2019), I spent September, October, November, and December working on the lyrics, and went into the studio in January of 2020 to finish the vocals. That was done on Jan. 12, it was mixed by Feb. 15, and was supposed to come out in August of last year. So we’re excited to finally get it out.”
Wolves was written and recorded in a unique fashion compared to Candlebox albums of the past, so it may sound a bit different as a result. But this album isn’t so much of a departure that it will alienate fans. An evolution would be a good way to describe it.
“It’s kind of bipolar,” Martin said of the new album. “It’s a record that has deep valleys, very high peaks, and great mood swings in it.”
He also said the band didn’t put boundaries on themselves when it came to creating the songs this time around, which was something they had done a lot in the past.
“If we liked something that we were doing and it led us where we wanted it to lead us, we finished it and recorded it. That doesn’t always happen with Candlebox,” he said. “Out of the seven records I’ve recorded, I can only think of six or seven times where we’ve allowed a song to just go where it wants to go and record it, so it’s really exciting for us to be able to do that. The eleven songs on here are just so different than anything we’ve done and so different from one another. They’re just great rock songs. I hope people like it as much as we do.”
Of particular note on Wolves is the song “Let Me Down Easy,” written with Peter Cornell, brother of late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell. Martin said he hadn’t seen Peter Cornell in about 25 years but reunited with him when Candlebox did some 20th anniversary shows in Seattle celebrating their debut album.
“Pete was older than Chris and really the first musician in that family and such a driving force around Chris and his sister and the musicality of that family,” he said. “That had everything to do with Pete.”
Martin went on to say that when he reunited with Cornell, he had been in the process of reconnecting with some old albums and was getting into the swampy side of blues. Knowing Cornell was a brilliant slide guitar player, he asked if he would be interested in writing a song with him.
“Not too long after that, he sent me this song on acoustic with some kind of mumbled lyrics and melodies and I thought, ‘This is exactly what I want to do,’” Martin said. “I sent it to the guys to see what we could do with it and it came so quickly in preproduction that I immediately started writing lyrics.
“I sent a rough demo to Pete and said, ‘This is where I’m feeling it.’ He said, ‘Man, that’s exactly what I heard.’ I love that track and I think it was very cathartic for him to get back into writing. He hadn’t written anything since Chris passed, and, for me, it was a real honor to be able to write with somebody of his talent,” Martin said.
Need to Create
A band that has survived long enough to say it has a career that spans three decades has obviously seen a lot of changes in the music industry. Whether or not an established band like Candlebox needs to release new albums is debatable. But Martin said, as a musician, he needs to remain creative and have an outlet for distributing the songs he writes — whether it is on an album or via some other means.
“I think that musicians in general have to be creative,” he said. “In its infancy, art is beautiful and it allows you to go into places that you wouldn’t normally go.
“I think it’s important for artists to create all the time, and, when it comes to music, I think it’s very important for musicians to create because it’s what keeps us young and what keeps us connected to what it is that we do and that gift that we’ve been given. I don’t know if it’s important for musicians to release records, but I think it’s important for musicians to release songs.”
Loving Fort Wayne
Because a majority of fans go to a Candlebox show to hear the songs that initially made them known, Martin said he and the band are obligated to play them at just about every stop. He doesn’t get tired of playing them, but at times he does get frustrated that he doesn’t get to play a lot of newer songs.
“If I could play five songs from the first album and 15 from the last three or four, I’d be way happier,” he said. “I’m not allowed to do that, so it’s about 33 percent debut album and 67 percent of the other six records, but I think we’re going to play four or five off the new record this time around because it’s a pretty slammin’ album.”
Fort Wayne has been a live destination for Candlebox ever since the band began touring to support their debut album, playing here a dozen or so times over the years. Martin has fond memories of the city.
“I love Fort Wayne,” he said. “The people of Fort Wayne are amazing. I’m really looking forward to coming back. I just love that town. I’m a big fan of Fort Wayne.”