Multi-platinum selling, Seattle-based rock band Candlebox have been entertaining the masses for over twenty-five years. During that time they have released five studio albums, changed labels a time or two, went through various lineup iterations, yet have prevailed! On Friday, April 22nd, Kevin Martin and the gang released their sixth helping of tunes, Disappearing in Airports. In this exclusive interview with Kevin, PureGrainAudio gets his thoughts on the new recording, on a quarter of a century of music creation, how the business has changed, the impact of social media, politics and more.
First off I would like to say thank you for taking the time out to speak with me. I have been a fan for such a long time, it is an honor to finally get to speak with you. The new album Disappearing in Airports is out on April 22nd. I have to say Kevin, I have listened to it a few times and I like it. It has passed the sober test and drunk test. So I believe you guys have a good one.
Martin: Oh, thanks man. Thank you very much. It is funny because I have listened to it every day, which is funny I because I have never done that with a Candlebox record. There is not a song that I skip on it, and I do not know if that is a good thing or bad thing. I am hearing from every interview that I have done, they are saying the same thing you are saying. Maybe we have done something right. When you go to sell the records you only hope you can achieve what it is you are trying to achieve. And at the same time, you want the audience to understand and like what you are doing.
When we went in to do this record we were careful to not reproduce what Candlebox had already done. There are some sounds that would be the Candlebox sound. I wrote the song “I’ve Got a Gun” a couple of years ago, we did not use it on anything we did, so I wanted to use it now because I love that song. But, with that being said, I think it is the best record we have made since the debut album. And I don’t know why it took us so long to be as creative as we were. So, I am glad it has passed your sober as well as drunken test, because that is very important in the world of rock-n-roll.
Check out the song “I’ve Got a Gun”
It is funny you mention “I’ve Got a Gun”. Again, the album is actually very good, it has a pretty good mixture of everything. It rocks, it pops, it has a little bit of love to it, a little sexy at times, as well as political. There really is not a bad song on the album. “Only Because of You” is probably one of my favorite tracks, as well as, “I’ve got a Gun”. Which the latter, I believe, may have you catching some flak from a certain group of people when they hear it. I normally do not get too political, but, this song has a very strong meaning behind it. Please explain.
Martin: Absolutely. And in art if you are not pissing people off you are not doing your job. Politics and music, people say all the time to me, you are not a politician, you are just a singer in a band. Well, there is no better place for me to be political about my views than in the job that I have. Music is supposed to make you think, it is supposed to make you question. It is supposed to make you feel, it is supposed to make you understand. It is supposed to touch the right man but the wrong button, and if it touches the wrong button that means you are understanding what I am saying.
With this song, it is written from the perspective of the second rights holder. The guy who is holding that weapon in his hands screaming, you are trying to take this from me. Nobody is trying to take anything from you. That is the point of the song. I respect everyone’s rights, I hold the constitution dear to my heart, I am American, my father was a World War II veteran, and he was a cop south side of Chicago. We never had guns in the house, my father taught me at an early age that is the most dangerous fucking thing you could ever put in your hand. If you don’t know how to use it. What we are seeing right now, is what we have been seeing about the past twenty years, is a lot of bad shit happening with the fucking weapons. They are in the hands of people that should not own them. I am not saying that a responsible gun owner cannot own a rifle, a pistol, a shotgun, but assault weapons are the major cause of the pain that a lot of people are experiencing in this world.
If you are arguing that your second amendment rights are being taken away, that is the wrong argument. If you feel that way, then you need to educate yourself, because that is simply not the case. I respect you, and I respect the right that you want to own a gun, but, respect my right to not think that assault rifles should be out there. We have seen people shoot up Sandy Hook, we seen them shoot up Columbine, and we have police officers misusing weapons that they are bound by law to use, that is a fucking problem. There are people who are mentally incapable of owning a gun getting these things very easily, something needs to be done about that. It’s just a song, it’s just my opinion.
So I guess you will not be voting for Donald Trump anytime soon?
Martin: No sir. I am a staunch Democrat, 100%, and I am not voting for Hillary Clinton neither, I’ll tell you that much.
What did you like most about making this latest album?
Martin: I loved the comradery, we just had a great fucking time making this one. It was such a collaborate effort on it all. Every cylinder was firing at the right time, it was all on the right page. We let the songs open themselves up, and that shows how much we love each other as musicians and how much we get along. That is what I love most about it; there wasn’t any arguing, there wasn’t struggle, if we didn’t like something we agreed not to like it and moved on. That is what making a record is supposed to be like. I love how we did it, I love the producers. It kicks ass when it needs to kick ass, it loves you when it needs to love you, that is what it is supposed to do.
You guy shave been doing this for such a long time now, give the readers your thoughts on the past twenty-five plus years.
Martin: We have had heartache, we had the great moments, we seen members come and go, we fought with labels, we loved management, fought with management. We toured with unbelievably talented bands, we have had experiences most people will never experience. I would not change a thing, there are things I wish I would have done differently, but, it has lead me to where I am at in my life. This is how it is supposed to be. I am so grateful for the fans who have allowed me to live this life and do this.
Candlebox came out at a completely different phase of life. There wasn’t social media to promote the band, it was either album, cassette tape or CD. The internet has really changed the evolution of music and how it is getting out to the public now, and how it is played. Talk a little bit about the progression of music, and how social media has changed it either for better or for worse.
Martin: I think it is both. There are a lot of pros and cons with the internet, especially social media. So many people are becoming self-absorbed and these smartphones are making us dumber on a daily basis. But, the good thing that is happening is that you can see, you can listen, you can stir, you can create on such a level, and you can find anything you want. If you want to see a band in South America, you can, and that is amazing. You can reach the masses, we get so many emails from around the world, and that is the beautiful thing that has happened. Music is free, good or bad that is the thing that has happened. You can get it all the time.
I have to ask this because I have gotten so many different entertaining answers. What has been the most embarrassing moment for you onstage?
Martin: (He laughs) Being in Houston and saying, how you doing Dallas? You can’t fake that one.
In closing this interview, if the reader could get anything out of this discussion, regarding Kevin Martin or just Candlebox itself, what would you like for the readers to walk away with after checking out this interview?
Martin: That we appreciate them. Like us or not, thank you for reading this, thank you for listening, thank you for talking shit, thank you for giving us love. You put this music out there hoping everybody will love it, but that is not the case. But, I want people to know that I appreciate that they have allowed me the opportunity to do it. I am so thankful for this opportunity.
Check out the song “Vexatious”