2013 was supposed to be a stellar year for Candlebox. It was the 20th Anniversary of their debut album which topped the charts with hits like “You”, Far Behind”, and “Cover Me”. They had a tour scheduled that spanned across the country. People eagerly purchased tickets excited to hear the 1st album in it’s entirety for the first time in years. They were promoting a brand new album Love Stories and Other Musings, which was receiving some radio airplay with the hit “Believe In It” So what went wrong?
Candlebox’s former Marketing and Managing Company, Lujen, signed a deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The Tribe promised to invest several hundreds of thousands of dollars into the band. In return, the band would give signed merchandise to The Tribe’s Boston Hard Rock Cafe, play The Tribe’s Burgers & Bash concert for a discount, and hand over a vast percentage of sales and guarantees from the first and second legs of the 2013 tour until the investment was repaid. That dream deal turned into a nightmare as the money never came through. Candlebox quickly fired it’s management and have been quoted as saying that this broken deal has crippled the band. Singer Kevin Martin told me that in all of the years of being a band, they prided themselves for never being in the red. He stated that even in the beginning of Candlebox when they were borrowing money from Maverick Records, they were always able to make it back and repay their debts
Obviously, touring was out of the question for Candlebox so Kevin started to plan his next step. In 2012, he had recorded a song called “The Pride” with Lenny Cerzosie of The Infinite Staircase, Zakk Wylde and JD Deservio of Black Label Society, and Morgan Rose of Sevendust to benefit the Hurricane Sandy victims. The chemistry between Kevin, Lenny, and Morgan was undeniable. Since Kevin had some time to devote to other projects, it made sense to revisit that outlet. Lenny mentioned that they needed a bass player so Kevin recommended Adam Kury calling him the “best bass player he knows”. He prepared to go out to New Jersey with the notion that he was going to be producing the record. When he asked to hear some of the music to familiarize himself with what they were doing, Lenny laughed and informed him that he would be the singer. He told me he was completely surprised and said that he had no clue that they wanted him to sing. He quickly caught a plane and they began brainstorming on what would become their new project aptly titled “Le Projet”. He calls Le Projet new, fresh, and fun. They completed “Little Shits”, “Save Yourself”, which has been winning cage matches on social media, and “Rock N Roll Stance” in a matter of three days. They began an Indiegogo campaign to fund the album that has a lot of perks such as downloads of songs, signed merchandise, and the ultimate experience of going into the studio with the band and being a part of the whole process. Kevin spoke about how he wished that there had been experiences like this when he was growing up to meet and be a part of making an album with a band that you love.
That led me to ask him about how he feels when he meets fans. I asked if he still felt the same meeting them today as he felt 20 years ago. His response was heartfelt when he told me that he thinks that in some ways, he appreciates meeting fans more than they appreciate meeting him. He said to hear stories that involve him or his band affecting people’s lives is something that he can’t not affect him. He told me about a man he met who said that he met his wife at a Candlebox concert and three weeks later, they were married. We spoke about our first meeting in 2010 at a show where we literally ran into one another in the crowd. I told him how much it meant that he took the time to talk with me and how I had been a fan since the beginning so to now be able to call him a friend is something that will always mean the world to me. He told me that he sometimes feels like he cheated someone to get to where he is saying that he feels like the luckiest musician ever. He laughed when he said Candlebox is the happiest accident that could have ever happened to him. I spoke of some of my experiences meeting musicians and that some of them have not been as welcoming and nice as he has been. He said that some musicians seem to have forgotten the importance of appreciating the people who love your music and support you. He said it’s so important to remember those things as these are the people who bought his car, these are the people who paid for his house so he is always going to appreciate and more importantly respect that.
When talking about the acoustic project with Adam, he laughingly nicknamed it “Cadambox”. I asked if it would remain just the two of them and he said that he would love to eventually bring Candlebox guitar player Sean “Memphis” Hennesy, who has been touring with Royal Bliss during this hiatus, along with them. He said that when they are together, they are like The Three Amigos as they are the best of friends. Kevin and Sean met 10 years ago when Sean was a runner/intern at the studio where The Hiwatts were recording. He laughed as he remembered asking him to come in and track “Identify” and said that he was terrible but that the way he just went for it was something he never forgot. Soon after he needed a guitar player and called a friend of Sean’s to get in contact with him. That friend informed Kevin that Sean was moving to Seattle the very next day. Kevin asked him to pass along his number and for Sean to give him a call. Sean called him within a half hour and when Kevin told him he needed a guitar player, Sean simply asked, “When is rehearsal?”. Just like that he cancelled his move and joined the band. Sean is also a member of the supergroup The Gracious Few with Kevin and Patrick Dalheimer, Chad Taylor, and Chad Gracey of Live.
I asked what was in store for him for 2015 and when he told me that not only will there be a new Gracious Few album but also a new Hiwatts album, I couldn’t stop the smile from appearing on my face. I told him how excited I was to hear that and that I along with a lot of others have been waiting for new albums from both of these bands for quite some time. He mentioned that he had spoken to Chad Taylor the other day and that they were excited to begin working together again.
For more information on the Le Projet Indiegogo Campaign visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/le-projet-album-tour
Also make sure to stop by their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/leprojetofficial