For Kevin Martin, the lead singer of the popular rock band Candlebox, Baton Rouge is one of the best cities in the United States.
Martin said he’s been to Baton Rouge several times and looks forward to seeing some of his close friends in the area.
Candlebox is set to play a show at the Varsity this Thursday, April 28 at 8 p.m. The band is on its 25-show U.S. tour for its sixth and latest album, Disappearing in Airports, which was just released on April 22. The group is stopping in both Baton Rouge and Monroe for a couple of high-energy shows with special guests LullWater and Pete RG.
Candlebox has been around for a little over 25 years, playing shows with the likes of Metallica, Rush, Aerosmith, The Flaming Lips and others. Candlebox’s self-titled debut album went quadruple platinum in 2004, and the band shows no sign of slowing down in terms of its goals.
“Touring the world” is the next big aspiration for Candlebox, said Martin in an email. “Fingers crossed that happens on this record,” he added.
Given the sheer amount of time that the band has been around, Candlebox has seen a lot of changes and developments, both in its music and its members. Martin is one of the few members that have been around since the band’s conception in 1990.
“We’ve grown as songwriters as well as musicians,” he said. “Frankly, we really didn’t know what we were doing back in 1991. I don’t think we’ve fully realized our talents and abilities even today, and I think that’s what keeps us evolving and growing.”
The band’s progression is definitely visible and audible when comparing early singles like “You” and “Far Behind” to some of their latest singles like “Vexatious.” Touting elements of grunge and alternative rock in their early days in the ‘90s, the band has kept much of that while still moving forward with the times.
“We are pretty much a blues-based rock band that has a keen pop sensibility, which leans us more toward the alternative side than the heavy rock side,” said Martin, citing influences like The Who, Kiss, the Clash, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles. In an interview with Loudwire online magazine, Martin also talked about a heavy R&B influence in Candlebox’s music.
“I’ve always just loved R&B,” he said in the interview. “I’m talking traditional R&B. I think there’s a place for that in rock and roll. That’s where I pull from.”
As the members have changed, the sound of the band has naturally changed as well. Martin added in his Loudwire interview that the band’s new lead guitarist, Mike Leslie, brings more blues influence and experience to the band. However, in his interview with DIG, Martin added that Candlebox has always been focused on the music more than the people.
“As far as the band members go, Candlebox has never been a sum of its parts kind of band,” he said. “We’ve always been about the music, not who’s playing it or who’s singing it. I know that may sound cliché, but it’s the truth. We’ve simply been that kind of band, and that’s how we continue to develop and grow.”
Growing and developing seem to be one of the major themes of Candlebox’s existence as a band, and it’s encapsulated in what Martin said is the band’s biggest musical inspiration: “Life.”
“We are all inspired by what we are experiencing at the time we are working together,” he added. “We sit every morning when we’re in the studio and discuss what’s going on either with ourselves or the world to give ourselves that beginning push.”
Photo courtesy of Ryan Feldman