Candlebox, feat. Pittston guitarist Brian Quinn, announces new album, ‘Wolves,’ with single ‘My Weakness’
From a press release:
“It comes from where we are as humans right now, and what we’ve become. Yes, there’s beauty in these wolves, but there’s the pack mentality, and that lone wolf mentality on the other side,” vocalist Kevin Martin said.
“Wolves” will be released on Sept. 17 via Pavement Entertainment. The second single, “My Weakness,” debuted today with a road tripping lyric video. Reminiscent of chart-topping ’80s pop rock that has stood the test of time, Martin knows that it may be perceived as a departure for Candlebox, but that’s the point.
“The song is kind of guttural and like ‘The Summer of ‘69’ and Bruce Springsteen tunes,” he noted.
“It’s one of those love songs where you can feel the band just wants to take off with you the whole time.”
The first single, “Let Me Down Easy,” premiered last August with its own lyric video, offering the first glimpse of new material from the group since their critically acclaimed “Disappearing in Airports.” That album, the first with Quinn in the lineup, delivered the chart-topping single “Vexatious” and found them touring for over two years in support of the release.
Martin reflected on the message of the song, saying, “We’re all sinners. Ain’t a saint amongst us, and you can only hope that when your time comes it’s not a struggle, that maybe you might be lucky enough to be forgiven for your sins and allowed into the gates of heaven because you are aware – that is… if that’s what you believe in!”
The track, an aggro, blues-based rocker with booming bass and edgy guitar riffing, was written with old Seattle pal Peter Cornell, the older brother of the late Soundgarden and Audioslave singer/songwriter Chris Cornell, as a special collaboration between the two. Martin knew he “wanted that song to feel and sound like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.”
“Peter Cornell and I had been chatting about doing something together, and he sent me the song. I really loved writing this one with Peter. He’s incredibly talented and has an innate ability to produce something that is easy to sing to,” he explained.
“I really loved this process with him. I think it’s an amazing song. We put it together as a full band in pre-production pretty quickly because it was so well-structured, which in turn allowed/inspired me to write the lyrics.”
Throw out any preconceived notions about who Candlebox is because “Wolves” is rife with brutal lyrical honesty and songs that run the gamut from dirty rock stompers to timeless, radio-ready pop rock tunes. It captures the live energy of a band embracing all its influences and coalescing them down into the most potent form.
“These are songs that I love that the band loved. We didn’t stop ourselves from recording anything if we dug it; we allowed each song to dictate to us what it needed musically, instrumentally,” Martin emphasized.
It is a modern rock album that also contains “that really sparkly acoustic, Radiohead kind of dreamy guitar and ethereal stuff; we pulled from everything that inspired us, from Neil Young to brand new bands.”
Working with producer Dean Dichoso in Los Angeles’ legendary Henson Studios, Martin’s goals included creating a “different record for Candlebox. I don’t want to fall into bad habits like overthinking in the studio. Dean and I had long conversations about music and songs, about what inspired me on albums like Neil Young’s ‘Rust Never Sleeps,’ those really loose rock and roll albums where artists didn’t follow a program, where there was no real formula.”
The single “All Down Hill from Here” was co-written with Christopher Thorne of Blind Melon, another old friend of Martin’s. In the frank autobiographical tune, Martin sings, “Spent half of my life in a rock and roll band … They say ‘the harder they come, the harder they fall’ / Well I hit it pretty hard babe, still reelin’ from it all / And I made it to the peak babe, but it’s all downhill from here now.”
“Wolves” is not the record of a band on its downslide, but rather a strong aural statement from musicians who are exploring, reinventing, and creating music to make themselves happy. There’s zero resting on the considerable laurels of Candlebox’s hit singles and albums, and the band is inviting fans, old and new, along for the ride.
It’s a journey that began in 1991 in Seattle, where Candlebox formed and, soon thereafter, incited a record label bidding war in Los Angeles. They went quadruple-platinum with their 1993 self-titled debut on Madonna’s Maverick Records and released two more acclaimed albums, 1995’s “Lucy” and 1998’s “Happy Pills.” The singles “Far Behind,” “You,” and “Cover Me” became ubiquitous fan and radio favorites. But after nearly a decade of hard road work, the band went on hiatus in 2000. Candlebox then regrouped with a 2006 tour, putting out “Into the Sun” in 2008, followed by 2012’s “Love Stories & Other Musings.”
Candlebox’s sixth studio album, “Disappearing in Airports,” was their first without original guitarist Peter Klett and with the new lineup of Martin, guitarists Mike Leslie and Quinn, bassist Adam Kury, and drummer Dave Krusen, who played with Candlebox in the late ’90s and was a member of Pearl Jam, notably on their iconic album “Ten.”
Alongside Martin, Krusen, Quinn, and Kury, “Wolves” marks guitarist Island Styles’ studio recording debut with the band. Robin Diaz, who has toured with Candlebox in the past, will take over drumming duties from Krusen when the pandemic status allows for the band to hit the road again. While touching on modern themes, the new album isn’t a political statement, but more of a musing on humanity.
“I think that as a society we’re headed in a really dark direction. We’ve become so ‘about ourselves,’ forgetting that we’re all in this together,” Martin pointed out.
“We’ve lost that whole concept of being kind and looking out for one another; now it’s just dog eat dog.”
Music, however, brings people together both physically – in the pre- and post-pandemic times, that is – and emotionally. And “Wolves,” with songs that tap into a more raucous vibe while being equally powerful on personal love songs, sets off many emotional triggers.
For instance, the irresistible “Lost Angeline” relates a story about the early days of Martin’s relationship with his wife. Working that emotion into the recording required a “live looseness in the studio. It was one vocal take for the verses,” the frontman said. “Lost Angeline” would be at home on a roots rock playlist. “We didn’t stray away from anything; if the song sounded Americana, we went there; if a song sounded progressive, we went progressive – we didn’t try to stay in our lane, if you will.”
The timeline of “Wolves” began well before the shitshow of 2020, kicking off in mid-2018, with approximately three months to write and record. The chemistry Candlebox conjured playing live in the studio is undeniable and electric, and Martin couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
“It can be challenging to be an artist who has enjoyed great success, and then down the line, still has great fans, but never really achieves that great success again,” he observed, echoing the lyrical story of “All Down Hill from Here.”
“A lot of our friends in bands are in that position now. It’s a story I think a lot of people can relate to, not only musicians. But,” he concludes, referencing the “Wolves” tune “Don’t Count Me Out,” “like the boxer who’s on his last legs, he still has an opportunity. You really can’t count anyone out.”
Brian Quinn is a multi-dimensional guitarist who has spent his career writing and performing in nationally-recognized bands across various genres of music, including rock, metal, blues and country, while touring the United States and beyond with several record labels.
The Pittston native first picked up a guitar at the young age of 5 and was playing sold-out shows by 15 with his hardcore band Burial Ground (1990-1996).
Soon after moving to Philadelphia, he co-founded the rock band Octane (2000-2005). Still considered to this day as one of the most successful bands to come out of Philly, Octane sold more than 20,000 copies of their independent debut release and enjoyed more than 1,000 spins of the single “I for One” on Philadelphia rock station 94.1 WYSP.
During this time, he was named “Best Guitarist” in the Philadelphia region by the Philadelphia Music Awards in 2001 and 2004 and was routinely praised by fans and critics alike for his signature guitar technique, especially on slide guitar, and his dynamic presence on stage.
After enjoying five successful years with Octane, Quinn left to found a blues-based hard rock band that would later become known as Fosterchild. This project would quickly gain national attention, and the band was signed to the SMG/ILG/Warner record label from 2007-2010. After touring the country numerous times, Fosterchild culminated their journey with a special invitation to perform for the U.S. troops stationed at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where the group played in front of thousands of soldiers.
In 2015, Quinn joined Candlebox and Le Projet on the same day. Throughout his career, he has shared the stage with such acts as Slash’s Snakepit, Gene Simmons, Metallica, Kid Rock, Disturbed, Judas Priest, Chevelle, 3 Doors Down, Seether, Sevendust, Three Days Grace, Candlebox, Tantric, Shinedown, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Alter Bridge, Godsmack, Taproot, Nonpoint, Mudvayne, Deftones, Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society, Buckcherry, Warren Haynes, Marshall Tucker, Michael Allman, Devo, Finger Eleven, and the House of Blues All-Stars.
During the pandemic, Quinn played virtual shows and teamed up with members of Breaking Benjamin, Lifer, Crobot, Filter, Cold, and Earshot to record covers of Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” and Filter’s “Take a Picture.”