Candlebox, feat. Pittston guitarist Brian Quinn, unleash new album ‘Wolves’ and pack up for tour
From a press release:
Today, multi-platinum post-grunge band Candlebox, which currently features Pittston native Brian Quinn on lead guitar, unleashed a new album called “Wolves” on all major streaming platforms as well as CD and vinyl.
Produced by Dean Dichoso at the legendary Henson Studios in Los Angeles, California, this is the Seattle-based rockers’ seventh studio album and the follow-up to 2016’s “Disappearing in Airports,” their first record with Quinn in the lineup.
That album had a fresh modernity, a vibe that is amplified and broadened on “Wolves,” so named for a myriad of reasons.
“It comes from where we are as humans right now, and what we’ve become,” vocalist Kevin Martin said.
“Yes, there’s beauty in these wolves, but there’s the pack mentality, and that lone wolf mentality on the other side.”
Their newfound creative freedom can be heard on the singles “All Down Hill from Here,” “Let Me Down Easy,” and “My Weakness.”
Independent Music Videos & Review raves, “With the album ‘Wolves,’ Candlebox proves that after all these years they are still a force to be reckoned with. The album contains something for everybody, ranging from heavy tracks to mellow to a little of the sound that made fans fall in love with the band in the early ’90s.”
Earlier this week, Candlebox premiered the music video for “All Down Hill from Here,” a song that Martin co-wrote with Christopher Thorne of Blind Melon. The video features footage of the band on the road, which they’re hitting again tonight for another national tour of 25 shows that run through the fall, though none are in Pennsylvania this time.
“I’m not a fan of shooting videos where it’s all set up and there’s some sort of script or something like that. I think Candlebox is a far better band live and in person than they are trying to be characters in a video. Any time we do a live video, I just enjoy it,” Martin noted.
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.”
Candlebox teased the LP in August of 2020 with the energized “Let Me Down Easy,” an aggro blues-based rocker with a booming bass and edgy guitar riffing. The cut was co-written with old Seattle pal Peter Cornell, Chris Cornell’s older brother. As for the vibe, Martin knew he “wanted that song to feel and sound like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.”
In 2021 came “My Weakness,” a pop-tastic gem that is “kind of guttural and like ‘The Summer of ‘69’ and Bruce Springsteen tunes; it’s one of those love songs where you can feel the band just wants to take off with you the whole time.” Reminiscent of chart-topping ‘80s pop rock that has stood the test of time, Martin knows that “My Weakness” may be perceived as a departure for Candlebox, but that’s the point.
Working with producer Dean Dichoso in 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 they hit the road again this month and tour through October.
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.”