The band Candlebox is now on tour celebrating 20 years in the recording industry. Doing anything for 20 years is to be applauded, but surviving the ups n downs of the music business and quite frankly, your band-mates deserves a standing ovation.
Candlebox founded in 1991, seems like a lifetime ago, which it is when you peel back the pages of your own personal life journey. 20 years ago in 1993 the band released their début CD, simple titled ‘Candlebox’. For me personally, I was the Operations Manager for a department store owned by Macy’s today and I had never heard of Candlebox.
That is until their tour arrived in Chicago with the opening band Greta at the Chicago Metro. The drummer of Greta was a close family friend of my younger sisters and decided we would go spend time hanging out as I had vacation time to burn.
Rice, sticky, mushy rice is my first memory of Candlebox. I don’t recall even seeing them perform on stage that night, but I remember rice. Rice on the furniture, rice on the floor, rice coming over the dressing room/meet & greet divider wall.
Apparently in their copies of “The Ways and Means of Being a Rockstar” having a food fight with the evenings meal which included rice was the way to go during this time and place. Unfortunately, for the production staff and promoter of the Chicago Metro it was NOT. To say they were pissed is an understatement and they wanted it cleaned up NOW or you don’t get paid.
Suffice it to say, twenty something ‘rockstars’, their tour manager’s and crew are not exactly equipped to “clean it up” while hyped on show adrenaline and booze. Before the rice could become permanently embedded into the cheap ass indoor outdoor carpet, my sis and I swept and disposed of it.
And this my friends was my introduction to Candlebox. On my first night off from 50 hour work weeks on the start of my two-week vacation I decided that the only thing more annoying then having rice rain down on you was having “adult men” arguing over who was going to clean it up.
For the women out there who are reading this, no doubt the words, “just fucking clean it up and be done with it” has crossed your mind. It’s how we think, pick up the dirty socks off the living room floor, toss the kids toys in the toy box, start the dish washer, feed the dog, grab the folded laundry off the table…you just do it and move on to the next issue at hand. Which in this case was the itinerary for the next two weeks and where to get something edible to soak up the liquor in our stomachs.
The next evening after the show in Madison, Wisconsin, I walked the ledge outside the hotel overlooking Lake Michigan down to Kevin’s room. I helped him remove the screen from his window, climb down and then he, my sis and I headed back to our room. Greta was holding court in our room, we had the pizza and adult beverages; Kevin wanted to join the festivities. We were just creative about his entrance to the room and from that moment forward he was my buddy. Nothing like climbing out windows and walking ledges to build trust between people. The tour manager’s didn’t find it amusing, but then in the upcoming months there would be lots of things for them to add to the list.
We spent the next two weeks traveling across the country with the two bands and then returned to the road for another 3 weeks. Eventually quit my job and moved to Mercer Island, Washington. Blessed with the fortune of having Kev’s parents take me into their home and lives, leaving an imprint on my life.
Believe it or not, I tear up a lot at their shows. I can’t listen to their music and not see a place-n-time in my life, like looking at old film reel; sometimes it’s difficult to imagine I’m that same person pictured in my mind or that they are too.
Yesterday my niece celebrated her 26th birthday, she was 9 years old when she sat on the side of the stage with her 8-year-old brother watching Candlebox perform at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. Moments before I sat down to pen this she called to me headed for the door on her way to work, “Kevin was on WGN this morning with Pete.” I am smiling to myself now as to millions of fans around the world, their Kevin Martin and Peter Klett of Candlebox, “Rockstars”, but to my niece their Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Mr. and Mrs. Klett’s sons.
A lifetime ago, maybe, but worth remembering even if the pages are browning and the images fading.
You can check out an interview I did with Kevin a couple of years back here.