Tag Archives: Chicago

Feeling Nostalgic About Days Gone By

Link to Candlebox on WGN/TV, January 18, 2013.  

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.


“Shit Happens” or “Who is THEChad Taylor?”

Friday night, November 12, 2010, The Gracious Few rock band rolled into Chicago for a performance at the Double Door club situated in the illustrious Wicker Park area of the city.

If you don’t live in Chicago and you have never been to a show at the Double Door, you will soon discover half the trick of attending a show there is figuring out where the entrance is and why does the marquee out front say “Double Door Liquors, Inc. ?”  The venue is a great place to see live music and many now national acts played there while they called Chicago home.

Wikipedia lists notable local acts Emilie Autumn, The Smashing Pumpkins, Local H, Chevelle, Veruca Salt, Wilco, Liz Phair, Liquid Soul, and Cheap Trick, as well as a number of national and international talents, including The Rolling Stones as having graced their stage.

On this past Friday, The Gracious Few not only graced their stage, but guitarist Chad Taylor took a show ending tumble from it with closing remarks by lead vocalist Kevin Martin being, “Shit Happens”.  Fortunately Mr. Taylor didn’t break his leg and after a trip to the hospital is photographed out and about on crutches, taking the stage the following night.

You’ll note in viewing the video that the guitarist exemplifies  giving 100% to the performance from start to finish as he lays on stage playing his guitar.  He gave new meaning to an old adage that “the show must go on”.

The clip starts out with lead vocalist asking his band mates to autograph a napkin for a fan who passed it to him on stage.  I can safely say that in the hundred plus shows I have seen in my lifetime, never has one ended in that manner.

Back in October I posted a brief interview with vocalist and friend Kevin Martin, in which I recounted some of the funny things we did back on tour in 1993.

I have a twitter account that laid dormant for over a year until recently when I linked it to this site to alert the 8 or so friends (followers) I had when I posted a new article.

Shortly after publishing my article with Kevin I received an email notification that “THEChadTaylor” was now following me on Twitter.  Being totally honest with you I then had to look up who Chad Taylor was not only on his Twitter account but via Google.

My nephew will no doubt now disown me for admitting such a thing in public, as LIVE was the first concert he attended without parental supervision and raved about the performance for days on end to me.

The real kicker being that I had visited the studio where LIVE mixed Throwing Copper and witnessed some of the band mates up to shenanigans outside the studio regarding a barbecue grill  and lighter fluid.

Here it is, 17 years later and he is following me on Twitter, is band mates with one of my dearest buddies, and ends up with a trip to the hospital before I can ask him “Who is THEChad Taylor?”

So…how about an interview Mr. Taylor?

A short Cynthia and Kevin antics story for my friend Michelle because today is her birthday and she was kind enough to present me with a The Gracious Few CD for mine on Friday night in case I forget who THEChad Taylor is I can refer to said CD.

It was around 1995-1996, I had recently moved back to Chicago from Seattle and Candlebox was playing at the Aragon Ballroom for a couple shows.  Kevin’s parents being born and raised in the Chicagoland area, he has many relatives to catch up with whenever he returns.

He had an elderly great aunt who lived not far from my home and so I agreed that I would pick him up from the hotel and drive him to visit his family before the show.

First because I am notoriously late and am not a morning person, he had to call my mom to make sure I was awake and on my way.  Yes, he is the rockstar in this story.

We then pull up to one of Illinois infamous automatic highway tolls.  The motorist must deposit the toll change or the guard fence doesn’t rise and your tires can be punctured if you try to avoid the toll and pass the guard fence.  I have NO change on my person or in my car.

Now those of you that know Mr. Martin can imagine the look on his face and the tone in his voice when he asked me, “How do you fuckin’ live here and not have any fuckin’ change in your car?”

Luckily, a vehicle pulled up behind us at the toll while my stupidity was being debated.  I grabbed a dollar from my handbag, hopped out of my vehicle and traded the driver in that car the dollar for the twenty cent toll.

We then got lost in his aunts neighborhood and I had to stop and ask directions at a gas station, because God forbid a male ask for directions.

I then realized I had forgotten to take my medication in the morning and we had to drive to my home to get it before heading back into the city.  We arrived at the hotel just in time to catch the band van heading to the venue for the show.

The show was sold out and so much fun to watch, the after show pizza delivered to the van before we left for the hotel might have been the best pizza ever as we hadn’t eaten all day either and the view of Chicago from the hotel room was breathtaking.

Good times and yes, despite my “doh” moments all these years later, I can admit to Kevin that I didn’t I know Chad Taylor was his band mate  and he just winks and laughs out loud.

Note to all music lovers:  If you pass on the chance to see musicians of this caliber at a venue in your town for the lowly cost of $10.00, you are having a “doh” moment of epic proportions.  It really doesn’t get better than The Gracious Few, rock and roll hasn’t sounded this good in a long time.