The very first Flannel Nation is next week and we are ready to experience all things ‘90s with Sugar Ray, Everclear, Soul Asylum, Candlebox, Filter, Cracker, Fastball, and Sponge.
After spending a few months doing acoustic shows, Candlebox is ready to go all out. They released “Wolves” last year – their first studio album in five years – and it is time to play it for the masses. Of course, we can expect the “oldies” as well.
The band formed in the talent-rich area of Seattle in 1990 and gained immediate success in 1993 with their self-titled first album. The album housed two monster hits that have kept Candlebox in our heads for nearly 30 years: “Far Behind” and “You.” In addition to the two massive singles, there was also success with “Change” and “Cover Me,” and the album went quadruple platinum. In one short year, they went from being an opening act, to a Woodstock ’94 band, to headlining their own tour.
In 1995, Candlebox released their sophomore album, “Lucy,” and spent two years touring in support of it, including jaunts with fellow Flannel Nationers Everclear and Sponge. Thanks to “Simple Lessons” and “Understanding,” the album went gold.
They followed up with 1998’s “Happy Pills,” which was also one of the hit singles along with “10,000 Horses.” Candlebox continued the touring life, but members began to drop off, leading to their 2000 break up.
The band did regroup in 2006 to support their best of compilation, which led to another album, “Into the Sun.” Unfortunately there was another break up, but not due to band drama; they parted ways with their record label. After finding a home on Pavement Music, Candlebox has been back at it. Kevin Martin remains the one constant and is now joined by guitarists Brian Quinn and Island Styles, bassist Adam Kury, and drummer BJ Kerwin.
In early 2020, Candlebox had finished work on their new album, “Wolves,” but had to wait on its release due to, well, you know. Of the album, Martin told Stereogum he was inspired by the crazy ride the US was on (even before the chaos of 2021!). He explained, “The record has a movement to it where there’s beauty, there’s pain, there’s manic highs, there’s incredible lows, and there’s aggressiveness. I just felt that the title not only represented the songs, but represented my emotions and my experiences over the past five years of watching this society sadly crumble in front of me. It scares the shit out of me. I don’t know where we’re going.”
Despite the scary thoughts, “Wolves” is full of great rock tracks: “All Downhill From Here,” “Riptide,” “Let Me Down Easy,” and my personal fave, “My Weakness.” Martin took the time to do something that makes my heart happy; he discussed each new song on Instagram, giving fans the stories behind them. He even addresses the overnight success from the first album in “All Downhill From Here,” which is the only way you can go with such success right off the bat.
In addition to the Instagram preview, Martin has been active on social media, chatting up Candlebox fans, and even participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). In the AMA, he stated he has several songs leftover from “Wolves,” so perhaps another Candlebox album will be along soon…
However, new album or no, Martin says touring may not be in the cards. During a recent interview with 94.3 The Shark in Long Island, he stated, “I am retiring after next summer. Yes, I am retiring.” He further explained, “I don’t know if I would have ever thought that Candlebox would be around this long. I wanted it, of course; I think every kid wants to have that opportunity and a career that lasts decades, and I’m very grateful that it has. But there comes a time where my responsibilities as a husband and a father supersede my responsibilities to the music that I make. And that’s kind of where I’m at.” While we certainly don’t want to get in the way of family, we do hope he finds time for occasional shows, even if it is not a full-on tour.
In 2022 though, Candlebox will be on the road through October. Let’s see them together next week when Flannel Nation invades the Port of Los Angeles on August 13th. We expect it to become one of our favorite new annual festivals, so get your tickets now!