Wednesday, 23 January 2013 15:34

Candlebox No Longer "Far Behind"

Written by  Nick Manes
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Candlebox
The Orbit Room, Grand Rapids
Feb. 7, 7 p.m. (Rescheduled for Feb. 10)
$20 advance, $25 day of show
16+
orbitroom.com, (616) 942-1328

Legendary journalist Hunter S Thompson once said, "San Francisco in the late '60s was a very special time and place ... there were sparks in any direction." This could also be said of Seattle in the early 1990s. Bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains made a name for themselves that still rings out. Despite being the "red-headed stepchild of the [Seattle grunge] scene," as Lead Singer Kevin Martin puts it, Candlebox did a lot to progress that era of music, and continues to this day.

"We have just kind of grown musically. We have become better songwriters," Martin said. "We became talented musicians rather than young kids with no concept of what we're doing with our lives."

Despite the band members' growth as artists and their contribution to a fabled time of music history, Martin is still hesitant to lump Candlebox in with many of the most famous Seattle grunge acts.

"We are quite a bit younger in age than [those bands]. I was 19 when I started the band with [drummer Scott Mercado] ...There were so many bands that were good. You could go out four or five times a week and see a great show, which to me was like being in New York City in the '70s," Martin says of the Seattle scene.

Having released its self-titled first record – which includes the classic hit "Far Behind" – in 1993, this year marks Candlebox's 20th anniversary. In April of 2012, the band released its fifth studio record, Love Stories & Other Musings.

While touring extensively on their new record, Candlebox is also playing the debut album in its entirety at all stops. One of those stops will be The Orbit Room in Grand Rapids on Feb. 7. Martin said the band will be playing some songs it hasn't played live in more than a decade.

"We haven't done that since 1993," Martin said about playing the band's debut. "1994 was the last time we played that album from top to bottom."

Despite having achieved international success in their own right, Martin still has pangs for the grunge days of Seattle in 1992.

"I would love to tour with Soundgarden. It would be pretty cool to see Candlebox and Soundgarden mix."

Life in the Pacific Northwest

• Candlebox was originally a project called Uncle Duke. It was formed by Martin and drummer Scott Mercado in 1991 in Seattle. Their first show was a house party.

• Despite often being considered a part of the Seattle grunge scene, Candlebox has never played with acts like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, or Alice in Chains.

• The first label to sign Candlebox was Madonna's Maverick Records, which also included artists such as Alanis Morrisette, Deftones and Prodigy.

• Candlebox's debut record was certified platinum four-times over and reached No. 7 on Billboard 200. Two singles from the record – "Far Behind" and "You" – were in the Top Ten on the US Mainstream Rock charts for 1993.

• Candlebox has toured with seminal bands from all across the spectrum of rock and roll music. Included in that list are Rush, Metallica, Henry Rollins and The Flaming Lips.

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