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Carl Canedy – Canedy

He is mostly known for his drumming with The Rods and his production work with metal favorites like Anthrax, Overkill, and Blue Cheer. Now, Drummer/Producer Carl Canedy is displaying his incredible, extraordinary talents with his band Canedy, consisting of himself on drums, Lead Vocalist Mike Santarsiero, Guitarist, Synth player Charlie Russello, Bassist, Vocalist, Cello player Tony Garuba, and the recent release of their album Warrior.

Catching up with Canedy prior to the Warrior CD and Vinyl release due August 7th, he revealed some insights of the music on the LP, how the band came together, what inspired him to be a musician and a producer, what fans can look forward to and how he is a new pet owner. Pets actually, were how the interview started, as my dog thought she was the interviewer.

SFL Music: Hopefully, my dog is finished barking.

Carl Canedy: I rescued a bird and she was just chirping when I walked into the room, so.

SFL Music: Wow! Good for you. You’re brave.

Canedy: It’s a Sun conure and I tried to find it a home. Couldn’t find any. It just flew to me and stayed on my shoulder and fell asleep. It loves me, but it’s been vicious to other people so, you know, it’s just basically; I get to play with it.

SFL Music: What type of bird?

Canedy: Sun conure. It’s orange, very pretty. They’re like, I want to say, three time the size of a parakeet.

SFL Music: Wow, that’s really cool.

Canedy: Yeah, it’s beautiful. Beautiful bird. Very loud. It’s like the jaws of life. You know when someone’s in a car wreck? This is like the jaws of death because she literally has two strikes against her at the emergency room from people. They said one more time and the bird gets put down.

SFL Music: Oh no!

Canedy: uh-huh, and I saw this great thing which proved my point. It was in England. Somebody had attempted to rob a pet store and they said when they arrived, they found blood all over the floor and a parrot. They showed the picture and it was a Sun conure and I knew exactly what they were saying because she flies, she bites your ears, she’s bitten tongues. Brutal, but sweet to me.

SFL Music: You must have that great quality.

Canedy: (He laughed) I think they just bond. They imprint with one person and I was fortunate or unfortunate enough to have that happen, but can’t get rid of her because she loves me and I’d feel horrible if she went to a bad home. They live forever. My daughter said when I go to the nursing home, the birds done. She’s out.

SFL Music: She’s not going to take her in? (ha, ha).

Canedy: Nope, that’s it. She’s done. Birds out.

SFL Music: So, before you go to a nursing home, which I’m sure will be a very long time from now, explain how the new band came together from a T.V. show with the guys from TLC?

Canedy: I‘ve been playing with The Jeffrey James Band here in Scranton area for 22 years now which is hard to believe, and about six or seven years ago Tony, the bass player in Canedy joined the band and he and I hit it off really well and we became immediately, a solid rhythm section. The thing that we laugh about with Tony is, he joined the Jeffrey James Band, which is a cover band and no originals whatsoever. When he was young, he bought a Black Sabbath album and he went onto the parallel universe of dark and heavy (he chuckled) for all this time, and so he emerges playing with a cover band, with The Jeffrey James Band. So, he and I fit together well because we both played heavy original music, but we joke about, we’re going to learn a new song Tony. It’s by this band you never heard of called The Beatles. I mean, he just does not know pop music at all. He plays it really well, and he learns it and does justice to it. Anyway, he had a band in the nineties called TLC which is Totally Lost Cause. When you say TLC everyone’s like oh, but I’m like no. No attractive ladies in this group whatsoever (he laughed). Guys, just some guys. Nothing attractive. So, they were trying to work on some material and the drummer just wasn’t showing up because of job commitments, and so they asked me if I would do the T.V. show with them. So, I learned some of the songs and then we did the T.V show. We decided to write. So, we went into the studio. We tried to get together Mondays. It was a couple times a month, maybe sometimes you know, it wouldn’t happen, but overall we tried to get there every Monday that we could, and in the course of a year and half, two years, we found out that not only had we written an album that we were proud of, but we’d become a band. So, it just really fell into place and there was no agenda in the songwriting. People would bring in ideas. We’d all work on them which I loved, and so there was never any like preconceived, we need a song this tempo. We need a song with this feel. We need it this way or that way. The songs just evolved. They went where they went and that was it.

SFL Music: The album is awesome! What was the inspiration for the songs? I read some explanations for them, but was there an overall theme or idea?

Canedy: No, again they evolved. Tony, Mike and Charlie would bring in an idea, a riff or a structured part and then we’d all work on the idea, but Tony and Mike, Tony might have a chorus and say to Mike, look this is the idea I have for the chorus and write lyrics for this. Mike might write lyrics for something and then Tony might have contributed to some lines. So, it was very (John) Lennon, (Paul) McCartney kind of thing when it came to the lyrics, but Mike built the majority of the lyrics. You can tell because Mike is quite the philosopher, so he has a lot of lyrics that are insightful you know, and Tony, he’s a student of ancient Rome, all things Roman Empire, and that’s where “Attia” came from, and that’s some of the influences.

SFL Music: I was just going to ask about that. A song like “Warrior” or “Lies” those are the more philosophical?

Canedy: uh-huh.

SFL Music: Was there anything in particular that influenced them or was it just ideas from their everyday lives?

Canedy: I think that “Warrior” was, and I’m speaking for Mike which I shouldn’t be doing, but I will, (He chuckled). “Warrior” really kind of talks about the fact that he was in an original band, and then when grunge hit, and I remember it very well, it was like, all the sudden, guitar solos were out. You know, you basically were staring at your feet and seeing some depressing lyrics a lot of cases. Now, some of the bands like Soundgarden and Nirvana and so on, they were great bands. Made some great music, but a lot of them were not that great, but like anything with record labels, one thing hits, they sign every band that’s even close to that. Oh, you’re from Seattle? We’ll just sign you and that’s what happened, and it really came to a halt. That kind of metal scene in America, really just took a big hit and it was flannel shirts and no guitar solos all the way, and I think that’s what he was writing about. That that was a moment for him that kind of took away what he believed in and loved. So, I think that’s where he was kind of coming from with that, and I certainly remember it well. It was very much overnight that landscapes changed completely.

SFL Music: Yeah, I remember that as well too. You’ve done a lot of very successful projects, producing Anthrax and Overkill, etc. What would you say was your motivation or secret to your success?

Canedy: Well, I’ve always loved producing and I’ve always loved writing. You know, I started playing guitar probably six months or less from when I started playing drums. I would play drums for as long as I could annoy people and then I’d have to stop. Then I would play guitar for the rest of the evening. So, I was really hard core, but I’ve always had a knack for arrangement. My girlfriend at the time was going to Elmira College. She would take a loan from the library. You could borrow tape recorders back then. So, I would ask her and I would ask one of her friends. They would both get tape recorders for me and I would bounce things back and forth. Some of the world’s worst songs, but none the less, I was learning how to bounce and balance levels. You know, early days of engineering. So, that’s what I really was involved in. I’ve always loved it, but I’ve always wanted to play drums since age 4 ½ when I saw a set of drums at the Legion at a wedding reception. I came in and I saw this set of drums which I think was red, but I was 4 ½ so I don’t know. It could be a fuzzy memory, but it was like the white lights shown down on the drums set. It was part of those movie moments, but it was a true one for me. I was thunderstruck by the drums, and that was the way it was for me. I always wanted to play drums. I think I still have that passion to this day. That’s what keeps me going is that I wake up thinking about playing my drums.

SFL Music: Did you have formal music lessons?

Canedy: When I first started playing drums, Knapp Music in Elmira, where the drum teacher there told me that I sucked and that I would never be good and that everything I did was horrible. So, he was basically very negative. There was a thing called National Association of Rudimental Drummers which he was a member of and he had his N.A.R.D. certification which I thought was so cool. I go wow, you think if I really practice, I could get my certification. No.

SFL Music: Oh no!

Canedy: Yeah (he laughed). He was the worst. So, after about six months of that, I decided that that was kind of not a good place to put my money, and I just started listening to records, which I just self-taught until I was about nineteen. I didn’t realize at the time I was listening to these different drummers and soaking it up, but a lot of those drummers in the early days were one guy, Hal Blaine. My daughter’s grown up with, you know listening, she can tell you, like he’s had 40 no. 1 hits and played on two thousand or something, some crazy number of songs that have charted, but I studied all of that because I was just a huge fan when I found out it was Hal. So, she pretty much can tell you every song that comes on the radio. She’ll go, ok, Hals on that one. He’s playing drums on that, or just growing up I would quiz her all the time. Hey, who’s playing drums on this? But after that, at age nineteen in the musician’s union paper, I saw an ad for Carmine Appice who is my all-time favorite drummer. I’d loved him since I had seen him on Ed Sullivan and the Vanilla Fudge, so I called him. Carmine answered the phone. It was a big thrill because he was my hero and my idol and I wound up taking lessons from Carmine for maybe a year and a half. He took me through realistic rock and through syncopation, but he taught me a lot and he would say to me because I was self-taught, there would be things I’d be doing and he would say that’s wrong but that’s cool, so keep that. Then there were things he would teach me about how to play with using less energy, but the same power. He taught me a lot how to balance myself on the kit. He opened up everything. I wouldn’t be the drummer I am today if Carmine Appice hadn’t been my teacher back then. So, I owe a great debt to Carmine, and then of course I studied with Tony Williams for, I would say maybe a year. With Tony Williams it really came down to, we would talk about music and production and I still use the things I talked to Tony about to this day when I produce things. I approach it that way, and later on in his career he went back and he studied music composition. So, clearly our conversations were really a precursor to what he already had in his mind of where he wanted to go with his career.

SFL Music: What would you say are your strengths when you have done production?

Canedy: The one thing I would say that I always strive for is to realize the bands vision, but to capture their energy on recording, because a lot of times you go into the studio and bands are great live and then you hear the record and it’s a little watered down. It’s not as tight or its maybe in a different direction from where they are live. I try to really understand their vision and I try to capture the energy. I think I’ve been successful with that, capturing the energy even when sonically maybe there’s a fail, the energy is there. You know, I’ve tried to capture the band.

SFL Music: Well, you’ve worked with some great bands and their albums are amazing. Who would you say are your influences musically? You mentioned The Beatles?

Canedy: I’m a huge Beatles fan. I would say, when I first started, it was Mitch Mitchell and Keith Moon, (Jimi) Hendrix, The Who, Led Zeppelin, John Bonham was a huge influence, Deep Purple. You know, all those early drummers, and then it was Billy Cobham. Then late it’s been Todd Sucherman and Mike Portnoy. I wasn’t a huge fan of Mike Portnoy with Dream Theater because it was a lot of math. I didn’t really love it. You know, I wanted to be a straight up rocker at that time, but I recognize in hind sight it was phenomenal. I always knew he was an amazing drummer. So, it was never a diss to him that he wasn’t a phenomenal drummer. It was just that the music of Dream Theater, it just didn’t connect with me at the time. My Engineer, I had a recording studio here and a production company and my engineer Pat Kenyon would play them all the time. He was a huge Dream Theater fan, so I got to hear it all the time, but it never connected with me, but Portnoy is now a huge influence. In fact, I sent him a text that there’s a fill on the new album I’m doing now on the opening where I just direct steal from something he did with Sons of Apollo. Hopefully, he’s isn’t going to sue me for that, (he chuckled). I want my fill back you hack.

SFL Music: “Do It Now” is a cool song about being a workaholic and having children. Is that a direct reference to your life?

Canedy: No, that’s Mike, but I have to say that Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan, these guys who are out there doing project after project, really influenced me to continue to take on whatever I can take on, and that’s what I’ve done. So, this Canedy project, I’m hoping that we’re going to wind up in Europe. We just signed with Giles Lavery Management. So, we’re excited. We have a lot of good things going on and the album seems to be gaining momentum which is beyond my wildest dreams that at this point in my life, this album would be received as well as it is, but as thrilled as I am, I’m grateful.

SFL Music: Is “Out For Blood” a societal statement? What is the influence for that song?

Canedy: You know, Tony is the lyricist on that one I believe. Tony, politically, he’s a guy who isn’t afraid to show his political views and share them. So, his lyrics are political and that was really a statement of societal. Obviously, very timely in some ways.

SFL Music: Are there any plans for a live streaming type of show? Anything else fans can look forward to? The CD and Vinyl are coming out in August 7th per Sleaszy Rider Records.

Canedy: Somebody told you that we did this right? This is like a set up right? (He laughed).

SFL Music: Um…

Canedy: Last Sunday we did a virtual concert for streaming platform that asked us to do one, so we did. I’m really thrilled about how it turned out because this band is, the thing I love about, we only played one gig before the Covid thing hit, but we’re able to play this album from top to bottom and that’s really exciting to be able to go out and do the entire album, do it justice. I’m thrilled and I think this shows that, which is what I’m most excited about for the video. People can actually see us perform even though it’s dry because you’re in front of a camera. There’s no audience you know? You end the song and instead of hearing even a smattering of applause, it’s crickets.

SFL Music: I’m sure they’re applauding. Was there anything else that you wanted fans to know about? Any new videos or anything like that?

Canedy: We just have a new lyric video for a song called,” Not Even Love” and that’s the song that radio stations are playing. I believe the album ships like July 20th. You can pre-order it on our website www.Canedyband.com. You can pre-order the album on vinyl or CD and you can download the tracks, but there’s lots of photos. There are lyrics. You can order a t-shirt. You can join the mailing list. There are lots of reviews. There are some great, kind words that friends have said like Mark Tornillo and (Steve) Lips (Kudlow) from Anvil and Jonnie Z (Jon Zazula) and so on. Some nice things that were said, Jeff Plate from TSO (Trans Siberian Orchestra). There’s just a lot of stuff on the website so, you have a couple minutes, head over and check it out. The other thing that I always say is when we do come out of this, I always invite fans to come and say hi. I have some friends, like a number of friends around the world, and a lot of times they’ll come out when we’re on tour and they’ll plan a vacation, and they’ll come and stay out on the road with us for a week or two, but I always encourage them to come and say hi. If they’re so inclined, don’t be afraid to stop and say hi. I’m always friendly. I’ve had my idols snub me, so I understand what that feels like. I don’t do that. I’m happy to talk with everybody and I enjoy meeting people. So, if you’re at a live gig and you want to say hi, don’t hesitate. Come up and say hi. I won’t turn my head and walk away like some of my idols have done. I won’t mention them, but some of them have been very rude and I don’t do that.

SFL Music: That’s wonderful that you’re down to earth, more friendly.

Canedy: I mean, what other way can you be? If you’re arrogant, it’s just a waste of energy to me.

SFL Music: Absolutely. Thank you very much and congratulations on your new bird!

Canedy: Thank you, and I want to thank you because there’s nowhere to play live, so you helping support the band is huge because otherwise, how would we get the word out? So, thank you.

SFL Music: You’re welcome. Anytime! It’s a great album and our readers now know to keep their eyes open for new Canedy music and videos and future live events.

Canedy: It was nice to do the video. Just to play in some sort of live situation.
In the meantime, SFL Music readers can enjoy the new Warrior LP tunes that are out now!

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