Interview

THE RODS

STEFAN had a talk with drummer CARL CANEDY


 

Metal To Infinity

 


To work something out with one of my favourite Classic Metal bands – well, to that question I won’t say NO! A few days ago, drummer for The Rods named Carl Canedy mailed me to set up an interview. Actually an opportunity I won’t refuse – I'm honour with the offer actually!  Carl and The Rods always been legends to me – with pleasure I’d like to ask this famous skin basher a few questions about facts happened throughout decades in Classic Metal!  

Q: Hi there Carl, what’s up there at the other side of this connection – hope all goes very well up there!   

A: Everything is great here. Just returned from Germany , playing Head Bangers Open Air Festival. We all had a great time and met many fans who were extremely supportive. It was great doing our set and hearing the fans singing along. Our new CD is finished, Brian New mixing. Ronnie Dio guests on two of the tracks and his vocals are pretty amazing, but then you’d expect nothing less from the Master. We also just played a show with Skid Row. We had a blast doing that outdoor show. Over ten thousand people turned out.  

I’ve just finished playing drums on Shmoulik Avigal’s album, “Gates of Hell”. I think people will be blown away by his album. Great songs, great playing and one of the most powerful singers in world.  The guy always amazes me with his voice. We used to rehearse at 10:00 AM in a freezing cold rehearsal studio with a kerosene heater for warmth. Shmoulik would come in and sing balls out for three or four hours straight. 

The guy’s pretty amazing and this album is going really surprise people. He produced and engineered it himself and it looks like he has a future as a producer as well. You can check out a sample of the album   http://www.myspace.com/avigaltheband .  He also has a killer live band ready to tour.  

 

Q: I’d like to speak with you about your time with The Rods and many more – hope that’s okay for you so here we go! Who exactly can be seen as the founder of The Rods? 

A: David and I were the founders. We had actually been working with Joey Demaio from Manowar in a band named Thunder. We worked on a few originals that were pretty amazing and then Joey and Rock went their separate ways. That relationship with Joey led to my working with Manowar during their time dealing with record labels and recording their demo.

David and I recruited Steve Starmer, one of the nicest guys ever, on bass and The Rods were off and running. 

 

Q: You were always the drummer in the band – from where the passion for hitting drums Carl? Where the sources of inspiration came from those days? Through your eyes: Best drummer in the world so far is… 

A: I’ve wanted to play drums since I can remember. I went to a wedding when I was maybe five and all I can remember is seeing the drum kit on stage and it was like an intense white light shown down from the sky and the angels were singing Halleluiah. It was that kind of moment for me and from that point on my focus was drums.  

It’s hard to say who the “best” drummer in the world is. When I was starting out I would label this drummer or that as the best in the world but over time I came to appreciate everyone and how each has their own style. I think I’m more impressed by a drummer who has their own sound and style and than by chops and technique. Today most of the younger drummers have monster technique so that’s really a given these days.

I’ve studied with both Carmine Appice and Tony Williams and both of those guys changed the direction of my drumming as well as my attitude toward music.

 

Q: Feel free to introduce the other guys fulfilling The Rods’ line up in the very early beginning and give us also a few lines about their musical background.  

A: As I’d stated before, Steve Starmer was our first bass player. I’ve recently been sent a cd of a show we did in the very early days of the Rods by  a friend of mine. It’s us doing a huge medley of covers. Everything from Hendrix to The Who and Stones. I love it and it was great hearing it again. I’d actually forgotten about it. We’re going to make it available to fans. Steve Starmer sings quite a bit on the cover songs and did a great job.  

Next we had Craig Gruber, Craig is still a good friend. He has a new line of basses out which are doing extremely well. Many innovative ideas on his instruments. Infinite Metal Werkz, in case any bass players care to check them out.  Craig has played with everyone from Elf to Black Sabbath. Spent a few years with Gary Moore and has done a ton of session work. A monster bass player and funny as fuck!  

As Craig went off to England we were looking for the “right” bass player. Someone pointed us in the direction of a band called Max. They said they were breaking up and the bass player was excellent. Rock and I checked them out and they were right about Garry being excellent bass player and performer, which was what we were looking for. We approached him and fortunately for us he agreed to join The Rods. It was a perfect fit as Rock is pretty mellow so we only had one crazy bastard (me) in the band.  

The only other person to perform with The Rods is Shmoulik Avigal who sang on “Heavier than Thou”. Shmoulik came in and made those songs his. Again, I can’t say enough about what a great singer he is. Truly my hero and dear friend for twenty some years now.  

Rick Caudle, for those who consider the Hollywood project a Rods album, was the singer for that album. Emma Zale (does anyone know what happened to her?) played keyboards on that album. Rick is an excellent singer who is now a martial arts expert and trains MMA fighters. Rick and I have been discussing working on a project together.

 

Q: Singer / guitarist David ‘Rock’ Feinstein is the cousin of Ronnie James Dio, right? They’ve worked things out way back in the early seventies with bands like ELF, Ronnie Dio And The Prophets,… I’d like to know more about that.  

A: Well, that would be the interview portion for David. I can tell you that they are cousins and started working together when they were in their teens. I used to see them at high school dances where no one would dance we’d all just sit on the floor and watch them. It was always like a concert when they played. Also, Rock didn’t just crank his amps with the Rods, he was deafening people from day one!  

The Prophets morphed into the Electric Elves and into the Elves and then into Elf. Pretty much the same band members the entire time. Doug Thaler left the band and pursued his songwriting career with some impressive success and then went on to book and manage many top metal acts including co-managing Bon Jovi and Motley Crue with Doc Mcghee.  

 

Q: Even David worked along with his legendary cousin, he decided to go his own way and formed The Rods… why?  

A: Again that’s a question for Rock. I can say that Rock is quite a prolific songwriter and having a group like the Rods where the band is a trio is a perfect fit for him. He sounds like ten guitarists as it is.  

 

Q: He’s definitely a workaholic – a those bands / projects he played with so far is quite unbelievable. Besides involved with all of this, he’s also the owner of two restaurants in New York , right?  

A: That’s correct. He has a lot of energy like his cousin Ronnie. His restaurant “The Hollywood ” is excellent and it has served as home base for the band. I don’t know what we would do without it. The staff and atmosphere just make it easy to unwind. Also, fans stop by after checking out “ Dio Way ” and we’ve made some friends as a result. During this past trip to Germany we were accompanied by our friends Stefan and Alexandra. Both of whom we’d met while they were dining at the Hollywood and have since have become good friends.  Stefan's German wine from his town was excellent.

We’re going to be playing Rocktower Festival in Lubeck , Germany in April of next year and we're looking forward to hanging out with them again. Also, our good friends Hans and Vile from Norway (our drunken Norwegian Crew) will hopefully be with us as well.  

 

Q: My first contact with The Rods dated from many years ago, more specifically while listening to US Metal Vol.3 compilation album released through Shrapnel Records! To me, still one of the best Metal compilations ever released – featuring with the song ‘ Hot City ’, I was immediately hooked on it. How did you get involved with legendary leader of Shrapnel Records, Mike Varney those days?  

A: Our manager at the time, and who is now Mike’s partner in Magna Carta records, brought us to him.    

 

Q: A label that released so many excellent US Metal albums back then – do you have any idea about Mike and his label right now?  

A: Again, Magna Carta is the only thing I know about Mike or our former manager.

 

Q: Talking about the very first album of The Rods – am I right mentioning this effort is entitled “Rock Hard”? I’ve never heard one song of this effort – what kind of an album was this Carl?  

A:  Actually you’ve probably heard many of those songs. The first Arista album was a re-packaged “Rock Hard” album with two tracks added a couple deleted. Mike Bone who signed us suggested we do two additional songs, “Nothing going on in the city” and “Ace in the hole”. Both great songs.  

 

Q: But The Rods released more great albums such as “Wild Dogs”, “In The Raw”, “Let Them Eat Metal”, The Rods, … Which one is your favourite one and why?  

A: The first because of just that, it was the first. We did so much to make that album happen. The next one was In The Raw because it was just live in the studio with our good friend Chris Bubacz (Chris was always there for us and did it with patience from God) and Heavier than Thou because Shmoulik took the songs to another place and it was great to hear our material rise to that level.

Now of course I love our new album, ''Vengeance''.  

 

Q: Any idea how many albums were sold through so many years?  

A: A lot but not enough.

 

Q: I'm not sure if The Rods ever played in Belgium before – help me out Carl.  

A:  We’ve never played in Belguim but I have visited and would love to play there. We need a promoter to step up and bring us over.  

 

Q: By the way, how’s your knowledge in our own Belgian Metal history? Where a small country but we had some great Metal bands to offer in the eighties too…  

A: It’s quite poor I think. I never notice where bands are from unless someone points it out to me.  I apologize for my ignorance.  

 

Q: The most unforgettable gig or festival played – which one might that be?  

A: Too many to choose just one.  The dates we’ve played with Priest were amazing, the Maiden shows were always a blast (great guys and treated us very well). We’ve done some club shows that were just nuts. The recent shows in Germany and with Skid Row stand out as being a lot of fun for me.  

Also, our first show in an arena was with Blue Oyster Cult and at the end of the show the crowd went nuts and I threw my sticks into the crowd for the first and last time. Our attorney pointed out that lawsuits can be costly to resolve. But fuck him because it was great to finally through my sticks into a crazy metal crowd. To my knowledge no one was injured.  

 

Q: Also worth to mention you were also active before in other bands  - all honour’s on you to speak about.  

A: All of my other bands were basically cover bands with the exception of a band from Boston that I played with for two years or so called Kelakos. We did one album and then broke up. That was right before we formed the Rods so the timing was perfect.  

 

Q: What about your nowadays occupations – only playing with The Rods at the moment or still hanging out with some other projects?  

A: I’m working with an old friend Rick Diaz and his project Blunken. They’re a great band and Frank the guitarist /singer / songwriter is pretty amazing with things he comes up with. They’re a prog type band but they’re heavy and at times sound like Sting and Geddy Lee had sex and while listening to Bob Marley and out came Blunken. Sometimes they remind me of a sixties band like Jefferson Airplane or the Dead. Their songs are pretty long and they just take you to these musical places that are really cool.

We’re talking about doing a full album. You can check them out at:  http://www.myspace.com/blunkenofficialsite

I"m open to doing some production work but only if I'm really into the music.  

 

Q: To return to the band Feinstein – how’s the situation in their camp these days?  

A: I think there will be another Feinstein album in the not so far off future. I’ve heard some of the songs and they kick ass.  

 

Q: Back to The Rods – throughout the years, some members left the ranks and became replaced by other musicians. Reasons should be good to know.  

A: Steve Starmer left the band because we were young and the situation became intense quickly and we were overwhelmed. I’ve always regretted Steve leaving the band because he’s the greatest guy and a blast to work with.  

Craig Gruber had too many offers i.e. Black Sabbath hiring him for the Heaven and Hell album. I got to hear some of the roughs he’d played on before Geezer came back to the band and they were great.  

Shmoulik was in on our last album before taking the Rods took a long break. Also, Shmoulik is where he needs to be with his own band. When you hear the music you’ll realize that all of his other bands pale in comparison.  

 

Q: But David and yourself never let go a winning team it seemed, I'm sure your faith in The Rods in everlasting. For a few years, we haven’t heard from The Rods that much but a re-union concert was planned in 2004. You were announced to play at the prestigious Wacken Open Air event in 2004. How as that experience actually?  

A: That for me is a sore subject. Rock had asked me if I’d play that festival which would in turn help support the Feinstein album. I agreed without hesitation but outside forces came into play and I wound up not going. It was a huge mistake and one that we’ll correct once our new CD is released. The performance was a true “non-event”.  

I do have faith in the Rods and I'm looking forward to the release of the album and doing more shows in the upcoming year.  

 

Q: This year 2009, The Rods stands loud and proud on the hill of Germany’s Headbangers Open Air festival. Along with keep It True and Swordbrothers Festival, definitely one of the best Metal events! What to expect from the show of The Rods and will be only the original members walk the stage that day?  

A: Well, I have to apologize because you had sent me these questions before I’d left for Germany . The Rods are back as the original line-up and there is no need for anyone else to be involved.  Also, everyone has their own projects going already so we’re all busy with our own things.  I would love to play live with Shmoulik again sometime. We’ll have to see what the future holds.  

 

Q: What do you think of the rest of the bands? Want to know my opinion – this is a fantastic bill anyway!  

A:  I loved almost all of the bands. Also, Dave Chedrick from Deathriders and Mike from Exxplorer helped me so much getting my drums set for our show. I have to thank them both again. They jumped in helped me like true brothers. I owe them both. They made the show fun for me when it might have gone the other way without their support.  I loved Deathriders and Helstar and not simply because I’ve worked with members of both bands. They were really great. I truly thought almost all the bands kicked ass.  

Also, Thomas and Juergen and the rest of the crew at H.O.A. were fantastic. We'd heard from a few bands that it was a great festival to play but we were a little skeptical. The bands were right. A great festival to play and I would and will be recommending it to other bands.  

 

Q: You’re working on a brand new album entitled “Vengeance” I’ve heard. Now I'm really curious what we can expect from that long awaited effort Carl… to introduce that new output, here’s time and space brother.  

A: Well, I can say that it’s very strong. Hopefully we’ll gain some new fans and still please the faithful as well. This is one of our heaviest albums and of course with Ronnie James Dio guesting on two tracks it goes without saying that those songs are a treat to hear.

I hate hyping things but I can say that I’m happy with the album and the song writing.  

 

Q: Can we compare the new album with songs from the past?  

A: I think there are songs that will have a familiar feel to them and some that will not. I think that all the songs being played by us with retain “The Rods” energy and feel but the song writing may have changed a bit on a few.    

 

Q: Who’s in charge for the production and which label will bring  out this work?  

A: All three of us in the band have been responsible for both recording and producing the album. Shmoulik Avigal was indispensable in contributing to the production and recording. He also built and help set up our home studios. I think Shmoulik’s contributions to this album can’t be praised enough. He's a true brother and has been there with support and honesty from the beginning.  

 

Q: Any idea of the release date in Europe ?  

A:  Because of the lawsuit we are in I can’t say for certain. A Feinstein album may be the first release. Time will tell.  

 

Q: Being busy making music for several decades now, I’d like to ask what for you personally the biggest chance between the very early days you stepped into the world of music and the scene these days?  

A: Well, it’s obviously easier to get your music out there but not sure it any easier to get it heard. I think the level of musicianship has risen and I love how the music is so diverse today. I hear from older friends that there is no “good” new music but I would have to disagree completely, I think there are so many great bands and songwriters out there now.

The main change that I love is that now bands get to keep the lion's share of the money earned instead of the other way around. You no longer need a major label to make major money.  

 

Q: Watching the nowadays Hard Rock / Metal movement… is there something to announce that really bothers you?  

A:  I’m glad people are still doing metal in any shape or form.  

 

Q: I look out with a lot of attention to the new album anyway – if we at MTI can spread the word around by a review, we will do with a lot of respect and dignity for awesome Classic Metal bands like The Rods. I'm running out questions Carl – I friendly like to ask speaking some final words before leaving to all those those passing by here on Metal To Infinity webzine. All the best and as always: Let Them Eat Metal!  

Well to all of you at Metal to Infinity and all of the “Wild Dogs” who’ve supported us I would like to say a big thanks and I hope we all get to meet in person one day soon. Also, fans can check out www.therods.com for all of our new merchandise and DVD's. Some cool new things in the store.

Stefan, thanks again for your support and you'll be one of the first to hear our new CD.  Carl  

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