Candlebox – “The Long Goodbye” Tour: An Interview with Kevin Martin
Candlebox has always been in its own lane, carving a career out of Seattle’s 90’s burst of eclectic “grunge” bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden. Candlebox’s unique sound can’t be compared, but you can identify their sound closer to Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains. However, being in their lane has stood the test of time in their sound and with their fan base. Candlebox began performing live in 1991, and by 1992 – the band played regularly in some of Seattle’s top clubs to ever-increasing audiences.
With the 30th anniversary of their first studio album, the band collectively, led by Kevin Martin’s passion, created “The Long Goodbye” and agreed this would be their last studio album and tour.
CelebrityAccess’ Laura Rode had the opportunity to sit with Kevin Martin, creator/lead vocals of Candlebox, before their show in Jacksonville, FL., to discuss their decision to call this tour “The Long Goodbye” and what it means for their music and fans going forward.
My first personal experience witnessing Kevin’s stage energy was in 2008 at the iconic Freebird Live in Jacksonville Beach. This venue – now shuttered – had two tiers. It was mid-show when Kevin performing the infamous track “Far Behind” scaled the side stage wall to reach the balcony level while still singing – and didn’t miss a note. When I mentioned this moment to Kevin – he not only remembered it, but also reemembered what year it was and the venue remarking “I was young, wild and dumb.”
CA/LR: Explain “The Long Goodbye” and what this means for the future of Candlebox.
KM: The Long Goodbye, in a way, is a “Love Letter” to our fans—a way of giving them one last album and last tour. I’m saying to fans: “This is my “Long Goodbye” to you, and this is my thank you to you for 30 great years”.
CA/LR: Ok so. Is it really “GOODBYE,” or is this one of those ploys to have: reunion tours, comeback shows, the last, last goodbye, etc.” Other bands have done this in the past such as KISS, The Who, The Rolling Stones and even Cream to name a few. They do not ever seem to really retire when they’ve announced their “final tour” multiple times. Something I refer to as “The Tom Brady Effect.” What makes this different?
KM: COVID was an eye-opener, definitely for me. After being home with my wife and son for that extended time, I realized it is where I desire and need to be. After many discussions with my wife, she very much was in support of whichever direction I chose. That’s when I decided this album and this tour would be “The Long Goodbye.”
CA/LR: So no more – nothing?
KM: Well, no, that’s not to say we won’t be performing select charity shows; in fact, a few are already scheduled. And I may still do the occasional acoustic show, etc.
CA/LR: Other projects on the horizon? Producing? Etc?
KM: I plan to focus on some long overdue projects I plan to bring to the forefront, like releasing a Bourbon in the works and producing some bands and other side projects yet to be named. (sly smile) Also, it’s time to go fishing too!
CA/LR: What if this new album becomes a beast or goes viral? Will you add some dates to support it?
KM: The audience has been loving the new songs, and if need be, we could throw on a few shows to support “The Long Goodbye.”
CA/LR: What’s your favorite track on this new album?
KM: Well, the vinyl version has a few additional tracks that I really love. But I must say “Elgante’” is probably the most fun to play live with its pop beats and feel. We literally wrote it during a sound check in 2021 before a show in Savannah, GA – when it comes that easy – those songs amaze me the most.
CA/LR: Peter Klett is reuniting on these 3 Florida dates – that’s so special; how will that work logistically?
KM: It’s so great having Peter out with us. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for him to join the entire tour – we will be rotating him with Island – where he will be playing the older songs and Island, of course, the newer ones as Peter doesn’t know the more contemporary songs. Then, they will both be out jamming together. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
CA/LR: What have been your favorite stops on this tour so far?
KM: Nashville was one of my favorite tour stops. I’m looking forward to Austin, but we always have great shows in Florida – it’s a “rock” state, and the energy is always amazing aside from the humidity.
CA/LR: What are some of Kevin Martin’s all-time favorite tunes?
KM: Led Zeppelin’s. “Rain Song” and of course “Stairway to Heaven.” When we have people at our house for dinner, games or whatever – no one is allowed to leave or do anything else while “Stairway to Heaven” comes on – it’s a given and required and we all rock out!
At the time of this interview, Candlebox had six more shows left in the States, then it will be a mixed bag of Chile and Australia sprinkled with a few back on US soil.
CA/LR: Your tour stop in Houston, TX, with 3 Doors Down, seemed particularly epic from the videos I witnessed online. Tell me, what made that particularly special? Everyone was on stage with you for “Far Behind”?
KM: “I think it was the fact that the 3 Doors Down camp went out of their way to make us feel like we meant something more to them than just another opening act. Sometimes, when you’re on a large tour like this one, you risk not connecting with the headliner and their crew simply because it’s just so busy, but that wasn’t the case with this tour. We became very close with the band and their crew, which was special, making it hard to say goodbye when all is said and done, and I think that’s what made the night in Houston so special.”
CA/LR: With many more tour dates still in front of you – overseas and back in the States – what made this performance stand out? It seemed like it was “goodbye!”?
KM: “It really did feel like “goodbye!” There were so many memories created on the run, so many good times and thoughts rushing through my mind on that stage on the last night of a tour that meant the world to us. It was overwhelming, to say the least, and it was the perfect night and crowd to say goodbye to – I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect evening and tour. Absolutely brilliant.”