Interview with Legendary Producer Carl Canedy (The Rods, Canedy, St. James)

Legendary Producer Carl Canedy Has His Hands Full with The Rods, Canedy, and St. James!

Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen

I had a great interview with legendary producer/drummer Carl Canedy, who is a founding member of The Rods, formed his own band Canedy, and has an interesting Story about how he became the drummer for melodic hard rock band St. James. Some good news for our Vegas readers… The Rods just announced that they will be playing the Psycho Las Vegas Festival in mid-August. In addition, St. James just released their debut CD ‘Resurgence’ in December and is already working on new material.

ALISON “METALBABE” COHEN: Hi Carl. It’s great to be interviewing you today!

Let’s start out by talking about St. James. The band has a really interesting history. It seems like they formed right as the grunge scene was coming out and the band has been ‘on hold’ for all these years. Is that true, and what was the original St. James like ‘back in the day?’

CARL CANEDY: St. James was a band that again fell victim to “timing.” Everyone who heard the music loved the band. When I was shopping the band back then, there were no real independent labels who handled bands such as St. James. Nirvana Struck gold with their music, and “despondent” music performed by seemingly detached, flannel wearing musicians became the rage. The music St. James was doing was no longer viable for major labels. It was really as simple as that.

METAL BABE: I totally get it. How did you end up joining the band? I read something about their drummer being sick so you filled in on the recording.

CARL CANEDY: I signed the guys to my production company. We did pre-production for two weeks. We were then ready to record when their drummer became deathly ill. Ultimately, he was forced to return home due to the illness. Then I contracted the same dengue fever he was stricken with. We only had four hours left to record the drum tracks, so I got up and went in to record drums with Chris Bubacz again at the board. I recorded the album in three hours. After that I was “in!” We all felt I was the right drummer for the band. The problem was that I had a production company to run and couldn’t tour. They were forced to soldier on with different drummers. They became a killer live band and I had to stay behind while they toured. It was a type of torture for me. I was happy they were doing well, but sad I couldn’t do the gigs with them.

METAL BABE: I bet. I can imagine that was difficult. So, the band recorded quite a bit of material back then but never released it? What inspired you to release ‘Resurgence’ at this time?

CARL: I was talking with Bob, the bassist, and mentioned that I’d found the masters. I said, “we should have these transferred to digital,” and he felt it was a great idea. There was never a master plan to release the material.

METAL BABE: Oh, okay. How did you choose what material to put on the album?

CARL: Jim, Bob and I chose the material once it was transferred to digital. We got to sit with the songs and we all offered suggestions.

METAL BABE: Makes sense. What can you tell us about the CD? How did you choose ‘Resurgence’ as the title?

CARL: We felt that it was a fitting title for a band re-uniting and re-releasing their back catalog. So you know, we are currently working on new material as well as reviewing some older gems. Jim, who writes all the songs, is an extremely prolific writer, so there is no shortage of material.

METAL BABE: That’s great. How would you describe St. James’ musical style to someone not familiar with the band?

CARL: The band has their own sound but I would say there are similarities to bands like Van Halen, Bon Jovi etc…

METAL BABE: Awesome. Has St. James played a live show together yet? Have you looked into playing any of the U.S. festivals or cruises? Seems like that would be a perfect place to make a comeback!

CARL: We are looking at options now regarding a few festivals.

METAL BABE: Great! You produced the St. James CD, and you’ve also produced quite a few legendary metal bands including Anthrax, Overkill, Exciter, Helstar, and Possessed. Can you share any memories about your experiences with these bands?

CARL: During the early 80’s, I was involved in producing legendary early albums from Anthrax, Overkill, Exciter, Helstar, T.T. Quick, Savoy Brown, Jack Starr, Rhett Forrester, (RIOT vocalist – RIP) Possessed, Blue Cheer, Roxx Gang, Attila as well as the cult classic Thrasher project featuring a who’s who of the east cost metal scene at the time.

An untold story gold nugget of mine is that I had an opportunity to go to Sweden to “oversee” the recordings of Metallica’s legendary “Ride The Lightning” album but I turned it down. I felt it would be intrusive to the band and I knew that I wouldn’t want a “spy” in the camp when I was recording. Also, having heard the stories from Chris Bubacz, I knew that they had a vision and didn’t need my help. I still love producing and continue to do so. I know that I had a great time with all of them and have been honored to be a part of their legacy.

METAL BABE: Definitely. Thanks for sharing that. How did you first get into producing, and what is it like to produce your own music compared to other bands?

CARL: It all started with me co-producing The Rods albums with David. I’ve probably been producing since before I knew what producing was. I’ve always had a feel for arrangements and approaches. I’ve also been very interested in the recording process. Recording my own album was a new experience. I was the one controlling it all. I wasn’t guiding anyone and I had no input from the outside. It was quite different. I’m working on a new Canedy CD with other musicians (Tony, Mike, and Charlie) and I’m enjoying the process much more than my first solo album. This is a collaborative band venture.

METAL BABE: Most people know you as being one of the founding members of The Rods. I personally love the band. What are The Rods currently up to?

CARL: The Rods are about to announce some big news. One of the things I can announce today is that we’re playing Psycho Las Vegas Festival August 18-19, 2017. We have never played Vegas, so we’re really looking forward to it. I think we need your advice on how to best stay out of trouble while there.

METAL BABE: Well, you know whatever happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas!

CARL:  We’re also playing Cortland Main Street Music Series July 21st. It’s always a great time and this year we have a special guest joining us onstage for a few songs.

METAL BABE: I read that you reunited in 2008 for the Metal Rock Fest in Norway. How was that, and have you played since?

CARL: We have been touring Europe every year since. This past year we played Very ‘Eavy Festival in Holland and Keep It True in Germany. Norway was our first trip overseas in many years. Our friend Hans Dokka brought us over and we had the best time!

METAL BABE: That’s awesome. Do you have plans to release The Rods’ 2016 compilation CD?

CARL: We were actually working on that when something new came along. We should be announcing that any day now.

METAL BABE: Great! I will keep a lookout. What final words would you like to say to our readers?

CARL: We love hearing from our fans so please contact us directly, either through the Internet or at a live gig. We’ve made many friends this way, so please don’t be afraid to say hi.

METAL BABE: Awesome you guys are so approachable. That definitely means a lot to fans. Thank you for your time Carl. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you!

CARL: Thank you for the support, and it was a pleasure speaking with you too.

Band Members:

John James – Lead Vocals/Harmonica
James Jacobs – Guitars/Mandolin
Robert Jacobs – Bass
Carl Canedy – Drums