Remember Candlebox? The Nineties Seattle band burst on the scene in 1993, hitting the Top Ten with their self-titled debut, then rode the grunge wave to a string of hit singles — “Far Behind,” “Don’t You,” “Simple Lessons” — before seemingly falling off the radar altogether.
So what happened? “I’ve been producing. I have a solo project called the Hiwatts on my own label — started that in 2000,” frontman Kevin Martin says of what’s been keeping him busy since Candlebox went on “indefinite hiatus” in 1999. “And I got married last year.”
Getting married is an important part of the story, as Martin credits his wife with helping to reunite the group. “I met my wife five years ago. She’s Australian — she’s very grounded,” he explains. “And she made me realize I was longing to play with these guys again, because I was continually talking about it.”
That, and an upcoming best-of collection due next month, prompted Martin to get the ball rolling to bring guitarist Pete Klett, drummer Scott Mercado and bassist Bardi Martin (no relation to Kevin) back together. “I contacted Pete in the fall,” he says. “We got together over Christmas when I was in Seattle to visit my family, and we contacted Bardi and Scott and asked them if they’d be interested.”
The reformed Candelbox hits the road July 1st for a full-fledged tour, with a few one-offs scheduled before then. The band isn’t reuniting to be merely a nostalgia act though: They’ve got plans to record an album in the fall for spring 2007 release.
Martin, who admires the political stances of artists such as Green Day, Neil Young and System of a Down, wants to use his new music to speak out on the issues as well. “There hasn’t been a great musical movement since the early Nineties, and hopefully that changes,” he says. Martin points to one of Candlebox’s new songs, tentatively dubbed “Stand.” “It’s not a new concept — it deals with exactly what we’ve been talking about: ‘Stand up for who you are,'” he explains. “People want great music. And if you can give them great music that has a point and is poignant, I think you can change people’s opinions.”
Since so much has changed in the decade since Candlebox was on top — not least, the political climate — how does Martin think the band will be received? “The response to our deciding to go back out and making another record has been great,” he says. “It’s weird — you think when you end something, it’s done. But you continue to sell records and people continue to write you and the music doesn’t ever die.”
Then, in another sign of the changed times, Martin adds, “We’re adding MySpace friends everyday.”