• Rock! Shock! Pop! Presents An Interview With Carl Canedy Of The Rods!

    Interview by Horace Cordier and Ian Jane.

    The Rods, who have recently released their latest album Brotherhood Of Metal, have been around since the early eighties and are rightly considered American heavy metal royalty at this point in their career. Drummer Carl Canedy was cool enough to answer a few questions about the band’s past, present and future as well as a few unique side projects he’s been involved with over the years.

    So without further ado…

    Rock! Shock! Pop! - Congratulations on the excellent new album!

    Carl Canedy - Thank you for the kind words. We are happy it’s finally out for the fans to hear!

    R!S!P! - From the album cover, which recalls your classic Wild Dogs LP, to many of the lyrics which talk about Rods history and mention many critical figures in the hard rock and heavy music scene, this album is an unabashed celebration of the metal genre. Was this a conscious decision on the part of the band?

    CC - I don’t believe The Rods have done anything with much premeditation, haha. Brotherhood of Metal was a song that David and I wrote (editor’s note – he’s talking about David ‘The Rock’ Feinstein, guitarist and lead vocalist of The Rods). It was about our relationship as a band and about how our fans had supported us and continue to do so at live shows. Also, the way all of the metal bands and fans supported each other at shows. There seems to be a bond with people who love metal music of all types and genres.

    R!S!P! - Given that the latest album clearly does pay tribute to metal heroes of the past, how do you feel about the current scene? Any more recent bands that stand out to you in terms of playing with, or even just listening to?

    CC - I can only speak for myself on this. I do try to listen to many types of music. Gojira has become a band I like as well. Abbath is interesting. If you listen to songs like Outstrider you can hear modern meets Venom and Iron Maiden. Brand new but with influences showing. In Vertigo kick ass!

    R!S!P! - Can you tell us a little bit about the songwriting process for The Rods? What is the level of collaboration between the three of you? You’ve also released a solo record. How do you decide which music is better suited for your solo material or The Rods?

    CC - I do have a solo album and another Canedy album just entering the mix process as well as the new St James album we’ve recorded in Miami. David also has several solo albums. David and I are the songwriters in the band with David writing two thirds of the material. We all know what is a good fit for The Rods and we write for the band. If we have a song that is not suited to us we won’t bring it in and will leave it for a solo project.

    R!S!P! - What was it like coming back in 2011 with Vengeance after taking a break of fifteen years? What inspired you guys to ‘get the band back together’ and were there any noticeable differences in the scene when you did come back?

    CC - It was great to be back performing together again! Of course the music business had changed as had the music. Honestly, I recognized and witnessed the “changing of the guard” while producing bands such as Anthrax, Overkill, Exciter etc.. It was no shock the music had morphed several times since we stopped working as a band. We had a great friend in Al Falso (The Rodfather) who owned a music store and helped us tremendously. When he passed they had a great celebration of his life. The Rods were asked to perform. It was a bittersweet time performing together again but it was clear the flame was still strong in each of us.

    R!S!P! - I really like the production on the new record. Who handled that? And what were your goals in terms of what you wanted to achieve with the sound of the record? I’m assuming you were heavily involved since you had an extensive career as a producer in the 80s working with bands like Anthrax, as mentioned and the mighty Exciter. Rock has always had a great guitar tone but this album really highlights Gary’s bass playing and your drumming as well.

    CC - We all handled the production process. We’ve all spent so much time in the studio that it’s quite easy for each of us to handle the process. I have always loved Rock’s guitar sound. On this album Garry Bordonaro’s bass sound was finally brought to the foreground for the first time in our career.

    I knew we needed someone great to mix this album. I found Chris Collier and he was on-board to mix the album. He did a killer job and we’re thrilled that he gave us a mix that we love.

    R!S!P! - Cover art for your albums has always been… AWESOME. Some might say obnoxious even, but the point is the cover art for The Rods has always been very much in your face. Does the band collaborate on this? Or do you guys just find an artist and let that artist run with their own ideas?

    CC - Eric “Metalangelo” Philippe has been our artist since our return. He’s done every single piece of promotion art since then. He’s become a good friend and we’re fortunate to have him in our corner. For this album, Olly, our label rep, had the idea of updating the Wild Dogs album art. We all made suggestions and then presented it to Eric. He took the idea and ran with it. It was an amazing realization of our idea.

    R!S!P! - You were briefly a member of Manowar in the early 1980s. Do you have any stories about working with the band?

    CC - I have stories that I never tell. I will say that being at the genesis of the Manowar was amazing! Working on the songs would that would become legendary was an experience I’ve never forgotten.

    R!S!P! - No fair! Why the choice to be credited as Karl Kennedy on that album? Also, please tell us more Manowar stories. Is Ross The Boss as bad ass as he seems? I ate hot dogs with him once but have sadly never been on stage with him… yet.

    CC - The Karl Kennedy thing was someone’s idea of how I spelled my name. I seriously doubt that anyone in the Manowar camp had anything to do with that spelling or that poor quality recording floating around. As for Ross the Boss…he’s a true metal warrior. None more real than Ross! Badass doesn’t begin to describe the man! Ross joined us last summer in New York for our sold out show at St Vitus. The crowd went wild when he came on stage!

    R!S!P! – Horace was at that show! You produced the Blue Cheer album "The Beast Is Back" – what were they like to work with? Any insight or interesting stories into what those guys, legendary yet underrated as they were, were like to collaborate with?

    CC - Working with those guys, particularly Dickie and Paul, was a career highlight. Blue Cheer was inspirational and changed my drumming as well as introduced me to heavy music. Paul Whaley, RIP, was a big influence. I went out and bought another bass drum, began hitting my drums harder and breaking sticks and cymbals left and right. We all hit it off immediately and I loved working with them on parts and arrangement as well as performances. Dickie was everything you’d expect him to be. He was an original and the male Janice Joplin in the vocal department. A very heavy, bluesy style of singing. He sang with his and heart and delivered every time. Paul was the real deal. I don’t think he realized how great he was. I used to tell him all the time but I don’t think he had much confidence in himself when we worked together. It was a thrill for me to see him create parts that had a connection to my early years loving their albums and learning his fills. I really got to be friends with the guys, particularly Dickie, and got to hang with him at his home in Northern California. Quite an honor for me to work with some of my idols.

    R!S!P! - Speaking of side projects, rumor has it that you played drums on Lone Rager’s one and only album, Metal Rap! They had a 12” released on Megaforce, right? What was this all about? It definitely predates most of the metal/rap crossover stuff that came in the wake of Anthrax teaming up with Public Enemy. There’s got to be some stories here…. Rock shows up on this too, right? Who really played on this oddity? No secrets!

    CC - Jon has a new book coming out in September that may shed some light on this. I was involved and I did play drums on that song. Jon and Marsha brought in a children’s choir and we recorded that on a Saturday. Jon and Marsha were so great with the kids. David, Garry and I played the basic tracks. Andrew ‘Duck’ MacDonald came in and soloed on side B. It was fun and I love that after all this time people still about it.

    R!S!P! – The Rods really suffered at the hands of incompetent record labels early in their career in our opinion. Do you think if you had been with a label other than Arista things would’ve gone differently for the band?

    CC - I truly believe it would have been a different outcome for The Rods if we had better management. AC/DC asked us to join them on their For Those About To Rock tour, which started a couple of months after our tour of England with Iron Maiden. Arista UK put up half of the money needed and we wanted to borrow the other half. Our manager wouldn’t allow it. We all believe had we gone back through Europe at that time our career would have been much different. Fortunately none of us is bitter about how our career has gone. We are friends after all these years, we still kick ass on stage and in the studio and are still making music we love to play.

    R!S!P! – That’s the right outlook. The new album is coming out via Steamhammer – how have they been to work with? They seem like a label with a sincere appreciation for metal history and they have an interesting catalogue.

    CC - We have nothing but good things to say! We had tried to work with Olly Hahn, our label rep, twice before with no success. I guess it’s true, the third time’s a charm because it’s gone very well and he’s been fantastic to work with. His only directive to us was “take your time and make a great Rods album”! He then left us alone until we turned in the album. You can’t get much better from a label rep.

    R!S!P! - Drummer geek question. You toured with Iron Maiden on their famous “Beast On The Road” outing for Number Of The Beast. Did you ever sit and talk shop with Maiden drummer Clive Burr?

    CC - I felt badly when he passed away. He was a sweet guy. I used to watch them every night. I would go behind his riser some nights and watch him. He’d look down (he was way, way high) and give me a smile. Clive was a really gently soul.

    R!S!P! - Let’s talk about your kit – what do you play and why? What’s your favorite gear?

    CC - I played a 1971 Chrome Fibes kit until 2018. I’ve also been playing different kits in different situations. I have two Pearl silver sparkle drum kits and a Pearl Masters, Crushed Glass finish, that I record with. 8,10,12,13,14, 16 with 22” bass drums.

    I also have a white Mapex kit (the same set up as the Pearl Masters). I also have my Blue Sparkle Ludwig drums from the 1960’s and 1970’s. 4 mounted toms, 2 bass drums, 16 and 18 floor toms and another 14 deep tom. I have 3 matching Blue Sparkle snare drums and two Chrome 6 1/2” 70’s snare drums for that kit. I’ve retired them. I’ve been thinking of bringing them out for a gig one day. They are the first drums I bought at age 14 and they have great sentimental value. Hundreds of gigs over many years with that kit. I have an endorsement with Kazsa Cymbals and I use them on all of my kits now. Love them!

    R!S!P! - Any touring plans for The Rods? Would love to see you guys on the road again.

    CC - We would also love to be on the road. We are in talks but nothing as yet to announce.

    R!S!P! - When you guys tour, do you prefer larger festival type shows like Defenders Of The Old (technical difficulties notwithstanding) or more intimate club shows? Why?

    CC - Defenders was such a great show overall and yet one of our worst ever! Glad we sold out St Vitus and redeemed ourselves. I love both! Obviously, for most bands, the larger the crowd the better the gig! We love them all and perform at the same level of intensity for every show.

    R!S!P! - Any plans for reissues or another live album? How much material is in the vault for the band?

    CC - We have a few things in the vault. I would love to do an album of fan favorites from every album. We did start that before signing with SPV. It’s too early to say what will happen from here. I’ve already started writing new material for the next album.

    R!S!P! – Sweet! Any other news for The Rods that our readers need to be aware of?

    CC - I can certainly ask that they check out the new Canedy and St James albums when they’re released. They both kick ass (yes, I’m biased). Canedy is heavy with a killer singer. St James is powerful but more along the lines of Counting Crows, Black Crowes. I have also played drum recently on several singles that will be released soon. Keep checking out The Rods' website for new info. And thanks to all of the fans who’ve helped keep our music alive! We love you Wild Dogs!!!