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Candlebox’s Kevin Martin: A Lesson in Contrasts

Posted: June 3, 2024
Our comradery! We get along so well it’s ridiculous, never a dull moment and lots and lots of laughs. We really love one another like brothers and that makes playing together that much more fun.

From Music, Business, and Touring to Retirement, the Enigmatic Frontman Always Keeps Us Guessing

Photo by: Joel Barrios

Candlebox Frontman Kevin Martin is, perhaps, one of the most interesting and utterly complex artists that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Much like his lyrics, which wax and wane through the emotional realms of love, loss, sickness, and sorrow, so do his personal views on the world and those around him. In one instant he appears as a modern-day Holden Caulfield, vexed by society’s vain obsession with social media and espousing political greed and in the next he’s founding his nonprofit The Riptide Society, to help young adults and at-risk youth, and donating time and money to charities he believes in. Because, to him, it’s just the right thing to do.

But when it comes to music, one thing about Martin has never wavered. His passion for creating meaningful art that will resonate with his fans and stand the test of time. So, as Candlebox surpasses the 30-year mark and Martin has, indeed, said his goodbye, one has to wonder – is 2024 really his last chapter? Or is there an epilogue in store for this iconic group, after all? Guitar Thrills spoke with Martin to try to unearth this answer and so much more.

Guitar Thrills: Welcome, Kevin, to Guitar Thrills. We are honored to feature you in this month’s issue and appreciate you taking the time to speak with us about the forthcoming release of your new digital deluxe album A Little Longer Goodbye (The Tour Edition) as well as Candlebox’s upcoming special guest appearance with Jerry Cantrell on the “Loaded: The Greatest Hits Summer 2024 Tour” featuring headliner Bush.

I’d love to start the interview by asking what you’ve you been up to since Candlebox’s “The Long Goodbye Tour” and your dates with 3 Doors Down on their “Away From The Sun Anniversary Tour”?

Kevin Martin: I’ve been pretty busy working on my Riptide Society Charity, launching a bourbon with my buddy Nick Brown from the band MONA, and helping my wife Natalie with her business, no rest for the wicked as they say!

Guitar Thrills: You previously thought 2023 would be the final year for Candlebox, correct? Now, you’re about to release A Little Longer Goodbye (The Tour Edition) and head out on the “Loaded: The Greatest Hits Summer 2024 Tour,” what changed?

Kevin Martin: Couldn’t pass up a summer run with Jerry & Gavin! I mean who in their right mind would and honestly the record has been chugging along slowly but surely and we thought, why not wrap it up in 2024 with some new tunes and great tour?

Guitar Thrills: It must be difficult to shift gears back into tour mode. How do you prepare to head back out on the road?

Kevin Martin: It’s really all about stress management and exercise, making sure you’ve got your mind in shape as well as your body. I hike the hills here in Los Angeles to get both body and mind prepared for 7 weeks of hurry up and wait 😉 and at the same time just getting as much rest as possible, that’s what I’ve found works for me.

Guitar Thrills: I understand that the upcoming tour will be a compilation of your greatest hits, but can fans hope for any hidden gems in the set?

Kevin Martin: We haven’t thought that far in advance yet but I’m about to send out the “What songs do y’all want to kick out on this run?” Email so we’ll see. I’d like to think that it will be something off the new record but you never know with these cats!

Guitar Thrills: I’d love to discuss the live deluxe digital album. What is the significance behind its release?

Kevin Martin: Honestly, I felt that we hadn’t really finished what we started. I wanted to get more music out there, more for the fans and thankfully Round Hill Records agreed.

Guitar Thrills: Related to your live sound, you’ve once commented that your current line up with Adam Kury (Bass), Brian Quinn (Guitar), Island Styles (Guitar), and BJ Kerwin (Drummer) is your strongest. What do you credit that to?

Kevin Martin: Our comradery! We get along so well it’s ridiculous, never a dull moment and lots and lots of laughs. We really love one another like brothers and that makes playing together that much more fun.

Guitar Thrills: Your longevity, talent, and business sense in an industry that is known for discarding artists as soon as they arrive is remarkable. What is the secret to your success?

Kevin Martin: I never took this that serious. I always looked at it as though it were an opportunity to express myself for myself in the hopes that someone took the time to listen, thankfully that worked out and here we are 32 years later!

Guitar Thrills: The 90s rock and alternative music scene is making quite a resurgence with bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, and Green Day touring this year. Why do you think this music continues to resonate with fans?

Kevin Martin: Frankly it’s how honest the music from that era is. No bullshit, no filler just completely vulnerable and honest. No talking shit about other musicians or bands just staying focused on what it was that we were all trying to say and sing about and I think that’s what keeps the fans interested and connected.

Guitar Thrills: That being said, is Candlebox going to continue to tour and make music after this summer?

Kevin Martin: I hope not 😉




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