Carl Canedy is one of those important persons of US Metal. Drummer of The Rods, highly acclaimed producer, songwriter, headbanger... With The Rods being strong again, arranging few reissues and his first solo album recently out, we had no other option and contacted our friend Carl for a detailed interview. Enjoy...
Back in your early days, what made you start beating the drums?
I remember seeing a drum kit at a wedding reception when I was 4 and half and it was as if the Angels were all around it singing Hallelujah. I'd wanted to play drums from that day on. I actually didn't get a kit until I was 13. I did my best to make up for lost time.
Your friendship and partnership with Dave Feinstein goes before The Rods, since you played drums for D.Feinstein's Midnight Lady 7" single,
It has been said that I have but actually a drummer named Dave Galutz played drums on that track. David and I met during the early '70's. My band rehearsed in the Garage and Elf (with Ronnie Dio) rehearsed in the house so I've known David from the Elf days.
How did you and David decide to form The Rods?
We had tried working on a project that didn't get off the ground. It led to my becoming part of the initial Manowar. David and I decided that we were a good fit musically so it seemed like a logical choice for us to work together.
Did you play with Manowar also in their early days? Are there any recordings that you made together?
I did and there are some recordings I made of rehearsals and there is also the demo we recorded. I know fans have shared the demo on the internet. There were intense and exciting times with that band watching the music take shape. I'm proud to say I was there at the genesis of such a great and legendary band.
Back in The Rods, what do you remember from your first private release of 'Rock Hard'?
We began recording within the first three months of being together. Chris Bubacz (first Metallica album) was at Fredonia University and we would record there on our days off from gigs. It was an exciting time and releasing 'Crank it Up' as our first single and having it played on radio was a big thrill. I called a Rochester, NY Station to see if they'd received it and they told me how great it sounded on the air and that fans were calling in requesting it be played. A very exciting moment.
The Rods, Wild Dogs, In The Raw, Let Them Eat Metal, Heavier Than Thou... Golden years of The Rods in the first half of the 80s. During that period the band was one of the most iconic names of US Metal. What each album means for you?
The Rods: Fun, hard work, sex, no drugs and Rock and Roll. We played as much as possible and recorded that album in between gigs with Chris Bubacz in Fredonia, NY where he was a recording engineer student.
Wild Dogs: Exciting, frustrating (record label pressure, management problems). Doing the Iron Maiden dates was a huge thrill. All the English press was fun and interesting.
In The Raw: This was done in 48 hours again with Chris Bubacz engineering. We went into the studio, I found drums from all over the studio and built a kit. We played live and overdubbed the vocals and guitar solos. The photo was taken by our manager after being awake for almost two days (genius move). It's a demo but the fans love it and I believe they love the fact that it's The Rods live in the studio. Chris captured the band warts and all and I think that's why it's held up over time.
Live: was just simply that. It was live but it was tough to have recording gear follow you around. In the end I'm not sure recording many dates was a good idea. We might have done better recording one gig well. I still love 'Hellbound', which we've never recorded in a studio setting. Maybe one day...
Hollywood: A collection of songs that we felt should not have The Rods name attached (so the fans wouldn't be disappointed with the more melodic songs). David and I had material we'd written that we wanted out but it really didn't suit The Rods style. Rick Caudle came in to do vocals (suggested by Andrew Duck MacDonald who also suggested Joey Belladonna to me for Anthrax. Thanks Duck!). I really enjoyed working with Rick and there are some strong songs on this album.
Let Them Eat Metal: Again Chris Bubacz recording. Some really good songs on this album and we seem to get many requests from fans for songs from this album. I love playing 'Let Them Eat Metal' live. It was winter when we recorded it and it wasn't the most fun I've had recording but I did like the record.
Heavier Than Thou: This was really fun working with Shmoulik Avigal on vocals. Also a highlight for me was working, once again, with one of our first bass players Craig Gruber. Sadly Craig just passed a few days ago. It's been tough losing a good friend. Craig and I were such a great rhythm section and I loved playing with him in every band we were in together. Garry was on tour with Kim Simmons so Craig was the obvious choice. Shmoulik really killed it on vocals. He wasn't originally going to be the vocalist. David was going to sing these songs, but when he heard Shmoulik sing he felt Sam was the best choice for these songs. I think there are some great songs on this album. The album was getting some really strong national attention when the label went under. I felt it was one of our strongest albums.
What was the reaction of press during those years?
Press was strong at first, then they went for the throat on a couple of albums ('Live' and 'Hollywood') then came back with great reviews for 'Heavier Than Thou'. The fans always stayed with us. Hail all Wild Dogs!
Best and worst moment from your live shows back in the 80s?
Best moment for me was our first arena show in Binghamton, NY, opening for Blue Oyster Cult. It was my first show in front of 10,000 people and the crowd was very supportive and I threw my drum sticks into the crowd for the first time (and loved it but I was also told to never do it again to avoid a lawsuit).
Worst was opening for Judas Priest in Albany, NY at the Palace theater before we were signed. We didn't quite understand monitoring on a large stage and I could hear David's guitar and it was a huge mess. The Promoter of the show, who was considering us for management, suggested that both the bass player and myself be replaced. Not the best gig but it was awesome seeing Priest from our dressing room above the stage!
When did you start working as a producer and what made you occupy with that also?
I've always been interested in producing. Kelakos was my first real experience (just re-released www.Kelakosband.com). With The Rods, David and I just began producing ourselves because we were the only ones around. No money to hire one and so we started learning on our own.
You worked very close with Megaforce Records also, since you produced few of their best albums, including bands like Anthrax, Overkill and Exciter, among others. Which ones are your most notable moments of those years as a producer?
Those were whirlwind days for me. Each project had its trials and tribulations. I loved working with Exciter, I spent quite a bit of time with Anthrax, having worked with them on 2 albums and an EP, and Overkill were clearly talented and Blitz was a star! I loved Dickie Peterson from Blue Cheer. That band was a huge influence on me and it was an honor to work with them. Jon and Marsha are the best to work with.
Did you work in any album that didn't come up as you wished because of a label intervention?
I have regrets of one kind or another but I blame them on myself and budget constraints. I can't blame others for my shortcomings. I accept responsibility (even if it's a hard pill to swallow at times) The other side of that is that I'm very proud of many aspects of my work.
Why did The Rods split after 'Heavier Than Thou'?
It was never a problem between the members. I was producing, David had bought a restaurant (the Hollywood in Cortland, NY. A great restaurant and our one consistent endorser) and Garry was touring with Savoy Brown. It was just as simple as that.
Give me a few words for the following names:
Joey DeMaio: He and I were a great rhythm section. Joey is a guy who walks the walk.
Jon Zazula: Impresario, visionary, great guy!
Jack Starr: Talented and knows how to utilize talent around him.
Rhett Forrester: A star. True charisma and an awesome vocalist. I had a lot of fun with Rhett.
Riot: Great band!
Savatage: Ground breaking. Great band!
Queensryche: Loved them from the first album and looking forward to sharing the stage with them again June 13th in Endicott, NY
Armored Saint: Powerful vocals
Anthrax: Driven. Talented. Charismatic. Ground breaking.
Ronnie James Dio: Legendary and the nicest guy. I don't have enough words. Eternally grateful that he was kind enough to sing a song I'd written. RIP RJD
Back in the late 80s you worked with Apollo Ra, a band that never made it back in the day, but their songs are jewels of what is called 'US Metal', since few metal fans nowadays consider 'Ra Pariah' as a masterpiece. When did you meet them, how did you work with them and why do you think they never made it back then?
I met them through David Carpin. He owned Shatter Records. He was an attorney who started a label. I was hired to produce them but his label went bankrupt before we finished the album. I financed the project and shopped it for them. We had strong interest from Monte Connor (another visionary), Roadrunner and Mike Faley from Metal Blade and Michael Alago from Elektra. Michael saw them live and decided to pass on the band and from that word the other labels pulled the plug on their offers so we self-released. It's been a sad tale that this band was not a major force. Super talented guys and fun and hard working as well. I'm thrilled that the fans have found their music and kept it alive for all these years. I believe it's a fantastic album.
Since many people are not familiar with your projects, what have you done during 1990 to 2010?
Performed with a local band, written music and children's plays for my daughter's group and had a children's theater for 12 years. I also did the occasional project, such as John Hahn's solo album.
The Rods are back in full force since few years with an album released in 2011 ('Vengeance') and some live shows over the past years. Do you plan to record a new album soon and which are your future plans with the band?
Yes, we just played in Chicago and we are heading to Europe for Heavy Sound Festival, Belgium, a club date in Lubeck, Germany, and Muskelrock in Sweden. We are beginning work on a new CD and we are releasing a single featuring Veronica Freeman from Benedictum on vocals. We are also booked for Keep It True 2016 and will announce more European dates soon.
Few months before you released your first solo album 'Headbanger' and I have to admit that it was one of the best releases of 2014. With all these guests, anyone can understand how important personality you are for the American metal scene. What made you write and release a solo album, and also, were these songs older, or written for this album?
Thank you for the kind words. I'm proud of the album. It's been better received than I could have imagined. Reviewers and fans have been very kind. Some of these songs are new and some had been previously released.
What was the reaction of fans and press about 'Headbanger?
Again, the fans and press have been so kind and generous with their words and support.
Thank you for being a true metal fan and supporter. Thank you to the fans who've stayed true to The Rods over the years. I always encourage any fan to make an effort to say hi at gigs. We love meeting you so make the effort to say hi and thank you for being true "Wild Dogs".