Radio Exile's Charlie Calv
By Jay Oakley
So your debut, self-titled album just came out, yeah?
Talk a little bit about that. How was the recording and are you happy with the finished product?
Thrilled with the finished product. It really came together nicely. Great bunch of players and I couldn't ask for a better writing partner in Chandler (Mogel, lead vocals) and the rest of the guys are fantastic. This was done completely, the old school way. All of us in the studio together tracking. Nobody at home in their home studio kind of file-sharing and doing that kind of thing. We really wanted to capture the vibe of playing together and I think that gets lost in records today. A lot of bands don't even get in the room with each other and play anymore and you lose that magic of feeding off of each other.
You have your first single and video out for the album. Talk about that.
First single is "No Pity On The Highway" and I'm thrilled with the way the track came out. It was actually one of the last ones I'd given Chandler to work on when we were working on the record. It was one I'd held back for a while because it was somewhat complete but not complete and I wasn't sure if it was going to fit or not but obviously I'm glad I handed it over to him because it came out really great. Thrilled with the video as well. I think it's a great video. The guy who directed it was awesome and had a great time making it. We filmed it, not to far from where I live, in an old barn on a farm close to my house and some of the other conceptual stuff was shot up in Syracuse, New York.
When it came to the formation of the band, how did you meet up?
Dave (Anthony, drums) and Jimmy (Leahey, guitar) and I had been friends for a long time. Me and Dave had our first high school band together many years ago. We would run into each other here and there over the years because he went his musical way and I went mine and we'd talk about doing something together. It actually came about that the last time I ran into him, a little over two years ago, we had the same conversation and decided that if we didn't do something now, we're never going to do it so that got the ball rolling and I sent him some material I'd been working on. The biggest problem I had was I needed a writing partner and I needed a really good singer. So he recommended Chandler and we got together and he was very receptive to the musical ideas that I had and I really liked his style and some of the stuff that he had done so that's how it started. Like I'd said, I knew Jimmy and he was on our short list of guitar players but we knew he was a guy we wanted to approach and luckily he was available and able to come in and do the recording. Kenny (Aaronson, bass) kind of, came in by accident. Chandler was at a gig he was doing and Kenny was on the same gig with a different band and they got to talking. I got an email from Chandler saying, "How about Kenny Aaronson?" How do you say no to that? The guy is legendary (Blue Öyster Cult, Joan Jett, Billy Idol, New York Dolls, Michael Monroe, Billy Squier) so we sent him the material, he liked it and was available as well.
For people that are coming to see you what can they expect at your show?
We don't know yet because we haven't done a show. We've been offered to do a couple towards the end of the year so we'll see what happens. The biggest problem with this group of guys is while they're all fantastic players and that's a blessing on one side but on the flip side they are very high in demand so it's kind of difficult to put together a proper tour. Both Dave and Jimmy play with Dennis DeYoung from Styx and they are out every weekend if not every other weekend doing that and Kenny is now in The Yardbirds and they have a spring tour coming up so it makes it difficult to go out and do any proper touring but we'll see. We're going to look at the offers coming down the pike and see what we can do with them.
You've been described as a classic, melodic rock band. Is that how you guys, see it? Talk about your influences and your style.
My influences go back to the mid to late 70s. I'm a huge Led Zeppelin fan. Deep Purple, Queen, Yes all those classic rock bands and most of the guys are in to that same sort of music. From a writing stand point it's just kind of, what comes out. We didn't go in there planning to make a classic rock sounding record or melodic record. We just kept writing and we didn't put any limitations on anything. We just wrote songs and if we thought it was a good song, it made the record.
Since you are handicapped on touring because of the demand of the individual talents of the band members are you planning to try to get together to put out records and then getting shows when the time is right?
I would say so because I would think, with this lineup, we won't be able to do a proper tour because of everyone's commitments unless it was a situation that worked well. So the idea is for us to do a couple one-off shows. My goal is for us to get into the studio, hopefully, by the summer and start tracking the next record. We've already started working on new ideas so me and Chandler and trying to sort through the first three or four songs and try to get that ball rolling as well.
So if everything were to go according to planned what would you shoot for as a release for that? The beginning of next year, 2017?
That's what I have in my head. If we can make it work, get the material together and get everyone into the studio and get it tracked then definitely. When we did this record it took us a little over a year again because of people's schedules. Sometimes we had to wait two months for someone to have free time to come in and do the tracking. For the reason I said earlier, we wanted to do this in the studio the old fashioned way, with the producer, with the engineer, try ideas and when you do it that way it just takes longer to do it.
I'd love for you to comment on all the great talent we've lost in the music business over the last couple of months. Was there anyone who meant more to you then others?
I think the biggest impact in David Bowie. It came, number one, as a shock because no one really knew about the illness that he had and no disrespect to anyone else but he was just such an enormous talent. From writing to performing to fashion, the whole gamete. The guy kept re-inventing himself record after record after record and it never, ever, ever got old but it was all Bowie. You always knew it was him. It's a sad thing.