CANDLEBOX’s KEVIN MARTIN On Retirement: ‘It’s Bittersweet Knowing That I’m Saying Goodbye To This’

In a new interview with “Paltrocast” host Darren Paltrowitz, CANDLEBOX frontman Kevin Martin spoke about his decision to retire after the 30th anniversary of the release of the band’s debut album in 2023. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s been a great career and I’m just so grateful that our music has lasted for 30 years. It’s a strange feeling. It’s bittersweet knowing that I’m saying goodbye to this and I’m not sure how I’m gonna feel at that last strum of the guitar chords. But I made this decision and I discussed it with my wife and my son, and I discussed it with the guys in the band. And I think it’s the right decision and it’s the right time. And I’ll find plenty of things to keep me busy, that’s for sure. I love fishing, so I’m gonna do a lot of that.”

Asked how long ago he first started thinking about retiring from the road, Kevin said: “I started talking about it in 2020 with my wife during COVID. I said, ‘If this doesn’t turn around too quickly, and I’m gonna be home for a little bit, what are your thoughts about me being home for a lot of bit?’ And we just really started talking about when would be the right time. And then also talking to the guys in the band about it. I wanted to make sure that they understood where I was coming from. I didn’t want them to feel like they didn’t have anything down the road. So I made sure [to tell them], ‘Listen, in three years, this is where we’re going to be. So I want you to start establishing yourselves and letting other bands know that you’re gonna be available.’ Because my band, anybody that gets Brian [Quinn, guitar], Island [Styles, guitar], BJ [Kerwin, drums] or Adam [Kury, bass] is going to be the luckiest band in the world because they’re four of the most incredible musicians I’ve ever had the opportunity of playing with and I want nothing but the best for them. So I’m putting the word out in all these interviews that you’ve got a band that’s coming your way. If you’re looking for somebody to fill in, these guys are the guys that you’re gonna wanna reach out to, because I can’t think of better musicians for anybody than the guys that I play with.”

Kevin previously discussed his decision to retire during an appearance on the July 13 episode of SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”. “During COVID, I had a great awakening, being home with my wife and my son and realizing that maybe I had put far too much emphasis on the wrong syllable,” he said, referencing a classic line from the 2003 Mike Myers/Gwyneth Paltrow movie “View From The Top”. “My music career had become so encompassing of my time and my emotion and my energy and all this stuff that I realized that I had not given my family what they actually needed from me, which was me. And being home and being a dad and a teacher and a husband, and learning how to bake bread and realizing, ‘God, man, I’ve missed a lot of things in my life that I enjoy,’ I said, ‘I need to figure out when I can wrap this up.'”

He continued: “I love music and it is a part of my life and I love playing live and I love performing and I love the fans. And that is something that I never take for granted. But I knew that I didn’t love it the way I did when I started. And so I said to my wife, I said, ‘I think I wanna make one last record and I wanna do it in 2023 when the 30th anniversary of the debut comes out, and then I wanna just put a nice little bow on this thing and wrap it up at the end of the year. And how do you feel about that?’ And she said, ‘I would love that, but only if you’re ready.’ And it took me from 2020 to 2022 to realize that I was.”

Kevin added: “I don’t ever wanna be a performer that phones it in on stage. I’ve been to those shows, I’ve seen those shows. I don’t wanna do that. And I would hate to become that person. If this is my top, where I’m at, and I’m going out on it, and I’m in the best shape ever and my voice is in the best shape ever, and the music that I’m making, the shows that we’re playing are fantastic, and we’re having an absolute blast, then what better way to go?”

Martin also talked about how he and his CANDLEBOX bandmates handled their early multi-platinum success three decades ago, saying: “We didn’t do well. We got caught up in the whole, ‘We’ve gotta get in the studio, make the next record. Let’s make the record different.’ You get pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions. Whatever little drug habits you had that you could barely afford before, now you can afford as much cocaine as you want, which is ridiculous. And the alcohol intake is more, and you start buying dumb cars and stupid houses and all sorts of dumb shit. You fall into that trap. But we had a good manager; we were managed by Lindy Goetz, who managed the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS at the time as well. And as good as he was and tried his best to keep us focused as a band — I think he actually convinced my guitar player to go to rehab — we were not prepared at all. It was a very strange thing. I remember waking up one morning to go out to get my paper in Seattle and there were people sitting outside my gate, waiting for me to come out. And I’d never experienced anything like that. I thought that was the strangest thing in the world. ‘Cause it’s not something I would ever do. So I just was taken aback by that. I was, like, ‘Why are you here?’ And they’re, like, ‘Oh, can you sign this stuff?’ And I said, ‘This is my house. Get outta my house.’ It was a strange thing— a very strange thing.”

CANDLEBOX‘s final studio album, “The Long Goodbye”, will arrive August 25 via Round Hill Records. The LP’s first single, “Punks”, is a cautionary message to young bands that they won’t be the hot new thing forever.

In addition to “Punks”, the 10-track collection, which was produced by Don Miggs, includes the sneering statement of independence “What Do You Need”, co-written by Nick Brown of the alt-rock band MONA, who also appears on the track, and the moody, atmospheric “Elegante”, where Kevin dives headlong into creative wordplay as Miggs and the band mimic a synth-pop vibe with guitars and drums. Elsewhere is the acoustic “Maze” and “Cellphone Jesus”, where Kevin allows some of his worldview to seep in as he searches for a sign from above for a damaged society.

CANDLEBOX is currently on the road on their farewell tour, crossing the country until early fall with fellow rockers 3 DOORS DOWN as direct support on their massive “Away From The Sun” amphitheater tour in addition to various headlining shows.

Emerging from Seattle’s burgeoning mid-1990s grunge scene, CANDLEBOX quickly found mainstream success with their deep, lyrically driven melodies and big radio hooks, as evidenced by their massive hits “Far Behind”, “You” and “Cover Me” that propelled their self-titled debut album, a defining record of the decade, to sell more than four million copies worldwide. Their follow-up album, “Lucy”, earned a platinum certification and solidified CANDLEBOX as a tour de force in the thriving alt-rock scene. While the commercial success of the first album played a pivotal role in the band’s trajectory to the top, it was their raw and unapologetically honest live performances that ultimately solidified their place among Seattle’s elite. In 1998, CANDLEBOX released “Happy Pills”, which would be their last album before going on hiatus from 2000 to 2006. In 2008, the band reformed and released their fourth album, “Into The Sun”, and hit the road for the first time in 10 years, touring extensively and releasing “Alive In Seattle”, a live album that included tracks from every era of their career. 2016 marked the triumphant return of CANDLEBOX with the release of “Disappearing In Airports”, a more classic rock-tinged album hailed by many critics and fans as their best work in years. Singles “Vexatious” and “Supernova” drove the album to debut at No. 9 on the Billboard chart and spurred multiple U.S. and international tours, including major festival appearances at Carolina Rebellion, Welcome To Rockville and Lollapalooza Chile. These iconic rockers have been blazing full steam since, releasing their album “Wolves” in 2021, and recently issuing a live, acoustic album, “Live At The Neptune”.

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