Friday, May 13, 2011

Supergroup Candy Golde mines rich vein of experience

Published: May 13, 2011

When bandleader Nicholas Tremulis went prospecting for treasure in the rich musical mines of Chicago, he struck Candy Golde.
This mother lode of talent includes Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, Wilco bassist John Stirratt, keyboardist Mark Greenberg and singer-guitarist Rick Rizzo, both of Eleventh Dream Day, and singer-guitarist Tremulis of the Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra.
An all-star outfit such as this is too commonly called a “supergroup,” but the precious handful of tunes on Candy Golde's self-titled mini-album justifies that overused label.
“The office called and said Nick Tremulis wants to know if you wanna do a project,” Carlos said in a recent phone interview from his home in Rockford, Ill. “And I basically sent word and said let's hear what we've got and, really, it was if the songs are good, sure, I'm interested. And the songs were good, and when I heard John Stirratt's name in the mix too, it was like, I'm there. So that's kind of how that went.”
“Yeah, I'm kind of the sixth degree of separation to some extent, for all the members,” Tremulis said in the three-way conference call with The Oklahoman. “Everybody's played at one time or another, just about, with each other. I did a bunch of (benefit) shows called ‘The Waltz' shows that brought in artists from around the country, and Bun E. was good enough to come in and man the tubs on those, and we really hit it off pretty well when we played together.
“And then Rick Rizzo and I were on these acoustic shows together, and we decided to work up a couple of numbers together to do, just some covers. And we played well together. And Stirratt I've known on and off, basically, through the painter (Wesley Kimler) who did the EP cover.
“The original forms of the tunes were written by myself and Rick Rizzo, very much simpatico, kind of finishing each other's thoughts and everything else, and then we took these sort of acoustic-y demo ideas of songs and sent them to the guys to listen to, and then they formed their stuff around it.”
The EP consists of a mere five songs — four penned by Tremulis-Rizzo, plus a rocked-up, fuzzed-out cover of Paul Simon's “Boy in the Bubble.”
Although Candy Golde's five members bring diverse musical credentials to the table, including power-pop (Carlos), alternative (Stirratt, Rizzo, Greenberg), rhythm 'n' blues and Americana (Tremulis), the overall sound, particularly the raucous, rough-edged rockers “Why and Where” and “The Hold Steady,” owes more to the gloriously ragged grunge pioneered by Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
“It's not as poppy as Cheap Trick or Tinted Windows,” Carlos said of his full-time band and his other side-project band, respectively. “It's a little more hard rock, and it feels good.”
Carlos has plenty of time for side projects since he's semiretired from touring with Cheap Trick. Tinted Windows, another “supergroup” he joined last year with Taylor Hanson of Hanson, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins and A Perfect Circle, will be returning to the studio in the near future to record their second album. As for the next Cheap Trick record, Carlos said, “I'm just waiting for the songs to get written. They don't come as fast as they used to.”
Meanwhile, the future of Candy Golde, despite the appetite-whetting quality of the EP, is uncertain. The band has played a South by Southwest show and a handful of random gigs, but so far there are no plans to tour or follow up with a full-length album.
But Tremulis cautions, “Never say never.”

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