’90s alt-rockers Candlebox coming to Laconia’s Granite State Music Hall

  • Candlebox is coming to the Granite State for a pair of shows this week. The first show is at Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom tonight at 8, and the second show (21-plus) is at Granite State Music Hall in Laconia on Saturday at 6 p.m. Courtesy of Hampton Casino Ballroom

Monitor staff
Published: 9/26/2019 11:03:26 AM

Anyone who was around in the 1990s probably remembers the massive alt-rock/grunge wave that took over the music scene, producing bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and others. This genre of music was a departure from previous iterations of rock in that it sounded heavier, grittier, dirtier and darker. Right in the middle of that mix was Candlebox, who came out of Seattle in 1993 with their self-titled debut album featuring the hit single “Far Behind,” which can still be heard on the radio today.

In fact, Candlebox is still touring today, and the rockers are coming to the Granite State for a pair of shows this week. The first show (ages 18 and up) is at Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom tonight at 8, and tickets were still available for $25 at casinoballroom.com as of press time (prices go to $30 on the day of the show). The second show (21-plus) is at Granite State Music Hall in Laconia on Saturday at 6 p.m. Tickets for that show are $35 on Eventbrite.

But what has the band been up to since launching that debut album, which has sold more than 4 million copies? We got a chance to talk to lead singer Kevin Martin, one of the founding members of the band, about what’s been going on since the early ’90s, how the band has changed since then and what its plans are for the future.

“We’ve been touring all year,” Martin said. “We just finished recording our seventh record, which will come out next spring. We still have a pulse, thankfully, and people still care.”

While Martin is the only member of the current lineup who was there in the beginning, drummer Dave Kruson has also been a longtime member, having joined in 1996. You might recall Kruson’s name from the credits of another ’90s rock band – he was the original drummer for Pearl Jam, having played on that band’s mutliplatinum debut album Ten. The rest of the current lineup includes Adam Kury on bass and Brian Quinn and Island Styles on guitar.

With the change in personnel has come a change in sound, too.

“It’s way different – it’s nothing like how we started,” Martin said of the band’s new material, which is still being kept under wraps for now. “When we started we really didn’t have any idea what we were doing, we just had these songs. We had no real relationship with one another. As we progressed as friends and musicians the sound has changed, and we’ve always kind of done that with every record. This record is really kind of all over the place. I joked that I should probably call it inspiration and aspirations because it’s so many different things – there were really no rules.”

However, if you’re hoping to see and hear the band you remember from the early ’90s when they come to Hampton and Laconia, fear not. They won’t be touring all their new material. Not right now, anyway.

“We’re playing the debut album in its entirety,” Martin said of the current tour. “In the middle we’re splitting up five songs from the other five records, playing the way we want to play it. It’s been going well. There’s still an audience out there that wants to see us not only play the debut album, but a lot of the other records we made.”

When it comes to New Hampshire, this Seattle-based band has one notable connection – Martin is friends with Granite State celebrity Adam Sandler, going back to the early ’90s. Candlebox recorded the song “Glowing Soul” for the soundtrack to the 1998 Sandler film The Waterboy, at Sandler’s request. The band was flattered by the request.

“We have been friends for a long, long time,” Martin said. “He’s put us in three of his films. He takes care of his friends, puts his friends in everything, and he does that musically, too. I love him for that. “Can’t Give In,” I never even wanted the world to hear and he put it in the film (Airheads). He’s a great guy.”

The band has certainly come a long way since its inception. Once writing songs for Adam Sandler movies, touring with Rush and Metallica, appearing on Letterman and playing on the main stage at Woodstock ’94, they’re now filling much smaller venues and playing shows mostly on weekends rather than every day for months at a time. And that’s just fine with Martin.

There’s a “disconnect with a large-capacity arena – there’s 25 feet between you and the audience,” Martin said. “When you’re in the small arenas or even a small club, you can reach out and touch the audience. I’ve always needed that connection. ... To be able to connect with the crowd by shaking hands, it allows me to feel like I’m where I need to be.”

Through it all, Martin has kept a level head and a firm grasp of reality, and he’s enjoying the ride while he’s at it.

“I don’t see Candelbox doing arenas anytime soon,” he said. “We’re in small clubs, and we’re having fun with it.”

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