Carl Canedy Interview
The Rods are certainly no strangers to Central New York. The group was
formed after Ronnie James Dio left “Elf” and his cousin David "Rock" Feinstein
teamed up with drummer Carl Canedy. Carl Canedy is a much in demand heavy
metal producer today with credits that include Savoy Brown, Blue Cheer,
Anthrax, Exciter, Thrasher, Overkill, The Roxx Gang, and Jack Starr. The
Rods' latest release is titled "Heavier Than Thou" (Passport Records).
Carl Canedy talked with us about The Rods.
Q. Why have The Rods been off the road for so long?
A. It got to the point where it was cost prohibitive to be on the road.
At the end of the year, we would be in debt for $30,000-$40,000. Finally
we said we're really gonna have to take a hard look at this and be at least
at zero as opposed to being in debt. So, it was a financial situation for
the band to curb its touring, and through that, I wound up with having more
time on my hands. That's how I got into production. For me it wound up turning
into a very good situation.
Q. You used to play The Lost Horizon. Was that situation not profitable
for the group?
A. We were using two 24' trucks full of equipment, 5 man road crew. I
think our break-even point at that time was around $l,300-$l,350. What we
were making was a few hundred dollars more than that. We weren't losing
money, but by the same token it certainly was just keeping us alive. And,
those dates, as great as they were to play, you can only play them so often.
As a matter of fact, towards the end of our situation with management that
we had at the time, I thought we were overplaying the rooms. I felt it was
being milked. That put me off. I like going back when you have something
to offer the fans.
Q. Is it fair to say that The Rods have always been more popular overseas
than in the U.S.?
A. Judging from our fan mail, which I always review, it seems to me we
get 5 times as much fan mail from the United States. I would have to say
the concentration is stronger in Europe.
Q. I've heard that The Rods were a difficult group to get along with,
that's why the split from Arista. Is there any truth to that?
A. I'm not so sure that the question of The Rods being a difficult
band to work with is valid in terms of Arista. Arista is a major company;
however, it certainly isn't known for its metal acts. Arista in Europe supported
us. It was Arista U.S. being Clive Davis, just did not want to support us.
The big band at Arista at that time was Air Supply. Probably The Rods were
difficult to get along with in some ways. I know that management at the
time thought we were difficult to get along with. We were very serious.
I think the band's track record shows there's a seriousness to the band.
Q. Back in '81, The Rods opened for Ozzy at the Landmark. Randy Rhoads
was in the band at the time. Did you ever get the chance to speak with him?
A. I never did, no. I think David had a chance to talk with him, a short
conversation. All we really said is hi, and very small talk. I remember
we were sitting in our dressing room. Randy Rhoads must've had a Marshall
stack in his dressing room. He started playing and we all stopped talking.
It was so loud. Our mouths dropped open because he was playing unbelievable
scales and practicing unbelievable parts. He played for about an hour. It
was phenomenal. We just sat and listened to him. Oddly enough, he was playing
a totally efferent style than he played onstage. He played nothing
like that on the albums I heard, or onstage. Even in his guitar solos, the
scales, the things I heard him practice, I didn’t I hear him use that
night. A tremendous talent, certainly more than he got a chance to express
Q. Gary Driscoll, one time drummer for Elf, was recently murdered in Ithaca.
There's talk his death may be drug related. How could such a talented musician
hit rock bottom?
A. The situation with drugs, I've heard rumors. I don't know for a fact,
and so it's really hard for me to comment on that one way or another. Certainly
the fact that anyone in the music business is involved in drugs is probably
not that surprising to a lot of people. But I can't say that Gary in fact
was. For me, it's very untimely and very tragic.
Q. He was also laying tile the last few years of his life.
A. The fact that he was doing tile installation was not necessarily a
step down for him. Gary had been in the business a long time. With a lot
of musicians, as time passes, if major success isn't there, and the financial
freedom to pursue things, as well as making things comfortable when
you are on the road, which gets difficult as you get older, to want to do
something else is certainly understandable. I don't view that as a falling
Q. Why do you continue to reside in Cortland, as opposed to N.Y. or L.A.?
A. I think Cortland is a nice place to live. It's a small town. When I'm
working, I'm always away. I spend a lot of time in New York City. So for
me, when I'm home, what's it really matter. Syracuse Airport is 40 minutes
from my house. Ithaca Airport is 20 minutes. So, I just fly in and fly out.
It really doesn't matter.
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