Posted on July 25th. 2017
Questionnaire by Jason Houston on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM
Jason: Hello Carl and welcome to Metal To Infinity. I’d like to thank you so very much for taking time out of your very, busy schedule to speak with us and do this interview. Now as many people know you are the Drummer in the legendary New York band The Rods. You also have another project you’re currently involved with called St. James. While you’re indeed also the drummer in St. James, I was curious if you could share with our readers how you first came to work with St. James because from what I’ve heard you initially got involved as the band’s producer. What time period would this have been?
Carl: It was the early ’90’s. I had a production company and recording studio I’d started and was looking for unsigned talent. The guys submitted a recording and I loved it. I brought them in and the rest is history.
Jason: Initially like I said you first became involved with St. James as a producer so how was it that you first came to hear the music of St. James? I mean did they send you a demo tape back then? Someone in the industry tell you about the band?
Carl: I think I skipped ahead and answered this in the first question.
Jason: When you heard the music of St. James for the very, first time do you remember what your initial thoughts were of the band and their music?
Carl: They had more Keyboards then but they also had a Bon Jovi / Van Halen feel to them which I loved. I also loved the songwriting.
Jason: What was the point and again please share with us what the time period would have been here that you went from just being the band’s producer to actually joining the band and becoming an official band member?
Carl: I began pre-production with the band and just before we began recording their drummer came down with a severe flu and had to leave. I then came down with it but rallied in time to do all of the drum tracks in 3 and 1/2 hours. It just seemed that after that I became the recording drummer and band member.
Jason: When you first joined St. James after playing all those years in The Rods did it feel strange that all of a sudden you had another band that you were playing in besides just playing in The Rods?
Carl: No, because they are such a different band from The Rods. I also enjoyed the thought of having a singer out front.
Jason: Do you think because of the fact that you had first worked with the band as their producer that it made it that much easier once you did join the band to work with the guys?
Carl: It did! Having worked on arrangements with the band it was so easy to then sit down and play with them.
Jason: Do you remember how the opportunity for you to join the band first came about?
Carl: Yes, after their drummer fell ill it just felt like a fit. We all clicked as friends and still are to this day.
Jason: How many albums have you recorded with St. James?
Carl: Two full albums and many other songs.
Jason: What do you remember most about your very, first live performance with the band?
Carl: Sadly, I’ve never played live with the band. My recording schedule wouldn’t allow it. I do hope to in the future.
Jason: What is currently going on in the world of St. James?
Carl: We are writing new material and will be getting together possibly in September to work on songs together for a possible new album.
Jason: Like I said at the very top of the interview, most people know you from playing with The Rods all these years. Can you give us an update on what’s currently going in with The Rods?
Carl: Yes, we’ve signed a Worldwide deal with Steamhammer / SPV and are recording a brand new album. We’re very excited and we think we have one of our strongest albums since the very first one. We’ve been doing a few dates. We’re going to be playing Psycho Las Vegas Festival, August 18th and heading to Japan in November.
Jason: Of all the albums you’ve recorded with The Rods over the years I’d have to ask is there one album that you really feel stands out, you know the one album in your career where you could point to and say that album represents me and music at it’s very best?
Carl: I would have to say that our first album had some kind of magic to it. We were living on the road and writing and recording together. It was as close as a band can get and it had an impact on the music.
Jason: A few years ago you released a really fantastic solo CD. Any plans for another solo album down the line?
Carl: I’m glad you asked that question. I have a group of excellent musicians I’m working with on a brand new album. We’ve just completed our tenth song tonight. We have several already recorded and I’m very excited about the album.
Jason: Carl I’d like to ask you can you remember why you chose the drums as your instrument of choice?
Carl: I knew at age four that it was all I wanted to do. I always wanted to play drums and I’m happy I’m still doing it.
Jason: Do you remember how old you were when you first started playing the Drums? Did you take lessons or would you consider yourself to be more of a self-taught player?
Carl: I started playing at age 13. I hit the ground running and was in a band in six months. I was mostly self-taught until after 20 when I began taking lessons from Carmine Appice. After Carmine, I studied for 6 months or so with the legendary Tony Williams.
Jason: As far as drummers who influenced you the most, who would you point to and say those are the guys who played a huge role in you becoming a professional musician yourself?
Carl: Well, when I started playing it was Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, Buddy Rich, Ringo, of course, Ginger Baker was a huge influence on me in those days. Of course Carmine was my idol. Studying with him was a highlight of those years.
Jason: What do you remember most about the very first drum kit you ever got?
Carl: That I had brought the store owner to my mother’s job and pressured her to sign an installment agreement for $350.00. It was big money for us, as we were pretty poor. They were a very “low line” set of drums. Not a name kit such as Ludwig, Slingerland or Rogers. They were a Japanese brand called Gracie. Really not a great set of drums but to me they were the best thing I’d ever gotten. Those drums made quite a bit of money for me in the first two years I had them. I then started buying blue sparkle Ludwig drums, which I have to this day.
Jason: Do you remember what was the very, first song you ever learned to play on the drums?
Carl: A local group had a single out called “Don’t Walk on Me” and I learned the cool tom fill from that.
Jason: What was the very first concert you ever went to, and what do you remember most about that show?
Carl: My first concert was The Animals and I remember getting close to the drums and probably touching them. Their roadie told me to get away from them. I was just fascinated by a “professional” kit. I don’t remember much of the concert, just the part of being back stage and checking out the drums.
Jason: Is there and album in your music collection that you could point to and say that’s the one album that really to this day still has a huge effect on me, that had a major impact on you?
Carl: Jimi Hendrix-Are you Experience, Blue Cheer-Vincebus Eruptum (it was a thrill to have produced an album by them), Cream – Disraeli Gears and The Who singles such as “I Can See For Miles”.
Jason: Thanks again Carl for doing this interview, it’s very much appreciated. Before we wrap this up is there anything else you’d like to say to all your fans out there?
Carl: Please come and say hi at shows and definitely contact us on Facebook. We love hearing from fans. Also, head to www.TheRods.com for info and merch. Thank you for the support over the years. It’s very much appreciated.