Cris Cohen: With the new song, “Let Me Down Easy,” you co-wrote that one with Pete Cornell. What do you like about him as a songwriter that you sought him out to co-write?
Kevin Martin of Candlebox: Well, I knew Pete obviously back in the eighties, when I moved to Seattle. I moved there in 1984. I met him a couple of times through shows and whatnot. Big fan of the band he had called Inflatable Soule. We had a ton of friends in common. We never played shows together, but I always admired him. I mean, he was so different than Chris (his brother). Being that he was a few years older, I think his songwriting was a little more of like the classic approach to songwriting. Whereas Chris just seemed to be so asymmetrical with his songwriting.
Years and years go by. Candlebox blows up and does its thing.
We get together in 2018 to play a couple of reunion shows in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the debut album. And Pete came to the show with his wife, Amy Decker, who is my manager. We just started chatting. I hadn't seen him in so long. I was like, “Man, first of all I am so sorry about the loss of Chris and the loss to your family. I can't imagine what you're going through.”
He's like, “Life is tough, but you have to move on. You have to find your footing again and try and live.”
It just got me thinking. I was like, “You know, I'm doing a new record. I would love to co-write with you on something. I was a huge fan back in the day. Maybe this is kind of serendipitous that we are meeting again, after some 20 odd years, and I'm about to make a record.”
So, I told him the style of music that I was going for. I wanted something swampy, bluesy, dark. I even said to him, “Maybe I'm exorcising some demons that we both have.”
He was like, “Let me think about it. I'll send you something.”
And not long after, he sent me this track on acoustic (guitar). And I was just so struck by it immediately. It had the same kind of energy that it has now, when we recorded it. To me, that's always a sign of a great song is if you can play it on an acoustic and it feels like a recorded, full band version of a song. That always makes me kind of feel like you're on to something and you should probably stick with it.