Canedy goes big time but knows his NEPA roots

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First Posted: 2/16/2015

“It was cool to create some music with Carl,” Joe Comeau told Weekender regarding Carl Canedy’s debut solo disc, “Headbanger.”

Comeau’s comments echo nearly a dozen others featured on the new venture from The Rods’ drummer, and iconic producer of metal legends like Anthrax and Overkill. After more than 30 years in the music business, Canedy takes his first steps into a world he’s crafted solely for himself. Well, he’s had a little help from his friends.

“He’s not only an amazing drummer, he’s a great producer and has an ear for sounds and songs. I think he’s a diverse musician and songwriter, and yet he still always manages to lean to the power and heavy side of music that we all love,” said Comeau, a veteran of A-list bands like Overkill, Annihilator and Leige Lord. Comeau provided vocals on two “Headbanger” tracks.

When not performing mammoth gigs with The Rods, Canedy plays locally throughout NEPA with The Jeffery James Band. He is a Carbondale area resident who recently produced his debut album from NEPA’s own Black Tie Stereo. “Headbanger” was years in the making.

“This has probably been a four-year journey, on and off,” said Canedy of the solo project’s planning. “That’s from the time I’ve been putting it together until the time I actually decided to do it. Then, I started looking for musicians.”

Those musicians help Canedy fulfill his dream. They are some of the most recognizable names in heavy music, including current Accept vocalist, Mark Tornillo, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Chris Caffery. Canedy’s daughter, Erin, even contributes vocals to tracks “Cult of The Poisoned Mind” and “Heat of The Night.”

“I wanted to reach out to people I knew,” Canedy said. “I also wanted to use people that were closer to me so we could work together.”

Canedy speaks highly of his journey, having produced so many artists throughout the years.

“I was the only one who knew what this journey would be like,” he said. “All of the artists came in and they just had pieces of whatever particular song they were working on. They’d hear that in its formative stages, work on it, and then send it back to me for completion. To not have that immediate feedback, like you would when working closely with a band, it was a little scary along the way. I had to step back every now and then and go, ‘Wow, what’s going on?’”

Canedy points to one particular moment of encouragement from Anvil drummer Robb Reiner that was especially important in moving this project forward.

“I remember talking with Robb on the phone one day,” Canedy said. “He was asking how it was going. I was stuck on this one song, which was ‘My Life My Way.’ I’d written it about my best friend who had passed away from cancer and a couple of other friends who I’d lost in recent years that were important to me. I’d come home every day and play drums, get up in the morning and play drums, but I just couldn’t nail that track. Robb gave me the big pep talk: ‘You’ve got to stop thinking about it, just play the way you play and go for it. Let the music happen and stop over thinking it.’ I went back, sat down, and I just nailed the song.”

Even though he was at the mercy of scheduling and distance with those contributing friends, his players turned in their contributions with no hesitations, like they been working in a studio environment.

“There were times I’d say, ‘That’s good, but we’re not sitting next to each other and I see that part a little differently’ – it just wasn’t the feel or direction,” he said. “Rosane Galvao, she did her bass track in Brazil. Mark Tornillo came here and sang here, but some of the artists, we weren’t together.”

Canedy’s biggest contributor was guitarist John Hahn, formerly of Central Pennsylvania’s rockers Harpo.

“John stepped up,” Canedy said. “We’ve got a great working relationship. I’d send him tracks, he’d send me tracks. John and I never sat down in the same room, we just did it by phone. He was very respectful of my parts, yet he took them to another level. He embellished them beautifully.”

There were moments along the way that made this project particularly special, Canedy said. He knew he was onto something great.

“Chris Caffery jumping in early and committing to the effort,” he said. “Then getting his solos and listening to them going, ‘Wow, this is great!’ John Hahn’s stuff, opening the files and being amazed. It’s that synergy that’s so special that comes with working with talented artists.”