Radio Exile is a brand new classic rock band. That might seem like an oxymoron on the surface, but it explains itself by the end of the first song on their self-titled debut CD. The band’s members have played live with or on recordings by musical heavyweights like Bob Dylan, Billy idol, Hall & Oates and more, so what naturally flows from them certainly is influenced by their experiences with master songwriters.
Mark 1340 spoke with piano/keyboardist Charlie Calv to find out more….
Interview by mark1340
From what I have read about Radio Exile, the members have played with some of the most popular artists in Rock and Roll. As a band full of guys that play on that kind of level, how complicated was it to bring everyone together?
It was difficult due to everyone’s schedules. On one hand it is a blessing to have such great players but on the flipside it takes a long time to get something done because of the scheduling. It wound up taking a little over a year to complete the record and that is mostly because we wanted to do it with everyone there rehearsing and tracking together. There was no file sharing and people recording parts in their home studios. This was done 100% the old fashioned way.
Would you say that this is more of a full-time band or more of studio-based project at this time?
This is my full-time band at the moment. It may be more studio-based because of the scheduling that we just talked about, basically it is hard to take this thing on the road. Although a couple of one-off shows is not completely out of the question.
Your sound reminds me of a time when musicians were a lot more…professional. Everything from the production to the songwriting is crisp sounding and very musical. What draws you to that sound?
I think it is because that is where the influences come from, the late 70’s stuff. Great bands and great songs, and we went in there and recorded the way those bands would have done it. Not to mention a great team working on this record to help us achieve that sound.
While not everyone may enjoy this style of music, it commands respect. This isn’t music anybody can play. So, I’m curious what kind of goals you had when going into the studio to record your debut?
Chandler and I just wanted to write some good songs, it could be anything, maybe a little hard rock, a little AOR, a little soul, a little gospel. Bottom line, if we thought it was a good song it made the record. Then once we got in the studio we just let everyone bring their individual influence into the songs and the end result is the debut Radio Exile CD.
How does it feel knowing that Alan Douches (Yes, Fleetwood Mac, Pete Townsend, etc) worked on your album? His touch seems like the perfect touch for this project.
Alan is a great guy, I actually met Alan at my first recording session when I was 15 or 16 years old, funny enough Dave was on that same session, funny how it all comes full circle. He did a great job putting the finishing mastering touches on the CD, just made the whole thing sound cohesive and smooth.
“Higher Than the Sun” is one of my favorite tracks on the record. Would you mind telling our readers a little about the song and what inspired it?
Chandler actually had that idea and sent it to me and I immediately honed in on that kind of Queen Vibe it had. So instead of trying to shy away from it we just embraced it and kind of just did a tip of our hat to the great Queen on this one. Just a very positive song about togetherness and unity.
“A Cross on a Stone” is another favorite and an interesting contrast to the other songs. It’s, sort of, Gospel flare gives it a pretty powerful sound. Would you mind giving us a better look into that song as well?
Sure, that idea I had around for quite some time in all different incarnations but it was not until Chandler got a hold of it that it really came together. Then once we got in the studio it just started to take on that sort of Gospel flare as you say, so that is when we brought in Joe, Jessie and Amy to just kind of really give it that feeling and they just nailed it. It’s about leaving all the bad stuff behind, and the difficulty it takes to do so sometimes, no matter if we learn to leave it behind in life or not, we definitely leave it behind in death.
Do you have a favorite song on the record? If so, which one and why did you choose it?
That’s a hard question, I actually enjoy all of them. This is one of the few records I have done that I can listen to over and over, and I always find myself listening to another song. I would say “No Pity on the Highway” for the rawness and then “A Cross on Stone” for the epicness of it.
If you could control what people take away from this record after their first listen. What one thing do you want them to take away from the songs?
Hopefully it is just uplifting and takes them to a good place. I think it is diversified enough that there is something on here for everyone to relate to.
Will we being seeing Radio Exile on the road in the future?
Maybe a one-off show but any lengthy touring seems to not be in the cards at the moment.
Thanks so much for your time! I really dig the record and wish you continued success. Do you have any parting thoughts that you’d like to leave our reader’s with?
Thanks, and just hope everyone enjoys listening to the record as much as we did making it.