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Todd Carey

 

 

Recently moving back home to Chicago from music-industry saturated Los Angeles, Todd Carey seems to be having the time of his life. As the former front man of the rock band, Telepathy, Carey changed his focus to develop himself as a solo artist. His love of performing is obvious as soon as he steps on stage. Overflowing with positive energy coupled with a brilliant smile, he wins the audience over before he sings his first note. WayCoolMusic sat down with Carey before his CD release show to talk about his musical education, the evolution of Watching Waiting (new CD), and sharing the big screen with Christopher Guest.

 

 

Way Cool: 

Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in music.
   

Todd Carey:

Truthfully, a lot of people will say there is an epiphany moment.  For me, my mom was a musician.  She went to music school, was a singer and a pianist. I also remember riding around in my dadís car and heíd have mix tapes with Stevie Wonder and The Beatles, and those hooks and songwriting got me.  Heíd ask how Iíd remember all the words.  After that, I was really into it.  Then, my mom took me to this class, teaching us rhythm.  I remember they had this pad with heartbeats to help teach us.  From an early age, maybe 4 or 5, I was totally into it.  Just listening got me into it.  My parents didnít sit me down and force me to take lessons.

 

 

 

WC:

What was the first instrument you started playing?

   
TC:

Saxophone in junior highÖ No, I was playing guitar before that.  I think maybe I played the recorder in second grade. 

   

WC:

You went to school for music, though?

   

TC:

Yeah.  In high school, I was in the jazz band and thatís where a lot of this band came together.  And thatís where I started getting academic about music and taking it seriously.  Then, I went to USC for college to study guitar.  Iíve spent the time since college trying to unlearn all that shit, notes and the whole academic side of it.  Iím trying to be more emotional, more direct feeling-oriented.

 

 

WC:

What prompted your move back to Chicago from Los Angeles?

 

 

TC:

L.A. is a total industry town.  The audiences are musicians or are involved in the industry.  Here, people just love to hear the music.  They want to grow with artists and get behind something.  L.A. is cool, but itís all industry, which is great for what it is; Iím not knocking it.  But people have their shield up.  Here, itís more about the music.

 

 

WC:

Have you noticed a change in the Chicago music scene since you played here before L.A.?

   
TC: No, not really.  I wish I could say that thereís been a big shift, but Iíve really been self-involved and following my own thing.  Thereís obviously a scene with Fall Out Boy getting so popular, but Iíve just been doing my own thing.
   
WC: Tell us a little bit about the new CD that you just released, Watching Waiting.
   
TC:

 

It was written over a period of about a year and a half.  Itís the first disc that I feel was done the right way.  It was written cohesively.  I wrote all the tunes knowing that I was going to take them to the studio.  I guess ďstreamlinedĒ is the best way to say it.  They were all written together, demoed together, recorded together with the same band.  Whereas past stuff Iíve done has been have studio players and half bedroom.  And this one has been the first ďreal dealĒ and thatís one reason that Iím so excited about it.  The songs I think are great; Iíve really been sharpening my writing.

   

WC:

Have you been playing the new songs live yet?

 

 

TC:

I was out playing a lot when I first moved back in 2005-06.  But since weíve been in the studio recording, we havenít been playing many live shows.  Now, weíre going to start gigging out a lot more to get the music out there.  Thereís been a resistance to over-saturating the fan base. Now, itís time.

 

 

WC:

What songs do you think the audience is going to react best to?  What do you really like performing?

 

 

TC:
Itís funny because the songs I like best arenít necessarily what the audience likes best.  My favorite one is 'Watching Waiting,' the title of the CD, especially when we have a keyboard player like we do tonight.  He does this really cool thing where he sings into this Casio keyboard and uses delays and itís so cool.  I also like 'King of Clichť.' Those are a little more vibe-y.  The audience sometimes catches more on to the up-tempo tracks like 'Ainít Got Love' and 'Friday Nights.'
   

WC:

They tend to like the hits. In the press, youíve gotten a lot of comparisons to people like John Mayer and Ryan Cabrerra. Who would you like to be compared to?

 

 

TC:

If weíre going to go that route, Iíd much rather be compared to Dave Matthews.  I just love the way that he built his fan base grassroots rather than the pop route, which is great.  But I love the way the fans connect to a real grassroots band.  So, if I had to connect myself with someone, it would be him.

He was in a movie I never saw.  It was about a dog.

 

   

WC:

Youíll probably catch it on cable eventually.

 

 

TC:

Actually, I donít have a TV.  I have my Blackberry, but no TV.

 

 

WC:

Intentionally?  Then you definitely donít belong in L.A.! 

   
TC:
I prefer active communication than passive.  Itís more stimulating.  I have everything I need and can always watch TV at a friendís house.  Iíll probably eventually get one, but Iím doing just fine without. 
   
WC: So, how do you fill your nights without TV?  Obviously youíre not playing music all the time, so what do you do?
   
TC:

Read books, talk to friends, computer / Internet stuff, and watch DVDs on my computer.  My nights are filled with other things.  My mom bought me The Office TV seasons on DVD and so Iíve watched all of that

   
WC: Tell us about being in A Mighty Wind.
   
TC:
Oh, how did you find out about that?  When I was at USC, they were holding auditions and I thought, ďChristopher Guest!  No fucking way!Ē  So, I had a little bit part, but it was so cool.  I had never been involved with a movie before so I had nothing to compare it to. What I got from that was how into it people are!  They were doing it for the love of making it; this wasnít a studio flick.  It was a total reunion; Spinal Tap with acoustic instruments.  They were jamming to this folk music and it was so cool!   There were all these musicians from USC along with all of them, like Eugene Levy. 
   

WC:

Where are you in the movie?

   

TC:

 

In the beginning where the promoter passes away and they show archival footage of the folk bands.  I was in the archival footage.  And then they show all the old album covers, including The New Main Street Singers.  I didnít get a lot of screen time, but I was part of the back story, which is even cooler than the main story!

 

 

WC:

On the music end of it, we hear you played with Ben Kweller.

   

TC:

Yeah, that was out in L.A.  He was cool.  They have these jam sessions when they are building their bands and testing out various players.  I ended up coming in and playing guitars with them.  I played ĎWasted and Ready,í which was a great song. 

   

WC:

You seem to have a lot energy.  What tires you out?

 

 

TC:

Days like today.  We had rehearsal on the west side of town and then had to come here for a long soundcheck and now we hang out until the show.  Itís a long day. 

 

 

WC:

Now itís time for seven questions.

 

 

   

 

 

1.

What's the worst job you've ever had? 

 

Bussing tables for really uptight North Shore people.  You really see what people are all about when youíre doing that.

   

2.

What's your favorite movie quote or song lyric?

 

Definitely something from The Big Lebowski.  ďGood night sweet prince.Ē

   

3.

Who would you want to star in the movie of your life? 

 

Ricky Martin.

   

4.

What's your favorite TV theme song? 

 

The Simpsons.  Itís an awesome song!

   

5.

If you were a superhero, what would your name be? 

 

My Vibe Transcends.

   

6.

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

 

What Iím doing - making records, making music, touring, and maybe making a little money on the side.

   

7.

Finally, why are there so many songs about rainbows? 

 

Itís like Mr. Burnsí biography, ďWill There Ever Be a Rainbow?Ē Ö Are there so many about rainbows?

 

 

 

 

To find out more information about Todd Carey. visit his website at www.toddcareymusic.com.