Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chicago all-star group strikes gold


Chicago all-star group Candy Golde delivers sweetness.

How could the band not, with a lineup that boasts Nick Tremulis, Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick, John Stirratt of Wilco and Autumn Defense and Rick Rizzo of Eleventh Dream Day.

For those looking for a band that melds pretty melodies with rock intensity, it is a dream lineup.

Candy Golde,, has released a five-song EP, and will perform Aug. 19 at FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn,

Thin Grin also is on the bill. The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets are $15 in advance, $18 the day of the show, available at

Candy Golde will also perform Sept. 3 at S.P.A.C.E., 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston,

The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $18 in advance, $20 the day of the show, available at

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tremulis and Carlos about the project.

Q - It seems like both you guys are busy with other projects. How did you find the time to do this?

Nick: Well, basically Rick Rizzo and I put together a bunch of songs, and made some phone calls to some people that I really liked as human beings and musicians.

Everybody said, "Sure." And frankly, when you get to this level of musicianship, things really don't take that long, because everyone plays so well. They already know how to put themselves into a song.

Q - Bun E., I know you haven't been touring with Cheap Trick. Do you think Rick Nielsen's son Daxx is filling in well on tour?

Bun E.: I haven't really heard any of his gigs. All I know is what other people have told me, and they said it seems to be fine.

Q - And how is your back doing these days?

Bun E.: My back is fine. The reason I'm not touring with the band is musical differences, nothing having to do with me physically.

Q - But you are still a member of Cheap Trick?

Bun E.: Oh, yeah, I'm still a member and all that. And if they ever make a record again, I will probably be drumming on it.

Q - I wasn't sure. You can't believe everything on the Internet. Some stories were trying to say that you weren't touring with Cheap Trick because of your back problems.

Bun E.: I've heard it's because of my back, I've heard it's because I had a heart attack. I've heard all sorts of stuff. We just put out a simple statement that I'm not touring with the band, so people automatically assume the worst.

Q - This is a question for the both of you. As far as how you got the members for Candy Golde, do you think they are the perfect members for the band?

Nick: I think as you grow older as a musician, the people that still play well, the people that still search for new ideas and then play with vitality and practice their instruments like they are still teenagers and still love it, obviously are who you want to be with.

I've worked with Bun E. before, and he would always come in as a constant professional every time.

Bun E.: I knew this was going to be a pretty good combination. We were all familiar with each other musically before we played a note together.

Q - Did you know what you wanted to do with the band? Did you want the band to sound a certain way? What were your goals for the band?

Nick: The wonderful thing about doing an EP and getting together with a bunch of musicians is you don't have to steer so much, you just let it happen.

I knew from who I was getting somewhat what it would sound like.

Q - Should people expect a full-length in the near future?

Nick: I don't know about a full-length. We're taping yet another show, and we're talking about releasing a sort of a compilation between two shows and live stuff.

And Rick Rizzo and I just made a take of a new song on acoustic guitar with the guys. As we were finishing, we started writing another. We're writing, and when you write, usually something comes down the line.

I do like the EP format just because it looks good and it doesn't require the heavy lifting of an album. I think they're more fun, to tell you the truth.

Q - And what do you think, Bun E.?

Bun E.: The EP is a nice format. You don't have 12 songs, so you don't have to come up with material. You can use your best and your brightest.

Q - And Bun E., you are also in another all-star band, Tinted Windows. What made you want to be associated with that project?

Bun E.: That was pure power pop for now and then people, this pure ironic power pop. Adam writes great stuff and Taylor sings it pretty, so that was a no-brainer, just like Candy Golde.

Candy Golde is a little on the harder edge of things. Each have their place.

Q - Nick, I see that the Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra has a bunch of dates coming up. That band's sound has changed over the years. Do you think the sound just kind of evolved naturally?

Nick: Like everything else for me, I've got to go someplace new every time, otherwise I don't want to do it any more.

Q - Do you ever see Candy Golde being a full time project rather than a side project, as it is now?

Nick: We try to take the not fun elements of being in a full time band out of it.

Bun E.: That's why we like each other.

Nick: I don't see this as a band that's going to tour like crazy.

Q - Bun E., what's your take? Where would you like the project to go?

Bun E.: It's a fun project, it's fun stuff to do, and if one of the songs takes off or something, then we'll devote more time to it and necessary time.

Right now, it is a side project for all of us, so we're trying to keep it enjoyable.

Q - Of course, Lollapalooza was just in Chicago. Do you think Chicago still has a thriving music scene?

Bun E.: Chicago is where the work is at. If you want to get something going, you go to Chicago.

Once you've made it there and you've got to find a record label, you take it somewhere else. If you're looking for players or you're looking for a band, you go to Chicago.

Nick: If you think about Cheap Trick and the scene, they made their own scene.

Bun E.: When Cheap Trick left Chicago to get signed, and we got famous, all the record labels came to Chicago looking for more bands.

Q - What should people expect from a Candy Golde show?

Nick: Well, they should expect to hear the music we recorded for our EP. And then they should expect to hear some really beautiful 45s from really amazing American and English bands from the mid '60s to the '70s.

Q - Such as?

Nick: Such as "Talk Talk" by The Music Machine and "Come See Me" by The Pretty Things, bands you generally don't hear of too much.