Saturday, July 28, 2012

TALKIN' TRASH WITH... Dan Chandler (Evans Blue)

What do Eric Church, baseball, Canada, and a chemical dye all have in common?  Dan Chandler, the lead vocalist for Evans Blue, was cool enough to give us a ring recently and gives us some answers to these questions as he gets his turn to speak his peace with Glitter2Gutter and to Talk a little Trash...

G2G:  Dan, thanks for giving us a ring...

Dan:  Oh man, I appreciate it...good talking to you, too.

G2G:  Dan, I'm gonna put you on the spot maybe, but I have to ask you...there's no one in the band named Evans, and there's no one named Blue, so what gives with the name?

Dan:  (Laughing)  The name came from a medical dictionary.  Evans Blue is actually a dye that a long time ago they used to inject into your body to determine...I don't know...something. (Laughing)  You know what, I didn't invent the name, so we'll say it has many meanings, how about that?  (Laughing)  I know that they quit using it because it was known to cause cancer, so...

G2G:  (Laughing) So your band is carcinogenic, is that what you're telling me?  Listening to Evans Blue could cause cancer?

Dan: (Laughing) Well, I'm trying not to say that, but... (laughing)...

G2G:  ...but that may be how it comes out...

Dan:  You never know!

G2G:  Now, you are the newest member of the band, correct?

Dan:  Yeah, I've been in the band for about three, going on four years now.

G2G:  Did you know the guys in the band beforehand, or how did this all come about?

Dan:  No, I didn't know them, actually.  I was in my own band for quite a long time, umm, and I had heard a couple of singles by Evans Blue, like I knew "Cold" and "The Pursuit", and I also had some friends of mine who were fans of the band.  So, a friend of mine pretty much just told me that the band was looking for somebody to be the new singer, so I went to MySpace at the time, and just asked them what they needed from me.  They sent me some tracks over and we ended up writing a lot of tracks together, before I even met the guys, and, umm, I flew out to Toronto and we got to know each other and we played together live, and the chemistry was really good, pretty much went from there.

G2G:  You guys seem to have a kind of Spinal Tap drummer situation going on.  Do you have a current, permanent drummer on tour with you now, or are you still kind of winging things?

Dan:  (Laughing) Spinal Tap....(laughter)  Yeah, well, we have a drummer for this tour, but, you know, I think that it's just going to take time to make sure that whoever we have is the right guy.  We're going out with a guy by the name of Dusty Saxton, and he's an awesome drummer.  Dusty was referred to us by Jason Pierce, who is on the new record.  But yeah, you know, when it fits and it feels right I think it's going to be good, but I don't think anyone is in a huge hurry to just establish that fifth member yet. We just kinda want to see where things are going, you know.

G2G:  All right.  Now, as you said the band has been together for several years, and there was some success in the past and, as you said, you even knew some of their stuff before you joined the band.  But it seems like, at least to me, things really seemed to start clicking when you came on board in 2009.  Is there a more solid writing chemistry now that has led to some success?

Dan:  Well, its flattering for you to say that, but it's's very painless, which is weird because of the distance between us, but you know, it's easy.  They send me tracks, you know.  We all click when it comes to the same style of music.  After being in the band for a while, you know, obviously the second record has really jumped up a couple of notches because we have a comfort level there and we know what each others' expectations are, and the chemistry is just right.'s, like I said, it's easy, it's painless, it's fun, so yeah, man, we couldn't be happier with it.

G2G:  How bizarre is the world now when you can be in a band and not even live in the same country as the other members?  Isn't that kind of a weird situation, or is it just something that feels normal now?

Dan:  You know, it's definitely weird. The only band, obviously, that I've had this situation with is Evans Blue, but I didn't know exactly how this was going to work.  You know, there's a lot of things that can happen when you're in the same room writing with somebody as opposed to just sending tracks and riffs over the internet.  But, I mean, when we do go out for tours, or when we're hitting the studio, we make sure we have  a couple of weeks where we have a chance to sit down and really tap into the ideas that we have ready to go record or to take on tour.  So, yeah, we do get a little bit of that weirdness, but I think there's pros and cons to our situation.  I mean, one thing, everybody has their own time with the songs without everybody else butting in and trying to change it while you are still working on it.  Sometimes when that happens the song doesn't get anywhere, which I've experienced as well, because everyone wants to go with their own vision of how the song goes, but this way, we are more alone with the song and can get our own stuff out.  Everything just seems to be very...I don't know.  It works, that's all I can say.

G2G:  Have you noticed if there's any difference in the perception of the band or the success level of the band between the Canadian side and the American side?

Dan:  Umm, you mean like as far as the fans' perception?

G2G:  Right...

Dan:  You know, as weird as it might sound, we don't play Canada.  For one reason or another, we haven't been up there since I've been in the band.  I know the guys didn't really tour much up there before me, either, but the U.S. to us is really awesome.  I mean, we've toured a lot of different cities, obviously, and when we return to a city the crowds are getting bigger, our fans are incredible and are friends to us as well.  You know, it's what we call the "E-B Nation", because we have a lot of the same people coming out in support of us all the time.

G2G:  I've noticed that satellite radio has really started to embrace Evans Blue a lot, but it seems like a lot of traditional rock stations aren't as solidly on board yet.  Any thoughts as to why, or do you think that's more of a regional thing?

Dan:  Um, well, Sirius/XM has always been awesome to us and even more so now, like you said.  They just really get behind us, they believe in the band and what we're doing, whereas terrestrial radio, we have our markets where we get some great play and some good spins, and there are a lot of stations that are behind us.  But you know, the whole dilemma would be that there's a lot of bands out there that can get on radio stations through label support, or in a lot of different ways, but where we're independent, there's only so many slots for the playlist, you know, and we might not have the ties to some stations that the label bands do.  So, we either wait our turn to try to jump in front of some others as much as we can, but radio is generally pretty good to us, and I think it's just a different world now as far as radio and music goes, and we have to adapt to it and do what we can with what we are given.

G2G:  Changing gears, how has your summer been going, Dan?  I know you guys are gearing up for another tour now...

Dan:  Yeah, we're heading out and this tour will be the biggest production we've ever had as a band.  We're going all out with this one, and we really want to bring this new record and the theme of the record and present it the right way on tour.  So, I think we're all really looking forward to this new tour...

G2G:  Now the new album is called Graveyard Of Empires.  Is there some sort of special meaning behind that title?

Dan:  Yeah, you know, Graveyard Of Empires, to me, doesn't necessarily explain what's going on in the album, but it more or less explains a position in the music industry itself.  It's like, you know, the way that the world is, and things are collapsing, and the music industry is making drastic changes, and it just seems it's kind of like a level playing field now with everything being torn down and everybody is starting to get an equal opportunity and a chance to rise up.  And if that means we have to come up with a new way to do things, then that's what we've got to do.  It's more or less tearing something down to rebuild it.

G2G:  Let's jump subjects again, Dan, and I'd like to know what Dan Chandler was like as a kid.  Did music come naturally to you, was it a priority in life?  What was young life like for Dan?

Dan:  Well, I grew up wanting to be a baseball player.  You know, pretty much as long as I can remember, from elementary school and throughout high school, I was just surrounded by baseball, and I thought that was what I wanted to do.  My dad, obviously pushed me in that direction because he was a ballplayer, but my sisters were all very musical.  They can all sing really well, but I never thought of myself as a singer or a musician, even though I liked to mess around with music.  I just never took it seriously until I picked up a guitar and made a couple of friends who played, and they showed me some chords and, you know, I wrote a song.  Now, that song is probably the most horrible thing I've ever done, but it was a starting point for me to fall in love with music, and once I did that, it just seemed like it wasn't a chore, it was something that I did because I wanted to.  And that's huge.  That's the one thing that I can say that stands out to me, you know.  I've never been forced to do this, or felt like it was a chore or a burden, you know, I love to play.  It's one of the things that I choose to do that nobody has to tell me to do.  So, you know, it stuck.  Once I chose to do it, it stuck with me.

G2G:  Who did you grow up listening to?

Dan:  I grew up on a lot of country music believe it or not.  I still like country music.  I grew up on country, but I like music from every genre, really.  I like some hip-hop music, I like rock...  You know, I think that Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20, when I was younger, was a really big influence to me as a songwriter, and there was always this passion in his voice.  Then, when I got a little older, I really got into Incubus, and I completely fell in love with that band with the album, Science.  That right there, to me, was the turning point for my thought process on music.  From there to Rage Against The Machine to Tool name, I just fell completely into all kinds of hard rock, and that is just what I was all about after that.

G2G:  How about any current favorites, or do you even have time to listen to music other than the music of the people you are touring with?

Dan:  Um, no, I listen to a lot of stuff, man.  Like I said, you know, depending upon who I'm with, I'll go from some of the new country, like Eric Church's stuff, then I'll go over to stuff like Three Doors Down, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, you know...  It's weird, you know, because you become friends with these bands you've been out playing with, and if you grew up listening to their stuff and now you're out playing with's weird sometimes, but it's cool.  I don't know if it's bias or what, but you hear them differently once you know them, and you end up finding something new in them all, you know what I'm saying?

G2G:  Do you ever worry that listening to other stuff is going to influence you, or is that something you embrace rather than concern yourself with?

Dan:  I don't think I ever worry about it.  I think you've got to get your influence from somebody, and for me it's not really a riff or a topic, but it's more of a mood, you know what I mean?  A vibe.  Those are the things that I think can kind of influence you.  A lot of these tracks the guys send me, it's really just the mood that will bring the lyrics out for me.  I don't know exactly where I'm heading with it when I start to write a song, but then it's like when you go back and re-read what you've written, it's like the song is telling you something, you know.  It's very strange, but...  I don't know man, I think influence is awesome wherever you can get it.

G2G:  If you had to pick one song out of the Evans Blue catalog that you've performed on, what would you say your favorite is and why?


Dan:  Well, I think the one song that would stay with me forever will be "Erase My Scars".  I wrote that song...that was on the last record, but it was the last one that we added to it and it's kind of like a prelude to this's staying with me for a long time.  We made a video for that one and my nephew, Chase Franklin is in it.  The song was written about my nephew who passed away from brain cancer, so it's something that I think I'll be the most proud of in the end, because it's something that I have that will last forever and it really meant something to me and my family.  You know, that kind of thing...real honest me, that is something that has longevity and will last forever.

G2G:  I totally agree with that.  Dan, how do people stay in touch with Evans Blue?  Are you guys big Twitter and Facebook junkies like so many other self-promoting bands now?

Dan:  Yeah, we are man.  We are constantly...well, I know me and Parker are constantly on Twitter and Facebook.  We're constantly replying to everybody and staying in touch with everybody.  It's cool.  You get to go around the country and meet new people all the time, but they're not necessarily new because you've visited with them before but now when you're visiting again it's face-to-face and stuff.  We want to meet everyone, and I, personally, would like to stay in touch with all the fans that want to stay in touch, because when this is all said and done, I might want to come visit Phoenix or Toronto or wherever, and I might need a place to crash or something!  (laughter)

G2G:  So you guys actually run your own accounts then?

Dan:  Yeah, definitely.  We run everything we've got, man...

G2G:  Do you think that social media has been a big part of your success, especially since you are an independent band?

Dan:  Yeah, I do.  I think that being in such close contact with the fans where a lot of artists can be unreachable and don't necessarily respond to their fans, I think that makes us more real to people and if you acknowledge them the way they acknowledge you, which is the way it should be as far as I'm concerned, then they're going to get your back, you know.  They're going to support you because they get to know YOU, not just your songs, and that's important.

G2G:  Do you have any problems with a lack of privacy, or have you reached that level of recognition yet?

Dan:  No, no, know, if I'm playing in a city, um, that we have a good following in, sure, you'll run into a couple of people that know you, but its never to where it's too much.  In my hometown, you know, I usually hit the same spots, you know, and people that are friends of mine know that I'm in a band and it's pretty rare that anyone around me invades my comfort zone, you know what I mean...

G2G:  So Dan can still just be Dan?

Dan:  Oh yeah, absolutely.

G2G:  Awesome.  That's good to hear.  Dan, I want to thank you for taking the time to call me.  I wish you all the luck in the world with this new album and the tour.  I wish you safe travels, my friend, and I hope to catch you guys out on the road this summer.

Dan:  Thanks, man...I really appreciate the time...

Well, there you go, folks.  Apparently it is not required that you have a medical terminology background to be a member of a hard rock band...and it is okay to listen to country music, also.  Who knew?!  Thanks again to Dan Chandler for playing along and talking some trash with us!

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