Photo from official Mad Caddies site
by Kortney JmaeffWith cooking in my ever expanding repertoire of hobbies, I've learned an important lesson: "Quality ingredients make quality meals." A tasty dish consists of a solid base, mixed with complementing side dishes, married with creative and exotic marinades to add zest and energy. The same is held true in the stand-out musical wizards revered in the annals of rock and roll. Eccentric genius Captain Beefheart combined blues, rock and free jazz to create an esoteric genre which influenced infinite legions of Beefheartians. Innovative Bad Brains fused seemingly contrary veins (at least to Americans) of reggae and punk to procure a name-dropping status from fellow peers like the Beastie Boys and Henry Rollins. Like adding vodka to spaghetti sauce to benefact an added "kick," refreshing groups spruce up solid, bland-on-their-own genres with diverse, obscure increments, carving a path and sky-rocketing past the boundaries to heights never voyaged before in the quest that which is rock and roll.
The Mad Caddies are promptly staking their claim among those courageous enough to try a new recipe, adding their own original twist to the increasingly insipid canon of punk rock. The Caddies meld the groundwork of ska and rock with the tangy spices of dixieland and reggae, concocting a savory cuisine fit to be served with valiance at your local party or dance. Heck, my buddy (and fellow Caddy gig-attender) even graced his wedding list with a few Caddies ditties.
Californi-a's favorite sextet have been evolving since 1997, previously cutting their teeth and splitting out of their cocoon gigs of jazz, folk, country and grunge. The Caddies grabbed their moniker from the frustration felt in the band's precocious days. This era saw the boys "caddying" other groups gear into the gigs, and although hauling in 50 to 100 peers per show, receiving no cash for their troubles. This birthed the handle, you guessed it, the MAD Caddies.
With 6 members strong in the Budweiser-savoring Caddies throng, there are 6 sides to every story. Chuck Robertson belts out the lead vocals and delights in listening to country, reggae and obscure rock music. Sascha is MR. Guitar, alluding to Guns Ní Roses as his illumination to delve into music. Sascha's ambitions lie in, ironically enough to this articles theme, cooking. He someday wants to produce and collaborate with other musicians of the reggae, hip-hop and obscure persuasion. Brian Flanegan is the resident drummer and recommends Pantera's 101 proof Live album, Failure, Turbonegro and Fishbone releases. Mark brandishes the bass guitar, loves ex-Cop Shoot Cop-fronted Firewater, and aspires to work at the Rhino record label should he ever exit the music business. The horn section is comprised of Ed Hernandez on trombone, and Keith Douglas on trumpet. Ed is a fan of JD Johnson and Louis Armstrong, and curiously enough, purchased Rush's Moving Pictures recently. Keith is unduly enthused by the wonderfully manic Spaniard troubadour Manu Chao after seeing his famous live show in Italy.
Scopic universal touring is on the Mad Caddies menu, naming Japan, Europe and the "cold, friendly and white" Canada as their most gleeful tour experiences. The Caddies relish touring to locales with younger drinking ages, which aide to pep up the masses. The Caddies also feel more redeemed in foreign locales, feeling their home nest to be a saturated flurry of major label activity. The Caddies cite stellar tours with the likes of the Teen Idols, Flashlight Brown and NOFX. According to the Caddies, touring is a positive by-product of the MP3 downloading trend, a glacier shift from groups relying on now-pillaged music recordings to putting food on the proverbial table by sweating to the groove of kinetic live shows. The Caddies are in concurrence with the Advertising 101 adage "Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising tool," resting their collective success on the shoulders of their devoted fans promoting the band, constant touring, and a desire to record "killer records," rather than the mainstreams' blind eye.
With Punk being diluted to the mire of NOFX and Sublime clones, the Caddies have faced the odds and eeked out their own path and sound. Mark had some pearls of wisdom to peep for those indie musicians seeking to do the same- "listen to as many different kinds of music as you can, be as diverse as you can. The one thing I found is that the punk scene is incredibly close minded. I'm not saying that I have a more open ear then anybody, but it pays to listen to everything, give it a fair chance, which will affect your end result, your product." The Caddies hope to see more youngsters influenced by eccentric musical offshoots, conglomerating solid bases of rock and punk with dashes from obscure, dilapidated genres.
The Caddies home of Fat Wreck Chords, described by Mark as "the best label around," is a very family oriented, first-name-basis kind of label. This fits the Caddies perfectly- the last few years saw the main songwriters Sascha and Chuck setting up a home practice studio together, churning out melodies, complete with horn sections, for upwards to four or five hours a day. This contributing to a defined and focused sound heard on the Caddies newest release, 2003's Just One More.
Although the majestic sounds of Bud Powell and Thelonius Monk grace the background of my culinary exploits, the Mad Caddies are ever present in the musical soundtrack known as my life. Cranking out classic anthems like "Preppy Girl" alongside new gems like "Leavin" and "Riot" make a Caddies show a treasurable occasion. From 1997s Quality Soft Core to 2003's Just One More, the Caddies have matured and evolved into talented stalwarts, stretching their target demographic to youths and adults alike. But, as always, pick up a Caddies platter to munch on and see if it's pleasing to your palette.
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