Cavo brushed up against mainstream success in the latter of part of the 2000s, clutching fame and adoration with hard-charging sensibilities with a melodic edge. Following that up, however, took some time.
After a relentless touring schedule and a transition to a new record label, the St. Louis-based rock outfit is primed to release Thick as Thieves next Tuesday. It's the first LP from the band since 2009's Bright Nights Dark Days, which spawned commercial hits such as "Champagne" and "Crash."
As lead singer Casey Walker noted in an interview with RFT Music, Thick as Thieves incorporates a theme of perseverance. That can especially be seen in the video for the title track, which features the band hanging around at Pi and playing on top of a downtown St. Louis building. The message is clear: Regardless of obstacles that daunted the band, the four-piece outfit is still alive and kicking.
In a telephone interview, Walker talked about Cavo's winding path to getting a new album together, the reception of the new songs live and the band's upcoming appearance at Cicero's. Questions and responses have been edited for clarity and length.
Jason Rosenbaum: Give me a sense of what it took to get Thick as Thieves completed. It's been nearly three years since your last album, I would imagine there are plenty of stories to tell.
Casey Walker: Yeah, man. We toured and toured and toured off the last album. And we writing on the road and writing at home here and there. ... Warner Brothers was going through a big upheaval. When it came time for us to get off the road and finally try to make a new record, they were kind of in this bout of complete disarray. And they basically wanted us to stay on and do demos, but they weren't going to commit to a second album. And we were kind of saying, "We're not really OK with that - either you commit to us for the second album fully or we'd like to walk away." And they said "That's fine - if you guys want to walk away, that's cool."
So we did. We walked away from Warner Brothers. That was probably the scariest decision that any of us have ever made. You know, we had worked our entire lives for a record deal. So we kind of all regrouped, got back together [to write]. We realized that issues we had on the road and anything else that was going on - that was all just the past. It doesn't really matter. That was all kind of small, and we all sort of blew up to being bigger than it needed to be.
Once we got all that out of the way, songs started flowing out and all this music. I think there's kind of an overall theme of the album, which is great in my opinion, about us against everything else. ... With songs like "Thick as Thieves" and "Hold Your Ground" and "War Within" and "Celebrity," I can personally tie that to something in the last year and a half that had to do with my life. It's kind of a really cool thing to see that as I listen to the album all the way through.
The song "Thick as Thieves" came out before the album was released, complete with a video stoked full of St. Louis imagery. What went into making that song and what's been its reception?
That was probably the most central song that was written, for everything I just explained. All the issues that went through, we came back. And that's what that song is all about - us coming back together.
We're a band that's best friends. We're a band that ... when we get off the road, we have a barbecue and everyone comes over and has drinks at someone's house. And we kind of missed that. We lost that for a bit. And that's what this song's about, it's coming back and being thick as thieves. That's how we'll always be. We have to be at least okay with each other and have each other's backs or this isn't going to work at all.
It's nice to put it out there and have people hear it. And really, they get it and feel the same way about things. They can equate it to what they're going through.
How has the experience been with Eleven Seven Music? That label has had success with groups like Buckcherry and Mötley Crüe.
I love being on Eleven Seven. For Warner Brothers, I'm not going to sit there and bash them. They were great, honestly. They really were. They got us to where we were pretty successful. One I thing I will say about Eleven Seven is they're really conscious and really good about listening to what everyone on the team wants. You know, the band, the managers. ... They make sure it's a cohesive unit. And it makes it feel like a team effort and it makes it feel like everyone is behind the same thing.
What's been the reaction when you play some of your new songs live?
The crowd is loving the new stuff. ... One of the things we did with this new record is we played for two and a half years with a diverse amount of people for the last record. We kind of realized that we need more songs that go over well live. The songs are great, but some of them just don't go over as well live as they do on a record when somebody's putting it in the cars or sitting and driving. We need something that's going to pump the crowd up and get their hands up.
So we sat down and tried to write music like that. And the band really stepped up and the band really took the music to a new level. It pushed me to try and write lyrics that try to pump up the crowd. It was really great seeing what the [crowd's] reaction was, when they put their hands up and they're clapping. It's really, really cool.
Tell me a little about your upcoming appearance at Cicero's on April 15.
We leave for tour on Thursday and that's the first time we can actually get back home around the CD release date. And what we're doing is if you go to Vintage Vinyl and exclusively buy our record there the week it comes out before [April 15], you have a chance of winning a golden ticket that's prepackaged inside the disc. If you get that, it's you plus one to the show. You can't buy ticket to show, it's all for fan appreciation - the people who've been there from the start. It's the people who come out and support us all the time, and buy the records.
So we're going to have a show for them - it's going to be like a Storytellers thing. We're going to sit down and play some songs acoustic, we're going to play as a full electric band. We want it to be something that people won't see when they come to a regular Cavo show at Pointfest or when we're out on the road.
It's something that they can take away and say 'I saw this and I got to ask a question to the band and I got to sing along on stage.' Whatever happens, happens. We're really excited about it, because we've always wanted to do something like this.
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