HomeInterviewsCross Over with Breezy: Catching up with Cavo

Cross Over with Breezy: Catching up with Cavo

Written by Breezy

Cavo was a band that came out of nowhere and crashed into my life in 2021.  With their dynamic sound and impressive vocals, this band caught my ear immediately. 

It was Cavo’s music video of the cover of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” that caught my attention first. Directed by J.T. Ibanez, I was absolutely blown away by how superbly this cover was done.  Taking on an epic song by Duran Duran spoke volumes to me about the confidence this band has, and for good reason. “Come Undone” is one of the best covers of an 80’s song I have ever heard.  These guys are confident yet humble. They know they’re good, and they know where they belong. Why this band isn’t playing stadiums is just a crime to musical humanity.

Casey Walker’s vocals are dynamic; soft yet powerful and haunting.  There is true emotion in his voice. Backup vocalist on “Come Undone”, Shannon Roc, shines in her moment with deeply soulful and radiantly powerful vocals.  The instrumentals are well-constructed, with seriously impressive guitar skills. This is just one hell of a cover, and we haven’t even discussed their original music yet.

This is Cavo and their slow-burn reclimb as one of America’s most underrated bands.

Cavo’s not a new band, and I have heard raving reviews from people I’ve talked to over the last couple weeks about their live shows. Cavo is a solid band that has slowly earned its stripes while never quite achieving the level of recognition that they deserve.

Formed in 2000 by Chris Hobbs, Chad La Roy and Ryan Kemp, Casey Walker was brought in on vocals via audition. The band originally called themselves “Hollow” and later changed it to “Cavo”.

After Walker joined the band, Mike “Tomas” Tomasovich joined and a three-song demo soon followed featuring “Fallen”,  “State of Mind” and “Unsung”.

Cavo then released an EP entitled A Space to Fill, in 2002. Four years later, (with the farewell of Ryan Kemp replaced by Brian Smith), the band put out their first full-length album, The Painful Art of Letting Go, in 2006.

Their second EP,  Champagne, followed in 2008 and caught enough attention to spin on the airwaves, land the band a gig to open for Stone Temple Pilots, and saw the band sign with Warner/RepriseBright Nights, Dark Days was released in 2009. 

The single “Champagne” hit the number one spot on Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts. An intense song that addresses heartbreak and addictive behavior. It’s a song with so much chaotically organized energy that it draws you right in.  I absolutely adore bands that find the balance of two precarious energies within the music, lyrics and tone. Cavo pulls this off with seamless effort.

Their second single, “Crash”, charted at number 6 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.

“Crash” opens with a banger on the drums and a hard splash of guitar and bass before settling into Casey’s low timbre vocals. A song about the inevitable between two lovers, “Crash” sweeps you up and carries you away in hopeless romantic angst.

Cavo’s third single, “Let It Go”, was a smashing success that found itself featured in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In 2012, Thick As Thieves arrived on the wings of independent label Eleven Seven Music.

“Let It Go” is brilliant. It’s a motivating and encouraging song. Said Casey Walker to Artist Direct:  “It’s a very meaningful song. It’s the most personal song I’ve ever written. In my opinion, the first line of the second verse is the catalyst of the song. ‘There’s a chance to change or stay the same.’. I was at a point in my life where I realized that I had two options. I could either change or go down the other road and stay the same. Thankfully, I chose the right option. I can go back and think about that moment in time every single night that we play live and know I made the right choice.” (Artist Direct, N.D.).

Later that year, Chad La Roy left the band, and Andy Herrin stepped in for the Carnival of Madness tour, which led to a permanent spot in the band. Cavo released the single “Stay” off the next album, Bridges, in December 2015. In 2017, the band signed with Pavement Entertainment.  All was pretty quiet on the public front until the 2019 release of the single “Wolves”,

Also directed by J. T. Ibanez, “Wolves” begins bass and guitar-heavy before delving into a rocking intro with Walker coming in on vocals that firmly claim their place. The song is inspirational, and thick with messages of inner strength and patience to overcome hardship. I felt like this song is lightly touching on the subject of karma: “Soon the day will come the wolves will tear apart everything that you love.”. Obviously this is a metaphorical reference to the message carried throughout the song.  With its insightful lyrics, rockin’ instrumentals and spirited vocals, “Wolves” is definitely a song to belt out at the top of your lungs.

For the last three years, all has been pretty quiet with the band, or so it seemed from a fan perspective, until Cavo started dropping hints on their official Facebook page. So when can we expect new music? Casey Walker responded:

(Please note: to hear the entire interview, please listen to the audio)

“Well, we have five new originals recorded, mixed, mastered ready to come out, we’re gonna be doing that here in the next, like, big…like month or two, I think. We’ve also, we’re kind of starting this pattern of original EPs, and then we’re gonna do a cover EP. So we’ve got four songs; four cover songs that are in the works of being mixed now and they’re done recording. So those will come out probably sometime next year or something like that, I would assume. Nothing is set in stone yet. But yeah, we’ve got five in the bag that are completely done.”

It seems that the band has been quite busy indeed. During this pandemic, Cavo soldiered on.

 I asked Casey and Chris about COVID and the impact it’s had. Did anyone struggle with mental health due to the stress? How does a band like Cavo hold it together through the harder, slower times? What motivates a band to keep going even through the darker times? So we had a talk about it, and this is what Casey and Chris had to say: :

Casey: For me, personally, I, I had COVID. We actually had a show planned; a combo show. We haven’t played in forever. We were gonna do a live stream show from our hometown, at this club called The Pageant, and about the week before a drummer came in town to start practicing for it, I had let everybody know,  “Sorry, gotta cancel, I just got COVID”. I, fortunately, did not have symptoms, I didn’t know nothing. I just took a test for my work. I have friends that have dealt with it and dealt with it pretty badly. I had a really, really good friend and mentor who, you know, who, who got really close to being put on a vent. And that really hit hard. You know, I’ve got five kids. So I’m really always cautious of it. And if I know somebody that had it, you know, I let everyone know that I’ve been around it, I stay away and I mask up. How about you, Chris?

Chris: Yeah, I mean, it definitely; it was a big shock to a lot of musicians, you know, all the clubs and everything shutting down. Me,  fortunately, we kind of kept moving a little bit because we could kind of write remotely away from each other. But yeah, I mean, it was definitely a tough time for everybody, for sure. But we’re definitely glad that I rode that storm out. And we’ve kind of came out the other side with a lot of,  like,  kind of steam and momentum, like ready to put out a lot of music. So we’re trying to turn the negative into a positive, I guess you would say by kind of just focusing on making enough for like, last time was, you know, everything being shut down.

Me: Yeah. For reals. Yeah, that’s, you know, that’s really amazing that you guys are just still continuing to do that, and find those positives. And I really look up to that. Which kind of leads me into my next question. And this is, you know, like, what do you have faith in and not in a religious sense, but in the sense of like, when you get up in the morning? And what is that drive that wants you to just keep going and making music?

Casey: I’d say for me, it’s, I mean, pretty much any answer you answer is gonna almost kind of sound like cheesy, but it’s the honest to God truth. And it’s just, you know, I want to be somebody that my family and friends can be proud of. I want, um, I want my kids to look up to me, I always… one of the things I think about all the time is, I think in like 50-60 years when I’m gone, and they have their kids and they can play my old music and say, “This is your grandfather. This is grandpa”. And I think that’s my main motivational drive and music and just in life in general, just to, you know, be the best person that I can possibly, you know, have my family and my friends like, Chris. down here, look up to me.

Me: Right on, how about you, Chris?

Chris: Yeah. I mean, I know it’s kind of hard to say because motivation is like I’ve kind of from a young age, I was kind of obsessed with music, always listening to it. Always been learning to play guitar and being advanced. It’s kind of just an obsession. I don’t know if I’d call it motivation, like an obsession. But I guess the thing that like it’s tough times and keeps you kind of going is like the people in your band. Like you’ve kind of will maybe feel a little stagnant in case you’ll text me like an idea or I’ll or you know, where I’ll send like some ideas for stuff Often it kind of just put your head back in the game, so to speak, you know, like, okay, yeah, let’s let’s do this just keep going on.

It’s this passionate and optimistic attitude that helps Cavo shine. Over the next 20 minutes, we talked about various topics, such as musical influences, friendship, family, accomplishments and passion for music.

Says Casey: We don’t expect, you know, the big payoffs and whatever you; however you want to look at it, we do this because we love making music with our brothers and Cavo. Like, if nobody cared, and nobody listened to another song that we ever wrote. We’d still make them because it’s part of our soul that we need to get out with each other. And I like, I think, you know, I think we’re all great players. And we’re all great at our own craft. But I think there’s a special thing. When the four of us get in the room. It’s a special bond.

Me: If you guys could co headlining a tour with anyone, who would it be?

Casey: Wow. Could it be? Could it be a band? But can we pick a year of the band?

Me: Totally! Let’s take a time machine and Doctor Who that shit.

Casey: I would love, I would just love to go on tour with Pearl Jam. I don’t think it’d be a co-headliner. I think we might be the three minute opener in fact, I’d love to see them in the 90s and early 2000s. Eddie Vedder is one of the reasons why I sing like he was the first what I actually, what’s funny, is when I was growing up, I wanted to be a country singer because of my mom. She does do old country songs and I love the honesty of four chords and a good story. And when I heard any veterans voice for the first time, it blew me away and  to be able to go back in time and stay inside and stage night after night and watch that; that intensity; oh my. That would be happening. That would be cool.

Continuing with the interview, when we discussed musical influences, Casey spoke of one of the band’s experiences with Blue October:

Blue October we did record Bridges with Matt, the bass player, he produced it. He was a huge part of that record. You know, it’s one of our favorite ones because we were, we kind of did it our way with Matt and Matt was amazing at it but like you know, Justin did the same thing for him. For me the first time I heard his, his lyrics, his voice I was just floored. I was like, “ Who is this guy? Like what have I been missing my whole life?” I mean singer songwriter stuff, you know, there’s a lot of influence.

Me: Blue October’s amazing. Love that band. Yeah, me too. How about you, Chris?

Chris: I was kind of always interested. I was interested in a lot of guitar players. Like when I was a kid, like, like in the 80s, like he had Slash, Eddie Van Halen. Were just always; I loved it. But I just, it always seemed like, so unattainable to me. Because it was so good. Like, I could never do  that. Kind of like when the 90s came around. I was getting older and like, a lot of bands that are coming that were the same, the way they were expressing themselves, the guitar like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It really, really connected more to me, for I kind of felt that kind of playing. I think the biggest one was Nirvana. Because it was just such a primal feeling for the guitar and the music. It just, it just really connected with me to a point where like, I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna pick up the guitar, I’m gonna try to do that”. And that’s kind of how I learned how to play guitar is like, trying to figure out Nirvana songs and Red. But those are my two touchdowns just like those two. From the Chili Peppers. And Kurt Cobain, I was just kind of really inspired me to pick up a guitar, because it just felt more connected to the way they approach the instrument than anybody had heard up until then.

Me: If you could put out any message to the world, what would it be? Through your music?

Casey: Wow. Be original. I mean, I know it’s like, again, it’s one of those questions where you sound cliche, but it’s not like I remember, we would, we had a lot of guys that, you know, people from our hometown that would talk behind our backs when we first came out and stuff and about how like, oh, they just wrote this cheap song about drugs and alcohol and blah, blah, blah. It’s like, we weren’t ever, we’ve never sat in a room and wrote a song that lyrically musically was not 100% honest. Like, it may not come across to somebody as the deepest, deepest thing that they’ve ever heard. But it means a lot to each one of us. I mean, we; I, Chris, when he plays his guitar part, and he comes up with something over a track. It’s the most amazing thing to watch, because it’s like, it’s, I don’t know, anybody else that could even come close to doing that. I know a lot of other guitar players. I don’t know anyone who can do what Chris does. I don’t know anyone that can do what Brian or Andy does. I mean, it’s. And my whole point is, I guess, to wrap it up as yet be original, because people are going to get in your face and say, You’re cheap. You try to, right now that you tried to write ahead and say we never tried to write anything;  just happened. So that’s probably how I would say it.

Me: How about you, Chris?

Chris: So that’s a tough question. I guess, like a message through everything. Maybe I just maybe just said, we’re all kind of, you know, connected, you know, on this earth. I think a big thing, we put out the song, let it go. It was picked up on a Transformers soundtrack. So it got played a lot all over the world. And we started getting a lot of appreciation and like, we started getting noticed from people like Oh, my God, Russia, over here, whatever. It was just really cool to see if a song, you know, no matter what kind of connects everybody together. And I think that’s just the beautiful thing about music is it brings people together.

And so it’s with that beautiful sentiment that I wrap up this article. Cavo is not only a phenomenal band, but it’s made of some incredible Gentlemen who understand what matters in life. I really think when musicians find that solid and supportive foundation to build on, true magic happens.

Check out Cavo, and get yourself a little dose of magic (and some merch!).

Check out the full audio here:

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

References: https://www.songfacts.com/facts/cavo/let-it-go

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