CARL CANEDY - Tales Of A Wild Dog

March 22, 2024, a month ago

(New Haven Publishing)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 7.0

review hard rock heavy metal carl canedy the rods

CARL CANEDY - Tales Of A Wild Dog

Autobiographical tome (280 pages of text, 10 of photos) from The Rods drummer, also known for his production work, especially on the initial wave of ‘80s thrashers, particularly in-house for Megaforce (including Anthrax, Overkill, Exciter, etc.) His observations and yarns are spliced with comments from others, like old friends, band mates, industry folks. 

Initially, it's a tale of woe (although Canedy might not see it as such). In the first 30 pages, or so, he recounts his childhood: Parents divorce. Before he's 6, they farm him out to an unknown family (so he can attend kindergarten, in Pennsylvania where you could enroll at 5, instead of 6, in New York). After a year, Mom takes him back. They move to Cali and while there, back East, his father (who he liked best) dies. The two move back to Upstate New York, where he begins a musical career that is viable to this day, taking lessons from famous names and playing in different genres, not just rock. Nearly abducted as a child (fought off his would-be kidnapper and ran away), his mother didn't believe his story. Only when her (then) boyfriend contacted the police, was the perpetrator apprehended and sent to prison.

There's the usual trials and tribulations of getting a band running/noticed, eventually doing it all on their own. While as a fledgling musician, he dabbled in the drug scene, with childhood friends, Carl is quick to point out that he's never been a drinker/drug user onstage. Debut album picked up by Arista, with the first club tour of UK supporting Iron Maiden. Early into the trek, his mother dies! Sadly, no insights into the Brits, in those early days, nor remembrances of the times. I get it. Apart from a couple goofy/standout moments, if it's not written down/photographed, I too am hard pressed to recall details of most Eighties gigs (just as an observer), let alone as a participant onstage.

Even before The Rods, Canedy was a drum legend in the area. After recording the demo for Manowar, he had to choose between bands, ultimately deciding on his own outfit. He (jokingly?) states that nearly 45 years later, he thinks Joey DeMaio might still be mad at him (for not joining). There is a quote from Ross The Boss, but not the bass player. Since Rods guitarist Rock Feinstein is cousins with Ronnie James Dio, there's a short chapter about the great singer.

Demise of the major label deal sends the band into temporary tailspin. Manager fired and Canedy takes over. Live album (of unreleased material) follows. After about 115 pages, Canedy starts unveiling the productions stories, especially the earlier mentioned thrash luminaries, alternating with tales from subsequent Rods recordings. Main band not paying the bills, so time to diversify. Feinstein buys restaurant and Carl gets behind the mixing desk (having co-produced his own discs). Anthrax offers memories from Dan Lilker and Neil Turbin. Canedy recalls Exciter fondly and Dan Beehler adds a few paragraphs.

On a personal note, cool to have small insight into the Out Of The Darkness sessions, a favorite ‘80s disc that featured Jack Starr (ex-Virgin Steele) and Rhett Forrester(as well the Riot singer's solo effort). The recruitment of Joey Belladonna, to Anthrax, all took place in Upstate NY, with Carl's guidance. It provides one of the longer segments in the book. Apart from his stint on the Overkill debut, the passage of time, or the current climate, has dulled many of the edges on Canedy's recall. Still, nothing about the brawl with townies that nearly destroyed the studio (ask Blitz!) The Dirt, this is not! 

As is repeatedly pointed out, Canedy is a good guy, humble, so he apparently didn't want to kiss & tell, keeping things PG rated. He only highlights the good times, adding little gossip, salacious stories or bad mouthing. Surely all that studio time was not Shangri La. As he writes about TT Quick, "I have no bad memories, no gossip, and no crazy stories from this experience. Just pure pleasantry. It went beyond well. And I know that does not make for an exciting chapter, but it is the truth."

Interesting tidbit, Possessed's Beyond The Gates album was never mastered! A trans-continental flight into an East Coast snowstorm prevented Canedy getting to NYC to finish the job. Thus Combat issued it, as-is! Apart from the recurrent Anthrax releases, one of the most documented projects is his work with Roxx Gang (which encompasses 8 full pages). Lesser known ‘80s fare, like Attila and EXE are also included, this memoir giving the musicians a platform to espouse their forgotten legitimacy, after all these years, appearing alongside short comments from ex-members of Anthrax. Conversely, we get 20 pages with Young Turk, who Canedy managed. That section includes more typical rock n roll stories.

After 200 pages, Carl eventually gets around to how he met his wife, even though he's repeatedly referenced her throughout. They knew each other since age 15, dated on and off (not while he was active, with The Rods) and married when they were 40 and been together ever since. They had a daughter, who Carl raised, wife Dianne going to work each day. So producing and The Rods were effectively on the back burner, for close to two decades. The book ends, typing together the band's resurgence in the new millennium.

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