By Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
The modern rock/pop band CAVO from St. Louis, MI has had quite a ride since they released their debut CD “Bright Nights, Dark Days” in early 2009. Since then the band has had two major hits and has toured practically nonstop with the likes of Daughtry, Lifehouse and Motley Crue. They just recently kicked off their first headlining tour and have released their forth single “Blame” to radio last week.
CAVO is a great new band with unlimited potential. But CAVO is no overnight sensation. The band started back in 2001 and worked very hard to develop their ability to write great radio friendly songs. Recently, here at RockMusicStar, we had the opportunity to discuss the recent happening and history of CAVO with the band’s lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Casey Walker. Here’s our conversation.
RockMusicStar: You are currently on your first headlining tour. You also have some pretty cool bands with you as well, American Bang and Atom Smash. Whose idea was it to put this tour together and did you pick the openers?
Casey Walker: We handpicked all the bands on the tour. When we toured with Lifehouse and Daughtry, it was such a family affair type of tour and that made it a lot of fun and it wasn’t so hard to get through every day. So we wanted to handpick the bands that we really, really liked. The new American Bang album is amazing!!! I listen to that one nonstop. We also have another band out with us, they are an unsigned band, but have had a lot of success with their single and that band is Shaman's Harvest. They are a great band and good friends of ours. They also live close to us in our home state about an hour away from us.
RMS: Being that this is your first headlining tour, is this a bit nerve wrecking for you. Or is it more stressful opening arena shows in front of thousands of people?
CW: They both have their moments. Obviously, jumping on stage in an arena is not the easiest thing, but it’s also a bit scary to headline, because everything is up to you, the people are there for you. So if the crowd size isn’t good, you feel like it’s your fault. But it has worked out; we’ve had some pretty good size crowds because we have toured relentlessly over the last year with Cruefest, Shinedown and Daughtry. So we thought that it was time to step out and do it on our own.
RMS: Yeah, I was just thinking about how you have been on the road forever. It’s got to be well over a year now.
CW: Yes, it was April 2009 when we started.
RMS: Oh god, that’s crazy.
CW: Yeah, it’s been nonstop.
RMS: How is everyone holding up? Do you still love or is it time for a break?
CW: Everyone is good. Like I said before, one of the good things about picking the bands that your tour with is that we really turned this into a family like situation and that makes it a little easier. But, I miss home and the wife and kids tremendously. Obviously, I know everyone else in the band miss their families as well. But it’s a necessary evil. It’s one of those things that comes and goes. Some weeks are worst than others and we just want to see home. When you are on the road for more than four months straight, you just want to see your bed. But, touring is a great part of the gig too. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun being on stage playing and seeing all these great bands and getting energy and inspiration from that.
RMS: Your CD has so much energy and emotion. I haven’t seen you guys live yet, but I’m willing to bet that your songs are even more powerful in a live type setting.
CW: Thanks man. That was one of main goals when recording the CD. We wanted to make an album that we could reproduce live. We didn’t want something that had like eighty guitar tracks and all these loops because then it becomes hard to make that come across live. So we wanted to make sure that we didn’t go down that route. Plus we are only a four piece, we didn’t want to shot ourselves in the foot and add another player.
RMS: Yeah, you see a lot of bands add all this crap to the sound of their CD and then tour with two or more musicians. I want my favorite bands to play all the music themselves; I don’t want to see hired hands playing.
CW: Yes, exactly.
RMS: One of the interesting aspects of your band is that your formed CAVO in 2001 and it wasn’t until 2008 that you were signed to a major label. Tell me about that period before you got signed, that’s a long time for a band to remain together without having a label behind them. Was this time a difficult time for you, did you have any doubts that you would eventually get signed and become successful? Or were you that confident that it would all work out eventually?
CW: It was kind of a bit of all of that. We kind of knew that we weren’t ready to get signed and we worked hard to get the songs to be the best they could be. The songs we had before were good, but they weren’t great. That’s why we never even tried to send songs to labels. We had friends here and there that worked at labels, so we would kind of feel them out and get feedback. But, for the most part during that time period we focused on writing. We didn’t play a whole lot, we didn’t do tours. We would only play once or twice a month, somewhere in the Midwest area. We would write four nights a week. In 2006, when we got bassist’ Brian Smith we wrote “Champagne,” “Cry Wolf,” “Useless” and “Let it Go.” Once we had that group of songs, we all knew that it was now make it or break it time. We now had the songs that we needed to go to labels with. We thought ok, if we get signed great, but if we don’t, oh well at least we put forth our best effort. From that point on, we have really felt strong about our songs.
RMS: I will tell you, you really do have eleven super solid songs on that CD. I discovered it a year ago and loved it, and just recently I started playing it again and it’s still amazing. The potential for the CD is unlimited. How difficult was it to pick the first single from the CD? Or did everyone just think that “Champagne” had to be the first one.
CW: That song was big from day one. Everyone just knew that that would be the song that would help us breakthrough and introduce everyone to CAVO. It has that summer time anthem feel. And the single was going to be released in the beginning of summer. So yeah, that had to be the song.
RMS: What was then the follow up single to “Champagne”?
CW:” Crash” was our second single and that went to top 5 on the Active Rock charts. Then a little while ago we brought out “My Little Secret” and we had a bit of a rough patch there, so we just last week brought out “Blame.” And that is just going for adds now and hopefully that we catch on with the Active Rock stations.
RMS: I’m a bit surprise, I thought that “My Little Secret” could have been a huge hit for you.
CW: Yeah, thanks. You know it’s hit or miss with songs like that. There is really no in between where it’s in the middle of the charts, it’s either a big hit or nothing.
RMS: So at this point what are the future plans for the band?
CW: Right now we are just going to finish up the tour and then we will take some time off. Well, not really time off because we are going to be writing in Nashville and L.A and start preparing for a new album. But if our new single “Blame” blows up we will continue touring.
For more on CAVO www.cavomusic.com