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“We could do a tour only for the food!” – an Interview with Carver Commodore

Carver Commodore are an indie-rock band hailing from Florence, AL and we caught their show at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on their recent east coast tour. Playing tracks from their excellent recent EP “Too Much?” as well as their two full studio albums, the band of Payton Pruitt (vocals/guitar), Phillip Blevins (lead guitar), Clayton Christopher (multi-instrumentalist), David Smith Jr (bass) and Noah Freeman (drums) rocked the venue with their blend of catchy tunes and full-on rock and roll.

Before the gig, we sat down with the band to talk touring, food, their influences and more food!

So you guys are 25 shows into a 26 date tour. How’s that been going?
It’s been good. It’s been really good. We started in May and we’ve just had a lot of different runs with some breaks in the between.

You’ve got two more shows, and then you have two weeks off and then you go back on the road again? You must be constantly touring!
But that’s our fall tour! This is the end of our summer tour. We’ve been touring constantly for the last year and a half all around the country. Mostly the eastern side of the country with the exception of Texas.

Carver Commodore, World Cafe Live, Sept 17, 2022
(Photo Credit – Kate Atkinson)

What’s been your favorite date on the tour so far?
We played a hometown show in Birmingham at a venue called Saturn. That one was so much fun because the hometown energy is just special so that was one of those really special shows for us. Mile of Music Festival was in Appleton, Wisconsin was where we played four stages in two days. And it was great crowds and great energy; people were there for the music. The way the staff looked after the artists was the best we’ve been treated at a festival. It was just great.

What’s one thing you love about being a tour?
Outside of playing shows it’s the food, we could do a tour only for the food. Probably just do like a Food Network series where we play a show every now and then, but mostly just go and eat. We played New York last night and two days prior we had made a list of the restaurants we were gonna go to in the city but we only got to two of them.

What do you miss while you are on the road?
Our beds, our families. We’re all family oriented guys. So obviously when you’re on the road, you miss home and when you’re home you miss the road. It’s kind of the double edged sword of being a tour musician. I guess it’s like you scratch one itch and then it itches somewhere else. But definitely just being home, being in your own bed.
I miss a regular schedule too. The past couple of nights have been pretty wild. We started this tour in Chattanooga and then we went to DC. It was like an eight hour drive and we had to do through the night; it was a bit messed up. That’s a lot of that kind stuff with long drives on this run. So yeah, some regularity sounds really good right now.

Which Album Cover Is Your Current Mood?
Noah – I guess, because we’re on tour mode, The Clash – “London Calling”. So you’re ready to smash your guitar basically after 20-25 nights; that’s our energy at every show. We try to match that.
Payton – So I would say Green Day – “Dookie”, you know, just insanity. These past few shows have been in the big cities and so it is just chaos. There’s a lot going on and we see a lot of crazy stuff.
Clayton – Pink Floyds – “Animals” that has the floating pigs as we all feel like pigs because we’ve eaten so much!
David – I think I’d go with “Revolver” because it’s black and white but it’s still kind of surreal. You see all the members, but at the same time it’s like this collage. That’s kind of how it feels to me at least.
Phillip – I was thinking Pearl Jam – “Ten” , their first record. It’s got all their hands up like this on front. I think it’s actually a shot from a basketball game.

So how did the band get together?
Payton: So me and Phil have been together for 10 years or so. We were in another band that did more old rock kind of stuff, Mumford and Sons-ish, because that’s what everyone was doing then. When that band kind of dissolved, we decided to do what we actually wanted to do, rock and roll music. Then after transitioning from that band to this one with a few different members, Noah started playing with us in 2018 when we recorded our first record, and then these guys joined in the last couple years. So now we’re finally in the right lineup and honestly it feels like the band has only been a team for two or three years at this point.

What were influences growing up?
Payton: My Dad listened a ton of classic rock and country and all that kinda stuff. My mom listened to pop radio all the time. Got kind of a mix of those, for sure, for me
Noah: I mean, everything. Like really typical stuff, like Led Zeppelin and all that kinda stuff. And then like my mom listening to butt rock, like Nickelback and Disturbed but then like she also listened to a lot of rap and all this stuff that was somehow ingrained in my brain.
Phillip: We kind of took to the garage rock stuff. Early 2000’s Indie rock and alternative. Those are big influences for our music for sure.

When I listen to you guys, I don’t immediately think Alabama, especially the new EP, so it’s interesting to see what influenced you.
Clayton: I’m inspired by The strokes, The Hives, White Stripes, Fran Ferdinand  Kings of Leon Black Keys.
Payton: A lot of people say like, “Do they make this kind music in Alabama?” That’s exactly what we want to hear.
Clayton: We might be the only export of this kind of music from Alabama. We’ll take it. We love being from Alabama

If you only could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Phillip: I think “Abbey Road” for me, I’m just listen that over and over again.
Clayton: Paramore’s album “After Laughter” and I always forget much I love that record. Every song on there is a banger
Payton: The first thing that came to mind was “Back in Black” But then also like, “Is This It” by The Strokes? Or “Room on Fire”. Yeah, “Room on Fire”, maybe even more than “Is This It”
Noah: I wanna go with Kings of Leon. What’s the second one? “Aha Shake Heartbreak” for sure.
David : An album that I’ve been listening to a lot is an album called “Emily Can’t Sing” by this guy named Joe P. That album has been on heavy rotation in the last year for me.

You seem to tour constantly but you’ve managed to release two albums and an EP in 30 months. How do you manage to find time to record while you’re touring?
We recorded the last album and everything that was on the EP all in 2020 so everything we released recently was recorded at the same time. So as soon as Covid started, we were supposed to go on tour obviously, but, as soon as it started we were like, “let’s go the studio and record the stuff we’ve been working on”. We put out the album in October 2021 and then we had these five tracks that didn’t really fit the feel of the album so we thought ‘Let’s put them out as an EP”. We just recorded another EP over the summer as well. And we do all of our design and all of our music videos. I think we all really love the creative process.

So you said you are big foodies, which is great because the next question is What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
(There follows a very intense deliberation on how the pizza should be constructed)
Thin Crust, Thick Crust, Chicago Deep Dish, Cheese Crust? Cheesy crust. Like cheese filled? Yeah, cheese filled.
And then are we going ranch base? Marinara base? What about Alfredo base? Let’s do a vodka Marinara base kinda thing.
So then cheese? Just classic parmesan and mozzarella.
Then like a chicken and bacon kind of combo maybe? Yes. That, that sounds good. Jalapenos for spice and maybe hot honey?
Maybe some sort of aioli? Not a mayo, but like an aioli.
What’s gonna be the signature part of this piece? Ooh, candied bacon! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Like a smoked candy maple bacon. Then we gotta do some chili flakes and a mescal based sauce.
We should name it after the EP. “Carver’s Too Much Pizza”

That sounds incredible. You guys really are foodies!
“Carver Cooks” is our YouTube cooking show and I would love to make the pizza on the next episode. Clayton’s gotta do a “Cooks” next. It started during Covid – got to make content somehow. It was something that everybody could do from how their homes and still contribute.

What do you have left for 2022 and what can we expect from Carver Commodore next year?
So we have our tour next month and we’re playing Alabama, Mississippi, home, Texas and Louisiana for about 15 dates with our friends Rock Eupora, who are a band from Nashville, so those will be really fun. Then we’re gonna close out the year of live shows with a really big Halloween show in our hometown. Like a big costume party, it’s called “Carver’s Creepy Crawly Rock Show”.
Then the rest of the year we’re really going to focus on finishing the EP that we’ve been working on. We still have to do vocals on it and then get started on videos and design for it.
Next year: Put out the EP. We’ve never toured in January and February, I have no idea why, but we always end up taking those months off so we want to play some shows then out west.

Make sure you catch Carver Commodore on their fall tour this month – link to the tour dates is here. You can find out more on the band at their website and follow them on Instagram and Twitter for the latest news. Finally, make sure to check out their YouTube Channel to watch their awesome videos and episodes of Carver Cooks.

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