Today’s Feature – February 5-6: Carl Elizondo

February 6, 2008 at 1:15 am (Today's Feature)

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Talk about taking the road less traveled – jack-of-all-trades Carl Elizondo is only interested in success one way: his way. How else can you describe an artist who has played in thriving bands that have sold records, toured the country, even opened for Metallica… yet keeps breaking away to make the music he feels deep within; “music about his dreams and nightmares.” Elizondo, a drummer by trade has found musical glory in the past by admitingly “submitting to the ideas” of whatever band he was in at the time. Elizondo soon realized it was not the recognition he was playing for, but instead for the fact that the music is his life’s blood. This uncompromising drive is what allowed him to not only learn how to record and produce his own music, but to play the guitar, bass and keyboards as well. The unbeaten path indeed.

There’s more than drive and passion behind the work of Elizondo – his influences are impressive as well, drawing mainly from both The Beatles and Oasis. He explains that he “has always loved the older Brit sound; it reminds him of a time of discovery.” You can hear this style, mixed in with some “psychedelic reverberations and a hint of India… birthing fresh ideas based on a familiar sound” on both of the albums “The Crystal & the Cross” and the upcoming “The Tomes of Lore.”

“The Tomes of Lore” will hit the streets some time later this year, but you can check out his current single “Crash Landing” on internet radio stations such as Pandora Radio. Learn more about this artist by jumping into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Carl Elizondo

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How and when did you first get involved with music?

Carl Elizondo: As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, I used to watch my cousin and his band play music in their house while on summer vacation from school, I was always drawn to watching the drummer, I thought how cool to move arms & legs at different times all over the place, I really got bit by the bug. I must have been 10 or 11.

PEV: Growing up, what kind of music were you listening to? Do you remember the first concert you ever attended?

CE: I used to listen to what ever was on the radio, mostly rock radio so Tom Petty, Kiss, Rush Oh and YES, I was a real Yes fan! One of my first concerts was Yes, & Kiss, who ever was coming through town. But I’ve always liked older rock.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a profession rather than just a hobby?

CE: In high school, that’s when, I always really had a bad time in school, and didn’t get very good grades, except in art, I was damn good at drawing, painting and conceptual art but of course I was always thinking of music, I would doodle on paper different concert scenes or drum set up’s, I was imagining it to make it become real.

PEV: What were your first years in the music business like for you? Did you ever think you’d be where you are now, then?

CE: The first years were ok, I would rehearse at a buddies home after school, I mean nothing would get in the way of rehearsal, I even missed the prom, parties, dates with girlfriends at the time. I wanted it bad. I ended up playing all over Los Angeles with various groups that I was in at the time. I honestly always knew I would be in music , as far as where I am now, well that’s hard to say, I suppose I would always welcome a higher level of success, but really I play cause its my life’s blood, not for the recognition…

PEV: Having written, recorded and produced each song, how is the production side of the your music different from your creation side? Do you find the two sides hard to balance?

CE: Excellent question! Its very hard… I have to write the songs backwards in a way, I will come up with a riff or a real cool Idea and I have to think “how will I approach this, any effects, or cool tricks to enhance the song?” If I took this to a producer, I would take in a completed song & then they would say “Lets do this or do that” but the producer side of me is constantly doing that while I am writing the song so it is a big struggle and alot of second guessing.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest album, “The Crystal & The Cross “?

CE: As the teaser line by music reviewer Bobby Collini states it’s ” Music about Dreams & Nightmares, Carl Elizondo delves into the minds of Lennon, McCartney & The Gallagher brothers. Psychedelic with a hint of India influences brings forth fresh ideas based on a familiar sound.” I have always loved the older Brit sound, it reminds me of a time of discovery. The current single is Crash Landing and is getting airplay on Internet radio stations such as Pandora Radio and others, I am hoping for more exposure, at least my CD is selling very well.

PEV: How is “The Crystal & The Cross” different than others out today?

CE: There is a lot of great music out today, Placebo, Muse, Stereophonics etc. and then there are a lot of “bandwagon” bands Emo or Screamo, now I’m not knockin’ it or anything, but I would rather write what I write, They are standard song structures with a little extra something to make it interesting, like the Beatles did.

PEV: “The Crystal & The Cross” is your fourth album, how is this different from your previous works?

CE: My previous work was co-written so I would be able to bounce ideas off of the other person, with The Crystal & The Cross, & my next release, The Tomes Of Lore, it’s all me so the pressure is really on and all criticism lays solely on me.

PEV: Is there a certain environment you surround yourself in when you sit down to write music?

CE: That’s interesting you ask, so many ideas come to me late, late at night when I am just about to fall asleep, then boom, right into my head comes an awesome idea, so its out of bed and down stairs to my studio to get the Idea on tape.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

CE: They are proud of me, but mostly I am proud of myself. Being a drummer by trade, I used to have ideas that I would submit to what ever band I was in, but as you know no one ever takes a drummer seriously, so I said screw this… I taught myself Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, brushed up on my vocals and dove right in to prove that I am capable!

PEV: In all your travels, what city do you think offers the best appreciation for music? Why?

CE: I think New York & Los Angeles, there is always some one in the business to give you a listen although those markets are tough to break, in the midwest folks down there really appreciate music for music’s sake. The Midwest can appreciate you for you

PEV: What is life on the road like for the band? Best and worst parts?

CE: The Best part of being on the road is waking up in a particular town and hearing the local radio station playing your music and promoting it, the worst are the hotel rooms, wow there are really some dives out there and of course being away from loved ones, that always gets to me at 2 a.m. in the morning when the night is all over and you are all alone…The road is really not fun, at least for me.

PEV: Is there an “up and coming” artist or band right now that you think we should all be listening to?

CE: Not really, I listen to a lot of Placebo, Muse, Radiohead, Travis, Oasis & Beatles of course oh and The Arctic Monkeys!

PEV: Having The Beatles and Oasis are the main influences, is there someone you have not had the chance to work with or collaborate with, that you would like to?

CE: I would like to collaborate with Noel Gallagher, now that would be stellar!

PEV: When the band is not traveling or performing, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

CE: I am actually always in the studio, really or watching reality TV, ah! I am addicted, of course I like a cold ale, or a great cigar…

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Carl Elizondo?

CE: Well its either that I taught myself all the instruments with out any help or lessons, or that I make goofy faces in the mirror when I am alone, which ever you think is more interesting.

PEV: If we were to walk into your practice studio what would we find?

CE: Awesome question! A Beatle album on the turntable, a Beatle Bootleg in the CD player, various Rolling Stone magazines, books on Shakespeare, an easy chair… Oh! And Christmas lights hung up!!!! Very Zen, or does that qualify as very Hippie ( which I am not) but I’m not sure.

PEV: What is a live Carl Elizondo performance like?

Its Usually an acoustic show, I have really produced my albums to the extent that I face the same problems of many bands, where its very hard to reproduce live, what I have recorded in the studio, I like to talk to my audience between songs, so its not so structured

PEV: In one word, describe Carl Elizondo.

CE: Introspective.

PEV: So, what is next for you?

CE: Aah! “The Tomes Of Lore”, my next album… I know I just released The Crystal & The Cross, but I have got to get this music out of me and to the masses. I have recently realized that between the two albums, that I have a particular sound and I am very proud of that! The Tomes Of Lore will be released sometime in 2008!

For more information on Carl Elizondo, check out www.CarlElizondo.com

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