As the frontman of Carbon Leaf, Barry Privett has successfully toured and recorded with the same band since 1992, crossing paths with huge names in the music business (Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, Avett Brothers, and many more).  Over the course of their continuous 27 year career, he has learned many things about music itself, the music business, record labels, touring, and strategies for keeping the peace among band members.  Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick enjoy the opportunity to dive deep into the world of one of the music business’ hardest working bands!

In Part 2 of 2, Barry explains how the band adjusts its vibe and setlist depending on the region that they are touring through and the energy of the crowd.  He goes on to talk about the Celtic-inspired phase that the band went through in the early 2010s, their lead guitarist’s multi-instrumentalism, their new bass player and drummer, and how they get together for a week at a time to rehearse and/or write.
Barry tells the guys more about the ancillary duties of different band members and how that keeps their business afloat.  He explains the origins of the name “Carbon Leaf.”  Finally he tells us about the many bands that they have toured and performed with over the years.
Fun facts: In 2002 Carbon Leaf won an American Music Award for their song “The Boxer.”  They featured Katy Perry in their 2006 music video, “Learn to Fly.”  They recorded music for 2009 film Curious George 2. In 2002 their music was featured on national commercials for the Pontiac Vibe.  They have played with/crossed paths with other major acts including Dave Matthews, O.A.R., The Avett Brothers, Sister Hazel, Big Head Todd, Blues Traveler, Jason Mraz, and many others.
CarbonLeaf.com
[Music]
Welcome back to another episode of Fret
Buzz The Podcast. My name is Aaron Sefchick
and today we’re gonna be getting into
part two with Barry Privett of the band
Carbon Leaf. Before we do that though, if
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topics and guest hosts on the way! And
with all that said, let’s jump into part
two with Barry Privett of the band Carbon
Leaf on Fret Buzz The Podcast.
I had the opportunity to see Carbon Leaf…
telling the fans out there, I got to see Barry in
action about a month it was actually the
night before st. Patty’s Day and you’re
playing elevation 27 in Virginia Beach
which is a new music venue at the old
Jewish mother building you guys had it
seemed like a lot of people knew you I
mean I guess this is hometown for you
but it did seem like it an adoring crowd
and the energy was really high in there
thank you that was that was a little
that was a little bit of a loose kind of
sloppy show just because we were playing
up that it was st. Patrick’s weekend and
you know how that goes yes somebody
bought I think about everybody shots on
stage and Irish tunes yeah right so a
lot of some of that stuff was a lot
different experience than you would if
you went to different venues and we also
know kind of like there’s certain
certain certain
regions have a different experience with
the band and so sometimes you you kind
of put on the dog a little bit and act
more like a party band and then other
places you’re kind of more a little more
refined and you know trying to present
yourself more not seriously but just
with a little bit more of class or
reservation I mean do you normally play
the pennywhistle ad shows I mean you
know so the whole the whole Celtic side
of our thing you know there was a time
where we you know we had a couple of
albums that really it back back in the
early 2000s you know it was a big
influence and there were some was off
echoecho that had that kind of influence
and then in 2013 we released kind of a
straight-up Celtic original kind of
Celtic ins inspired album so it’s it’s
it’s a it’s a thread that’s through the
music but if you would actually take our
whole catalog
you know the Celtic stuff would be about
one fifth of it but because there’s a
pennywhistle or whatever it’s it’s very
distinctive it’s what people tend to
remember a lot about so it’s um it’s not
a gimmick but it’s in a little goes a
long way and I know you know I’m very
I’m very limited in my my ability so I
can’t really do the music justice in
terms of the traditional sense of the
Celtic music but it’s kind of a fun
diversion yeah it’s like I have a I’d
take my harmonicas to shows and I’m in
no way a great harmonica player but I am
like I can play I don’t know I use the
right harmonica for the right song and
that goes a long way but it is like I
could play the best guitar solo of my
life and then I pull out the harmonica
and play for you know 20 seconds and
people are like man I loved when you
played the harmonica it’s like man it
like I didn’t put my life’s work into
the harmonica No
they love it it’s just it’s something
different I don’t know what it is it’s
the the novelty of it yeah I think so
yeah I think so that’s it’s an excitable
unexpected thing and I actually really
enjoyed the novelty of Carter had the
lead guitarist he has had at least ten
different instruments on stage
probably more it really kept the music
fresh and you know one song he’s on a
Fender Stratocaster the next he’s on a
like an electric cello and then he’s on
thinking he had mandolin and did he have
a banjo up there yeah there’s so many
different sounds that gave each song a
different texture which really helped
keep the whole concert fresh and
interesting
yeah and that’s and that’s something
that we’ve always valued because you
know going to see a show where a band is
playing the same instruments I mean no
matter how good the songs are and all
mean for me it is it is exciting to kind
of have a different change you know and
I’m lucky we’re lucky that’s you know
you have the basis that plays upright as
well and you can play the boat base and
our drummer can pick up a guitar and you
know and Carter with all of his
instruments so it just allows it allows
us to go to different places and keep us
from getting bored you know mm-hmm yeah
remember you guys did like like the
Eagles when they do seven what’s the one
where they’re all just singing son of
all the harmonies
yeah you guys did something like that
which was very good yeah but did we do
it around the one Mike thinks oh yeah
yeah Oh at the end yeah yeah you’re
constantly trying to try to have a bag
of tricks that
you can switch up yeah actually I think
he turned off the mics yeah that was
unplugged you know yeah everyone really
quiet
you got really quiet in some rooms that
works a lot better than others
the beach show that was a little bit of
a border but um it’s a good way it’s a
good way of like connecting to the
audience like after you know two hours
of plugged in music to just let
everybody hear the room for a second as
kind of a jarring experience yeah really
you know people get caught up in talking
and just a little experience but – you
know I remember some girl was talking
beside me and somebody like jabbed her
in there like hey this is serious you
need to pay attention it really has it
forces everyone to focus it can get ugly
sometimes
I mean people pay people pay to come
into a venue it’s not it’s not
necessarily their responsibility to pay
attention you know it’s it’s our job to
uh to engage people but um
sometimes it gets annoying but usually
we just roll with it yeah what was it
was very effective there I felt from the
audience
good yeah there wasn’t any you know the
girl felt bad it wasn’t she wasn’t mad
that somebody told her to be quiet it
was a positive thing okay so if you had
it looks like you and Carter and Terry
are are you the only three original
members yes because other guys look my
age look what do you well they looked I
mean they look very significantly
younger and I don’t mean that in a bad
way
the Gary Carter and I are original
members our bassist and drummer are or
not John our bassist has been with us
though for 11 years
so you know exact he’s actually at this
point been with us longer than any other
bass player right though he he’s our
fifth player our first guy was with us
for you know just like two or three
years and then quit soon after school
and then we had and then we had another
guy Jordan with us for about ten years
and then and then we went through like
three or four within like the course of
the year before John joined so he’s been
with us eleven years I mean he’s he’s in
my in my mind you know he’s carving
these bass player and and for all
intensive purposes not the founding
member but you know I mean he’s the guy
yeah and and then our drummer jesse has
been with us for about a year and almost
a year and a half now yeah and um yeah
year and a half so you know right now I
couldn’t be happier with the lineup I
mean I I hope I hope this I hope this
stays the way it is we work really hard
and I mean Carbon leaf wouldn’t be here
without the contributions of everybody
that has played with us you know what I
mean and we’re lucky to have them even
if it was for a brief time certainly
lucky to have Jason who was our drummer
for 10 years prior and and Jordan who
played bass so but but as far as the as
far as the makeup and the way we get
along I feel like there’s a lot of great
potential there so we’re just starting
to now with Jesse just starting to be
getting into some writing again because
we spent a couple of years just
restabilizing you know right getting
those players getting getting us all I
mean sometimes you’re just gonna have
that I mean you guys I’m sure know I
mean it’s just you spend so much of your
time just trying to get in the room with
someone and get acquainted and see if
it’s gonna work out and yeah I mean the
fact that any band cancer
I’ve you know getting each of each each
of them having lives having other
dependents having wives and kids and you
know all of these all these factors that
come into play I mean are extraordinary
you know now are you guys all located in
this in the same region so you are you
good you guys do band practice so our
drummer is in Boston which is the first
time you know we’ve had a player kind of
way out way out of town right but it’s
working out we practiced a ton you know
in our in our youth we would practice
every night right and then when we
started touring a lot that practice time
became it came down to like you know we
get together and we rehearse for a tour
or we get together and we write mhm
we don’t just get together and like
practice unless we had like a real good
reason like for going out on the road
right we get together and we scrub up
what we need to scrub up and you know
for in the studio then we’re we’re doing
pre-production or or I have a batch of
songs to present people and say here’s
the next project and then we start you
know working through it but the days
have kind of just hanging out and
getting together to practice doesn’t
happen tons unless we’re just like this
is a writing week come into town so I
would say that would kind of be our
rehearsal okay so you have dedicated
slots of time where you guys kind of get
together and then go over pre-production
or any of those kinds of ideas do you do
any like Skype or Google Hangouts or any
anything like that where you guys talk
together as a as a conference type of
thing at all not not yet okay yeah that
day may come but but right now it’s just
live it’d be nice to get that organized
but we just haven’t gotten that
organized yeah it’s always interesting
to kind of hear different bands
perspectives on how they actually go
about getting that kind of like what you
were saying before that that that vibe
between the however many of you were
there are the five of you or the four of
you or whatever it is kind of getting to
know each other a little bit more and
making sure that that that vibe is there
and being able to bounce ideas off of
each other
yeah is that something that when you
because I know the three of you been
together since the beginning is that
something that you guys kind of
generally talk together about or is that
something you do want mostly on your own
or does the two guitarists work together
as how does that process kind of work
yeah again earlier it would be you know
guys either riding on their own or that
or two guys getting together for an idea
and we we actually the band met in
February Jesse flew in and we spent a
week basically just coming up with ideas
and so we came up with pieces of music
we probably came up with like I don’t
know maybe like 40 40 pieces of music 40
songs or whatever right you should kind
of go all day take turns kind of with
ideas and so and then we’ve done that
once before where we rented a beach
house this was back in 2012 and we set
up for a week and you know we’d make
breakfast and by 10:00 a.m. we were
writing and we would do that with a
break during the day we do that till
10:00 at night and that was that was
really great we came up with like 75
pieces of music nothing nothing that was
lyric driven but that was stuff to give
me right as a kind of concentrated way
of combating the fact that we’re on the
road or you know living up personal
lives outside you know the band
let’s you know instead of just getting
together a night or two here and there
let’s go in and treat it like a thing
seven days it seems to work out pretty
well like that just kind of like just
emergent emergent approach and
everybody’s creative and loose and
you’re allowed to kind of just live and
work in the same space
yeah that sounds it sounds wonderful
actually I think that’s great
yeah it’s a it’s a great way to get a
lot done and and then not have to worry
about you know juggling this this
balanced schedule of course there’s then
they wait on me to kind of come back
with whatever I’m gonna come back with
well like I said like you were saying
before it gives you on the other side of
it you know walking away with 75 tunes
or at least ideas that you can kind of
sift through and depending on where you
feel inspired come up with you know an
albums worth of material versus you know
going into it saying okay we got to come
up with 10 12 tunes to make an album
that gives you more of the the freedom
to kind of just explore yeah and and and
that was the way the first few albums
were you went in and you and you created
12 track you know 12 songs and you cut
an album over the over the years we’ve
accumulated enough demos where I mean I
have I mean I have decades and decades
if all I did was write I mean we have
like I have I have so I take care I take
everything and I put it into my iTunes
and I create playlists based on the way
a certain song sounds to me and I have I
probably have like 15 different folders
where I’ve I’ve either broken things up
into genre or it sounds like this sounds
like a song for a Christmas album or
this sounds like you know a great summer
song I just just named file folders
loosely you know I have stuff write
write these songs at night or I have
song as I say write these songs during
the day just kind of breaking things up
in different ways and then I can pull
from those playlists depending on where
I am what I’m doing how much time I have
and we have 900 we have 900 unfinished
songs like that
and they could either be up just a riff
or something I something I recorded
while I was driving you know not a phone
or a full fledged band song kind of just
waiting so it’s a nice it’s a nice
flexible space to be in because it’s
it’s because we’ve moved past the point
of having to have the whole band
necessarily show up and work on
something even though we still even
though we still do that and we’ll just
add we’ll just add it to the pile so if
we have 40 pieces of music and I know
that there’s probably six of them that
are gonna make it to a project within
the next two years we still have a lot
of stuff to work with down the road
right right even if we broke up even if
we stop touring you know I mean we could
we’d still have decades material that we
could write it yeah yeah um just study
because I come from a little bit of a an
engineering background that always
fascinates me the studio world and
recording you have mentioned a couple
times that you guys had have built your
own studio what was that process like
and if you could tell I would be a
little selfish but you could tell me a
little about like what the studio is and
what you what kind of hardware you guys
are using and what’s in your studio that
always just like intrigues me
I wish Terry was here right now because
he’s our he’s our main engineer and he’s
our and this is the thing this is part
of why we’re successful is that you know
there are some specialties that that
each of us has you know don’t write and
if it’s one it’s certainly one thing
that’s carried us very far as Terry’s
ability to you know be able to
successfully engineer you know the
recordings mm-hmm
so he and he’s out of town right now or
else he’d be here but um to answer a few
those questions but um he he he got it
when we were just out of school just
forming carbon leaf you know that was
his his job out of college was working
at a recording studio in Richmond in
your ear was the studio and he basically
said you know I’ll Alan you know I’ll do
whatever he’s like but they they
literally put him to lobby answering
phones and sweeping floors and and then
they put him in the dub room and you
know he started learning how to make
tubs and then they put him in you know
as an assistant engineer to the beat the
B the B seat you know the B engineer and
worked his way up to be engineer and
then assistant to the a engineer and
then worked his way to being an a
engineer at the studio so over the
course of you know seven or eight years
he became legit legit and actually we
learned a lot the studio let at the time
they let us go in after hours and made
our first couple of records meander
shadows in the banquet hall ether
electrified porch music were all all
made in the off hours at that studio so
he would work a full day I would be off
work in my day job or the management
stuff and then we would meet at night
and we would record through the night
and when you’re young of course you can
do that you know you can like get get an
hour sleep and do it all again yeah and
so we learned time sitting there in the
dark you know and when we you know we
made we made echo echo we made Indian
summer at a different studio you know
this was back in the early aughts you
know and you know we spent like $80,000
making in B in summer at a at a studio
and some of that contest money that we
used from Pontiac and all that we use to
make Indian summer insane amounts of
money even even by those standards we
spent way too much but it just it was
what it was we were we were creating we
were creating in the studio that was
billing you know it’s six seven eight
hundred dollars for the day we didn’t
come in with the fresh with a batch of
songs well rehearsed and let’s record it
we were
we were creating you know you’re like
it’s like Oh miss Abbey Road we’re like
you know let’s invent it so you know
after those experiences as the new
technology you know kind of you know was
put into the musicians hands Pro Tools
and whatnot and Terry was very kind of
astute and kind of you know learning
these things we realized that we could
make albums cheap cheaper when the
record label said we’ll pay you $15,000
for your fourth release on the right on
the label we were like well we can
probably make this for six not not you
know not having the gear yet but anyway
so when we left the label we said let’s
just build our own studio and you know
we kind of borrowed the money I don’t
know 30 40 50 thousand dollars I think
it put it in the studio and and so we
use a Pro Tools rig and upstairs is
where I am now and it’s a it’s a
detached garage upstairs as the editing
suite okay so I’m kind of sitting at the
at the you know there’s a monitor here
and speakers and this is this is where
he and I would sit and mix and produce
the record yeah downstairs we have the
studio space where the drums are set up
and all the good everyone has their own
station and everything’s miked up and
kind of ready to go okay
so we can kind of come in and get be set
up within you know fairly short amount
of time to either either demo or record
so at this point now if we if we are
recording ideas they are they’re miked
and and everything is is is ready to go
so then if the demo becomes you know the
template the demo can easily become you
know the track right right right
right and that’s not like it’s not like
we’re just demoing and then we’ll go
officially record you know everything
sounds really great out of the gate yeah
and by the sounds of it that’s something
that just that studio is something that
you guys only use you don’t you don’t
like you don’t know you source that out
for other people to come in and record
know okay now we just you know it’s set
up to do it easily enough but we just we
don’t have the time right right I didn’t
know I I don’t know what um Terry’s
background it is I don’t know if he
would if he would want to do something
like that as a side project or not I
know I would he definitely enjoys he
definitely enjoys that yeah yeah but
typically if there’s if there’s time
that he has you know to work on this
music it’s gonna be carving these stuff
I mean there’s there’s no shortage of
things that we have that we need to do
or want to get to right right right
right yeah absolutely
it’s not it’s not really we’re not a
true we’re not really in a position to
side hustle you know we’re we’re pretty
we are pretty around the clock on carbon
leaf stuff yeah well that’s nice that’s
that’s nice that you have that available
to you to kind of just take advantage of
it any time in any moment where you’re
feeling the inspiration you screw down
the studio and lay some tracks down
that’s that’s that’s great yeah all the
projects are you know again in Pro Tools
and I can you know I can kind of sit
here and and you know pull a mic up and
I can record my own my own vocals or
scratch usually for each projects once
that once we’ve tracked I’ll come in at
night in the off hours and I will and
I’ll record my vocals kind of like this
standing up and all but um and then to
play back and I’ll just I’ll make the
rough at its of what I want and then
he’ll come back through and we’ll clean
it up so it works up works out pretty
well yeah that’s great you know we got
in the studio got flooded last year
while we were on tour so we deal with
that Zefram the hurricane it came
through you know what
it wasn’t the hurricane it was just
the bad rain June June first we are per
Maryland and the something in the system
that in the neighborhood got blocked up
and this wall of water came down the
cul-de-sac we’re at the very end of a
cul-de-sac and it’s just Kings it came
gushing down no no put up foot of water
in the base downstairs I don’t know
could have been worse but you know
there’s about $25,000 worth of damage
Wow
and we’re still trying to you know and
it’s it’s back to normal but we’re
trying to take the opportunity to
upgrade things down there just make it a
little nicer yeah so with Carter I want
to jump over to Carter’s guitar playing
a little bit because we do have you know
Aaron and I are both guitarists first
and foremost well Aaron claims I think I
guess your studio stuff is equal to it
but yeah I am your live shows did
feature Carter more I think then a lot
of the recordings at least that I’ve
listened to I won’t I don’t claim to be
to have listened all your stuff but uh
you know I feel like in the live show he
really stood out and I think for
guitarists like that can be important to
to see that where in your discography
could somebody who loves guitar where
could they hear more of that certain
certain album that are certain songs
that he’s featured on more live acoustic
and in CinemaScope
is a is they live a kind of acoustic
album the double album that’s got a
little bit that stretches out some of
the songs a little bit like we do live
because the you know they’re really
really it’s more like kind of a song or
two each album has as you know some of
Carter’s features like in Indian summer
has let your troubles roll by the solo
and
echo echo has you know maybe today where
there’s this kind of jam at the end but
usually it’s not like here’s the jammy
record you know I think as we do more
live stuff which we want to do more more
live album kind of things you know we
might have some of that some of that
featured and even some records that
might actually be full on a Jami or a
fair again getting back to kind of how I
have things playlisted you know there’s
definitely definitely definitely some
stuff like that that just need a modicum
of lyrics and uh and the rest could be
the Carter show but you know we record
all of our live shows when we put them
up for you know ten bucks and so you
know if people want to hear you know a
lot of that we will do it we used to do
a lot more than we do now I think just
trying to think back it’s you know shows
from so long ago I think at some point
we were like what are we are we a jam
band or if we you know we’re like this
kind of hybrid like folk rock band with
me who’s a lead vocalist and a
microphone what do we want to be you
know I know the band can jam you know
six ways to Sunday I don’t know if
that’s the phrase or not but it sounds
good we’ll take it yeah and we’ve done
that in the past but it’s like you know
are we you know what’s what’s the point
like are we playing to like the one
guitar player in the room or are we you
know you know who are we trying to
impress and and why and yeah where’s the
bat I guess where’s the balance of you
know performance and and song cuz we’ve
always been like a song oriented band
not just get up there and do a couple of
obligatory you know lines of verse and
then and then go off in the solo land
you know and there’s a lot of bands that
do that
yeah and that’s what they’re there for I
think those we talked through this
podcast and all the different artists
that we’ve talked to and even me just
listening to a tons and tons of
interviews with bands
it’s the bands that have a tendency to
redefine themselves or redevelop
themselves that kind of have the most
success
I know we’ve used people like Herbie
Hancock as an example or just the bands
that and you take any band that you
think of and how over the years the
bands that have a tendency to kind of
discover new angles on music they have
Tennessee they have a tendency to kind
of have the most success with their fans
because you know the fans are along for
the ride as much as does anybody sure
it’s it’s a it’s a hard game to play
that’s for sure
it is a hard game to play there’s a
there’s a wide spectrum of interest from
our fan base I feel like some bands you
know they have I don’t know how to put
this without it’s sounding like a
positive or negative on one side of the
other but you know some artists might
have a certain group of people who have
a more collective mind about what
they’re what they want out of an artist
you know and I feel like I feel like for
us we have we have a wide spectrum of
Ages you know from from from kids on up
to you know older folks and everybody in
between we got some people that want to
hear the Celtic stuff we got some people
that don’t hear the Celtic stuff we got
some people that want to hear more more
jams we got more people that are that
are you know that want to hear Lear
driven performance you know so it’s it’s
really just kind of having that balance
and at the end of the day kind of being
like this is the best we can kind of do
with the two hours that we’ve got right
some some regions of the country you you
do have you do shift your strategy a
little bit you know so that um you know
there’s certain rooms that are just that
are more attuned it’s you don’t know
this until you go through and play him
several times you know sometimes you go
to a town you’re like hasha we are we
bombing you know it’s like no they’re
just they’re like really listening
they’re like looking at you and being
like this is you know I’m into it
where’s other places you go and they’re
just like bonkers you know it’s like
Chapel Hill is like a very list it’s if
they’re they’re like very attuned to
what you’re doing and if you even if you
play and get real quiet the room will
get real quiet
same with Burlington the cat’s cradle
does that replay in trouble yeah
cat’s cradle I love that they’re like
you know they’re and they’re they’re
like moving with you like whatever your
ideas is their idea but then you’ve got
a different read like Virginia Beach is
a good example or or st. maybe st. Louis
where you know there’s it’s just kind of
like it’s a very room is like breathing
in different places you know and you
have to kind of yeah they’re like corral
people a little bit more right or maybe
not be as subtle so it just changes kind
of where you depending on where you go I
find that even in just playing only in
the Virginia Beach area I’d I have to
change what I’m playing every night
based on I mean within my repertoire but
you know one bar might be a brewery has
a very different vibe from somewhere in
the oceanfront or two written and you
could have something like the vanguard
in Hampton where it’s just a totally
different room and it’s not even
necessarily a different region it’s just
a different people go there with a
different mindset huh yeah and you’re
playing a brewery I mean you know it’s
it’s it’s it’s usually concrete and
glass it’s loud you know there’s no
acoustics they’re not you know it’s not
a it’s not a it’s not a performance
friendly space I would imagine but it’s
a friendly I feel like people are very
so it’s usually great
audience yeah it’s not acoustically
great but it is uh yeah I like playing
the brewery’s more than playing bars
sure it’s the different just very
different vibe people seem to be there
to have it’s usually a little earlier in
the day it’s earlier kind of evening
drinking rather than late at night
getting drunk
yeah you’re not competing with TV you
know TV screens from I mean you’re
probably still dealing with kind of you
know people that are chatting cuz that’s
just what people are doing they’re
meeting up yeah yeah and you probably
have your work cut out for you
just just from being a soloist as well
right you have to you have to wear all
the hats musically yeah yeah my point
was more you know on the fact that I
think it’s a good thing for all
musicians to think about just you have
to read your audience and you have to
you have to follow them or you have to
go where you think they want to go and
it doesn’t always work a lot of times
you have to you know cast in different
directions and like oh maybe they really
don’t like classic rock like I’ll try a
country song like oh they don’t like
that either and then you try you know
blues and you might finally find
something that they react well to you
might find nothing that they react to
and you’re just like oh I’m just gonna
play whatever I want
yeah and then and it kind of goes back
to what she did fun yeah you were saying
is it all depends on it’s hard to read a
crowd sometimes sometimes when they’re
just like nothing there it’s you know
you think you’re not connecting with
them but you’re actually really
connecting with them because they’re
really concentrating on what you’re
doing and it does have to do with region
as well in terms of how the East Coast
crowd is much different than the West
Coast crowd and then you do have people
who are like bouncy and into the music
and want to dance and then you also have
crowds that they just in the back of the
room they’re just standing there with
their arms crossed and they just stand
there and they are the musicians yeah
I’m talking I’m trying to watch what
he’s doing raise the poker face
musicians with our art school
that’s right waiting waiting for the
singer to quit singing so Cardinal solo
it’s funny it’s it’s so true though
there’s so many different kinds of fans
out there that you have to kind of just
try to gauge yeah yeah I mean and and we
you know we I think we have you know we
have we have I always joked at Carbon
leaf is like you know depressing lyrics
with a really you know of you know with
a really you know plucky beat I don’t
know you know we we we try to strike a
balance where we’re not taking ourselves
seriously you know but but we’re we’re
also not just playing to the crowd and
being afraid to play the songs that
we’ve written and tell a kind of a more
of a balanced story of what we what we
have what we do and I think after making
set lists or so many years I mean
there’s just it really you know the
order of how you put things out really
does make a huge difference in the night
and and so we’ve gotten pretty pretty
good at kind of knowing knowing what to
do there and and and that certainly
helps you know out of curiosity where
does the name Carbon leaf come from we
so when we formed in college we hadn’t
played out yet and it was I think it was
a spring getting in the spring semester
and we were Terry and I were taking a
rafting trip with a school-sponsored
rafting trip and coming back from the
trip we were like we got to come up with
a name we you know we’ve got a we had
the you know some gigs coming up on
campus and one of them was gonna be this
this girl friend of ours was having an
off-campus thing and she wanted us to
play on her porch and we’re like we need
a name and I start gonna start thinking
about this you know and we were just
driving through the woods and just you
know looking out the window and just
fit on whatever came to mind and I was
like carbon leaf and you know we kind of
thought about it we’re like oh that’s
kind of interesting but it was basically
two random words kind of thrown together
that evoked an interesting image yeah
and and of course our you know when we
brought it to the guys Carter’s always
fine with whatever
I think Palmer was fairly indifferent
our basis at the time our drummer didn’t
like it at all always one and and so I
think we had spent a little bit more
time meeting about it and trying to come
up with lists and we would write them it
down and and we couldn’t agree on
anything and then the girl that was high
you know that was having us basically
just decided to put carbon leaf on the
poster because she’d heard you know we
were like well we’re thinking about this
one name we’re not sure yet so she I
think she made up posters and put her on
campus that carbon leaf was playing and
from there we just were never able to
recover right right right
it became our name and we weren’t able
to come up with anything better and and
I and I liked it I mean I came up with
it and I thought it was I thought it
evokes something interesting and it kind
of mirrors what what you do with art
it’s like it was two random words that
come together to form something new just
like when you’re creating you’re like
you’re putting pieces together and you
don’t really have the definition yet
right and and so then you said that and
so so basically we came up with this
thing and then we set out to define it
as kind of how I look at it you know so
looking back carbon leaf started with
just two words thrown together but with
no content and and now it’s kind of like
this this bowl that’s got this stuff in
it and that’s carbon tea yeah very cool
yeah I’m glad you asked that end yeah
yeah
I’ve always wondered a nothing it was
nothing premeditated or deep to begin
with
it was literally just a spontaneous it
was just a spontaneous thing yeah your
five guys they get together randomly
because you’re at school together
there’s no there’s no rhyme or reason to
it it was all just happenstance yeah you
know I’m walking down the dorm and I
hear Terry playing kook acoustic guitar
and and that’s the start that’s great
just kind of trip you kind of trip trip
into it yeah and you had no intention of
becoming a professional musician I
assumed no no I still don’t what did you
think he wanted to do I was I mean I was
I was all set to be an actor and
filmmaker and a screenwriter or not that
was what I that was what I was doing in
college and and that’s that’s that was
kind of be my kind of path I didn’t have
any plan but I was doing theater and I
was in the writing and I was I was into
wanting to do that and and then just got
you know I mean I’m writing and
performed it’s just in a different space
you get sidetracked it’s good sidetrack
right right right it’s kind of just kind
of go with it well you do what I did see
that you played you did play a role in a
movie it at one point right they had
they filmed Lincoln the movie Lincoln
here Steven Spielberg movie yeah yeah
and to saw that month again yeah 2011
and they had local auditions for
principal parts that weren’t them you
know the major leads you know right
right right I auditioned and I got I got
a part and so yeah it was ten days on
set my part got cut but um it was just a
little thing but um I got to grow a
beard for eight months so that was fun
very cool very cool yeah yeah it was it
was a lot of fun to see them work I
could actually see you if you grow out
your beard longer and dyed it
I feel like you could wear the top hat
and you could get the link in the Danny
yeah to show you a picture of me that
looking looking a lot like I was
actually Abraham Lincoln at a show once
back in when we were opening for
Fighting Gravity back in like 2000 it
was like 1999 it was a Halloween show
and uh I dressed like Lincoln
it was um was kind of a trip yeah
because you’re pretty tall too right
your that’s my argument is that I got
cut from the movie because I look too
much like Daniel day-lewis didn’t want
to compete yeah the spielberg didn’t
want to confuse the audience looks like
thank ya which one so you you’ve you’ve
played with quite a few bands that saw
like big head Todd the monsters
obviously Delia’s band what have been
some of your favorite collaborations
well you know it’s funny we I would say
arguably that we haven’t played with
tons of people considering our longevity
I mean we did it we did a long we did a
tour with big head Todd that was like
maybe a five or six week tour and
they’re really good yeah I got some good
songs and have a good devoted fanbase
the we did a we did a tour with Blues
Traveler yeah and we just did side stage
stuff for you know like Dave Matthews
and John Mayer and all I and Counting
Crows I can’t a guy somehow it got out
there that we would that we went on tour
with his guys we never went on tour with
those guys we did a string of side-stage
you know parking lot gigs okay
but the you know we went on several
tours with Great Big Sea which is a
which was a
banned from Newfoundland kind of the
influences when we were younger kind of
Celtic influenced band and that was a
lot of fun they had a devoted fanbase
and we got a lot of our early bass from
you know those kinds of gigs what
playing for a thousand people a night
you know that never heard you it was a
real gift and so we did that for um
several runs but other than that you
know we’ve kind of been out of our own
grind in and out in the cities and just
picking up people each time through it’s
really hard to do nowadays you know
without some kind of other you know it’s
not like it’s the 70s where you just
write your tour and then you know people
here and you know the the the the the
ease the fanzine that you’re coming to
town and you know people work people
just really don’t just mostly they don’t
just come out uninitiated well that kind
of brings up this other idea in terms of
I know we’ve talked a lot about venues
but what about festivals since the
summer is coming up you know again
haven’t been a huge festival band
there’s a certain you know there’s a
certain cachet that the festivals you
know are looking for you know there’s
you know that their eyes are looking
towards kind of what’s hot right now
who’s got something going on with the
with the song or who you know can the
buyer make trades with with certain you
know agents or labels and and say hey
I’ll bring on I’ll bring on these guys
that you’re developing if we can get
this guy at a certain price there’s a
fair amount of that going on that we’re
not a part of you know we’re not on a
label right now we don’t have you know a
viral video or a song on the on the you
know making its rounds right now so a
lot of that stuff kind of comes and goes
and we’ll do we’ll do some of the kind
of more community minded festival stuff
hmm but you know carbon leaf right now
isn’t like a name that’s going to be
like in the bottom pot you know and some
of the some of the stuff that’s going on
in our region where we where we would
have value for the festival you know we
play we play that we play that region
enough on our own throughout the year
where the promoters they want you to
stay out of the market if you’re gonna
play their festival you know they’ll say
stay out of the market for a year here
we’re like well let’s that’s a little
hard for us to do because it’s a part of
our bottom line so it’s like Coachella
doesn’t let the artists play a show
within like a couple months of the
festival I mean at least it would be
brutal if you depending on that income
well yeah if you’re on tour and you’re
promoting something so it’s but anyway
it’s it’s a powerful thing to be
advertised like that you know you
certainly certainly they want it but it
is hard to balance if you’re if you’re a
working band you’re like look we can’t
just sit around for a festival
dude you played it Duke back in the late
2000s I believe it was like 2007 or 2008
no three and I sadly do didn’t see you
but I’m pretty sure that was you guys
they came well the problem I heard of
you we played Duke at 2008 well there
you go so you were there
April 23rd yeah it was the last classes
right
I think it’s party on campus yep I don’t
know where were you I was being an idiot
probably but I don’t think I don’t think
many people were there if I recall
you might have been you were earlier in
the day so I might have had class it’s
very it was actually the last day of
classes but they would have banned setup
all across campus and I’m like they had
great music it was a really really fun
day but I remember hearing about you
guys and I did wonder like who reached
out to you for that or did you reach out
to Duke I don’t remember that was 2008 I
don’t know how someone probably just
approached the agency tell you the truth
I don’t know I didn’t I didn’t I didn’t
handle that yeah I mean it’s not a huge
deal but it’s just something that I
personally came in you know I have a
personal connection to you and very
vaguely remembered that we were there
like a you know it looks like Harry
Potter’s Hogwarts oh yeah it’s Gordon
gorgeous there I love it
her our current our sound man and Turin
tour manager went to Duke graduate from
Duke I think I told you that and an
email yeah Doug Doug Ross so we played
we played a Nashville last week last
Friday during the game was it was it
Friday Duke played on Sunday they lost
to Michigan State
yeah but they played on Friday against
Virginia Tech yeah
that was against tack right yeah I joked
from the stage that are some our
engineer probably wouldn’t it that we
wouldn’t sound very good because they’re
so engineers probably back there
watching the TV what uh I mean where did
you play a national I grew up in that
the gray eagle great Eagle okay
Asheville is a great a love Asheville
yeah you great I grew up like an 80
miles east of Asheville kind of between
Asheville and Charlotte yeah but my
parents live up near Asheville now so
every time I go back I’m I try to go
into Asheville at least for a day or go
see
concert yeah yeah it’s a cool place it’s
getting getting a bit built up yeah I
mean not the bad way it’s just you know
every time we go back it’s like a little
bit more than just kind of a Main Street
seems like yeah they they call it the
the Boulder of the East the Boulder of
the east yeah kind of the hippie town in
the middle of the mountains which are
the ski down a hippie town without a ski
town
yeah yeah there’s some skiing there but
it’s it’s icy yeah that is you know it
makes the one in Charlottesville it’s
called um wintergreen it makes
wintergreen wintergreen looks great
after you grew up skiing North Carolina
yeah I’m just saying something all right
well Barry before we uh before we do
wrap this up what are the future plans
for carbon leaf well we need to get some
new music out so we’re working on that
right now we have a little April run
that we’re doing as a Monday we will
head out and to or most of April and
then we’re going to come back and do a
try to shoot some video stuff in May but
mostly for me it’s going to be right you
know writing and and hopefully recording
by this late spring and summer and got a
fault or that’s already lined up so yeah
I’d say just new music and videos which
is something we haven’t done enough of
so return it and get a plan together for
that now those are videos for YouTube or
what
yeah we want to do a mix of live
performance videos and some concept
videos and things like that and but but
but mainly just get to get all of us
kind of writing you know again with
Jesse joining us a year and a half ago
who you know we handed him a hundred and
some carbon leaf songs to learn for the
tours you know we’re kind of at that
level level now where it’s like all
right we have our show we have our
catalogue let’s get some new music going
let’s you know give him a creative stake
and kind of you know what we are right I
think is super important and we’re
excited for it cuz he’s a super talented
guy I mean he’s he’s the best singer in
the band and he you know plays great
drums play guitar you know he writes so
there’s tons of collaboration
opportunities for us to get into and
it’s been a long time since we’ve really
been able to sit down and and right
right looking forward to that got a long
list of things to do very exciting yeah
that’ll be very cool to look forward to
here’s some new material out of you guys
that’d be great
yeah I agree so we’re working on it we
really do appreciate your time could you
let our audience know where they can go
to find more about you and carbon leaf
you can find carbon leaf at
carbonite.com or our facebook page slash
carbon leaf instagram / carbon leaf at a
show near you I don’t know yeah awesome
perfect yeah you guys are awesome you’re
real you know you’re inspiring because
of your you were out there grinding and
yeah it’s very respectable you’re
successfully grinding in a way that we
can hope I hope to get to you yeah well
I don’t quote Chuck Norris very often
but you know he reminded me wants to
make your own breaks so that’s what you
got to do coming from a karate
I guess that’s what you gotta do I make
your own breaks yeah everybody needs to
quote Chuck Morse more awesome
well hey very have a great day thank you
very much we’re do appreciate it thank
you and thanks beautiful thank you
yeah right thanks Joe yeah yep it was
great good to know you guys yeah yeah
[Music]
you

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