Candy Coated Fury: Our Interview With Reel Big Fish's Aaron Barrett

PHOTO CREDIT: Rob Inderrieden

Few bands stay together for fifteen years, much less maintain the energy and creativity like Reel Big Fish. Their mix of rock with ska influences have stood the test of time throughout rock movements and music fads. Multi-year veterans of the Warped Tour, Reel Big Fish are about to release their seventh studio album, Candy Coated Fury. Singer Aaron Barrett spoke with us about the new album, their tour with Goldfinger, and more:

Candy Coated Fury is your seventh album and unlike the last album, consists of original songs instead of covers. How do you decide when to record and release covers or original songs?
Actually, our last release was a "best of" collection and before that, an album of acoustic versions of our songs but the covers album was just a fun thing to do. We had never done a proper covers album and we had no new songs written at the time, so that's why we released Fame, Fortune and Fornication. There's no scientific method to why we do things, it just seemed like a fun idea at the time, and it was a lot of fun to do.

Does Candy Coated Fury represent a new direction musically or lyrically for the band?
Not at all, on this album we are doing what we do best! Candy Coated Fury pretty much describes what Reel Big Fish does. Hateful, mean, sarcastic and sometimes sad lyrics over happy, wacky, silly, joyous, fast music that makes you want to dance. It's candy coated fury and it sums our band, our humor, and message up in 3 words. I definitely was very conscious this time about how danceable the songs were and how they make you move when you listen to them. It had been a long time since I really thought about the danceability of our songs. Also, I was very conscious about the lyrics. I really wanted to recapture that same angry, hateful humor from the first two albums, Turn The Radio Off and Why Do They Rock So Hard?, and I definitely tried to write some angry hateful love songs too because I haven't written any of those in a long time and our first two albums also had a lot of those.

Are there any guests on the album?
Yes, quite a few! Our friends from Sonic Boom Six are on it, Coolie Ranx who also appeared on Why Do They Rock So Hard?, Brian Klemm from Suburban Legends and our Friend Julie Stoyer does an awesome duet with me called "I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore."

Despite many lineup changes, RBF has been together for over a decade. How has the core essence of the group persisted for so long?
It's always been me writing the songs and keeping this whole thing going since day one, the "driving force" or the one with the "vision" or whatever. I just kinda think of it like I'm the captain of a ship and sometimes sailors come and go but it's always the same captain and the same ship.

The upcoming Summer Of Ska tour has a lineup of bands like Goldfinger that also have been established for a while. How did you decide to tour with them?
We've been friends with Goldfinger since 1995 so when they decided they wanted to do a summer tour we were all about it. Suburban Legends is another band that we are good friends with and they are always fun to tour with. Big D are a great band we love to tour with too. I don't know, it all just came together, one of those no-brainer situations.

Any plans to perform together on stage?
Our horn players always end up getting on stage with Goldfinger for a song or two and someone in Goldfinger always runs up during our set and sings with us or grabs a guitar and plays a song so you'll definitely see both bands performing together

ASG (Artist Series Guitar) will be selling a Reel Big Fish guitar. What was the inspiration for the guitar design?
I never thought I'd see the day there was a Reel Big Fish model guitar! I made it Hawaiian print because I always wear Hawaiian shirts and then we put our mean fish logo on it. It's a great guitar, it feels good and sounds awesome! I've been playing it on stage this whole tour!

Lately, many bands have been going on tour to perform a favorite album of theirs in entirety. Would you ever consider that? If so, which album would you choose?
We would most likely do Turn The Radio Off since that is most people's favorite. We've done that before a few times. That album has the most hits and crowd pleasers on it. i think it would be fun to do Why Do They Rock So Hard?, that's an awesome album.

Two more questions: first album, cassette, or CD you bought with your own money?
The Ghostbusters soundtrack.

You're in charge of a music festival and you can pick and five acts, dead or alive, to perform. Which five do you choose and what song do you all perform as the all-star jam finale?
Right Said Fred, MC Hammer, ABBA, Stryper and Tiffany. At the end of the night, they do a twenty-minute version of "La Bamba."

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