From Arizona are The Black Moods who just dropped their new single “Bella Donna” and is putting out a new EP soon, produced by Johnny K (3 Doors Down, Plain White Tees, Pop Evil). Their music has a variety of influences including Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Candlebox, and Cage The Elephant. Don’t forget The Doors though as one of their documentaries influenced the name “The Black Moods.” As Josh says though, below in the interview, their music is “eclectic, but without question, rock’n’roll. One big thing about this band as it says in their bio, although their music is not dated, is that their music is a “homage” to the days when bands got their credits by their great live shows rather than studio tricks.
The band has built a loyal and big following in Arizona as they sometimes play 3 days a week in the Phoenix area. They even make it out to Mexico sometimes as it is right there as they played to more than 3,000 fans at a festival out there by Rocky Point. This festival was included as one of the shows out of 5 in 4 days. One fortunate thing about playing in the Southwest so much is how they met Candlebox lead singer Kevin Martin at a gig in Phoenix. Josh talks in the interview how he became a “great friend and ambassador to what they are doing.” He also tells the story about the time he met him. In addition to Candlebox, The Black Moods has played a lot of shows with other 90’s bands too including Roger Clyne And The Peacemakers, Everclear, and Eve 6 which was intentional.
It is a pretty big time for the band as rocker “Bella Donna” just got released to Spotify and will be released to radio soon. The Johnny K produced EP will also be released soon which Josh says is “broad stylistically” but still sounds like the band. Be sure to check out the band at their live shows that they have coming up. All the new songs will be played as well as some “yet to be recorded tracks.”
(Photo by Jim Louvau).
Interview with Josh Kennedy of The Black Moods
AR: Bella Donna is a rocking tune where I hear influences of numerous bands I listen to. I know a lot of the band’s sound is influenced by Foo Fighters Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and Tom Petty. Which bands/artists would you say influenced this song in particular? I hear vibes of Candlebox (especially in the intro), Cage The Elephant, and Foo Fighters. Were any of those artists part of the influence for the sound of this song?
JOSH: Absolutely. Everyone you named has had an impact on our writing. We are good friends with Kevin Martin Of Candlebox, who has been such a great friend and ambassador to what we are doing. The Doors, Zeppelin and Petty live in everything we do. This song, specifically, was born from “Love me two Times” by the Doors and some “Schools Out” by Alice Cooper. There are plenty of unspoken sentiments of Free, Cream, Bad Company, the Eagles and QUEEN in our songs.
AR: Your sound seems to have an interesting mix of styles. I definitely hear the blues influences, but it also seems to have a modern feel with the vocals being so clear where it could appeal to a wide audience even hitting the mainstream rock/alternative market. Would you agree or what would you say about what audiences your music appeals to? Is it hard to put your music into one single genre?
JOSH: I think it’s fair to say It’s “rock’n’roll”. People love good music. I was born in the Ozarks, where Skynyrd, Creedence and J.J. Cale reigned, so you can’t help but have that seep into your style. We are also nineties babies, so bands like Stone Temple Pilots, The Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, and Nirvana were all heavy influences on our songwriting.
AR: Bella Donna seems to have some radio appeal. Will you be releasing this song or any of the other songs on your new EP to radio?
JOSH: We are. It’s actually going to radio right now, and already being spun in certain markets.
AR: It looks like you and the band just finished recording the six song EP. Can you give some insight into what the rest of the EP will sound like? Will some songs sound similar to Bella Donna? Will they sound like your other albums released?
JOSH: It’s a bit broad stylistically, but it still sounds like us. The songs on the new EP are pretty eclectic. It’s rock’n’roll. We were listening to a lot of the Cars and The Doors at the time we made it.
AR: Johnny K produced your new EP. What would you say he brought to the table and did he work well with the band? One thing I noticed about Johnny K’s work from being a big 3 Doors Down fan is that the music usually comes out heavy but also clear (especially in the vocals) with somewhat of a mainstream appeal. Do you think your EP came out like that?
JOSH: Johnny is now one of our best friends. He’s for one, A BRILLIANT producer. He’s also funny as hell and makes us feel good about what we do. On this EP, he was most certainly the 4th Mood.
AR: You said you have a good relationship with Kevin Martin of Candlebox, and I know you played shows with them before and even joined them on stage to sing “Far Behind” at a show in Arizona. How did you become such good friends with him and what was it like playing with Candlebox during their set? Any chance of a collaboration on a song in the future?
JOSH: I met Kevin when Candlebox was playing a show in Tempe, AZ. I was on the side of the stage, and he randomly came over during their set and asked where we were going after the show. I said “The Last Exit” which I knew was closed that night, because the owners were standing next to me. He proceeded to announce the after party was going to be there to the crowd, which led to the owners to have to run out of the venue, head to their bar and open it up. It wound up being one of the best nights we ever had there. It turned into a big jam session. Kevin and I ended up playing some Zeppelin songs together and just kept in touch ever since. Getting to actually go on stage and play with them is a rush. I remember when I first heard Far Behind. It hit me hard. I got that record through Columbia House, which was a mail order music service along with Nirvana’s “Never Mind”, Gin Blossoms’ “New Miserable Experience” and Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After”. As far as a collaboration, Kevin and I have talked about writing together, our schedules just haven’t lined up yet.
(Josh Kennedy is playing with Candlebox during this performance)
AR: As well as playing shows with Candlebox, you were also support for other bands that were popular in the ‘90s like Everclear, Eve 6, Blues Traveler, Jane’s Addiction, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, and Shinedoown. What do you think it is about your music that got you paired with all these bands from that era?
JOSH: To be honest, we kind of seek them out. Those are some of my favorite bands and I really like playing with bands that I’m a fan of. They did have a huge impact on us, but we have also played with bands like War and Heart, that we are big fans of. Our style can kind of fit with a broad spectrum of bands. We wanna play with everyone.
AR: How was it playing shows with those bands mentioned above who you toured with? Did you learn a lot of things that would help you record and play live shows better?
JOSH: It’s amazing playing shows with your heroes. I love music so much, I always turn into a sponge when I’m around it. So getting to see it first hand from the people that inspired you, you can’t help but take it in and learn.
AR: Since you guys are from Arizona, how was it like starting out as a band out there? It seems like you still play a good amount of shows there so I assume it is a good music scene in which you gained a lot of fans from? Do you agree?
JOSH: I agree. Arizona has always been great to us. There are so many great musicians in Arizona, and our fans are so amazing and supportive. We are so grateful. And it’s such a beautiful state.
AR: What kind of songs can the fans expect to hear at the new shows? Songs from the new EP? Aside from these shows that you have listed now, are more in the works anytime soon to support the new EP?
JOSH: All six of the EP songs, and songs from our first two records, as well as some yet-to-be-recorded tracks. The songs on the new EP are pretty eclectic, but without question, rock’n’roll.
The Black Moods on Social Media
(Picture by Jim Louvau).