Carver Commodore Combats Cruel Kings with Latest Single, “Queens”
Fighting against the man is a long-held tradition in rock music, and Alabama-based alternative rock band Carver Commodore is keeping up the tradition with their latest single, “Queens.” Dropped on August 20th, 2021, the track is the first single from Carver Commodore’s second LP, and is “about and for anyone who has felt marginalized or held down by the people who make decisions.”
“Oppression has been around as long as humans have… so I figured the subject of kings and queens was fitting!”Payton of Carver Commodore on their latest single, “Queens”
Driven and well-mixed, the instrumentals of “Queens” lead us into energetic vocals that open the storybook on a world that doesn’t look much different from ours. The oppressed character Carver Commodore creates could be any number of people who has “been held down since forever began / been torn apart and put together again.” Alongside the band’s signature groovy percussion and zesty, interjecting guitar lines, the dynamic storytelling of rising up against those who wish to push you down is easy to get lost in, making the track’s 3:04 running time go by in a flash–until you start the song over again to listen more! In every note and even the spaces between, Carver Commodore presents a dynamic listening experience with a solid message with “Queens.”
To celebrate the release of “Queens” and its accompanying music video to come on August 26, I asked Carver Commodore to share a bit with me about the track, their creative process, and life on the road.
CC Talks Kings and Queens
Alexa: Tell me about the story behind the new single!
Payton: “Queens” started as a riff that I thought sounded like a Queens of the Stone Age song, so I put it down in a demo with the working title “Queens!” I kept working on the demo, got it kind of where I wanted it to be musically, and began writing lyrics. I didn’t really know what the song was about at first, but as I kept writing, it became clear that it was about oppression! Oppression has been around as long as humans have (often imparted by whoever’s in charge onto whoever they’re in charge of) so I figured the subject of kings and queens was fitting! The song is from the perspective of someone who has been/is being oppressed, and looks at those who oppress them and (in the chorus) refuses to be held down any longer.
A: What are your favorite lyrics from the new song and why?
David: It’s hard to narrow it down! I honestly love the chorus, “Kings. Queens. An army of teens. They couldn’t stop me.” It’s direct. It’s simple. It paints a powerful picture.
P: Honestly the whole second verse for me: “Look at you now / You got nobody to hurt / Go run and hide / Under your empire of dirt / I’m sure you’ll fight it / You’re charismatic / You’ve got some powerful friends / But don’t get excited / Don’t be nearsighted / You’ll miss me coming again.”
I wrote it with our former president in mind (near the end of his tenure). It paints a picture of a paper man that crumbles at the touch of someone brave.
A: From your first song, “Stars and Galaxies,” to your latest release, what has changed about your creative process? Why?
P: “Stars & Galaxies” was written WAY back in 2014 when Phil & I were in a totally different band (learn more about that here). So when we wrote it, I came up with the main riff and recorded it on my phone, took it to that band, and we worked on it until we got it where we wanted it. When CC formed in 2016 we decided to keep that song around, so we totally changed the vibe and I rewrote some of the lyrics to get it where it ended up in the version that’s out now!
“Queens” was written in a similar way – but since we all live in different cities now (about 2 hours apart), I usually demo out the songs fully before sending them to the rest of the band. Once they hear them, they make suggestions, and we take it into the studio and make final changes there. Sometimes the songs start with lyrics, sometimes with music. Sometimes it starts with me revisiting an idea from months or even years earlier! Just depends on the day!
A: What have been your most fun/memorable moments on tour so far?
Clayton: Playing in Boston and New York are both huge highlights on this tour in particular for me. It’s such a cool thing to play in a city where you aren’t sure if anyone has ever even heard of you or listened to your music, and then come to find out there are people there singing your songs!
D: I would like to answer the same as Clayton.
A: Do you have any pre or post-show rituals?
P: Before the show, we stretch, jump around, and get pumped. After the show, we usually like to HOUSE some good food!
A: What do you think about while you’re playing onstage?
D: I try to just focus on the moment and perform as if it were our last show, our biggest show, and our most important show. Connecting with an audience and having a party that is equal parts dancing and banging our heads is such a special experience to share. Every night, our collective minds have tunnel vision, desiring to deliver a night that people remember and can’t wait to experience again the next time we blow through town.
A: What weird item(s) do you HAVE to bring on tour?
D: The contents of Dutch (our van) are currently as follows:
- Power inverter (VERY IMPORTANT)
- Whoopi cushion
- Little Bites Muffins (shout out to Gary)
- Boba Fett bobble head
- Trash can (gotta keep the van nice and clean)
I always keep a muscle gun/massager nearby. That’s pretty weird I guess! We’re wild and energetic on stage and you never know when you’re going to wake up sore from the night before.
A: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
P: That the “important people” in the industry wouldn’t all wait on each other to like something before giving it a chance. People want to discover the next big thing, but aren’t willing to take a chance on an artist unless they have 10k followers, millions of streams, hundreds of people at every show, and everyone else in the industry is already interested in them.
A: How have some of the meanings of your songs shifted, deepened, or changed as you’ve grown as artists and people?
P: Some of our songs like “Julie Kid” have connected with people on a deeper level than just “oh this is a fun rock song,” so it’s been cool to try and make that connection at shows – whether that’s by talking about the meaning of the song live or doing a completely different version to pay a little more attention to the lyrics.
A: What is your proudest accomplishment as a band?
D: I feel like the current line-up has something very special. There’s just an energy and camaraderie when we play together that’s different than any band I’ve played in. I keep saying this line up feels like the ‘95-‘96 Chicago Bulls. The right players for the right time. Might be a bad analogy though… time will tell.
A: What’s your favorite way to stave off boredom on the road?
D: Good tunes and good hangs. We all take turns driving and (generally) the driver gets the aux cord. It’s always cool seeing how different and similar each of our playlists and tastes are. [We enjoy] discovering new artists, songs, and inspirations from each other along the way.
A: What have you learned from this tour so far?
P: Don’t use sketchy websites to book hotels…it’s never worth the “cheap” prices because half the time the reservation doesn’t end up being real anyways. And that’s not something you want to find out at 2 am when you arrive at a sketchy hotel.
A: What is your favorite band bonding activity?
P: ROLLER COASTERS
C: Sketchy experiences
D: New foods!
Catch Carver Commodore on Tour:
FRI, AUG 27 HUNTSVILLE, AL
THU, SEP 2 SPRINGDALE, AR
THU, SEP 16 BIRMINGHAM, AL
FRI, SEP 17 BREVARD, NC
SAT, SEP 18 ROANOKE, VA
SAT, OCT 2 NASHVILLE, TN
THU, OCT 14 JACKSONVILLE, FL
FRI, OCT 15 ORLANDO, FL
SAT, OCT 16 TAMPA, FL
SUN, OCT 17 CHARLESTON, SC
MON, OCT 18 CHAPEL HILL, NC
TUE, OCT 19 CHARLOTTE, NC
THU, OCT 21 BOONE, NC
FRI, OCT 22 MEMPHIS, TN
SAT, OCT 23 HUNTSVILLE, AL
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Note: Responses have been edited for grammar, length, and clarity.