CAROLINE BLUE story by KillerQueen-The CNY Rock & Rag website-5/28/2006-Syracuse, NY
-To view the original write up, click HERE–
SAMMY NOMINEE PROFILE
Nominee for Best Rock Recording for “Slave To The Hourglass”
When the 2006 SAMMY nominees were announced, nobody was more surprised than Wayne W. Johnson to see his band’s name on the list of nominees for Best Rock Recording. Not that he has any doubts about his music or where he wants to go with it, but in the past 5 years, Johnson has worked diligently, nonstop to almost single-handedly take melodic hard-rockers CAROLINE BLUE from an idea in his head, to a functional, working band which is currently in production with their second CD. He will be the first to admit, it hasn’t been easy.
Anyone who has tried to form a successful band, or try to keep one together, knows just how difficult it can be to find musicians who not only click on a musical level, but on a personal and professional work ethic level as well. Like many CNY musicians, Wayne traveled through the musical revolving door over the years, playing with bands such as “Front Row”, and “Four Large Men”, among many others, until he finally decided to start his own band. Unfortunately, as he was to quickly discover, having his own band hasn’t quite yet stopped the revolving door.
From its incarnation, CAROLINE BLUE has gone through its share of drummers and bass players, and always just when it seemed the band was beginning to gel, something would happen. Just a scant year ago, Johnson had every reason to be optimistic for the band. At that time, CAROLINE BLUE was comprised of himself on lead vocals and guitar, Billy Pierce on bass and vocals, and Metal J on drums. The band seemed to be working. In the months prior, they had been playing more live gigs than they ever had, working on new music for their next CD, and were looking forward to what seemed to be a bright summer. Unfortunately, in the months to come, things began to unravel. Although bassist Billy Pierce fit right in with the band, he was forced to depart the band to attend to personal issues. Azriel Mordecai, bass player for goth-rock band “Zadoc and the Nightmare” generously offered to step in and help out until Wayne could find another bass player. Azriel continued his duties with the Nightmare, while at the same time playing with CB, and the band carried on. However, what followed, were months of growing frustration for the band, for although Johnson and Mordecai were clicking, there was a growing animosity between Metal J and the other two band members. Not only was his playing becoming sloppy, his behavior professionally, as well as personally was gradually pushing things to the breaking point. Granted, there are three sides to every story, but in this case, things were getting so out of control that even many of Johnson’s friends, and members of other local bands were commenting on Metal J’s antics.
To make a long story short, with several CAROLINE BLUE gigs still booked, Metal J abruptly quit the band in February 2006. They had just completed a gig at the Half Penny Pub when without warning, he simply handed Johnson his resignation letter and without a word, walked out. To exit the band in such a cowardly and unprofessional manner, especially when the band still had shows on the schedule, only reinforced the negative reputation that Metal J had been cultivating in the prior months. As Johnson was to comment later, “It just saved me the trouble of firing him.”
However without missing a step, by 11 o’clock the very next morning, Johnson had recruited another Zadoc member, drummer Carmen Giocondo to sit in for the remaining shows. Metal J’s actions from the previous night were no more than a quickly dissipating fog. The band once again, would carry on.
I must interject at this point, that everyone in the “Nightmare” camp has been extremely generous to CAROLINE BLUE during this time, personally and professionally and Wayne is deeply appreciative to have not only such supportive friends, but great musicians as well, who were ready to step up to the plate at a moment’s notice. Not only that, if you haven’t seen Zadoc and the Nightmare, they are a talented band and very different from what anyone else around the area is doing. Well worth checking out. Okay..onward..
Whether or not you have ever been to one of his band’s shows, Wayne W. Johnson is a very familiar face to many CNY rock fans. Obviously, CAROLINE BLUE is still relatively unknown around here, but despite that fact, Wayne seems to be known everywhere! Part of the reason is that on almost any given weekend, Wayne can be seen out-in-about in local clubs supporting the bands of friends and fellow musicians. With his camera always in hand, Wayne sometimes hits two or three gigs on a given night, checking out the bands, socializing with fans, and most importantly, “PROMOTING”. Anyone that knows Wayne will probably agree that when it comes to promoting his band, Wayne goes above and beyond what many musicians can, or are willing to devote to the cause. Not only does CAROLINE BLUE have their own website, the band has sites on MySpace, ISound, and Yahoo, and their current SAMMY-nominated CD, “Slave to the Hourglass” is now available at over 2,000 locations across the USA, as well as several international sites. Not too shabby for a little band from Syracuse, NY who at this point is still in the “formative” stages.
The band’s second CD, which is still publicly “untitled” (Wayne has a title, he just won’t disclose it at this time so as not to “jinx” it.) is well underway and I can personally say, it’s going to rock!! Not only is every song on the upcoming CD written by Wayne W. Johnson, he also is handling the lead and background vocals, all guitars, and even the bass parts. On the drumming front, he couldn’t ask for a more talented and versatile drummer than good friend ( and former “Four Large Men” bandmate) “Monster Mike” Merrifield, formerly of “Dogs On Mars” and currently with “One Hard Krank” .
In addition, as fate would have it, the new CD is being recorded and engineered at Strangeland Audio, by Scott Patnode, of Perfect Symmetry, whose CD “Throne of Bones” is also in the running for Best Rock CD. Only time will tell who will take home the prize on June 2nd, but win or lose, you can bet that Wayne W. Johnson will be hard at work not only promoting the “Slave to the Hourglass” CD, but gearing up for the release of the next CD, which in some ways will be the first “real” Caroline Blue release. I may be a bit prejudiced, but after sitting in on all of the studio sessions to date, I think that next year at this time, CAROLINE BLUE will be once again find themselves on the list of rock nominees.