‘Thick as thieves’ is an expression used to talk about a group of people that are extremely close. They’re together through thick and thin and they protect each other from outside groups. That was Cavo before making their new album and it’s going to be them long after they release it. That’s the origin of the song, “Thick as Thieves” and it’s why it was appropriate to name the album that too. Talking with Cavo’s Casey Walker about the song and the album, he said a big part of the process was rebuilding the band back up after business ties were severed with their former label.
“Once we all sat down and talked out our issues from the last year, one of the first things that came out of that was, ‘Thick as Thieves,’” said Walker. “To be honest, that’s kind of a stretch for Cavo. It’s not like anything we had written before up to that point. We really focused on the message and the lyrics just came up. That song just encapsulated everything that we were feeling right then; being alone in the industry, trying to fight our way back. We wanted to let everyone know that we’re not just a ‘one hit wonder’ band. We have the ability to write and play great songs. Then it just kept coming from there. It started to pour out once everything was off our chests. Because even when we put all of our problems aside with each other, we were still dealing with being without a label, individually. Once we pulled together and decided we were a band, and it’s four against everyone, the pressure lifted.”
‘When life hands you lemons make lemonade.’ People who use that expression have never been handed lemons before. When life hands you lemons, you don’t want to smile and take it. You actually want to punch life in the face. It’s not a great feeling. After Cavo lost their contract with Warner Bros., they were left in an unsecure place. They’d worked their entire lives to get that record contract… then they lost it. It’s a feeling that’s similar to losing your job and being told you’re not good enough at the same time. It was a terrible period for Cavo, but one they worked themselves out of together, as a band.
“It was scary. We had some issues in the band with friendships and things like that. We got home and we kind of worked those out. Then we realized the problems after those, were serious. We didn’t have a label anymore. We didn’t really have a song written for a record. But, we just went back to what we had done before, get into a room, turn up the amps, and write a song.”
That’s when they wrote “Thick as Thieves” and that’s why the band is here today. They banded together and pushed back. That’s why people need to check out this album, there’s nothing fake about it. They’re not singing about going to a club, being rock stars, or any of the other mainstream rock clichés. They’re singing about sticking together and fighting off adversity. So, once the band had assembled a different team around themselves and made a new album, they signed a deal with independent label Eleven Seven Music. It’s a good home for the band, but Walker says they’re still taking a very ‘hands-on’ approach to what’s next.
“At the end of the day, it’s our career and I don’t want to just throw that into somebody else’s hands. I’d rather be the one steering the ship. We actually took a really big hands-on approach to this record. Right down from the songs to the artwork, everything is a band choice and they’ve just gone with it. They’ve been really cool. We’ve never had to argue with them about a direction with this release, and that’s what’s been nice.”
While hitting the publicity circuits has been somewhat different for the band this time around with a new label, recording the album took them to familiar grounds, The House of Loud in New Jersey. It’s a studio that some producers call home, including David Bendeth Kato, and Dan Korneff.
“It was really gratifying doing it like that,” said Casey. “It kept it fresh, but it was all in the same place. It wasn’t like you moved from Jersey, to Nashville, to L.A. to finish a record. It was good because it was a whole different mindset. Every producer had a whole different approach and that kept things fresh and exciting. I loved it.”
Walker loved working with all three of the producers from The House of Loud. He mentioned three key characteristics about their processes.
“Kato’s a rock guy,” noted Walker. “He just gets rock. A lot of the guys their approach is amazing but you sit around and do things and hash on things, Kato was all about ‘turn the amps on and let’s rock!’ The way he made us vibe in the room, I get that. That’s actually the way we write our songs. We try not to sit around with things for too long.”
“David Bendeth is a very honest and very straight-forward guy. He doesn’t pull any punches. When you get done with what you were working on and how much better it is than what you had in the original, you realize that if that’s his method and that’s what it’s going to take to get from here to here, I’m okay with it. If that’s his method to make it what it needs to be, that’s perfect, I’m okay with it.”
“Working with Dan Korneff was new. He was so loose and laid back. He just let things happen. He didn't have a strict approach. He's just easy and cool to work with. But the songs we did with him did deliver more edge. “War Within” we did with Dan… “That's an amazing song on the album and then that we play that song live too, it’s awesome.”
The three different producers have the band locked in with a new album that is better than their debut, Bright Nights, Dark Days, but now it’s time to back up everything. They’ve got to prove they’ve come together to deliver an amazing show night after night on the road. Give them credit, they’re not shying away from it. Cavo’s looking forward to working this album just as hard as they worked the last one.
“We’re just really trying to get our faces out there and back out on tour. With the last album, we toured straight for pretty much two and a half years. In today’s music industry that’s the most important thing, it’s going out and seeing your fans. We live by the motto if there are no fans, there’s no band.”
To be fair, if this band wasn’t these four guys, there wouldn’t be a band either.