In person, Candice Levinson seems like a deceivingly calm, serene, or even a sweet and well-poised young woman, but when she hits the stage, it becomes apparent that a transformation has instantly taken place. For this guitarist and songwriter, music is not just a passion, but a way of life…and it shows. She handles and plays her guitar with as much conviction and energy as any male rocker counterpart out there, but still manages to preserve her femininity while doing so. She has been a part of bands and various musical projects from a very young age. An artist who can be described as a jack of all trades, she has been part of many genres of music ranging from rock, metal, and punk to pop.
For the last two-and-half years, she has been playing in the otherwise all male band Warner Drive from Los Angeles. Together, this relentlessly hard-working band tours and plays an average of 250 shows a year and is making their mark as a national touring band, opening for such as acts as Jet, CKY, Fuel, The Killers, Ratt, Danko Jones, and more…. She has also gained notoriety from past projects having worked with some of the industry’s greats such as guitarist/producer Pat Smear (Foo Fighters/Nirvana/The Germs) and producer/engineer Ross Hogarth (Miley Cyrus/Jimmy Eat World/The Bronx/Coal Chamber).
When did you start your start playing music and what was your first instrument?
Well, I have been playing music since the age of six with piano. When I was about 12, I started playing guitar and I have been in bands ever since! I always knew that I wanted a career in music from a very young age.
Who were your musical influences and in what way have they influenced your music?
I have always listened to everything from pop to country. However, the reason I started playing guitar was that I started listening to bands like Metallica and Guns N Roses which really inspired me. I also really got into old school punk rock bands for a while as a kid, which all fueled my desire to play music as a career.
Do you write your own music and, if so, how are your songs inspired?
I do write a lot of my own music, although most of it has been used for my own side projects. Usually I write a song based on a specific emotion I’m having at the time. I can’t just make myself sit down and say, ok time to write a song. I have to be emotionally inspired by something in that I can’t help but express…whether it be sadness, happiness, anger or whatever story I feel I need to tell at the time. However, Jonny Law, our singer, is the main mastermind behind Warner Drive.
You have worked on projects with Pat Smear and Ross Hogarth. Can you tell us about that experience?
Yes! First of all, working with Pat and Ross was awesome! Not only are they great people, but so talented. I was in a band called Twin Sticks and both Pat and Ross heard the music (at different times) and they were both interested in producing our album. So they decided to co-produce. It was a really great experience for me personally because I grew up idolizing Pat as a guitarist for his work in The Germs, Nirvana and then Foo Fighters. So getting to work with someone I really admired and respected for a long time was amazing. Ross is also such a talented producer and engineer…getting to work with someone who has worked on albums like Jimmy Eat World, Van Halen, you name it, he has worked on it! They have both become good friends of mine and I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to work with both of them!
For the last several years, you’ve been playing and touring with Warner Drive playing an average of 250 shows a year. That must be exhausting! What has been your most memorable touring experience so far?
Yes! Well, it’s hard to pick just one experience but over the last two and a half years that I have been touring with these guys, I will never forget when our drummer, Jonny U, wore my pink thong on stage! I joke about it a lot but that is, for better or worse, an image I will never get out of my head!
Besides being a musician, what other hobbies do you have?
I have lots! I love being busy and I’m really athletic. I’m obsessed with snowboarding, skateboarding, wake boarding…..anything on a board! I also love working on cars…but right now I have no time for a project car because we have been on the road so much. Also, when I’m not on the road, I run every single day.
So what’s next for Candice and Warner Drive?
We are just going to keep on plugging away and working hard! We play about 250 shows a year and not slowing down! I think some of our plans for this year involve playing in Europe, so I’m really looking forward to that! We played a whole bunch of showcases at SXSW in Austin. We have a couple more good things in the works but I’m superstitious and afraid of jinxing it, so I’ll hold off on that stuff for now 😉 Stay tuned for the next interview on me!
To learn more about Candice Levinson and Warner Drive, check them out at the following websites: