Candy Says

By Bob Bahr

Look the whole world over — across or down — and you'll not fnd a more unassuming lead singer than Aleah Metzger of Candy Says. She fnds it hard to believe that all lead singers of bands aren't shy.

We talked to Metzger about the strides her alternative band has made in the last year, about her influences, and Candy Say's performance at the Butchertown Pub on July 21. (Voodoo Love Taxi opens.)

Taking our cue from the crossword puzzles, LMN posed questions to Metzger in the simplest of fashions. We asked the tall, striking vocalist to define "singer" in two words. One Across.

"The schmoozer. They're always getting on me because I'm kind of shy, and they're always getting on me for not saying enough words.

"I think the voice is another instrument, but at the same time, the singer takes a different role. Because you are the voice, you kind of become the focal point. I'm not in any way trying to say that I'm more important than anybody, but after shows, people come up to me before they go up to anybody else."

But schmoozers are usually skilled in the fine art of b.s. By contrast, Metzger labored over her every answer, striving to be accurate. Does that make her not a singer? Tell that to the audience that seeks out the Lexington band, intent on Metzger's strong, clear voice. We move on Define Candy Says. Two Down.

"No artist wants to do that. It's kind of pop, kind of rock, maybe a little new wave, but kind of fluid and melodious. We're serious, but not real serious. We're not Pink Floyd serious, but we're not the B-52s either."

Candy Says plays original music —original music strong enough to get on rotation at QMF, TOO in Louisville. The band has over 20 tunes to craft their set from, but occasionally, a cover song sneaks in. The four-piece band doesn't know too many, but the songs they know are doosies. Cover songs, Three Across.

"We've been doing 'Rapture' by Blondie for three years. Of all the songs that we've covered, that's the song that we still love to do. Still, I could probably count on one hand how many [cover songs] we know."

Metzger is the primary lyricist, so her musical influences greatly shape the sound and tone of Candy Says. For Five Across, list your influences.

"I like all kinds of music, anything from Helmet to Tori Amos to Jim Croce to the Ramones. I don't know, I see it as an art form. There are so many different ways that you can do it."

Fans may have noticed Candy Says turning up the heat a little bit in the past year. Significantly, they also probably spotted a new member on the stage with Metzger, guitarist R.R. Hornback and drummer Jay Baker, bassist John Zangari, late of Goodnight Maxine. Zangari's impact, Four Down.

"It's been a big energizing factor, both to our motivation and to our live show. We're all a lot more confident, and he's what's prompting the better attitudes. It's just another example of how each member contributes so much, whether it's someone writing the lyrics or someone writing the bass lines. We've started having a little more fun."

Candy Says, which took its name from a Velvet Underground song (but sounds very little like VU), is working on their third recording this summer. The project, to be recorded at Stockyard Studios in Glasgow, Ky., will hopefully match the successes of their past recordings, which included write-ups in the CMJ and college radio airplay across the U.S. and up into Canada. The as yet-untitled album will be out in early 1995.

When Louisvillians go to see Candy Says on July 21, they'll be witnessing the easy part of the musical process, according to Metzger.

"The real intense part is in writing it. On stage, it's a release and it's fun. Since the work is done by the time you get up there, you're just ready to use it for something.

Showing it to people is the fun part."