Interview by Danny Coleman
“I received e-mails, phone messages, been approached all over and they all want to know if we are playing or doing anything. People are asking me, so essentially yes, the people asked for it,” says co-founder and drummer Bobby Caldwell of Captain Beyond as he explained the band’s recent reunion. “I just want to put the music back out there, it’s quality stuff.”
Many considered the original incarnation of Captain Beyond to be rock’s first “Super group,” due to the fact that the band rose, “From the ashes of Deep Purple, Johnny Winter And and the Iron Butterfly.” Caldwell and long time bassist Jeff Artabasy have revamped the unit once again and are currently out on the road bringing their classic sound back to the very fan base which has requested it. This trek began in June and their current path is bringing them to “Kung Fu Necktie,” located in Philadelphia’s“Fishtown” section at 1250 North Front Street on Sunday August 20 for an 8 p.m. show.
“Kung Fu Necktie,” said Caldwell with tongue in cheek curiosity followed by a series of hearty laughs as he readily admitted that he and the band are not sure what’s going to happen as they try to reclaim past fans and garner new ones. “I’ve no idea what to expect but we are bringing all of our artillery, so it will be all Captain Beyond.”
The original line up consisted of former Deep Purple front man Rod Evans and Iron Butterfly alumni Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt and Lee Dorman. Evans has removed himself from music for various reasons and is supposedly in the medical/healthcare field, Reinhardt and Dorman both passed away in 2012, therefore leaving Caldwell without any of the band’s founding fathers.
Caldwell counts Joe Murello, Ringo Starr and a plethora of jazz drummers as his main influences and considers himself a, “Cross Section” of these talents but he also recognized the importance of moving forward and developing his flair and style.“After the band split up I did a bit of this and that. Playing with Johnny (Winter), Randy Hobbs, that was a potent band. I played with the Allman Brothers Band while Duane was still alive. That was the real band back then, all the original members; there were some extraordinary nights with those guys. During the 80’s and 90’s I fronted my own band and also reformed Armageddon and I played with a southern rock band.”
Then the urge to revisit the past struck again and the band which had morphed with many times with various members since it’s inception was about to do so again. “I found these guys by asking a lot of questions,” laughed Caldwell. “Finding the right guys, finding these guys was basically a vetting process. They’re all Florida musicians.”
Those guys he mentions are, Jamie Holka, Don Banzi and Simon Lind, all talented with not only instrumental but vocal ability as well. “I Found the right guys,” said a confident Caldwell. “They believe in the music, they are very much into the concept and the band and we are definitely onto something here. I’m going to just keep enjoying it as long as I can.”
Any thoughts of new music? Perhaps there is for the band but Caldwell wants to take things as they come and not get ahead of anything. “Maybe after the first of the year, so possibly 2018. We found this lost album but we need to spark some interest and then we’ll see about new music; we really need to make this work before we go further.”
Captain Beyond was one of the more influential bands of the early 1970’s yet largely went about their business without a lot of fanfare. Caldwell and his band mates are painstakingly trying to recreate a product making what was once old, new again while staying true to the band’s roots and sound. When speaking with him, one gets the impression that this undertaking is just another day at the office but like Caldwell, the new group is poised to continue being a rock mainstay and go “Beyond” expectations.
Opening acts for the Philly show are S.T.O.P and Crazy Bull and tickets are $25. To discover more about Captain Beyond and/or purchase tickets, please go to www.officialcaptainbeyond.com.
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)