The Departed's Cody Canada: Cross Canadian Ragweed "Is Over"
Musically, I grew up in Oklahoma. I moved up to Stillwater and met all these awesome musicians. We wanted people to know where we came from. I told all those guys years ago, "Someday I'm going to record a whole record of [cover] stuff."
Jeremy and I had all the songs picked out with Ragweed, [but] there was conflict. Nothing bad, but we couldn't really agree on a solid set of songs for that. The biggest thing was the record label, Universal, didn't want us to do it. So, we were afraid if we actually did it, it'd never see the light of day.
I wanted The Departed to hit the streets as soon as Ragweed was off. We put our act together October 24, 2010, and our first gig with The Departed was December 29. We were in the studio and we could have done an original record but I didn't want to rush it.
That was the main reason I wanted to get [This Is Indian Land] out, because we didn't have time to sit down and get extremely personal with an original record and make it perfect in our book. And I had always promised those guys that I would and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to get away with it. I think people are coming back around to it now, but I put out so much original music over the years that at first people were wondering why we were doing a cover record.
I think now that Adventus came out everybody went back and listened to the [This is Indian Land] record and they understand why we did it. I want to do it again because the songs off of that record barely scratched the surface. There are so many more tunes. I left Stillwater in '99 and there is still music being pushed out of there, and there's some we didn't do because we couldn't have a four-disk record [laughs]. We decided to concentrate on four or five original records and then talk about doing it again.
Was there a specific process for narrowing it down for the songs you picked for This is Indian Land?
It was really difficult. There were some songs that were just set in stone, which Jeremy and I had talked about for years. Then, with Steve Littleton on keys joining the band, [he was in] one of the first bands I saw in Stillwater called Medicine Show and they were awesome. They were a jam band. Steve agreed to hop on, and that was the reason we put on the song called "Any Other Way". That's his tune.
One of the hardest songs was a cover of Randy Crouch's "A Face on Mars." All I had was an old recording. We couldn't figure it out because we couldn't find the tune. Then we realized he tuned all his instruments to his fiddle and his fiddle was out of tune. Plus, the tape was a little sped up so it was really a non-existent chord. It took us a whole day to dissect and get the grooves right.
A lot of the artists on there I knew and have either drank beer or smoked pot with them. We didn't know Leon [Russell] and we didn't know J.J. [Cale] but we didn't think it'd be a complete record without throwing those dudes in there.
Can you describe the vibe between the band and the audience at one of your live shows?
It's very interactive, because there [are] three of us singing these days. Everybody is spread out and standing in front of the person they want to hear sing. We really haven't changed a lot. We have Steve on keys and James on the guitar. [Steve] is a badass guitar player, and he's not just a rhythm guitar player -- he's all of it. So it's him and I swapping lead on vocals and on guitar.
There are a lot of harmonies and there really weren't a whole lot of harmonies on Ragweed. We're not an act. We don't just get up there and do our same set every night.