CMJ New Music Report - June 24, 2002
Artist Spotlight on Marc Copely
By all accounts, Marc Copely should be dead. And he absolutely should not have been around to make this record (appropriately titled "Limited Lifetime Guarantee"). But his life-changing car wreck, which broke just about everything but his writing hand and which would have left even the most hopeful with little light to see at the tunnel's end, has made him an even more dedicated and, by his own account, a better artist and person. With his album now set for release on June 25 on RCA, Marc has been out on the road several weeks helping spread the word (first with Sense Field and currently with Our Lady Peace). CMJ recently caught up with Marc (heading toward his first OLP show) and spoke with him about his college radio roots, his recent experience with what he calls the Indie Retail U.N. and the drama that helped make possible his "Limited Lifetime Guarantee."
1. Q: Sounds like LLG was born form pretty dire circumstances. What happened?
A: It's pretty embarrassing, actually. I was driving home from a show in Maine and we hit a moose. My friend walked away without a scratch, but I wasn't so lucky. (Ed. Note: To be more specific, Marc actually sustained severe head trauma, two fractures in his left arm, a broken left wrist, dislocated shoulder, bruised ribs, and serious back injury) It was pretty humbling because I was totally laid up and had to move back in with my parents. All I could do was sit on my ass all day and do nothing - couldn't even think about playing guitar because my arm was broken in three places. The one good thing, though, is that I'm right handed and at least it was still working. I started writing down my thoughts, started writing lyrics. I began keeping a journal about how I felt at that time too.
2. Q: What kind of an impact did it have on making the record?
A: It had every thing to do with it. Before the accident, I didn't have any kind of focus. I had ambitions, but I didn't have the guts to pursue them. I had time to think, I became much more prolific. First and foremost it reinforced how much writing and playing music meant to me - that it was the most important thing in my life. It was three months before I could even try strumming. When something like that happens to you, when you're young and thinking you're immortal in a way, it's humbling.
3. Q: Did you come to any conclusions, you know, about life?
A: Actually yeah, I realized I can be touched and I can be hurt and that, honestly, I'm better off that way. It was healthy. I realized there were much bigger things out there than I could ever be. It was a hugely negative experience that turned into something positive- for many reasons.
4. Q: You're originally from Massachusetts, which has been home to a lot of great new and aspiring artists over the years and some great college radio stations. How important was college radio to you growing up, and how important do you think it is for "Limited Lifetime Guarantee?"
A: College radio was and is so important to me. It caters to kids who are looking for different options than what MTV is throwing at them every day. College radio has always been more thought provoking, more interesting to me - from my years growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts to my college days in Boston.
5. Q: So what station did you tune into the most?
A: I used to listen to WVRS at Emerson College. It was my mainstay living in Boston.
6. Q: You recently headed down to the annual CIMS convention (Coalition Of Independent Music Stores) In North Carolina to play for some of their members. What was that like?
A: I didn't really understand who they were before I went. But when until I got down there, I learned a ton [Marc was only one of a handful of performers the coalition invited to play]. It was my first show ever, though, with just myself and my guitar player. When we walked in we looked at each other and went "Oh!" It looked like an indie rock U.N meeting a bunch of people looking at us from a U-shaped conference room. We fumbled around a bit, but we had a great time.
7. Q: Do you spend much time in independent record stores?
A: I've always bought records at indie retail shops and still make a point to stop at vinyl and used CD stores wherever I tour. I've got this great old 50's Columbia turntable at home that sounds amazing, so I collect vinyl.
8. Q: There are some great people who worked with you on this record. What kind of contributions did they make?
A: I was really lucky to work with some great people on LLG Mary Lou Lord, Dave Hull [from Pete Droge's band], Josh Freese [A Perfect Circle, Vandals] and David Werner [who played the key role of producer and co-writer with Marc]. They all brought something important to the album. Josh, for example, brought a kind of aggression to the drums that only he could bring and that really made songs like "Backslide" work. Everyone was amazing.
9. Q: Will you be touring much to support the record?
A: We're planning on touring heavily throughout the year. If I had my way, I'd be on the road for the next 18 months straight.
10. Q: Speaking of the road, what happened to the moose?
A: Unfortunately, the moose didn't make it.
- Interview by Gerry Hart