I had the pleasure of interviewing Lexy Schlemer of Candy Coated Evil. Lexy plays lead/rhythm guitar and provides vocals. Their Facebook page boasts that they are a evil partridge family. Anyone that has seen them live knows this is true.
1. What inspired you to get involved in music?
So many pivotal points to answer this question: Our dad, Phil Schlemer, who also is our drummer had a wedding band that he phased out in the early 90s. His father had the Walt Schlemer Orchestra where he played upright bass. There is a lineage involved. Music was always around us. I was an infant listening to Little Richard. I started playing Piano at 5 years old then moved to drums around age 10 or so. My sister, Syd, who is our bassist started playing guitar first. I became both fascinated and jealous of her over it so I tried my hand at it. At age 12, mom and dad took us to see Bon Jovi. I immediately knew from that moment I was going to take guitar a lot more seriously. I fell in love with it and really tried hard to excel. Our folks took us to concerts literally all the time. We have seen the likes of Cher, Prince, Motörhead, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Eric Clapton all within a few months of each other. We saw hundreds of shows before I was even 18. We played gigs in high school and then kept going from there.
2. How long has candy coated evil been around?
The three of us played our first gig together about 15 years ago at a talent show in the park in Edwardsville, Illinois. We didn't start going under Candy Coated Evil with dad as our full time drummer until 2005. Once
We brought dad in, we didn't allow him to escape from our grips. First big gig as CCE was Mississippi Nights on the Landing. It's become its own monster and I love watching the band evolve.
3. What genre do you consider your music?
Rockametalbluesabilly and sometimes polka is the coined term Syd came up with for our original music. Our covers are just as diverse. I personally write blues, rock, pop type songs and Syd writes more metal and rockabilly tunes.
4. Do you enjoy being in a band with family members?
We are lucky that we don't have the Chris and Rich Robinson dynamic. Haha. Every band and family had there fights and tension. It was a little harder when we all lived under the same roof we couldn't get away from each other. Overall it really is a blast. I don't know many people who are lucky enough to have the privilege or tight-knit family to be able to do something like this. Being in a band with your sibling is amazing but being in a band with your father is both rare and an honor. We tend to get on the same wavelength and have a crazy unspoken energy and understanding of where the music is about to go even if we are shooting from the hip. It's just anticipated. Those are my favorite moments. On top of that all of us are sober. None of us drink, do drugs, or smoke which is not something I have run into that often but it keeps us bonded as family and musicians.
5. What are some of your musical influences and faves?
KEITH RICHARDS!! Anyone who knows me, should know I've become a huge Rolling Stones and Keith Richards fan. Meeting him is number one on my bucket list. His humble demeanor and soulful blues riffs make my heart skip a beat. Besides him I would have to say Paul Thorn, Buckcherry, Sevendust, Alice Cooper, Slash and Myles Kennedy, Fall Out Boy (yeah I said it), Etta James, The Who, Heart, Susan Tedeschi, Grace Potter, and Zakk Wylde.
6. Where are some of your favorite places to play in the St Louis area?
Old Rock House, The Firebird, Pops, and Fubar
7.Do you feel being female in a male dominated field helps or hinders? Please explain
This is a tough question. You have to work extra hard to be on your A-Game if you are a female. Especially in our band, I'm the rhythm guitar, lead guitar, lead singer on half the songs which is a lot to handle. On top of that you have to break the stereotype you will walk up there playing four chords on an acoustic guitar or are just a singer. I cringe when it's automatically assumed I just sing when I say I'm in a band. Syd and I have literally been stopped at venues by security or doormen trying to charge us to get in or say "no girlfriends of the band" as we are trying to load gear in. They don't think for one second that WE might be the band? It's hard to get real feedback either by half of the musicians or men because if for some reason you can hold your own against that particular musician they often will not give you the time of day once you get off stage. I think being a female is also a major advantage because when you are standing up there with a Gibson and Marshall Stack, people do happen to take a second glance as it is not the "norm". Females fronting a band both instrumentally and vocally is definitely a gimmick in itself. I do love the excitement and reactions of the crowds as they watch this live family reality show churning out music from the furthest ends of the spectrum while inserting candid and unrehearsed comedy in the middle of it. I don't know of another act out there that is like us.
8. What are your favorite local acts?
Hung Like A Martyr (metal), Brad Noe(singer/songwriter), Shotgun Creek(country), The Monolithic(classic rock), Jeremiah Johnson (Blues), Anthony Gomes (Blues) and anything Jimmy Griffin is a part of. Absolutely love them all with a passion.
9.Any other projects you are involved in?
I just recently took on two new endeavors. "Breaking Dad" is a cover duo with my father and myself doing about every style of song and hits from every era. Syd (sister/bassist) is on tour a lot so my dad and I decided to do a side gig to keep us occupied when CCE can't play. I just joined the funk/pop/blues/rock cover band "40 Miles to Vegas" where I play guitar, keyboards, and sing a couple. The band is very high energy and a welcomed dynamic difference coming from a trio my whole life.
10. Name one thing you cannot live without
I will not deny this......my phone......it's an appendage. I'm no proud of this dependency but I literally panic when I can't find it or it gets knocked out of my hands. I'm a texting junkie. My mother will be thrilled I'm answering this question so honestly. I really wanted to say something noble but it would be a complete lie.
11. Which famous song do you wish you wrote?
-Gimme Shelter...it's one of those undeniable songs that when you hear it, you automatically know what it is....
12. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? Musically, I would have to say playing shows out of town a hand full of times out of the year and hopefully at least two albums further than we currently are. We have a "Chinese Democracy" situation on our hands as we have taken our sweet time getting it exactly how we want it and the struggle of everyone being available at the same time to complete it. Personally in 5 years, I would like to see it yield the greatest success of the Metal/Welding business "Hess Van Schlemer Metalworks and Customs" which I'm a partner with my folks and sister in. Since we are no stranger to a mutual endeavor, we have all joined forces to build a business as artists, designers, and welders. It was formally known as "Drop Dead Red". This is a dream job where I get to design, grind, weld, destroy, alter, construct etc. I think very simply in 5 years I would just like to be even happier and a better human than I am at this moment.
13. What is your proudest moment to date as a musician?
In 2013, as a group and family, we produced our own show at the Wildey Theater in Edwardsville so we could bring one of my mentors and favorite musicians to our town, Paul Thorn. Paul is from Tupelo, Mississippi and his uncle was a pimp and his dad was a preacher. Paul was a former boxer who fought Roberto Duran. He is a storyteller that we adore. We also did this so we could be the opening band. We rented the place out thanks to our Grandma Sandy's investment and sold tickets to make the whole thing happen. Since then we have been invited to open for the Paul Thorn Band in St. Louis as well. They are wonderful. If you don't have the opportunity, sometimes you have to create the opportunity.
See Lexy and her family performing as Candy Coated Evil this Saturday , May 22 with Hung like a Martyr at Mickey's Pour House.
HD photography, Lexy Schlemer