INTERVIEW: Candlebox guitarist Brian Quinn on igniting creative flame with Seattle rockers

 Brian Quinn.  (Courtesy Photo)

Brian Quinn. (Courtesy Photo)

It is hard not to say that life has come full circle for Brian Quinn.

The Pittstown, Pennsylvania, native has gone from worshipping at the altar of grunge to playing rhythm guitar for Candlebox. And in a true twist of fate, Candlebox's drummer happens to be former Pearl Jam stickman Dave Krusen. 

The surreal nature of Quinn's situation is not lost on him. "I covered 'Alive' in my 10th grade talent show... I'll still turn around (on stage) and laugh and think, 'That's it. That's the drums, that's the sound," Quinn said during a Nov. 22 phone interview. (Krusen recorded drums on Pearl Jam's landmark debut album, Ten.)

Quinn's influences will be put front and center when he performs an intimate acoustic solo concert at the American Spirits Roadhouse in Asbury, New Jersey. The show, billed as "Acoustic Storytellers Night," will also feature opening performances by Zed D'Lance, Julia Sommer and Bethlehem-based alt-country singer Paul Knakk.

The guitarist said fans will be treated to a mix of covers showcasing the various artists who inspired him, as well as cuts from Candlebox and Quinn's other musical outfits: Octane and Fosterchild. (The latter's initial lineup included former Fuel drummer Kevin Miller.) 

Since joining Candlebox in 2015, Quinn recorded rhythm guitar for Candlebox's most recent studio effort, Disappearing in Airports. The album dropped in April. "It's been such a whirlwind with these guys. When I joined, we hit he ground running," Quinn said. "We got right on stage and went right at it. It's been nonstop touring since June 2015. I haven't really had a chance to sit down and process it."

He added, "It's been wonderful. I love these guys to death."

Quinn said the most educational aspect of touring and recording with Candlebox has been watching his own evolution as a guitarist and as a songwriter. Quinn said he often finds himself in a different headspace depending on with whom he is writing.

Additionally, Quinn acknowledged that being on the road with musicians whom you've admired since youth means getting to see a different side of a group that most fans don't get to experience.

"When you're living with them on the road, and traveling with them and living this kind of life ... you get to know them better than their families in some respects," he said. 

Quinn has zigzagged across the United States with Candlebox, with plans to soon head to Europe, but he has not forgotten his roots. Quinn -- who cut his teeth on the Philadelphia club circuit -- continues to performs once a week in his hometown when he is not traveling. 

Quinn said the first tune he learned all the way through was Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train," although he said he figured out the iconic main riff to Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" when he was 6-years-old. 

"I'm never without a guitar in my hand. I love playing. I can't get enough of it," he said. "I feel something, like a pull, that I want to be practicing all the time and bettering myself and keep learning."

Despite the added fame and attention that comes with being with a high-profile rock 'n' roll outfit, Quinn remains grounded. He described his current position as that of a precious gift. "Just getting to see the world is a big check-off," he said. "I think I'd be greedy to ask for anything more than I have right now."

For more on this show, visit LehighValleyUnderground.com.

Brian Quinn performs Thursday, Dec. 1, at the American Spirits Roadhouse, 1090 Route 173, Asbury, New Jersey. Show time is 6 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Information: americanspiritsroadhouse.com