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  • Electrologue Interviews: Chad Corley from The Sleep-ins

    Formed in the Sydney rock scene in the early 2000s, the Sleep-ins took a while to get to their destination. After seven years of existence, they released their first album in October of 2010, Songs About Girls & Outer Space, on Corley’s label Ingot Rock. The album has gone on to receive critical praise and has been climbing the CMJ New Music Report charts. Sleep-ins’ guitarist and lead singer Chad Corley talks about his journey as a musician from the middle of nowhere, Indiana, to Australia, and how his return to America ultimately saved the band.

    photo by Martin Bohac

    Chad Corley of the Sleep-ins.
    photo by Martin Bohac

    Electrologue: Prior to the Sleep-ins, you’d actually been making music for several years; let’s start by talking a little about your musical background.

    Chad Corley: Sure. When I was in high school I taught myself how to play guitar, mostly by learning songs from the Love & Rockets album, Earth Sun Moon. I didn’t have any grand plans at that point except to learn how to play, but it wasn’t long before I just naturally started making up my own songs. My first “official” album was done a couple of years later over a Winter break my first year in college, under the name Experiment House. I recorded it to four track cassette in the basement of my parents’ old house in Indiana. It’s still the fastest album I’ve ever done. It took about two weeks as I recall. I wrote and played just about everything on there, except some guitar tracks and vocals by a good friend of mine, Jim Herrell. That album was called Home. Good luck finding a copy.

    EL: Experiment House — that’s a reference to a place in one of the Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis?

    CC: Right! Those books have been a big influence for me.

    EL: Was this about the time you started performing live?

    CC: Not quite, although I was told there were other bands in Southwestern Indiana that performed some of those tunes. I think I’ve only ever done one of those songs live. My first live band was called the Splinters. That would have been in about 1991 – I came back from school in Tennessee one Summer, saw a sign in a record store that said a band was looking for a guitarist and that they liked the Church and the Smiths. Well, as it turns out, I love those bands. So I called the number and a couple of months later we were playing our first gig.

    EL: How did that go?

    CC: It went well. We actually had an encore, except we had already played every song we knew. People were asking us to play Under the Milky Way by the Church, but we had already played it twice that night – once during the sound check, and then again in the early part of our set. But we were the opener, so a lot of people didn’t turn up until toward the end of our set and hadn’t heard it. So we played it again, meaning there were a few people that saw us perform that song three times that night. That gig ended up taking on something of a legendary turn.

    EL: How so?

    CC: It was quite baffling, actually. The main thing was that in the following weeks and months, far more people than could have possibly been at that show were claiming they had been there. I started having strangers approach me in public and ask if I was in the Splinters. It became a kind of joke for us – everyone in Evansville had been to the Splinters’ first gig! True story: about a year later I worked with a guy in Nashville who said he knew a girl from Evansville, so I told him to ask her if she’d been to the show. He came back the next day, and it turned out she really had – she was the sound guy’s girlfriend, I think.

    EL: That sounds like a great start for a band – why was it we never heard about the Splinters? Was it a cover band?

    CC: No we actually only played a few covers. We had some buzz, but we never made anything of it. Story of my musical career! In that case, we took too long to get anything recorded. And then when we finally did, it sounded awful. After the Summer ended, I was in Tennessee and the other guys were in Indiana, so we weren’t gigging, either. Life kind of got in the way, and then we all eventually moved on to other things.

    EL: So that was still the early 90s. How many other bands were you in before the Sleep-ins?

    CC: There were three after that. The first one was called Spot, it was kind of a college/alternative party band that I drove two hours (from Nashville to Knoxville) to rehearse with every week. Fun stuff, but that was never going to last. Then there was Jupiterboy, the first band I was in that I really thought had a chance to “make it” – whatever that means. It was my first experience touring and going through that ringer. That was the loudest band I’ve ever been in. There was one gig where we were playing to an empty room because we were so loud that everyone actually went outside to listen to us. We had the cops called on us so many times. I think even one of the venues we were playing in called the cops on us once. That was also where I met [longtime collaborator and stand-in bassist for the Sleep-ins] James Butler. Jupiterboy eventually crashed and burned pretty hard. It was actually kind of a shame. And then in 1996, I met [Mock Orange drummer] Heath Metzger and we started the raydons with Jason Powell, the other guitarist from the Splinters. And there was a fourth group in there also, if you count the excursion into New Age.

    EL: Well, that sounds like it could be an interesting story…

    photo by Michael Whyte

    Chad Corley and Robert Peckyno in 1995.
    Photo by Michael Whyte

    CC: [Laughing] Yes, I could write a book about it! Early in 1995, Robert Peckyno, one of my best friends and also a phenomenal piano player, somehow got us invited to a studio in Amarillo, Texas, owned by a producer named Michael Lee Thomas. Michael Lee had put out some successful New Age records and was working with Sony at the time. I’m not even sure what we hoped to accomplish, but we went there with some really poorly developed material, and after a week in the studio had half an album done. We also had our heads already half way up our own asses, imagining we were at some launch pad for our careers. Here we’d met this guy with all these industry experiences and connections, and I’m pretty sure we both learned more about producing a record in that one week than either of us had in four years of a university recording industry program. So we were riding this high, looking at some fancy record deal with major distribution, and having some very unrealistic ideas of how it was all going to pan out.

    EL: I’m getting the vibe that it didn’t turn out well.

    CC: Well, no. We went back to Texas about two months later to finish the album, which we did. But the second session was nothing like the first. Things didn’t go smoothly at all. There were equipment issues. There was a tense foundation because all three of us — Michael Lee, Robert, and I — were in the process of ending relationships. I think Robert was feeling a bit off-put because I was getting more material on the record. And I got a big head and started arguing with Michael Lee’s production choices, which nearly ended the whole deal right there. In retrospect, we may have been better off if that had happened, because we spent the next four years waiting on our turn with Sony. We even ended up moving to Amarillo for a year, to make a final push for it. But ultimately it all fell apart, Sony never picked up the record, and we went our separate ways. Robert went West to California and I went back East to Indiana. Finally in 2009, Robert and I released the album independently [Bathsheva – Mine Field Dream on Peckyno’s Imaginaurium label]. So there was at least closure for that project. But it really was a time that challenged my dedication to having a career in music.

    EL: That timeline would seem to coincide with the years when you were in the raydons. Is that accurate?

    CC: Yes, both Jupiterboy and the Raydons. There was absolutely a part of me that really was never sold on a career as a New Age artist. And I was still creating, playing guitar, and writing songs that were nowhere near that genre. I ended up in a situation by the middle of 1996 where Jupiterboy had just flamed out and this New Age project was going nowhere. So playing music with Heath served as a kind of therapy for me during that time. It was a way to immerse myself in music that was never push-button, digital, or sequenced in any way. I got really into vacuum tube circuits and analog tape. In fact, after April of 1996 I didn’t write another song on a keyboard for something like five years. And to have a drummer like Heath at my disposal was like having total creative freedom as a musician. Anything I could think of — any time signature, or chord progression, or musical style — was well within his range. So I had a way to think about music without getting pissed off about this other place where I was stuck.

    EL: There’s a bio for the raydons on the site Musical Family Tree, where it says that band was one that you “attempted to maintain in the shadow of the burgeoning success of Mock Orange … and a total lack of organizational or promotional skills.” Was there real tension there, and do you think there may have been a different outcome for the raydons were it not for Mock Orange? Or were there always the deficiencies the raydons had that were going to stand in the way?

    CC: There were deficiencies that I had that were going to stand in the way. We all sized each other up, there’s no doubt. I think in the beginning the Mock Orange guys mostly dismissed us as some sort of Pavement wannabes, which was ironic because at the time I wasn’t actually that familiar with Pavement at all. It certainly seemed for a while like Heath was uncomfortable being in the middle of it. But as I had alluded to before, I was still caught up in the Texas mess as well. The reality was whatever talent and experience I had still didn’t amount to my being ready. And we all ended up being friends in the end. I have huge respect for those guys in Mock Orange for the amount of work they’ve done and they way they’ve stayed true to themselves. All those miles on the road take a toll, and most bands don’t continue to get better the way they have.

    EL: The Sleep-ins have also often been compared to Pavement. What was the first record of theirs that you owned?

    CC: I bought Terror Twilight when in came out in 1999. I ended up really loving that record, but even then I was buying it more as a fan of [Radiohead producer] Nigel Godrich. I’d picked up a few more of their records by 2003, so it might be a fairer assessment to make that comparison for the Sleep-ins. Still, it’s really funny how people decide what your influences are for you. There’s a review that infers that we borrowed heavily from a Pavement record that I’ve never heard of. Another group that comes up a lot is the Dandy Warhols, but I’ve never listened to them.

    EL: Just to set the record straight, how many musicians have played in the Sleep-ins? It seems like the only constants have been you and bassist Stefan Pope.

    Josh Lanham, Stefan Pope, Ben Price, and Chad Corley in 2003

    The Sleep-ins in 2003: Josh Lanham, Stefan Pope, Ben Price, and Chad Corley.
    Photo by Chad Corley

    CC: I believe the total number is twelve. The original lineup was Stefan, Ben Price on guitar, Josh Lanham on drums, and me. We loved Josh, our first drummer. His personality was perfect for the band and he was very fun to jam with, which really helped us develop the material in those early stages. But his style is very fluid and we needed someone who was always going to play the songs pretty much exactly the same every time. Luckily, right there at Venue Music [the Sydney music store] where Stefan, Ben, and I worked was Josh Schuberth, a guy with both studio and touring experience. And really, a guy whose talent as a drummer is on the level with Heath. So we very un-assholishly kicked Josh 1 out and brought in Josh 2. Of course, Karma being what it is, right about then Josh 2 gets an offer to go tour with Genevieve Maynard from Stella One Eleven. So then we had no drummer at all. This would have been about June of 2004.

    EL: So did you look for yet another drummer, or did you just wait until he returned?

    CC: We definitely looked, because we didn’t know how long Josh would be gone. I put a classified in the Sydney alt-weekly, Drum Media. It may not have been too different from the flyer I saw in that record store in Evansville all those years prior, in fact. I know it mentioned the Church in there as an influence. We tried out a few drummers, but the last one — a guy who only identified himself as ‘Richard’ on the phone — really blew us away when we were playing with him the first time. It took me about an hour to figure out that this drummer we were jamming with was actually Richard Ploog, who had played on some of my favorite records by the Church. His playing style was unmistakable.

    EL: How do you ask a guy like that to be your temporary drummer?

    The Sleep-ins in 2004: Chad Corley, Ben Price, Josh Schuberth, and Stefan Pope.

    The Sleep-ins in 2004: Chad Corley, Ben Price, Josh Schuberth, and Stefan Pope.
    Photo by Chad Corley

    CC: Let’s not pretend that any of us knew what we were doing! The whole arrangement was very open-ended, and we hadn’t really thought it through. I think in the first few weeks with Richard on board I was finding the concept of going back to Josh to be very challenging, to say the least. I recall Stefan saying he thought I was going to have a cry about it. Anyway, we liked Richard a lot, and it was clear he was also a world-class drummer, but Josh Schuberth will always be the Sleep-ins drummer. He owned those songs like no one else could. To put things into perspective, it was the same even when Heath had a crack at those tunes during our American tour. Josh put his stamp on those songs and it was just kind of out of place to hear anyone else try to play them. Nevertheless, I ended up spending a fair amount of time with Ploogie, as a friend. We talked about his time in the Church quite a bit. There are a lot of other stories there. I’ve got nothing but love for Richard. He’s a guy with a great attitude, just down-to-earth and always very easy to get along with.

    EL: Even though your bio doesn’t address it, wasn’t it about that time that the Sleep-ins’ personnel problems shifted from drums to lead guitar?

    CC: Yes, well everyone should know that just about every band’s bio is an elaborate work of fiction. We don’t even make mention of Ploog in there. But it’s true that Ben Price had reached a point where his own responsibilities with a young daughter and his work were kind of taking him out of the picture. Both Stefan and I had a close bond with Ben, and still do today. It was the three of us at the music store where it all started, and there was an energy that he brought to the band that maybe still hasn’t been replaced. Anyway, right around that time, my friend [and kingsizerobot collaborator] Mike Johnson visited Australia, and we had him do overdubs out at Claude Hay‘s studio in Katoomba — Claude was another guy that worked at the music store with us at the time, and actually our first gig had been as the opening act for his band. Certainly it wasn’t realistic to think that Mike was going to join at that time; he was only going to be in the country for a few weeks. But I think we all saw that Ben’s departure was on the horizon. As it turned out, Stefan and I were moving into a flat in Surry Hills with Ryan Adamson from Regular John, and another guitarist, Chris Colla. It may have even been Ben that suggested that we try out Chris. And after that, we settled into a fairly stable period in that lineup of Stefan, me, Chris, and Josh for almost a year. We also played as an acoustic trio without Josh on several occasions.

    EL: But that wasn’t the end to your personnel woes.

    CC: No. As much as we would have liked it to be. After a while, Chris and Ryan moved further out of Sydney, and Chris started missing rehearsals. Something changed with him. We never quite found out what it was, but he had become very withdrawn and unreliable. Finally, he showed up extremely late for a gig, literally walking in with his guitar after we had already had no choice but to start playing without him. There really wasn’t much to be said after that. We were all ready for a break from playing gigs, actually. So we took one, and Chris just kind of disappeared. I don’t remember seeing him again after that.

    Chris Colla, Josh Schuberth, Chad Corley, and Stefan Pope

    The Sleep-ins in 2005: Chris Colla, Josh Schuberth, Chad Corley, and Stefan Pope.
    Photo by Chad Corley

    EL: This brings us to one of the more intriguing aspects of this story: How does Mike Johnson, an American on a travel visa, become a member of the Sleep-ins in Australia in 2006?

    CC: Well, again, you act like we had some kind of plan. But really, Mike had been planning on returning to Australia anyway. His first trip in 2004 hadn’t really gone that well, because he had severe back problems and had been in constant pain. By 2006, he’d had physical therapy and was really in better shape than I’d ever seen him. He also had an entire album of new kingsizemidget material that he wanted me to mix, since I had also done his first record in 2003, quartersizedoublealbum. So he just happened to show up when we had a need, and it worked out well. And quite frankly, I was tired of auditioning new people, and I knew Mike would be up to the task. Those ended up being possibly the best three months of the Sleep-ins’ existence in Australia.

    EL: Then, as it happens, things appear to fall apart very quickly. Within months, Mike departs from Australia, and then Stefan, and finally, you did as well. How did that happen so quickly, and how likely did you think it would be that the band would survive all of that?

    CC: Well, as a pretext to all of that, let me say that I also had some big changes of my own on the horizon. I was engaged to an American woman who would soon become my wife, and we were in the midst of a debate about where we would be living. In America, my father was starting to show signs of early onset Alzheimer’s. So that backdrop was there already. Mike’s leaving wasn’t a surprise, we knew that was coming, even though he had been hoping until the last day that someone would sponsor him on a work visa, to no avail. The surprise was when Stefan, the last music store holdout, finally lost that job. It was the end of an era. It was also the end of Stef’s work visa, so he had no choice but to leave. So it was like going from the highest point of the band to the lowest, in a very brief amount of time. I was terribly sad, and unbelievably lonely in those last few months after they left — Stefan, especially. He and I had been far more than band mates, and all of the sudden Australia seemed just over for me. Not to mention the band, that wasn’t even remotely in mind as an option at that point. It was like my entire life was turned upside down, and to stay meant starting over. Just being in Surry Hills was depressing. So that made the decision pretty clear cut — it was time to leave. Thankfully, some strange symmetry briefly intervened and Ben Price invited me to live with him on the other side of Sydney Harbour in Northbridge for my last few weeks in Australia. So that was an enjoyable end to my time there – and specifically because it was not Surry Hills, which I think would have been a miserable place for me to be in those final days. But I really had no time to think about the Sleep-ins any more, or finishing the album, or really even what future, if at all, there was for me in music. Seriously, someone could have told me at that moment that I would never play again, and I might have believed them.

    Stefan Pope, Chad Corley, and Mike Johnson in 2006

    The Sleep-ins unplugged in 2006: Stefan Pope, Chad Corley, and Mike Johnson.
    Photo by Fiona Stewart

    EL: What was it that ultimately brought you back into music? Did the unfinished Sleep-ins tracks beckon, or was there another project that rekindled your creative fire?

    CC: I certainly did toil for a couple of years there. I built a tube amp. I think I worked on one music project, that was mixing the Titans of Ahm! record, Torpor. In 2007, Heath, Mike, [Mock Orange bassist] Zach Grace, and I made a brief attempt at reviving the raydons. But by then Heath and Zach were in Evansville, Mike was in Indianapolis, and I was in Tennessee, so it was really wishful thinking on our part. We got together once. Twice, actually — the first time Zach wasn’t there. And I really just wasn’t ready to get back into it yet. I got married in October of 2007, and my father passed away in January of 2008. My wife and I moved to Asheville, North Carolina later that year and bought a house. I certainly didn’t spend a single moment during those years working on Sleep-ins material. So I don’t guess it was until 2009 that I was really ready to finally dip my toe back into playing music. Funny enough, it was another ad – this time in Craigslist. It sounded very noncommittal, I’m pretty sure it actually had the words, “just for fun” in it. So it seemed like a situation where I could go and jam with some other people without the word ‘band’ being involved, something I hadn’t done once since I’d left Australia.

    EL: “Seemed like”…?

    CC: Ha ha, yes. I got together with them, it was three other guys. It was an entirely different experience than I’d ever had. For the first time as a musician, I didn’t feel any need to prove myself. So instead of showing up as Chad, the guy with all this music industry experience who had toured and worked on all these records, I was Chad, a guy with a guitar who just wanted to have some fun playing music. It was great! We tore into a 15 minute jam, and I was sloppy as hell but I couldn’t have cared one bit. Then we stopped playing, and the bass player is like, “Wow, that was awesome! So are you ready to learn a song?” And I almost just packed up and walked out right then! But the drummer and the other guitarist kind of walked it back and assured me that they really just wanted to jam. After that time, the bass player never made it again. But the rest of us ended up getting together about once a week for almost a year. And except for that first session, we recorded every minute of it. So ironically, it ended up kind of turning into a project.

    EL: How so? Is this where we find out that the drummer and the guitarist ended up being future Sleep-ins members A.J. Donahue and Jeremy Rasik?

    Chad Corley, Jeremy Rasik, Mike Johnson, and A.J. Donahue in 2010

    The Sleep-ins in 2010: Chad Corley, Jeremy Rasik, Mike Johnson, and A.J. Donahue.
    Photo by John Campbell

    CC: Oh no, I hadn’t met A.J. or Jeremy yet. The drummer was Eric Anderson and the guitarist was Michael Thompson. We ended up with hours of recordings, and I think just by playing together consistently week after week over several months, the topic of where it was going was bound to come up. One week we’d have a very jokey discussion about what to call ourselves. All very funny stuff like, ‘Gas Station Sandwiches’ or ‘Chowtime’. I think we settled on ‘Waxon’. Then after a while someone would float the idea of having a gig, but we could never agree on how we were going to present ourselves. Michael and I thought we should just show up and do exactly what we had been doing, which was not have anything prepared or rehearsed — total improvisation. I don’t think that Eric was too comfortable with that idea, though. We never ended up doing more than just talking about it, and then after a while Eric’s sciatic nerve started acting up and he was having a hard time drumming. Also, the Sleep-ins pulled a Frankenstein.

    EL: Wait, so the band just come back from out of nowhere?

    CC: I suppose I shouldn’t make it sound so spontaneous. Not that it was exactly planned, either. Things were really happening on two levels with me. Creatively, I was just kind of digging out of a hole and getting back to being comfortable. But professionally, I was starting to take the reins a bit. Robert Peckyno had turned me on to self-publishing using a service on Amazon.com called CreateSpace. That’s how the Bathsheva CD got released. I decided it was something I wanted to do as well. I think I realized that part of getting a fresh start creatively was to have a sort of ‘clearing the decks’ of all of the things I’d never finished. So I started the record label as a kind of clearinghouse for all of the projects like the Sleep-ins that were unreleased. But I tackled the easy stuff first — the projects that were already effectively done, like kingsizerobot, Titans of Ahm! and kingsizemidget. After a few projects, I started feeling like trying an actual — current — release. I mean, I enjoyed getting to finally put out all this music, but there certainly wasn’t anything there that was commercially viable. So I looked at the Sleep-ins first, but I still felt like that was going to be a hell of a mountain to climb. It also wasn’t exactly what you’d call “current”. Some of those songs were already more than ten years old; stuff I’d written with Heath. Then I thought of Claude Hay, and it seemed kind of like kind of a perfect project. He’s a total DIY artist and I knew what a special talent he was from seeing him perform live. I floated the idea to him, on some very favorable terms, and we agreed to give it a go. He happened to be getting close to wrapping up production on his second album, which made it really easy. So easy, in fact, that I decided I could also at least start the process of reviving the Sleep-ins. Not as a member of an active band, but instead as a producer with a project that needed finishing.

    EL: So it wasn’t actually part of the plan to get the Sleep-ins back together at all? It was just a kind of reclamation project?

    CC: It definitely was not part of the plan. I really just wanted to be able to say I was done with it. But that also isn’t to say the door was shut and locked never to be opened again.

    EL: What were the circumstances that got you to open that door again?

    CC: There were two totally unexpected events. The first was in about April of 2010, a radio station, WNYZ in New York City, started playing a couple of Sleep-ins tracks in their rotation. Just out of the blue. I’d never had that happen before. But it changed the way I had been thinking about that project, to be certain. So I started pushing it a little bit more, to get it done, but I still didn’t have any notion that it was going to become an active band again, or even when the album was going to be done and released.

    EL: Six months before the album was actually released, you didn’t see it coming?

    CC: No, not at all! I was still much more focused on Claude’s record, which was going to be my label’s marquee release. But again, my thinking was starting to change, which would become very important. The Sleep-ins project was at least starting to gain more stature.

    EL: What was the second unexpected event?

    CC: Yea, well it’s kind of a funny story. My wife and I took a trip to Oregon and Washington state that June. We went to Portland first. One of the days we were there we had done the marathon tourist thing around the city, and we had just walked out of Powell’s Bookstore. I was pretty wiped out, but my wife wanted to go shop for clothes or something like that. We had a little argument, and finally agreed to go our own way for a bit and meet back there a little later. So I just started wandering around the Pearl District and ended up at this record store — Jackpot Records. I started browsing some records there, and in walks Skip Werner, the General Manager for Burnside Distribution, with a bunch of boxes of CDs for the store. Not that I actually knew who he was at the time. But I certainly could tell that he was from a distributor. So I picked out my records and got up to the counter where he was, and I realized it was time for the elevator pitch. And this really ends up being one of those incredible moments where the timing of everything had to line up just perfectly. Not just the timing of that day, but everything that had happened in the months prior to get me in a frame of mind where I could include the Sleep-ins in that pitch. Because of course I was going to talk about Claude Hay, but it was only that instant when I realized the pitch was going to be pretty weak with just one current act on the label.

    EL: So the pitch went well, then?

    CC: I’d have to say so! Although I wasn’t actually sure at the time. He told me to call him at Burnside when I got back to North Carolina and we’d talk about it more. Of course by the next day, I was doubting the whole encounter. And by the time we got back to Asheville I’d almost convinced myself that he’d given me a fake name just to get rid of me, and I was going to call Burnside and they’d say, “nobody named Skip works here.” And then maybe they’d laugh or call me a dork or something. But I got on their website and, sure enough, there he was. So I called. A few weeks later, on the 4th of July, I was signing a distribution deal. And on the 5th of July, it dawned on me that I was going to need to get a band together. And finish the album, book a tour, hire a publicist and radio promotion people…

    EL: That’s three months before Songs About Girls & Outer Space was released in October. How did you get everything done in that amount of time?

    Chad Corley of the Sleep-ins

    Chad Corley of the Sleep-ins.
    Photo by Ryan Adamson

    CC: Thankfully, the album was pretty close to finished by then. The first person I called was Mike Johnson. He was right on board. I think he moved to Asheville within a month. He actually helped a lot with getting Claude’s record released as well, along with Robert Peckyno. And that was also when A.J. and Jeremy came into the picture. They had both just moved to Asheville, which was extremely fortunate. Asheville’s scene is very oriented towards Bluegrass and Americana, which made it surprisingly difficult to find players for a rock band — even one on a record label with distribution, as it turned out. But they were both really fun guys to work with, and really helped everything come together. Working with Skip Werner at Burnside really was a huge advantage, also. He was able to point me in the right direction for all of the publicity and promo stuff.

    EL: Lost in this discussion right about now is any mention of Stefan Pope or Josh Schuberth. Were there any discussions with them about what was going on with the band?

    CC: Oh, of course. I was keeping them both updated all along. Unfortunately, there was just really no way to get them to America for the tour. The visas and travel expenses that would have been necessary were just too unrealistic to consider. Plus, they both had other things going on and couldn’t have made it anyway, especially on such short notice. But I had their blessings. We decided to go on with the touring version of the Sleep-ins and take a wait-and-see approach as to what the real future was for the band.

    EL: It sounds like the same approach you had been taking all along with band members – the line up of the band was whoever happened to be in the band that week. Because later, Heath Metzger and James Butler make an appearance. How did that come about?

    CC: Well, you know, it was a kind of shitty tour by a band that really had no following in the U.S., to speak of. So outside of a couple of places where we knew people and could bring a crowd, we were playing to small audiences who didn’t know who the hell we were – even in Asheville, funny enough. The last show on the tour was in Nashville, but it was actually a month after the previous show, so it was not even really a part of the tour, more like a one-off. Right before that we’d had an especially bad show in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we had to drive back all night through a snowstorm. I think we were all kind of exhausted and A.J. and Jeremy just kind of asked off that last show. I really couldn’t blame them, either, I almost didn’t want to do it myself, except it was Nashville, where I had lived for years and knew a lot of people. And the venue was the Basement, which was probably the best venue we would play in the whole tour. So I called Heath and James and asked if they wanted to play this one gig — which is a lot easier than asking someone if they want to go on an entire tour. And it was cool that Heath was finally getting to play the finished versions of a few of these songs the we had written together so many years ago. The irony was that it ended up being by far our best show. So it was nice to end the tour on a high note.

    EL: So where does that leave the Sleep-ins?

    CC: That’s a good question! I’m going to take a little break because I promised my wife I would. But I’ve also been talking to Stefan and Josh and they both sound like they’d like to work on another album, although we’d be doing it remotely. There’s definitely lots of material left over from the Australia days. And I’ve still got the label to run and a couple of releases I’ll be doing this year, so it’s not like I won’t have plenty to keep me occupied. I’ve also got some solo material I’ve been sitting on for years, so we’ll just have to see.

    EL: Could we be seeing the return of Experiment House? Or maybe another New Age record?

    CC: Ha ha… no. I did finally buy a new keyboard, though.

    EL: Alright! So things might have come full circle for you, then. Well, Chad Corley, thanks for taking the time to talk to us and best of luck with the Sleep-ins, and the record label.

    CC: No worries! Thanks so much.

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