Louisville Magazine

JUL 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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58 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 7.18 full of black cases carrying guitars, a drum kit, keyboards and other gear. An hour into the trip, rolling past Scottsburg, Indiana, the picture of Carney decapitating a holiday cookie appears on the Wax Fang Instagram feed: "Chicago, see us TONIGHT," it reads, "or meet your doom like this delicious cookie." "He always liked to shock people," Lynne Carney says of her son. He attended elementary school at St. Barnabas Catholic School, on Hikes Lane. "In fifth or sixth grade, I got called into the principal's office. e priest had come into religion class to talk about role models. Scott told him and the class that his role model was Freddy Krueger," Lynne says. Scott loved horror movies, so she was not exactly surprised. "He was the kid who put food up his nose and the kid that stuck keys in the outlet. He was — well, adventurous and full of energy. He turned out great." Since 2007, Carney has lived in a house off Eastern Parkway, where he teaches music lessons and records music in a small, makeshift studio. As a "side hustle," he rents the place out on Airbnb because, for the past year, he has been living in NuLu with his girlfriend. ey met while she was working at the Germantown pizza restaurant the Post. "I call our courtship 'love at first slice,'" Carney says. One afternoon, in the open room where he teaches piano lessons every ursday, Carney sits across from me at a gray, 1950s-style dining table, sipping hot tea. He has pushed his hair behind his ears. "ere's something about being the singer of the band. For instance, Journey still plays shows without Steve Perry, but they found a guy somewhere on the planet, I think the Philippines, that no shit sounds exactly like Steve Perry. at's probably the only way that band could go on without the original singer," he says. Behind him, a plywood storage unit you could probably find at Target or IKEA contains books, including is Is Your Brain on Music: e Science of a Human Obsession and Modern Recording Techniques. Atop the shelving stands a silver foldout picture frame, next to a wooden block with an AK-47 reading, "Hey, it's America." Inside the frame is a coffee-stained piece of paper with tiny words and numbers on it. e paper, a gift from his aunt who works at the Louisville Free Public Library, is actually the bibliographic record of his first album, Black & Endless Night, which he wrote, recorded and released himself in 2006. On line 500, the bibliographic record denotes: "All songs written by Scott Carney." "I don't want to come across" — Carney deepens his voice dramatically — "like I am Wax Fang." He returns to his normal, slightly nasal pitch. "I have enough trouble being a frontman as it is. ere's a psychology to being a frontman, and I don't necessarily" — he hesitates — "enjoy some of those aspects, because I'm not — well, I hope I'm not a narcissist. I think you have to be somewhat of a narcissist to be a frontman, but there's definitely the Steven Tylers and Axel Roses of the world that are attention-seeking, alpha- personality types. I've always struggled with that. Whereas your polar opposite might be someone like Kurt Cobain, who had a severe disdain for being a frontman. I'm kind of somewhere in the middle. "ere's something about being more anonymous that you lose when you become the frontman. If you're the voice, you're the face." Carney's mother describes him as someone who likes to "quietly stand out." She says he likes to be "over the top." In 2006, for example, Wax Fang dressed up as cheerleaders to open for My Morning Jacket on New Year's Eve in San Francisco. "He likes to stand out," Lynne Carney says, "but he also likes to be in the background. He doesn't like the focus on him." Carney grew up in Hikes Point. His father, Jack, worked as a sales rep for Hillerich & Bradsby, the company that produces Louisville Sluggers; his mother was an office manager. "We didn't sing or dance," Lynne says. "We really have no idea where Scott got it from." His musical interest began when he was just a toddler. His mother says he would dance in front of the TV to Neil Diamond's 1981 single "America." He would also sing himself "I need you to take a picture of me biting the head off this gingerbread cookie," Scott Carney says, dramatically widening his eyes. Inside the NuLu Please & ank You, he arches his left brow to a point as he brings the sugary victim — Jesus wearing cowboy boots — to his mouth. "We're gonna need to get a picture of everyone before we get on the road, too," he says. Carney and his bandmates — Corey McAfee (bass), Zach Driscoll (keys) and Dave Chale (drums) — pose together outside the trendy coffee shop. Carney has tucked his shoulder-length, dirty-blond hair into a toboggan. Gray speckles the 39-year-old's beard. McAfee, also 39, stands next to him, sporting the same aging effect in his long curls. Driscoll, 28, and Chale, 38, lean in. Together, the four make up the latest incarnation of Wax Fang, Carney's art- rock band. Over the past decade-plus, he has released several albums and singles, played more than 500 shows and directed and produced music videos. e success, however, has come in waves. He has also dealt with financial struggles, the pain of band members leaving and the bittersweet feeling of being the band everybody thought would be the next My Morning Jacket. But he shows no signs of stopping. It's almost noon on Dec. 6, 2017. One hour later than they planned to be on the road. With coffees in hand, they pile into a white 10-passenger rental van. Over the next five days, Wax Fang will play a regional tour, which they'll follow up with a spring tour in the UK and, on July 13, a Friday slot at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville. Chale, who also plays drums in the Louisville band Quiet Hollers, drives toward the first destination, Chicago. Driscoll co-pilots, his neon Nikes propped up on the vast gray dashboard. McAfee sits next to his girlfriend in the middle row. Carney and his red corduroy messenger bag take up space in the third row. e back is After more than a decade on the road and in the studio, Wax Fang frontman Scott Carney isn't showing signs of waning.

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