- Ada, Oklahoma

September 16, 2013

Former Cross Canadian Ragweed frontman Cody Canada to perform with new band

Eric Swanson Staff Writer

Ada —

     When Cody Canada and his popular band Cross Canadian Ragweed broke up in 2010, Canada decided to pay tribute to the red-dirt writers and musicians that had influenced his career.

     Within a few months after the members of Cross Canadian Ragweed went their separate ways, Canada and his longtime bandmate Jeremy Plato launched a new group with musicians Seth James, Steve Littleton and Chris Doege. The Departed’s first album for the Underground Sound label, This is Indian Land, came out in 2011.

     This is Indian Land showcased Oklahoma songwriters, but The Departed decided to make a straight-up rock record with its second album, Adventus, according to the band’s website. Adventus — the title comes from the Latin word for “arrival” — is the band’s first album of original material.

     Canada and The Departed will perform with special guest Chad Sullins at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Arbuckle Ballroom in Davis. The show is part of a national tour supporting Adventus, which was released in November 2012.

     The Ada News interviewed Canada on Friday about his time with Cross Canadian Ragweed and his work with The Departed. Here are questions and answers from the interview, edited for clarity and length.


AN: Tell me about your time with Cross Canadian Ragweed, please.

CC: We started in 1994, when we were all either in or getting out of high school. We just did it for 16 years, up until 2010.

We had a really good time with it. We covered a lot of ground, played almost every state and a couple of countries. Then we decided to split it up.

But it was a good time. We made a lot of traction.


AN: Were you surprised by the success of Cross Canadian Ragweed?

CC: Yeah, I think I was surprised. 

In hindsight, we worked really hard to get where we were with that band. It seemed like we were in a van and trailer, going from bar to bar, town to town, and then all of a sudden it got bigger. It got bigger quicker. So it was a little surprising.


AN: What, in your mind, are some of the highlights of your career with your former band?

CC: We got to play a lot of stuff. 

I think probably the biggest honor was, we got invited to Waylon Jennings’ — it was really his musical funeral. Shooter (Jennings) invited us, and we got to play the stage with (Kris) Kristofferson. Johnny Cash was supposed to be there; he was sick. We got to play with Waylon’s band ... That was really one of the biggest highlights for me, just getting invited to something like that.

That gig really is what got us our record deal (with Universal South).


AN: Was that a good partnership for you and the band?

CC: It was in the beginning. They had a whole different crew come in from the original.

The original president and vice president — everybody was on board, and everybody worked together and everything. They fired those two guys and brought in two other dudes, and after that it just didn’t really work. They were changing direction.

Universal South was known for kind of being outside the box, but once the new regime came in, it turned into a national machine. So that’s when we got out, when we broke up in 2010.

We were done anyway, but to get out of the contract, we had to break up.


AN: So what exactly led to the band’s breakup in 2010?

CC: Two guys were ready to go home, because we do work a lot. Myself and Jeremy — he’s the bass player, he’s playing bass in The Departed now — we wanted to keep on playing.


AN: When was The Departed formed?

CC: Down in New Braunfels, Texas, where we live. When we decided that Ragweed was done, The Departed got right into the studio and began working on music. I didn’t want to miss a beat.

About two months after Ragweed split, The Departed had its first show.


AN: What, if any, are some of the significant differences between The Departed and your former band?

CC: The big, significant difference is Seth James on guitar and vocals and Steve Littleton on B3 organ. That’s really what makes it different because I’m not the one singing all the time, so it adds something different.


AN: Are you finding that a lot of the people who were fans of your old band have come along for the ride with the new band, or are you attracting a new fan base?

CC: We get a lot of the old fan base, but there is definitely a new surge of fans that we didn’t have before.


AN: To what do you attribute that?

CC:  The old band was together for 16 years, so there’s going to be people that followed it. They liked what we did in the first band, so they like what we do in the second band.