Think of a musical concept where Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac fronts an ‘80s era heavy metal band and you’ll most likely be astounded by the combination. Now, what if there was an actual band doing something in that vein and they turned out to be from your own backyard? It would be crazy to fathom, but it’s true and The Smoke Breaks have been pulling this off for the past few years. Before COVID-19 hit, the East Providence based act were making waves in the local scene through their electrifying live shows and an in-your-face amplified sound. It’s been a while since they’ve performed because of the pandemic, but they’ll be taking the stage at Askew on 150 Chestnut Street in Providence for a socially distanced show on May 14th at 8pm.
Providence indie rock act Leiko will be opening up the evening with an acoustic set. Before the show I had a talk with vocalist Cassidy Caduto, her brother Chris who plays bass, rhythm guitarist Caleb Ezra Poirier, lead guitarist Sam Patrie and drummer Drew Silveira from The Smoke Breaks about what they’ve been up to with live music being a rarity, a recent photo shoot they did, being part of a virtual show series based in Pawtucket and plans for the future.
Rob Duguay: With COVID-19 shutting down the majority of live music for nearly 14 months, what have each of you been doing to pass the time? Have you been working on new music or doing any other activities?
Sam Patrie: Fortunately, I was able to keep working and I became a fully licensed electrician. Other than that, I've been working on writing and producing music videos with The Smoke Breaks and my other band, From the Pub to the Graveyard, who dropped said video on April 30th. Find it on YouTube!
Caleb Ezra Poirier: In 2020, I took the opportunity to make a major investment in my studio, where I've been producing The Smoke Breaks, upcoming album as well as solo albums for Chris and Cassidy. I’ve also worked with five other local musicians, including Artist Monk's, which is Becca Neveu solo project, new single “Better”, which can be found on SoundCloud. I'll be fully committed to these projects and hopefully a few more even when my job as an audio engineer opens back up.
Chris Caduto: I've been working on a deeply personal solo album under the name of Alligator Jones and The Flying Sex Snakes, which should be released this summer.
RD: Woah, that’s a hell of a name.
Chris Caduto: Yeah, I also got back into painting and was able to put on an art show at Askew this past February. I finally started cooking regularly, which I love now. That one is for the ladies."
Drew Silveira: I started school online at the University of Connecticut this winter and I've developed a serious love for fitness and Latin art. Other than that, I've been working and practicing drums a lot.
Cassidy Caduto: I've been able to work from home for the past year and only recently started going back to the office again, which is a very welcome change. Back in August of last year, I got the cutest little goldendoodle puppy named Appa and have been having an endless adventure raising her. I've also started school with a major in wildlife biology and I’ve become a pretty good baker.
RD: This is all fantastic, I’m glad you guys have each found ways to be productive during these crazy times. Recently you all got to do a photo shoot with Dwight Wilkerson from Small Frye Photography at The Scurvy Dog in Providence and near South Water Street in the same city by the Providence River. How were you able to link up with Dwight and what was the experience like?
Chris Caduto: We've known Dwight from the scene for years, which made it pretty easy to link up with him. Even though he's our friend, it was an incredibly professional experience and he was amazing to work with. He kept everything relaxed but efficient and the shoot really reunited the band after our year without shows.
RD: You've also been doing video performances either from the garage or living room in one of your houses along with recently being part of the Artist Jackie Show which broadcasts on Facebook Live via a practice space in Pawtucket. Who's living room and garage have you been performing in and to reflect, what did you think of performing virtually on Jackie's show?
Caleb Ezra Poirier: We alternate living rooms between the band, but the garage, also known as The Mushroom Hut, has been our practice space through every incarnation of our band, back when Cassidy and Chris were just teenagers. The Artist Jackie show is such a fun experience. It made us feel like rockstars on a late night show. If any musicians out there have an opportunity to appear on that show, we can't recommend it enough.
RD: What are your feelings going into the socially distanced show at Askew on May 14th? It's your first show in over a year so there must be some excitement.
Cassidy Caduto: We couldn't be more excited about the 14th. We're such a live band, we really thrive in connecting with an audience and showing them a rowdy, good old fashioned rock n roll time so this past year has been hard on morale. Despite the fact that the pandemic will affect the way we can perform live, we're ready to give it our all and put on a hell of a welcome back show.
RD: After the show at Askew, what do The Smoke Breaks have for the summer?
Chris Caduto: This summer we're planning to do two shows per month, one in Rhode Island and one out of state. As of now, we've got a show booked at Dusk for August 11th and we're talking to a few different venues around New England. Other than live shows, we'll continue recording our upcoming album and we'll be dropping our first music video for our single “The Woman in the Glass”, in July.