Well, for Carl Phelan that’s basically his life! Especially when he’s one of FLYLEAF’s most devoted fans and happens to be a proud Grandad to 1 of their lead Guitarist, Jared Hartmann!
But before getting to his book “Flyleaf Spreads Their Wings“, we thought it would be nice to get to know about the author himself and what’s it like watching his favorite band grow.
Hi Carl! I’m so excited to have this interview with you! But before we start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Here is a brief Auto Bio of Carl Weston Phelan. I was born on a small cotton farm in Smyer, Texas on February 16th, 1930. I lived there until the summer of 1939 when we moved to Levelland, Texas. Graduated in the summer of 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a double minor in Social Studies and Public Education. I got married to my hometown sweetheart on April 12th, 1959. I got my first job as a public school teacher in September of 1959. My son Kevin Weston was born on February 20, 1960 and my daughter Shannon Mary Phelan Haertmann was born on October 12, 1962. I got a Master of Science degree in Earth Science at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1967. I taught Math and Science in public schools in Texas for 30 years and finally retired in the spring of 1989. I took a job teaching Mat at The Gary Job Corps in Sam Marcos, Texas in 1991 and retired in 1999. I then took a job was a security guard and dispatcher for the City of Austin Energy. I retired from there in May of 2012.
Have you been a writer for a long time? Or just recently?
This is my very first book, I am not a professional writer. I am just a proud Grandfather who wanted to honour my Grandson, Jared Hartmann and his band mates by keeping a record of all their musical activities and put in a scrapbook. I decided to write a book in about 2003 when they began to make a name for themselves as Sporos, Listen, Passerby and Flyleaf.
What’s it like writing a book, especially about a worldwide known rock band?
It was a thrill and an honour for me to be able to write this book. I knew it would not be an easy task. I was able to get most of the reviews that were written about the progress of the band’s incredible rise to fame. I could not have written this book without the support and cooperation of my whole family. My daughter Shannon Mary, the Mother of Jared Hartmann, she kept me informed of how the band was doing from messages that she got form her son Jared. When the band was on tour we were only able to go to the concerts that were in driving distance of our home. My wife, Jackie, and I were two of the bands biggest fans. My son, Kevin was a lot of help because he was a computer expert. He designed the cover of the book and organised the chapters into their proper places in the book. The whole writing process was a labour of love for my family and me.
What challenges did you face?
The first challenge that I faced was, who was going to print the book. We finally decided to use the Self-Publishing Company called Create Space, which was a division of Amazon.com
The next challenge was typing the first Proof Copy of the book and making grammar and spelling corrections on the manuscript.
The last challenge we had was the formatting of all the chapters and putting in the proper references for all he reviews that we used from all the media outlets.
I read in a previous interview, that you had a band in high school. What kind of music did you play? And did you consider pursuing in that career?
The band that you read about that I was in was called The Levelland, Texas High School concert and marching band. The band was used to support the sports teams by performing at all of their games and doing special music programs for holidays celebrations. I played the trumpet in this band from 9th to 11th grades.
Would you consider “writing” your passion? Or music?
My passion is both writing and music. I believe that music is the language of life. I love all kinds of music; I like Rock Popular, Country, Blue Grass, Blues Jazz and Classical. I am a collector of Music Vinyl Albums from the 1950s to the 1970s. I have Cassettes from the 1940’s to the 1980’s, CD’s from the 1990’s to the present and also DVD’s. I believe that music helps people remember the good and the bad times of their lives.
You must be really proud of your grandson, Jared, and his bandmates! I mean you’ve basically watched them grow from a group of teenagers playing
small gigs to an internationally well-known band. From experience, what’s it like being there every step of the way, through their ups & downs of their success?
It was an extra special benefit for me to be able to watch my grandson and his band mates grow and become very popular and revive honours, awards and accomplishments above and beyond our expectations. It has been an amazing experience to see how this band started out playing in small venues for s few people and ended up playing in large arenas from thousands of rabid fans. I was able to observe how this band’s music and lyrics were deep, honest, profound, inspirational, fulfilling and life changing for people around the world.
Judging from your book, it seems you’re really devoted fan of the band! What’s it like being on the same road with Flyleaf? Going on tours, watching them perform live?
I really enjoyed being able to see the band live. We were able to see them when they were close enough to our hometown. We were not able to go with the band when they were on long tours in places that were too far for us to travel. The tours in remote places in America and overseas like the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Afghanistan and Africa. We were able to keep up with the band through media outlets such as emails and phone calls with Jared and newspapers, magazines, radio, television, videos and Internet web sites. In the first years from 2002 to 2008 I kept a notebook with personal emails from all of the band members. I intended to use these emails in my book. I had planned to have one whole chapter of these emails but when it came down to the final proof copy of the book this chapter did not make the cut.
What would be your best/funniest/most memorable moment with them?
My favourite memorable event took place at Club in Temple, Texas called Bum’s. Pat Seals has started his acrobatic antics and he ran into Jared Hartmann and knocked him off the stage, Jared turned a flip and landed in a corner right next to the stage. Some of the fans picked Jared up and threw him on stage and he never missed a riff with his guitar. Someone is the crowd yelled, “That is real rock and roll”!!
Another great event was in February of 2007 when the band was awarded a Gold Record from the RIAA for sales of over 500,000 copies of their debut album in 2005.
The next event was in October of 2008 when the RIAA announced that the band had sold over one million copies of the Debut Album, ‘Flyleaf’
If you could go back in time, would you do the same thing with your high school band?
I need to explain about the band that I was in when I was in public School. The band that I was in was a school band that supports sports and other activities. This was not a rock or garage band it was a school band and it was a course that you take when you’re in school if you are interested in music. If I could go back I would do the same thing again because being in that school band I learned to read and play music that propelled my interest in music. I self-taught and learned to play the Harmonica when I was 6 years old. I still play the Harmonica. When we have our Christmas celebrations I play Christmas songs at our family gathering.
Of all the articles and reviews you’ve read about the band’s first performances, which one was your favourite?
Out of all the articles about the band’s first performance it would have to be the article that appeared in the Temple Daily Telegram newspaper article that stated that there must be something in the water in the Temple, Texas area. The writer of the story said that this Passerby Band was going to put Temple Texas on the map.
In your opinion, do you believe that critics are good way of motivation? Even if they have something negative to say?
I believe that some critics are good and can help to promote and elevate the band. There are small percentages, perhaps about 10 to 15 percent, of critics that just look for negative criticism of the band performance. However, I would say that about 80 percent of the reviews that I got were positive. You are not going to please everybody and the few negative reviews that I got; I just did not pay much attention to.
Are you considering on writing another book? If yes, what would it be about?
I am in the final stages of writing 2 books right now. The first one is a sort of autobiography entitled ‘The Times They Were ‘A Changing’; a Time Travel History of Events That Took Place from ‘Back In The Day ‘ to the present time. The other book that I am writing is a book about a 1985 Punk Rock Christian Band named One Bad Pig, that my son Kevin was one of the founding members of the band. The book title is ‘One Bad Pig Forever’
I’m also considering writing another book about the Flyleaf band that will begin in 2012 when Kristen May became the lead vocalist. I have also thought about having a 2nd edition to ‘Flyleaf Spreads Their Wings’ we will just have to wait and see what develops. I have learned a lot from the reviews that I have gotten so I will be better prepared to do the next book whatever it turns out to be.
Any “Words of Wisdom”?
Listen to the critics, put their advice to good use and also learn from your mistakes that you have made in the past.
Make sure to check out our book review of “Flyleaf Spreads Their Wings”