Lots of inspiration for Boxmasters, Billy Bob Thornton
With the release of the double album “Boys and Girls… And the World” California-based rockers The Boxmasters also are celebrating nearly a decade of being a band. Since forming in 2007, the group has released six albums and toured regularly but even that is hardly indicative of how tirelessly these musicians have worked over the last nine years.
The Boxmasters are drummer, vocalist, and chief songwriter Billy Bob Thornton, guitarist/vocalist J.D. Andrew, and Teddy Andreadis on keys, but they employ a series of other musicians on tour to fill out the sound that they create in the studio.
Both Andrew and Thornton told Tahoe Onstage that the band has half a dozen albums recorded but not yet released. On the road and between tours, the band always finds time to put in work at the nearest studio.
“We don’t have any problem coming up with inspiration,” Andrew said. “People know Billy from other things he’s done but what they don’t know is how gifted of a writer he really is. Lyrically, he’s beyond brilliant. We’re really blessed to have him writing our lyrics.”
When asked about his prolific writing tendencies, Thornton explained: “Well, I grew up in a part of the country (Arkansas) at a time where storytelling was a big thing. In the South, there’s a tradition of storytelling so I grew up loving characters and was basically just a student of human behavior.”
In addition to what Andrew calls Thornton’s “endless amount of things to sing,” the trio’s natural chemistry is a major catalyst for its prolificness. “It doesn’t take much for us to start writing a song. A lot of the time Billy will have a lyrical idea and a melody so we’ll flesh out the chords behind that. Sometimes I’ll have a guitar figure that starts things off or I’ll have almost all the music written. There’s no one way that we start writing, any inspiration we get we’ll follow. It can be as little as two notes.”
Thornton added that in the last couple years Andreadis has had a bigger role in the songwriting process, “It’s great because he’s a keyboard player so he can just write differently than J.D. and myself can on guitar.” He continues with a laugh, “He’ll come up with some weird-ass chords that we don’t know anything about.”
The Boxmasters’ latest release is a reflection of its growth as a band and unified writing process. A fully cohesive, sonically rich double album, “Boys and Girls… And the World” hits its mark time and time again from the “full fledged jangly rock” — as Andrew puts it — of the single “Anywhere But Now” to the slinky “Who Do We Follow” to the funky “Of Course You’re a Leo” The musicians thrive in thier element. They are also masters of the feel good rock song with deeper lyrical content; often combining heavy subject matter with danceable rhythms and hummable melodies. And what’s more, they have no intentions of slowing down.
“One of the great things about the music industry with the Internet these days is that we can release a lot more music independently and just sell it on our website,” explains Thornton when asked about the band’s six unreleased albums, “So we’re going to release at least one of those records a year while also recording new stuff. We like writing too much to sit and rest on what we’ve already done; we’re kind of antsy guys”
The Boxmasters will perform at Cargo Sept. 16 for the first time in Reno in eight years. “We’re really looking forward to coming back to Reno,” says Thornton, “Years ago I did a movie called ‘Waking Up In Reno’ and we had a blast while we were filming up there. It kinda feels like back home.”
As the interview ends, the band is pulling into Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to record on one of its few days off. It’s this dedication to the craft of songwriting that has driven the Boxmasters’ career for the last decade and most certainly will fuel it for many more.
The BoxmastersWhen: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16
Where: Cargo Concert Hall
Tickets: $40 VIP, $30 general admission
ABOUT Spencer Kilpatrick
Author Spencer Kilpatrick graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in English. He hates the Lakers and his top three emcees are Blu, Earl Sweatshirt and Nas.