Nobody really likes their jobs. It’s the nature of the beast. However, playing in a cover band that performs nightly is a pretty decent day job.
The members of Audioboxx have been able to turn what they enjoy into a steady gig. Punching a casino time clock might not be glamorous, but, for Audioboxx, the opportunities and pay have been a huge step up. The musicians get paid better than any of them ever did at hourly jobs, and they get to rock out and goof off together.
Guitarist Eric Stangeland says, “These jobs give us a great avenue to work on our own stuff, have the freedom to tour and get exposure to people from all around the country.”
Audioboxx is a cover band by night and a real band by … other nights.
Don’t worry; it’s not as bad as it sounds, and it’s a lot better than karaoke.
“We play other people’s music, so we can’t take ourselves too seriously,” frontman and bassist Mario Guzman says. Audioboxx has appeared all over the state, most often at The Garage, Brew Brothers and The Red Lion Inn & Casino in Elko. They are the masters of cheese-rock. If there is an opportunity to ham it up, glam it up or squeal out a guitar lead, Audioboxx will take it. (When was the last time you found yourself shouting the lyrics to “Shot Through the Heart” with a crowd of people, or humming along to the music from Super Mario Bros.?)
Audioboxx got together in 2004, out of the wreckage of about 47 bands, to hear them tell it. Guzman, Stangeland and drummer Beau Melia played together for about five years during the ‘90s, in the band Convicted Innocence. They were looking to quit their day jobs—like teaching at Maytan Music—and start working as full-time musicians.
They wanted to add another singer and guitarist. Stangeland knew another Maytan employee who he thought would work well with the band.
Stangeland says, “I told these guys that there was this dude, Andy, at the store, and I thought he could definitely play in this band. And I didn’t even know he sang, and he came in and sang so good.”
Andy Kimberly, former guitarist for Uncut, says, “The funny thing is, I didn’t know I could sing, either. I just told you guys to get into the band.” As they all laugh in disbelief, Kimberly goes on: “I hated the sound of my own voice, but I would have tried a backflip if you asked me. Whatever.” Kimberly sings lead vocals on about a third of Audioboxx’s setlist.
Even though the band plays other people’s songs, and the musicians struggle to find time to work on their own music, Audioboxx does have a creative bone or two in its collective body. For example, the single “Trapped,” produced by Chris Finley of Mnemonic, is a heavy ballad somewhere between Helmet and Queensryche.
In spite of the fact that sometimes the last thing they want to do is play more music after two weeks of nightly shows, the band members promise their first five-song CD will be out by the end of this year. In the meantime, they’ll be around town, working for your weekend.