We caught up with San-Diego based rock band Cardboard Boxer before their set at The Smell! While on a weekender with Mudpuppy, Sarah hung out with Cardboard Boxer in their tour ambulance (or band-ulance) before they played with Storm Coast and Mudpuppy. Cardboard Boxer is composed of vocalist and guitarist Shea Villetet, guitarist Tommy Achenbach, drummer Evan de Silva, and bassist Cameron.
What’s your go-to gas station order when you’re on tour?
Cameron: 7/11 taquitos and a Yerba.
Evan: It messes me up so bad every time but I gotta say 7/11 taquitos. Or, when I was doing service plumbing, I’d get 7/11 chicken salad sandwich and a bag of lime chili Lay’s chips and a Yerba.
Cameron: The Yerba and the hot peanuts for a 14-hour shift are sustenance.
Tommy: I like the Yerba and I like the complete cookies, those are pretty good.
Shea: I was gonna say the Yerba Mate as well. And it depends on how the day is going. If it’s a bad day, I’ll get taquitos, just some nasty food to make me feel better. The nastier the better. Just get the meat sweats mid shift. But if it’s a good day, I’ll get something healthier, like a protein bar. I like the 7-11 green drinks a lot. They’re actually pretty fire.
Cameron: Those rejuvenate you. Your health goes up like in the video games whenever you drink one.
First impression of your bandmates when you met?
Shea: Me and Tommy met in sixth grade, I think we were one of the few people that were into music so we clicked immediately. The first time we hung out we got in a fistfight. By your pool.
Tommy: It wasn’t the first.
Shea: It was one of the first. I was like, “Fuck this guy, I’m not gonna hang out with him again.” But I guess ten years later, we’re still kinda truckin’ away.
Tommy: Still fistfighting.
Evan: I guess I came into the picture around high school, that summer between eighth and ninth grade when I met Tommy. Because I was in this other band with these other people, and I was thinking about jumping ship, and I met Tommy. And I was hanging out with him all the time, just right off the bat.
Tommy: Jived better musically.
Evan: Then he introduced me to Shea, who I thought was the sickest dude, just Surfer Spicoli, right when I met him at my old friend Eli’s help. Then I started sleeping over at his house and before I knew it, I was over at Shea’s house more than I was at my own house ever. It fell in for me. I found my clique.
Shea: I remember the first time I ever met you, we were in Eli’s backyard, and we were in his side shed, we were in ninth grade making bongs with a glass drill bit. They were pretty legit.
Evan: The one we made out of the Patron bottle was sick. Six chambers.
How does it feel to be playing at The Smell? Is this your first time?
Cameron: This is only my third show with these guys, so…
Tommy: He’s never played with us here before, so he’s getting quite an experience. The first time we played here, before everything shut down, we did a little tour up and down the coast, like Berkeley, San Francisco, Vegas. That was the first time we played The Smell, that was a sick show, it was packed, I don’t know if it was sold out or not.
Shea: It was almost sold out. We played with Kicked Off the Streets, Law, and Sustivity. All really sick bands.
What’s your favorite memory from playing shows?
Evan: One of my favorite memories was here, when we kicked off the tour. That was just a start to a really awesome trip, and we were playing our set and people did a wall of death, and people were standing on each other’s shoulders. So it was like chicken fighting wall of death, that was really cool to see.
What artist would be your dream collaboration?
Everyone except Tommy: Don’t say Weezer, Tommy.
Cameron: Parkway Drive.
Tommy: Oh god. Just metalcore.
Shea: I wanna just say bands I’ve been listening to, but in terms of fitting with our music I don’t know how they would be.
Tommy: Just Weezer, dude.
Shea: I’ve been really into that band Fontaines…
Evan: Dave Grohl would be a dream come true for me.
Cameron: I want Steve Albini to produce our record when we make it big.
What song are you most proud of and why?
Shea: Every song off of this new album we’re writing.
Evan: Every song off this new record we’re writing and recording right now is honestly, I think all of our best work. If I had to pick a song in particular, I think maybe “Reasons.” Or “Waste My Time.” It’s the best stuff we’ve ever done so far and I’m really excited to release it whenever we end up doing so.
What are some of your non-musical influences, like books or movies?
Evan: I really love movies, like all kinds of movies, I really love gangster movies like Goodfellas and Casino, I love every kind of movie. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Those three books are fire.
Tommy: Harry Potter. No, I’m just kidding.
Shea: Star Wars is really big.
Tommy: Star Trek as well.
Shea: And books, A Farewell to Arms was like my all-time favorite until now.
Tommy: All Quiet on the Western Front was pretty good.
What’s the story behind having a tour ambulance?
Shea: Three of us are EMTs, we used to work at a smaller ambulance company, and passively the owner of it, I think he was joking, but he was like “Some of these buckets, we’re gonna sell, if anyone wants one, hit me up!”. And we were like, “Yeah, we’ll buy one.” And he was caught off guard, he was like, “Really? You want one of these things?”. So we talked him into a pretty good deal. And yeah, just the perfect tour van since then. We have a ton of storage compartments. Once all the medical stuff’s out we have a bunch of room on the sides. It sleeps four people. Not comfortably, but we’ve done it. Three spooning on the ground, and then one person fights over the bench seat.
Tommy: The bench seat isn’t as comfortable as you think it’d be, though.
Cameron: I’m thinking of adding a modification, like adding a box thing where one of us can lay on that side too.
Shea: We kind of have a little coffin area up there too…
Tommy: I tried to sleep up there and it was horribly uncomfortable.
Cameron: What if you ran your head here?
Tommy: Doesn’t work.
Shea: It’s like sleeping in a coffin, it’s claustrophobic.
Cameron: Sounds kind of enveloping.
Shea: In a bad way, it’s not like an immersion chamber or something.
What are your goals for the year?
Evan: Go on another kickass tour, make good memories, have good times.
Shea: Play a tour that doesn’t get canceled.
Tommy: Crossing our fingers all goes well.
Shea: Touring, that’s the big goal. That and getting this album finished.
Cameron: Finally got done with your vocals. Needs to be alone and naked in the studio. Only way to record properly.