It took a few years for four Quebecers to evolve from music-obsessed garage-dwellers to the band known as Cardboard Crowns.
Cardboard Crowns, with its punk-rock, reggae and ska-beat sonic blend, informally formed in the late 90s after a few garage get-togethers. In the early 2000s, David “Tokyo” Speirs, Matt “Googles” Megannetry, Joel “The Rat” Kuehn, and “Mystery” Frank Cunningham, decided to formalize. Since then, they’ve shared stages with big acts like k-os, the Planet Smashers and The Johnstones.
Tokyo plays drums, Googles takes up lead guitar, the Rat on vocals and Mystery the bass.
But it’s the mix of genres Cardboard Crowns seamlessly incorporates into their songs that has garnered them notice. Indeed, the band draws inspiration from genre-specific legends like the Skatalites, acoustic anarcho-punk Mischief Briew, Toots, reggae-loving Maytals and virtually “everywhere in between,” Kuehn said.
“The boys mix together any and all permutations of the aforementioned and add a generous helping of hook and anthem, baking the result in a cardboard inferno of love and angst,” he added.
Showing a clear passion for the creativity and uniqueness, Kuehn didn’t miss a single detail when describing the band’s sound and musical inspirations.
Cardboard Crowns have been on the road and performing since they first birthed themselves onto the music scene in the late 90s, Kuehn recounts, having experienced first-hand all of the ridiculous energy that marked the early to mid 2000s.
“Being an active band, [we] often find [ourselves] in a four-pack of musical sausages, constantly jammed into the trusty tercel, jangling head-between-knees and amp-deep all the way down to the next gig,” he added.
The band has even bagged awards for their work.
“[We’ve] been lucky enough to come away with several awards over the years, most recently claiming first place in Ottawa’s Big Money Shot, which is an overgrown battle-of-the-bands,” he said, adding he’s personally won several song-writing awards.
“[I] have also won several song-writing awards and Tokyo the drummer [and I], have each come away with two audio engineering awards.”
With so much going for them, Cardboard Crowns continue to pick up momentum at each performance. This week, they gear up to bring their unique brand of enthusiastic individuality to Kingston.
Cardboard Crowns perform at the Mansion on Sept. 10.
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