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Our Band Rehearsal Room

Some of our friends don’t know what a band rehearsal room looks or sounds like. We normally take it for granted since it is a cool little space we spend so much time in. In fact of all the spaces in the world we spend more time in the rehearsal room than anywhere else.

We currently use a bunch of rehearsal rooms in London Bridge (this is not actually on the bridge, it’s in the London Bridge area!). These are basic rooms with some sound proofing on the internal walls. Inside the room you have a PA system for the vocals, guitar amplifiers, a bass guitar amplifier, a drum kit and of course some microphones.

This is the equipment we plug into and balance the sound levels out before/during rehearsals. The rehearsals can get pretty loud, but that’s where the fun is 🙂

But nothing describes things in detail as well as a video. So singer Atul takes you on a tour of our rehearsal space in London. Enjoy and please do leave comments below of what you think.

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Bands that Inspired Us – Guns ‘N Roses

“We’re not stealing it, we’re just borrowing it for a little bit mate” – Keith Richards, Rolling Stones

We’ve decided to start up a new series of blog posts on bands that inspired us. These are cool bands that were really important in our formation and getting and gelling together as a band. So, the first and foremost has to be Guns ‘N Roses.

“You are the band that played Sweet Child” are the words we heard from another band when they were entering the rehearsal room and we were leaving. We’d been together as a band for 3 months and it was pretty cool being recognised. And what a way to be recognised and remembered!

Donkey Box lead guitarist with Guns 'N Roses t-shirt

Lead guitarist Matt wears the coolest t-shirt possible Guns 'N Roses.


When we first all met up for a jam, we kinda knew a mish mash of songs. But we pulled off a really random jam of Mr. Browstone, It’s So Easy and Sweet Child ‘O Mine as if we all knew the songs. And it was clear we really loved Guns ‘N Roses.

So we still jam with Guns riffs every now and then. They have to be one of the defining classic rock bands of the entire genre. In fact they are so good that they cross over into the rock sub genres like Indie (since they played Reading 2010, but the Indie crowd won’t like Axl Rose now anymore..), Glam Rock and Heavy Metal.

The big question then arises, what GnR covers have we played in the past. Well let’s give it away here then:

  • Sweet Child
  • Rocket Queen (one off gig)
  • Paradise City (one off gig)

Eventually we stopped doing the Sweet Child cover. Reason being, Guns ‘N Roses are an incredibly talented band that are near impossible to recreate. Each member in it was phenomenal, from Axl’s incredible vocal range, Slash’s melodic guitar solos and licks, Duff’s groovy basslines, Izzy’s funky guitar rhythms and Steven Addler’s unusual use of the bass drum beat. No one can do Guns better than Guns themselves.

Respect.


2012 is our 10th Anniversary Year!

It was the year 2002 and the new year had just begun. We (at the time singer Atul and bassist Adam) had been out of a band for a few months but were still practicing and hitting up the jam nights at college. We needed two more important members to make up a full band. A lead guitarist and a drummer.

We saw an ad by a drummer and a lead guitarist looking to jam. And on 3 March 2002 Atul and Adam met up with Mike and Matt in the practice room at Imperial College. The musical chemistry was amazing as we blagged a bunch of covers together. We jammed, we laughed and we jammed some more. We played song after song and it was incredible, we could just do them together as if we had been playing together for years.

It was like a puzzle fitting together perfectly. Boom! DonkeyBox was formed.

So 2012 is a very special year for us indeed, we have been going for 10 years! More on this theme over the coming year and we are so excited to have last so so long in a business where you are forgotten in a matter of weeks or months.


Year in Review 2011

What a year it has been, a year of recovery followed by amazing creativity is the best way to put it really.

Musically this has been the most creative year for us ever. 2010 wasn’t the greatest of years for us and the first half of 2011 continued our bad spell from last year. Last year we only played 4 gigs and this year it went down to just 3 so the depression from last year carried over! Our search for a bass player was proving to be futile and with other commitments getting in the way we were rehearsing less than ever.

It wasn’t looking good.

Donkey Box line-up 2011

Donkey Box line-up 2011

But as we couldn’t gig we made the most of it by jamming and writing new material. We even went into studio for test recording The Moment. We learned to play together better without bass. In late June 2011 we finally had a helper on bass and the discipline we learnt in song writing and playing tighter as a 3 piece actually helped us a lot when we did have Matt B on bass.

As we worked hard on the background, we launched our first gig of 2011 almost at the end of the year all the way out in September! But one hell of a launch that was, we did two brand new songs, made a brand new banner and for the first time ever we had our very own branded t-shirts for sale!

With this huge push we were now on a roll, we did two more gigs and launched another two songs. It was now clear that our sound was changing and becoming more rounded and well defined. And our gig in December 2011 showed this to be the case.

So, here’s what we got out of 2011 then:

  • Found Matt B on bass
  • New songs “Just Walk Away”, “Hypnotised”, “Lost Odyssey” and “Crossroad”
  • A new t-shirt finally printed after two years of stops and starts
  • A brand new cool banner hand painted
  • Got some new moo cards printed
  • Found new flyer designer
  • Went to an open mic night together

And if you are on twitter (our most favourite social networking platform), we have met some really really cool people this year..people we haven’t seen yet but will slowly meet). Hopefully we can make a little community of DonkeyBoxers around the world who we can connect together 🙂

So here’s a big thanks to the twitter crew this year for all the fun banter you have given:

Gosia in Poland (can’t thank you enough for your constant encouragement and song feedback) Jess in Sweden, Layan in Saudi Arabia, Mia and Kesia somewhere in South England, Beth (who has designed our flyers) in North England, Carmen in Canada, Andrea in Mexico, Niloofar in Iran, Alex C and Cliffy in North England, Stephen in London (you’ll make it to a gig soon dude!), Corrie in Scotland, Japs, Niraj, Billy A and Ben W in London (the last 4 have been to our gigs and we know in real life).

Lastly, for those of you who have actually turned up at our gigs and bought our stuff, there can be no better support than that to us so a massive thanks for actually showing up and supporting us for real.

A Happy New Year 2012 and let’s keep the good times going!


Our First Ever T-shirts!

When are your t-shirts going to be ready?

It’s a question Brian asks us very regularly. and he’s been asking us this question for over two years now! But persistentce pays off and his t-shirt will be posted to Washington DC soon.

DonkeyBox T-shirt

We are so so so excited to announce that we have our first ever t-shirt designed for sale! The t-shirt has been designed by Meri Gadd who also designed quite a few of our flyers back in 2009. You can buy this t-shirt at gigs and they will soon be available for sale on our website. They will cost you ÂŁ10 plus postage and packaging.

They will be available in all the standard sizes ranging from extra small, small, medium, large, extra large and extra extra large.

So what better way to show your support than to buy one of our t-shirts. It’s a really cool looking design as well, so order your’s now and wear it with pride!


Crap Day Lyrics

Woke up in the morning, head stuck by the pillow
The sun was shining, outside the window
Felt great and jumped right out of bed
Coz a sunny day just can’t be wasted

Sometimes no matter how much you try
You just can never win
Everybody’s out to quash your high
You might as well pack it all in

It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Nothing’s gone my way today
It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Just like every other day

It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Nothing’s gone my way today
It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Just like every other day

Running to the station, I’m always in a hurry
Can’t think straight my eyes are still so blurry
Missed that train, I saw ’em shut the gates
Wasting away again I wait

Sometimes no matter how much you try
You just can never win
Everybody’s out to quash your high
You might as well pack it all in

It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Nothing’s gone my way today
It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Just like every other day

It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Nothing’s gone my way today
It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Just like every other day

Sometimes no matter how much you try
You just can never win
Everybody’s out to quash your high
You might as well pack it all in

It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Nothing’s gone my way today
It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Just like every other day

It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Nothing’s gone my way today
It’s been a crap day (crap day)
Just like every other day

Crap day, crap day, crap day, crap day
Crap day, crap day, crap day, crap day
It’s been a crap daaaaaaaaayy
Crap day yaaaahaay, yaaaay, yay yay yay yah!

Š 2003 DonkeyBox


London Riots August 2011

Like the latest fashion
Like a spreading disease
The kids are strappin’ on their way to the classroom
Getting weapons with the greatest of ease

The gangs stake their own campus locales
And if they catch you slippin’ then it’s all over pal
If one guy’s colors and the other’s don’t mix
They’re gonna bash it up

Hey man you talkin’ back to me?
Take him out
You gotta keep ’em separated
Hey man you disrespecting me?
Take him out
You gotta keep ’em separated
Hey they don’t pay no mind
If you’re under 18 you won’t be doing any time
Hey come out and play

By the time you hear the siren
It’s already too late
One goes to the morgue and the other jail
One guy’s wasted and the other’s a waste
It goes down the same as the thousand before
No one’s getting smarter
No one’s learning the score
Your never ending spree of death and violence and hate
Is gonna tie your own rope
Tie your own rope
Tie your own

Lyrics written by Offspring in 1994 for the song called “Come Out and Play” on their seminal album Smash.

And although they are written about more serious violence and crime by youths, a lot of what they say resonates at the situation in London at the moment. A tiny tiny minority of kids have hit the streets of London and taken advantage of the protection they get from the under 18 laws.

Kids that come from broken homes with no parents. What parent lets their kids stay out all night and come back home with a 42″ TV? The parenting is not there, no one has raised these kids properly and there is no sense of respect. Worse still is that how can so many grown adults just stand aside and let this happen?

The answer is amongst an old discussion that we found on the BBC from the year 2006:

No one intervenes when they see a bunch of youths committing a crime, to do so would to take a risk and the added fear of the perfectly legal reprisals. If you try to physically intervene you WILL be charged with assault. If a weapon is produced and you defend yourself, the “child” might be cautioned and given a free holiday, you WILL be charged with assault. Basically, unless you are willing to accept a criminal record in return for doing the morally correct thing, you need to turn a blind eye.

And this is at the heart of the matter, why the adults are actually too scared to intervene. In the meantime we hope that the perpetrators have surely “tied their own rope” and will face the ultimate wrath of the court system and justice will be done.


Just the two of us

Atul and Matt eat their guitars

Atul and Matt eat their guitars

We joked along with the lyrics of the famous song:

Just the two of us

we can make it if we try

just the two of us..

We’ve been singing that old song as our last 3 weeks have seen us in low power again. 3 weeks ago the rehearsal was off altogether as drummer Greg couldn’t make it and neither could bassist Matt. And for various reasons that continued on for another two weeks.

So the original founders of the band and the guitar wielders extraordinaire Matt and Atul have been rehearsing themselves for the last two weeks.

It’s been really cool though as it has allowed us to focus on a lot of even newer material and get some of the song writing basics sorted in a singer song writer type setting. We’ve also been enjoying the sound of our guitar crunch and tones…yeah, guitarists love that.

And we’ve joked around a bit and may have a joke song in the pipeline too…we’ll see.

But this week, it’s fingers crossed and hopefully a full band practice…yessss!


Our donation to the East Africa famine crisis

Last week was a pretty depressing week news wise. There was the horror of the killings in Norway, the debt problem in America with the risk of default and a major media tycoon in the UK being questioned for phone hacking scandals.

We thought hard and long. Eventually there was no point being depressed about these things. Doing nothing about something that makes you feel bad is not going to be productive. Instead it is better to focus on the things that you can do something about.

And the obvious struck out immediately, 6 out of 10000 children are dying in the East Africa famine at the moment. This is a pretty big food crisis and should have better news coverage. It has got some fairly good newspaper coverage though.

So we decided to make a difference and pay ÂŁ25 towards the appeal (about $40). Where did we get this money from? Well nowhere! We haven’t actually made any download revenue for quite a few months, so we took this one out of our own pockets.

You can help too by donating via Oxfam.


Singer Atul in a Music Interview

Singer Atul Rana has given a music interview for a small online Magazine LooseyLucy’s Headquarters. Exciting news indeed for the band given that this is the first interview by a band member specifically on the music industry and the band.

Here is a full transcript of the interview. Copyright of Painted Girls Records.

DonkeyBox playing live

Donkey Box playing live

The Same Five Questions We Ask Everyone

1) What motivated you to become a musician and how did you get started?

Atul Rana: Just the love of rock music in general and the sound of the guitar. I was lucky that my University had a very good scene and it’s own rehearsal room that allowed us to get together as a band. We could also rehearse for free and perform to friends in a no pressure environment. Slowly we outgrew the university scene, but it’s there where it all began!

2) Tell us a little bit about your music.

Atul Rana: Our music can be described as a funky blend of Green Day, Metallica and The Killers. We are an alternative rock band with tunes that have an element of dance in them.

3) There are mixed feelings within the music industry about Internet technologies. How do you see the future of the music industry? How do you see these technologies affecting your music?

Atul Rana: We are lucky to have this technology now. Even 10 years ago we wouldn’t have been able to promote ourselves as artists and sell our music online, but now it is possible thanks to the internet. For new bands the internet is very useful, but the skills needed to market oneself as a band are different to music skills and it is one of those things that a band must learn in order to survive in this new digital age. For older, established bands the internet has led to a demise in sales because of piracy. All in all, I think there are really exciting times for any band, the laws of selling and distributing music are changing and bands are in a sort of level playing field at this period of time.

4) What is one positive thing and one negative thing you have learned about the music business through your experiences?

Atul Rana: Positive: The people who are involved in the business truly love their music, they have to since there isn’t much money in the business! Negative: The amount of work needed in marketing and promotion is phenomenal compared to the work needed in writing and performing. It is easy to want to just write and perform, but that is simply not enough in web 2.0.

5) What advice can you give to other musicians who are trying to make a career of music?

Atul Rana: Be extremely clear and specific with your goals first. They say you can’t hit a goal you can’t see, start things with a vision and stick to it no matter what! Eventually you will start getting there.