Soul Box is a band with chemistry. They rock and roll, cover R & B and the blues and also play original tunes. They have a connection that draws in the audience and the audience has an unbreakable connection with the band. The songs they play draw from influences of punk, rock, soul and reggae including Dr. John, the Allman Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, the Grateful Dead and Etta James and others. When you go to a Soul Box show you are not going to just see a band, you are going to a celebration of music, dance, and energy, which you are just as much a part of as they are.
Soul Box consists of George Howard on vocals, Gregg Miller on guitar, Paul Chase on bass, Rob Megna on drums and Matt Smith on keyboards. They are currently in the studio recording eight original songs for their upcoming CD which is due out in late spring 2014.
Examiner spoke with Matt Smith, the drummer of Soul Box to find out more about the band.
Examiner: How did Soul Box come together as a band?
Smith: "Well this story has about a 15 year history. I guess it started 15-20 years ago when Miller and I played quite a few pick up gigs together over a span of a few years. We both seemed to be on the exact same page musically. Life went on, and in the two members individual musical journeys, 15 years later Miller was playing in The Greg Miller Group, a trio with Chase on Bass and Megna on drums. Miller was on guitar and fronting the act as well.
I ended up in a band called Dirty Sugar, which was fronted by Howard. Howard and I instantly connected musically. Dirty Sugar ran its course after about a three year run. Howard left the band and I soon followed. About a month later Miller and I bumped into each other at a jam after about 15 years. Miller mentioned that he had a trio with guitar, bass, and drums. So I mentioned that I knew a great frontman (Howard) that might be interested in a project. So the two parties merged. The first time we played together was live on stage doing a set at a blues jam. The connection was instant and it started on the first note. Two years later, we found ourselves gigging regularly and building a large and ever growing audience. We love every one of them!"
Examiner: How did you come up with the name Soul Box?
Miller: " Our vocalist, George Howard came up with the name after hearing a Muddy Waters song. The name "Soul Box" popped into his head and that's where the name came from."
Examiner: What made you get in to the music business?
Miller: " Well, I'm not sure that I can speak for all five members of the band, but for me, it was the song "Revival" by the Allman Brothers. I was listening to a transistor radio that my dad had on while he was painting the house. I was five then and was playing with a Tonka truck under his ladder. That's when I got hooked. It's so weird that I can remember that, it must be one of my life's big moments I guess. LOL
While the details of that story differ for the other four band members, I'm pretty sure the moral of the story is pretty much the same."
Examiner: Who are some of your influences over the years?
Miller: "Our influences are way to vast and come from so many different places that it would be way to hard to name any that stand out. I guess our influence is just great music and then figuring out what makes that music great. Then taking that music and putting our own stamp on it as individuals.
When you hear Soul Box Cover a song, you are really hearing how that song influenced every member of Soul Box, combined with how every other song influenced Soul Box. Does this make any sense?
Rather than pigeon hole the band by naming influences, it's just a massive collection of the music that influenced us all as individuals."
Examiner: What were you and the guys doing before becoming the Soul Box Band?
Miller: "I played with the now defunct Boston based original band East Of Autumn who were signed by an indie label, Rev Up Records. Our songs have appeared on numerous television shows. We recorded with the band and were mixed by Grammy award winning producer Greg Ledanyi (Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Brown, and Don Henly fame). I spent most of the late 1990's and mid to late 2000's with that band. I have also graced the stage opening for John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band plus a few pick up gigs with Mike (Tunes) Antunes of the Beaver Brown Band (sax). That was with the band East of Autumn and some past bands as well. I've also done a show or two opening for James Montgomery with Dirty Sugar. (George Howard was also in this band).
Dirty Sugar was Howard's first real band. He can howl out the tunes! He's opened for James Montgomery and does some guest appearances with the award winning Boston Reggae party band, Hot Like Fire fronted by Kelly Bolduc. Another act worth checking out! He also belts out a song or two on their album "Forward " his feature song on that record is titled "Hard To Make a Living."
Greg Miller had a whirlwind summer tour kick off on June 6, 2013 in Chicago for the Guitarmageddon Finals. Two days later, he opened for B.B. King, and the next day jetted off to Germany for the Insel Blues Festival and several shows in Switzerland. The winter promises to be just as wild, as Miller is planning his 3rd Annual Blues Festival on December 10, 2014 to benefit needy families in the Boston area. There will be a line up of local acts like Basic Black, Ricky ‘King’ Russell, Racky Thomas and more. The Gregg Miller Group began in 1999, and it is a powerhouse. On drums is Rob Egan, a man with intensity emulating from him as soon as he sits behind his set and bangs out his first note. Bassist Ric Naistadt is an outstanding player who often challenges Miller to kick it up a level, and finds just the right phrasing to sneak in and compliment Miller’
On top of being a bit of a Boston Blues Guru on guitar, he's performed with Boston Baked Blues. Miller is a Boston blues staple on guitar and everyone knows him. I remember being at a blues jam hangin with Weepin Willy, a Boston blues LEGEND! Listening to Greg jam, Willy says, "That boy can play that thing, love watching that kid play." Not sure compliments can get any better than that. Miller won't say it out loud so I will for him, "He the Guvnah."
Rob Megna is a professional drummer living in Boston, Massachusetts. He has performed as the direct support act for reggae sensations Burning Spear and The Wailers at Lupo's in Providence, RI with Roots Down Below in addition to two Harvest Fest Music Festivals in 2008. Headlined a sold out show at Nectar's in Burlington, VT with folk/blues quartet Hey Mama and Performed with country artist Keith Lewis at Tobey Keith's in Foxboro, MA for a run of shows in 2011. Rob currently continues to play gigs, and keeps busy in the studio as a music instructor. He has been drumming for twenty-three years, supporting bands for fourteen, and teaching for 8. He studied privately with Martin Vazquez, proprietor of M.V. Drums on Cape Cod.
For upcoming dates you can visit the Soul Box website at: www.soulbox.biz