The Boxtones are a Dubai-based rock band composed of Scottish and Canadian musicians. They were to open for Sir Elton on January 20th, but this has been postponed. However, they will still be accompanying the vocalist during his new date, on December 8. Next week, they have about 10 radio interviews next week with the BBC and this summer, anticipate doing some festivals. Ahead of all of this, manager/lead singer Gary Tierney has answered some questions from Eltonjohnworld.com‘s Chief Editor.
EJW: Didn’t the Boxtones start out as a covers band? Was Elton among the artists?
GT: The Boxtones started a while back with their first gig in Bahrain back in 2008. The band performed almost 6 nights a week back then at the Diplomat hotel, where they had a brunch on a Friday for over a thousand attendees each week. The band moved to Dubai once they felt that they needed to move to a bigger market with more opportunities for musicians. After a few years in Dubai, the band then started their own company, due to the sheer volume of requests for them to perform at events around the UAE. In 2013, the Boxtones performed at over 200 events, and grew steadily into 2014, 15 and 16. They were also picked up by Universal Music and offered a recording deal with the global company. The number of songs the Boxtones can perform (covers) is easily over a thousand tracks, ranging from jazz to heavy metal and everything in between.
The band has performed a few Elton John songs in their time, normally where the crowd sings along (Rocket Man) or they dance the night away (Bennie and the Jets) and are all very excited to be performing with him in December.
EJW: How did the group wind up getting asked to open for Elton in Dubai?
GT: We know most of the movers and shakers in Dubai, and have a great relationship with the team at 117Live who asked us to open for Sir Elton. Our label, Universal Music, also recommended us to open for the legendary musician, and we were still surprised to be offered the opportunity, as we weren’t sure if Elton would even have an opening act. We have to say, it’s a real honour.
EJW: What other popular acts have you been involved with?
GT: We have performed at the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix for 3 years running, and performed with a lot of legends in the same arena. We’ve also performed at Party in the Park, which is one of Dubai’s biggest music festivals, and opened for the likes of the Stereophonics, Travis and the Kaiser Chiefs. Razorlight were pretty much the nicest bunch of guys we have ever had the pleasure of playing with at any level so far.
EJW: Elton released a song called Home Again a few years ago. The Boxtones now have an album called Home. There’s also a song with the same title. What is this like?
GT: The song really just sums up what it’s like to be an expat living in the Middle East, or anywhere else for that matter. We have been away from home for many years now, and have seen the sights and traveled the world, and the experience is really boiled down to what that’s like in this song.
We wanted to name the album Home as well as the collections of tracks really just summed up our experiences, and our positive outlook on the future. The album is about overcoming adversity, but the soul of each song comes from the heart, and home is where the
heart is. . . .
EJW: What sort of musical background does each member have?
GT: Gary (myself): Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter – from Glasgow, Scotland – Rock/Grunge/Stoner/Alternative music
Louise Peel: Lead Vocals (my fianceé) – from Edinburgh, Scotland – Soul and Funk
Gill Tieney (my sister): from Glasgow: Rock/Metal
Patrick Thibault: Bass – from Montreal, Canada – Punk
Will Janssen: Keyboards – from Winnipeg, Canada (Gills’ fiancé) Heavy metal
EJW: How did the Boxtones get their name?
GT: When I started the band back in 2008 with Louise and Gill, we had no clue what to call ourselves. But after flipping through a phone book, we found a page selling juke boxes. Take the ‘box,’ add the word tone (tunes) and you had a name for a band that could play almost anything. Put a ‘the’ in front of it ’cause The Beatles and The Rolling Stones did it, and there you have it.
The band needed a name, there are no deeper meanings than that . . and it stuck.