On Sunday September 27, 2009, the day before the show, and initiation of their tour with She Wants Revenge and Kill Hannah, I had the chance to meet and have lunch with Los Angeles’s The Tender Box at Shanghai Cowgirl on Queen Street West. Good meals and laughs were had by all of us as we discussed tour stories, the new album, what’s next for The Tender Box and more. With an occasional interjection from manager, Phil Jaurigui, and an inside joke referencing actor Charles Braunson, this made for one hilarious interview.

[laughing] Tell us the story about getting stung by a scorpion!
Joey: Well, it was one of those drunk moments in TJ, oh, it was actually Rosario; we were staying at a friend’s, I guess, vacation house? [laughing] I was the first one to get up and I grabbed a hat and there was a scorpion in there and it stung me [in a whiny voice] and it hurt! [everyone laughs] No that shit hurt like a mother! There was a doctor – because it was a pretty rich area actually – there was a doctor that was also vacationing and he treated my finger and he just said ‘you’ll be fine’.

Chuck: Yeah, all he did was look at it! [everyone laughs]

Joey: Yeah, and he charged me how much?

Chuck: Yeah it was a baby scorpion.

Really?
Chuck: Yeah, you kept it, remember? [everyone laughs]

Joey: OK, if you didn’t get stung by it, it was a baby scorpion.

Raul: He keeps it on his key chain now. [everyone laughs]

Chuck: Nah, it flew off of the truck.

Joey: We did keep it, we put it in a plastic bag but it flew away when we were going back to the strip.

Phil: Tell him about the time the rat bit you! [everyone laughs]

Joey: [in a high pitched, sarcastic tone]: OK! [everyone laughs] It was another drunk moment, believe it or not, I got home and, we actually had a pest for awhile, the rat had survived every mouse trap and it would chew on everything and I laid down [laughs] and sure enough, I could hear it next to my ear and it pierced my ear. I just remember hitting it and feeling the fuzziness of the rat and just running away. The next morning, I was actually able to kill it the next day. [everyone bursts out laughing] It was laying on my couch and I grabbed an umbrella and…

Phil: Pull! [everyone laughs]

Steve: He’s like ‘(something in Spanish)’.

[laughing] Now he has motive!
[There was a lot of laughter and commenting at this point; so much that I can’t make out all of it]

Chuck: [laughing] He’s like going to the grocery store, ‘We’re a little low on cheese.’

[the laughter subsides as our food arrives at the table]

OK, so this obviously isn’t your first time coming to Toronto.
Joey: Yeah, it’s our third time.

Cool! Any cool stories from the past and how do you think it’s going to compare this time?
Steve: Well hopefully our van doesn’t freeze.

Chuck: The weather is a lot nicer then last time. Last time our van froze in the middle of the snow and uh…

Steve: [interjects] …at 4 a.m. coming from the bar…

Joey: There’s always a relation to alcohol for some reason.

[laughing] You’re in Canada, it’s all we have!
Joey: …and bees. [swats a hovering bee away]

Well we only have five; they just like to hang around here. What’s the weirdest place you guys have played?
Joey: In Canada?

Anywhere.
Joey: Um, probably Los Angeles. [chuckles]

Steve: Texas or Tucson, I think, to like two or three people.

Joey: That’s not really weird but… [everyone laughs] No, the reason I say LA is because I think it’s still kind of struggling to develop some sort of music scene, but there are a few good bands that I guess are known for being around. You guys want to name any? [laughs]

Raul: I’m eating still! [laughs]

OK, what’s the craziest place? Like, you were telling me about this stage that was over top of water?
Chuck: Oh, that was really cool! We played at Mandalay Bay last night, in Las Vegas. It was really cool, the venue was really cool, it was like a built in beach and patio. It was for, the event was called “Rock ‘n’ Roll Wine”, and what they do is they feature bands while they do the wine tasting. We were the featured band last night, and it was a really good turnout.

Did you guys do the wine tasting?
Everyone: Yeah!

Steve: They had over 150 wines there, wine stations, you know?

Joey: And you tried them all right?

Steve: [laughing] I tried them all, yeah. Lighthouse was actually the headliner.

Cool man, obviously have to have the alcohol content in there again. [everyone laughs]
Phil: Tell him about your green room!

Steve: The bathroom? [looks at Joey] Go for it!

Joey: It was a glamorized toilet. [everyone laughs]

Raul: That’s what it comes down to, a glamorized toilet.

Phil: It was a beach toilet.

Raul: The perks of a beautiful green room, at the same time, the stench… [everyone laughs]

Steve: I had to “christen” the bathroom before we started eating so…

Phil: It was like the beach bathroom, when you’re at the beach and you gotta go to the bathroom so you walk there in your bare feet and you walk into the bathroom stall, that was their green room.

Steve: Concrete floors, tiles, sink, marble counter and a toilet.

Phil: And they just put like our hors d’oeuvres and everything right there. [laughs] And the drinks and the beers.

Raul: The beers were actually inside the toilet tank. [everyone laughs]

Nice, nice. How’s the tour with Kill Hannah and She Wants Revenge going so far?
Steve: It actually starts tomorrow.

Oh, it doesn’t start until tomorrow?
Chuck: Yeah, so it’s going really good man. [everyone laughs]

Raul: So far, so good. No complaints. [laughs]

Steve: Nah, we hate it man!

Sweetish! Well what are you expecting then?
Steve: Well we’re expecting a really good turnout. We’ve known She Wants Revenge for awhile so we caught one of their shows when we were touring in England and they seem to have a pretty good turnout so we’re hoping that they still have some sort of following so we’re not playing for Texas shows. [everyone laughs]

Nice! Now, you guys have been labeled as, like, all different types of music how would you describe your sound? [after a couple seconds of silence] I can imagine you guys get asked this a lot.
Steve: Yeah, and we always give the same silent answer. [everyone laughs]

Raul: I think Phil could probably sum it up.

Alright, Phil, how would you describe the sound of The Tender Box?
Phil: [after a couple seconds of silence followed by everyone laughing] Complaining, I don’t know, they complain a lot. [chuckles] No, actually they don’t complain as much as my other band. Uh, I don’t know, um, they have a good range of influences from the ‘60s, the ‘70s, the ‘80s and the ‘90s. They can go around from, you know, they have influences from The Beatles to The Clash to Blur and Oasis to The Smiths and, you know…

Steve: Primal Scream…

Phil: Primal Scream, classic rock ‘n’ roll, you know, you have Depeche Mode with the Rolling Stones thrown in. The thing about them is they have a great groove, and it makes girls move their hips, but they have catchy songs at the same time too.

Steve: But they have “kankles”. [everyone laughs]

Chuck: No, they aren’t that bad.

I like the reference to Blur because you named your [latest] album “EP 1” and they got famous off of “Song 2”. [chuckles]
Phil: Oh yeah!

[sarcastically mimicking] We didn’t even notice that!
Joey: It’s coming altogether! [everyone laughs]

OK, well it’s been about 5 months since you guys dropped the album, “EP 1”. Have you found anytime to start writing a follow up?
Steve: Yeah, we have a collection of songs right now and we’re still writing “EP 2”.

Chuck: We actually have a couple songs that we recently wrote, within the last 2 months, while we’re on tour so, I think, when the tour’s done, we’re hoping to “track’em” soon.

Cool, now is “EP 2” just a working title or do you think you’re going to name it that?
Phil: Why not “EP 3”?

Chuck: We’re going to name it “EP 2”, right?

[after a couple of seconds of silence everyone bursts out laughing again]

[still laughing] Silence! That’s drummers for you!
Chuck: I’ll just keep eating. [everyone laughs]

Joey: [quoting and imitating sketch from “Family Guy” about The Beatles] Very good Ringo, we’ll just put this on the… [Joey can’t finish the statement because he’s laughing too hard with everyone else] Yay!

Phil: Where’s your tambourine Ringo?

[after the laughter finally dies down] OK, we were discussing this earlier but every time I hear your name, and obviously everybody else, The Tender Box, everyone thinks of a vagina, it’s a tender box, you know? So was this intentional or…
Steve: Yeah! [everyone laughs] Who doesn’t love it?

What’s the general response when people hear your name?
Joey: Surprisingly, I think a lot of people here and in America, didn’t get the innuendo; but in England, one of our English friends, he actually was the person that brought it up to us, we kind of collectively agreed that we would march forward with the name so we kept it.

OK well after these tour dates wrap up what does the rest of the year and 2010 have in store for The Tender Box?
Joey: Hopefully do more tours.

Steve: In England, we want to hit England, hopefully in December, it’s still in the works but if not December, then hopefully early next year.

You’ll be hitting up England? That’ll be cool man! So what would be your advice, as a final question here, what would be your advice for picking up women? Your best advice.
Steve: Don’t eat too much. [everyone laughs]

Joey: Don’t drink too much.

Raul: No, let them start drinking first then approach them after that. [everyone laughs]

Not just tell them, “Hey, have you ever heard of The Tender Box?”
Phil: No if you say, “Do you know The Tender Box?” they go all [high pitched imitation of a girl freaking out].

Joey: “Do you know your tender box?”

[laughing] Charles Braunson! [everyone laughs]
Chuck: Girls love Charles Braunson!

Phil: You should tell him about all your escapades trying to get into countries.

Joey: Yeah! What gives with that?!

OK, tell me about this.
Phil: Every time we go to a foreign country, it’s nerve-racking because we’ve had some bad experiences at the border.

OK, what’s the worst one?
Steve: OK, I got, actually arrested in England, Heathrow Airport and stuck in a cell for nine hours, and shipped back to America. [everyone laughs]

Phil: Shipped in a box with a stamp on it.

Raul: They mailed him.

Phil: Yeah, they UPS’d him back.

Steve: They Fed-Ex’d me.

In a tender box.
Raul: No signature required! [everyone laughs]

OK, well, is there anything you’d like to tell your fans?
Chuck: Well, hopefully you guys can pick up the new EP, “EP 1”, I guess, and look forward to “EP 2”!  [ END ]