For most people in the United
States, the term 'Boxing Day' is simply a mysterious
phrase printed on calendars signifying the day after
Christmas. Of course, Ry Adams, bassist and lead singer
of the band Boxing Day, now knows that the date is
a holiday celebrated in England, Canada and Australia,
but as a teenager he thought the expression had an
altogether different--and decidedly more lascivious--meaning.
"When you're 14 or 15, you
really don't care what's on the calendar," laughs
the 27-year-old musician. "So through my adolescence
and college years, it instead came to symbolize a
day when you might get laid. It was sort of a joke,
and it ultimately carried through to the band."
Needless to say, Adams has musically
and mentally matured since his high school days, but
that flippant interpretation isn't altogether out
of character for the artist and his high-spirited
band. Since their current lineup coalesced in early
2000, Adams and the other group members--lead guitarist
Noel C. Rodgers, rhythm guitar player Todd Mathis
and drummer Kenneth Salters-(have thrived with the
help of a swaggering, yet determined, attitude.)
"I've been telling people that I was starting
a no more shitty music club, and the only dues would
be to buy our album," cracks Adams. "That's
pretty much where we're coming from."
Boxing Day's debut Universal Records
CD, Above It All, makes good on that seemingly smug
statement. Brimming with meaningful melodies and inspiring,
sing-along sentiments, the recording is cutting-edge
yet, at the same time, comfortably familiar. "It's
good, solid, rock 'n' roll," claims Mathis. "This
isn't something we're doing just to make a lot of
money. We all completely believe in the songs and
"If our music doesn't make
you want to change your life, if it doesn't make you
want to dump your girlfriend or boyfriend, if it doesn't
make you want to dance or f**k or whatever, we're
not doing our job," adds Adams. "That's
what separates us from a lot of bands. I don't think
those groups really care about what effect they have
on people--they're more worried about their effect
on record sales. Don't get me wrong, I sit down to
write hits, but I would hope that even within mainstream
rock we haven't sold ourselves short in terms of what
we wanted to do right from the start."
Listeners can judge for themselves
with Boxing Day's first single, "Fall Away."
Driven by powerful percussion, rousing riffs and a
compelling chorus, it's a radio-friendly track that's
intriguing, inspirational and downright infectious.
"It's a great symbol for the
album, in that it's a big anthem," notes Adams,
who also serves as the group's chief songwriter. "Whether
you're a 13-year-old getting ready to start high school
or a 30-year-old who has just quit their job, the
song is going to speak to you. It's got a fantastic
drumbeat, it moves around quite a bit and it'll make
you want to make some changes or, if you're already
making those changes, help you get through them."
Such a high-minded goal might seem
brazen from an as-yet-unknown act, but that obscurity
is, in large part, what's driving Boxing Day to make
their melodious mark on the world.
"We come from Hootie and the
Blowfish-land," explains Adams, referring to
the group's hometown of Columbia, South Carolina.
"Musically, they influenced everything that went
on around there. Then we came along and had these
great rock 'n' roll songs that weren't always about
the tragic loss of a girlfriend or trying to win some
oblivious girl's heart. Our songs are about making
your life better, about changing things and about
trying to choose your own way to live life. So it
was difficult for us to get people to listen."
Fortunately, that apathy didn't
intimidate the upstart players. Instead, the local
music community's nonchalance served to stimulate
"We didn't care, because when
we started, we decided we didn't want to be the best
rock 'n' roll band in Columbia, South Carolina,"
proclaims Adams. "Nor did we want to be the best
rock 'n' roll band in South Carolina. We wanted to
be the best rock 'n' roll band in the world. We didn't
set our sights on Matchbox 20, we set our sights on
the Rolling Stones."
Those are big words for a largely
unheard-of ensemble, but Boxing Day has the motivation,
mettle and--perhaps most important--music to back
up that boast. "We knew we were dealing with
this gigantic, corporate machine that could give a
rat's ass about what we had to say, but we were still
going to fight the good fight," says Adams, referring
to what he perceives as the bland potpourri of pop
melodies presently heard on contemporary radio. "We're
out to be the biggest band in the world, and we're
taking you with us!"
Boxing Day may still be an
obscure calendar designation for most Americans, but,
with the release of Above It All, that's sure to change.
As a matter of fact, if things go as planned, for
music fans across the country it may soon be Boxing
Day every day.