boxcar_sevenBoxcar 7 is a seven-piece show band based in Long Beach. Their passion is the blues, soul, old school R&B, classic rock, swing and a taste of funk. Setlists of inspirational blues music include B.B. King, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Blues Brothers, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, and more.

The boys from Boxcar 7 play out quite often in Long Beach and you can catch them regularly at The Eldorado, The Gaslamp Restaurant & Bar, and Boomers Cocktails. All the musicians that make up the band are very accomplished in their respected fields and here is a video of them and a little more about the individual members:

Scott Griffith – Lead Vocals

Scott sang in the reverential and hushed tones of humility when he was overcome by teen angst and rebellion and decided to go punk! Captured by the raw energy of that sound and fueled upon cheap beer and adrenaline, it wasn’t until later in life that Scott developed a sense of taste. Burned out on the blusterings of Biaffra, Ving and Rollins, he found solace with Otis Redding, Ray Charles, and Al Green. Along the way back to humanity Scott encountered Muddy Waters and a Howlin Wolf which set him down that path with the Alberts to meet ol’ Robert at the crossroads and set a spell. Scott likes to feel the root emotion behind each piece and try like hell to convey that to every one within earshot.

Gerry Tschetter – Keyboards

Gerry studied and learned to play jazz when he was in junior high school. The creative works of legendary jazz pianist, Ramsey Lewis, and jazz organist, Jimmy Smith, influenced Gerry’s music style and technique. He purchased a Hammond B3 and began playing R&B and soul of the sixties and seventies. He played piano and organ with a number of regionally successful bands in the Midwest and performed music genres from rock to R&B to country. Today, Gerry develops and markets professional audio equipment, many are widely used by musicians today. He enjoys performing with Boxcar 7, as well as engaging the crowds to get up and dance.

Johnny V – Trumpet/Flugelhorn

John Vandenberg, known to the music community as Johnny V, has been hittin’ the notes and playin’ the riffs for more than 25 years in So Cal’s hottest clubs and concert halls with renowed artists as Bill Medley, Otis Brown, Slash, Percy Sledge, Eric Clapton, The Daddy O’s, Drifters, Coasters, Chevy Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Chuck Morris and Luther Hughes. Other musical accomplishments include: Musical Director for Otis Brown, TV commercial for Zima, and solo performance on the CBS show, Guiding Light. In the style of Clifford Brown, Duke Ellington and Fats Navarro, Johnny V’s sound explores the rich heritage of classic jazz mixed with the smooth textures of Rhythm & Blues.

Mark Sample – Saxophone

As a child, Mark experienced music while listening to his father play stride style piano. His desire to play an instrument like his father influenced his decision to play the saxophone. Mark was fortunate to study with woodwind instructor Keith Felch, who made an impact is his style of music. Additional influences include David Sanborn, Pete Christlieb, Maceo Parker and Blue Lou Marini. Mark prefers to play in large bands with dynamic sound. After listening to Blue Lou Marini with the Blues Brothers live in the 1980’s, he knew someday he would be in a similar band. Boxcar 7 has finally given him that chance.

Andrew Shreve – Drums

At a young age, Andrew fell upon the drums by accident. His sixth grade music teacher introduced him to the drums and from that point on, he was hooked. Throughout his years of performing in various music ensembles in school, he listened and adapted to many different styles, from classic rock n’ roll to 80’s metal hair bands, until he heard Chick Corea’s Elektric Band for the first time. He soon became a big fan of jazz and fusion and any band that worked with his early drum heroes. While serving in the U.S. Navy, he performed with local bands in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Kenya, and Australia. Andrew worked in multiple musical projects ranging from jazz, rock, and blues until he discovered the soul band, Boxcar 7.

Jim Keena – Bassist

Jim began guitar lessons at age 15 after he was inspired by his older brother and the great guitar rock music of the 70’s. When he was 18, he was introduced to the bass guitar and played for an alternative punk band, No Reaction. He performed in Hollywood and the west coast. He also played bass in a metal band and guitar in a 50s cover band and a country band. Jim started his rock band, Juicebox, when he was 25. He played in a variety of different projects, including blues guitarist, Johnny K., and cover band, Big Daddys Automatic. His original projects include Bubbadog and Big Green. The 90’s helped to broaden his musical knowledge of different styles and players.

Jim teamed up with his high school friend, Steve Vincent. Together they recorded a published cd, Bad Dog No Biscuit-Living in Dog Years, an original project with an r&b feel. He was introduced to Mark Sample in 2007 from singer, Scott Griffith. The setlist of renown blues music and the great musicians he was playing with inspired him to join Boxcar 7.

Robert Lopez – Lead Guitar

Robert was given his first guitar by his grandfather when he was 11 years old. After learning on his own for a couple of years, his father enrolled him into guitar lessons at Cerritos College. He joined a jazz band at Mayfair High School, where he gained experience playing in a large ensemble. Influences come from a large variety of sources ranging from artists like Ray Charles and Steely Dan, and eras like Mowtown and Stax. Specializing in funky jazz laced rhythms, Robert is still known to throw down a solo or two with Boxcar 7.


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About the Author

Shea Newkirk

Executive Editor, Long Beach Independent

Shea has been involved in the Long Beach music scene since 2003 helping to promote unsigned, independent bands and musicians through various media including photos, video, event production, and marketing. Founder of and Folk Revival Festival as well as a musician with over 15 years experience, Shea has a great ear for finding the best independent music coming out of the local Long Beach music scene.

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