Boxcutter PNW: Smash your head on the punk rock

by Brent Cole

photo by Sue Mattson

From his time in Agonizer and Human Incest to the most recent Boxcutter PNW and N7E Records, Robby Cleary is a local music punk rock force. After a couple major health scares and a switch of bass players, Boxcutter PNW is primed to release a new album this summer and get back to what they do best – full throttle punk rock.

Boxcutter PNW came together in December of 2015. Drummer Davey Seizure (ex-The Seizures/Serious Black) had just moved back to town and wanted to play punk rock. Robby brought on friend and Everett resident, Glen Manola (ex-Anti Culture) on guitar and Gavin Hadley (Muppet Fetish) on bass. The band wrote a few songs and immediately went into the studio with the idea they wanted to play outside of Bellingham and would need music in hand. Gavin quickly left the band and Josh PI (Proud Failures) was brought on to play bass.

Over the last two and a half years, Boxcutter PNW have honed their sound, playing around the region as well as a tour down to Glen and Robby’s original homeland of southern California.

“What we do live is pretty important,” Robby stated. “When I go to shows, what I love seeing is people who are playing who actually enjoy themselves when they’re playing. If the band is having a good time, the audience is having a good time. I don’t care if we’re playing to five people or 100, it’s the same idea.”

As part of that idea, Robby points to the unbridled joy drummer Davey exhibits while playing, while also modestly mentioning his mic has a 75-foot range and he’ll often go outside and sing to those having a smoke if he needs to.

Locally, Boxcutter PNW have gained a healthy following in the punk rock community, opening up for some of the legendary bands coming through. They recently opened up for the infamous TSOL at The Shakedown. The band has also been on the road to Seattle, Everett and Bremerton where Robby gets a thrill out of fans singing the lyrics to their songs.

The band’s first full length, Reap What You Sow, was recorded by local engineer extraordinaire, Rich Canut and digitally released at the TSOL show. As Robby was dealing with health issues and unable to make it, the band used four different singers and released a limited run of 30 copies. Their show in July at The Shakedown with Pot Belly and Ground Score (who recently put out a 7-inch on Robby’s N7E Records) will mark the official release of the new album.

Most of the music is arranged by the band with lyrics being split by Glen and Robby. The riffs on the record began with Glen, except one song with Robby. “I think it turned out great,” Robby said. “I think it’s the best quality of anything I’ve ever been a part of. The sound quality holds up with good old punk albums. The songs themselves I believe are really great songs.”

While they have the new album coming out, Boxcutter PNW is already in the studio with Rich working on new material, including a duet with Kendra Carson, which Robby said is a huge step for him. “It was really a stretch for me vocally, I’m actually having to sing versus yelling all the time,” he said, with a laugh. They’ve also added Eric Hart on bass (Vaticxnts/ex-Contra).

Feeling better, Robby is excited about the future of Boxcutter. “It’s my favorite band… I’m really proud of this band. It’s the kind of thing I’ve been wanting to do since I was 13 years old.”

Catch Boxcutter PNW at The Shakedown on July 21 with Potbelly, Ground Score, and Apostate Cancer. Follow their Facebook page for updates.