Ben Cardoza, future rockstar

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He is going to be a rockstar.
When junior Ben Cardoza chose to join band in 5th grade in lieu of choir, he started a music career that has only grown stronger since. He was introduced to instruments with the saxophone, but he has since found his home with the guitar.

“When I play guitar there’s something more that comes out than when I play saxophone, and I’m addicted to that feeling,” Cardoza said.

Band teacher John Kruse has taught Cardoza for seven years. According to Kruse, Cardoza was born with a gift for music and could make a living out of it. Kruse said Cardoza is at a higher level than the average band student.

“He’s driven to play his music,” Kruse said. “The world could fall down around him and he’d still be playing his guitar while it happened.”

Cardoza has stayed involved in the school band and is currently in an independent band, crushingcrayons, with juniors Trent Christensen, James Miranda and 2014 MHS graduate Will Gagnon. According to Cardoza, he experiments best with alone with his guitar, but it takes the whole band to create the final product.

“Usually Ben comes up with something. He’s the main music writer, very talented guy when it comes to that stuff,” Christensen said. “He’ll have something he’ll be working on for a few days or a riff that we’ve had for a while, and when we get together for rehearsals we just kinda see where we can go with it, see what kind of sounds we want for the songs and such. He always has an idea for what he wants with bass and drum parts. He already has an idea before the song’s finished.”

Cardoza said he finds inspiration for songs in anything and everything. From Jimi Hendrix, to the Hobbit, to a walk across a bridge, to a man dropping dead in front of him, Cardoza uses his life experience as fuel to create his music and connect to those he shares it with.

“A lot of people go through the same stuff I go through but they just don’t know how to say it, and I feel like I can help,” Cardoza said. “[I can] help people say what they’ve already been thinking forever.”

Everything he does is somehow drawn back to his music. According to Cardoza, he minimized the amount of electronic technology he uses because he believes the “evil mind spell” phones cast on people is a waste of time when everyone can do greater things. Cardoza instead devotes his time to truly experiencing life and expressing that through music.

“Every day is an inspiration. I could just go along every day and be dull and not look at everything in different ways, but I try to so the day goes by a little bit faster and it’s a little bit more interesting,” Cardoza said.

According to Kruse, Cardoza completely immerses himself in his music. Cardoza said he knows school is important, but it does not provide the liveliness he finds with music, nature and human interactions.

“I don’t want to be at school because I feel like I’m not being appreciated for what I do, even if it’s not much,” Cardoza said. “A few years ago I tried and tried and tried and tried, and I just never got anything back out of it so I guess I just gave up.”

Cardoza said he plans on sustaining a work ethic to graduate high school and possibly take further courses to gain extra incentive or knowledge about music after he graduates.

According to Christensen, Cardoza’s school work does not reflect who he is.

“I think the smart he is is constricted by the way school takes up what he’s good at,” Christensen said. “He hates it. He hates going to school, he hates his classes, so it takes away from what he’s the best at: writing music and playing it, which is the only thing he wants to do. I think that’s what he’s smart with.”

According to Cardoza, he instead finds appreciation when he makes music.

“The smile I see on [Trent’s] face when we play a song perfectly is a reason to keep going, when we play a show and people are just like ‘oh my gosh that was ridiculous, I wasn’t expecting that,’ that’s a reason to keep going,” Cardoza said. “When your mom says she’s proud of you for writing a really kick-ass song, that’s one of the coolest feelings. I was never expecting that growing up.”

According to Christensen, the bond he has with Cardoza is as close as it gets without being blood related. Their similar taste in music, including Punk Rock, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rancid, led them to assemble crushingcrayons.

“I played guitar, but I didn’t really understand the rockstar lifestyle until I met Trent,” Cardoza said.

The rockstar lifestyle, according to Cardoza, is waking up and grabbing a guitar, not ever worrying about anything, playing music, hanging out with friends and doing whatever one wants all the time.

Cardoza said he aspires to live this lifestyle despite the obstacles he may face.

“You feel alone, then you realize what you’re doing with your art. I’ve seen people be happy about what I’ve made and it makes me happy and they’re happy and everybody’s happy and there’s life,” Cardoza said. “That’s probably the reason I’m chasing it all the time.”