Cardboard Prison: Portola’s First Student Band


Simrat Singh

Derrick Peng performs “Seven Nation Army” with Cardboard Prison at the 2017 Spring Concert.

Farhad Taraporevala and Simrat Singh

Cardboard Prison, Portola High’s first student-led band, has been playing for about one year now, performing at lunches and at the spring concert last year. The band consists of five members: lead guitarist Yash Menon, drummer and vocalist Derrick Peng, rhythm guitarist Nicholas Hung, bass guitarist Brian Yip and, new addition this year, keyboard player Andrew Wang.

“I had the passion for music and I had other friends and I wanted to do something different than the normal woodwinds, orchestra” Menon said. “I wanted to really create something, music I personally like a lot more and I am interested in and be able to give back to the community around me through my love of music.”

The passion Cardboard Prison has for music is evident when they play. They are hard at work, practicing at lunches and after school. Their song choice reflects a very distinct rock and roll style which has truly energized the crowd in previous performances. They have performed hits like “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes and “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith in the past, but, they are looking to expand their musical repertoire and play more songs for future performances.

“My first impression of seeing them live was that I was very shocked,” sophomore Chris Choung said. “This was because it takes guts to perform live in the first place, and they were really into it, too, which I actually thought was really nice because I could see that they really enjoyed playing in the band.”

The band also formed the Music for a Motive club, which allows students to work on starting their own band, helping  such bands with scheduling performances. The adviser of the club is Visual and Performing Arts department chair, Desmond Stevens

“One of the great things about Music for a Motive as well as the Concerts of Cause club is that it is a nice meeting place to network and to find other people that are interested in creating a band, being in a band,” Stevens said.

Peng has worked on creating his own remixes and music on the popular audio distribution platform, SoundCloud. He has worked with several vocalists, such as Choung, in order to make songs like “Shadow,” as well as singing himself in “Hey Blue.”

“Our next performance in the coming weeks will be sometime at lunch for sure; we do have a number of events scheduled for later in the year, but we are going to take it one step at a time,” Menon said.