POWWERS: Bringing back the super sexy

by RALEIGH DAVIS

Sometimes it’s something as simple as your favorite bar and shot of whiskey to jump-start the band of your dreams. Such was certainly the case for hard-rockers and soulful crooners POWWERS.

The Ballard, Washington based band consists of Lara Hilgemann (of Peeping Tomboys fame) on guitar and vocals, Jordan Gomes (from Sailor Mouth) on bass and baritone guitar, and former Bellingham musician Lupe Flores (of many different groups such as Sugar Sugar Sugar and Tacos!) on drums and backing vocals. The group had its genesis in the form of a happy coincidence, a common adoration for a local bar:

“POWWERS came together because of our favorite bar in the history of bars, our home base, and our work, Hattie’s Hat in Ballard. We all work there,” Flores explained. “One day, Lara and I were bartending together, and someone asked me to pour them a shot of Powers, and I was all, ‘That’d be a rad band name…’ and Lara goes ‘You wanna jam together sometime?’ And thus began POWWERS. Originally, Bellingham’s own Dan Vee played bass with us, but the distance between our homes became a thing, so then we convinced Jojo that we were pretty fun to hang out with, and he took the reigns on bass.”

From there POWWERS hit the ground running without looking back and have built quite the reputation for themselves in their year and a half history. With a debut album, Doris Rising, already under their belt you’d think that they’ve been working themselves to the bone but talking to the band it’s apparent the hard work comes easy when they are together.

“The three of us are equally compelled to write the music we do. When it comes to riffs, lyrics, or the general feeling of a song, it all happens collectively, and really fast.  For example, our last record ended up being a concept album about our mascot, Doris…,” mused drummer Lupe Flores. “…Lara and I made up this whole scenario of Doris and Tammy in about five minutes, and it just kind of took off from there. Herein lies the basis of many of our songs: revenge, empowerment, cannibalism, afterlife, ghosts, you know, normal kind of stuff… I think the point being, it’s completely organic and spontaneous, and collective, as hippie as that sounds.”

The collaborative nature of band works to their benefit as diverse influences such as Joan Jett, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Helms Alee and Portugal. The Man meld together into an ear-pleasing, head-banging experience.

“I think our varied backgrounds in music and musical tastes makes for some weird brand of rock n’ roll that I can’t really pinpoint,” Flores laughed. “The combination of these influences makes for our weird, spooky, glam, heavy, honest, psychedelic, dark rock n’ roll, unlike the kind I’ve ever heard up to this point. I feel like a dork for loving our band so much.”

It seems that Flores isn’t the only who shares that sentiment as POWWERS has been on an upward spike that doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The band has big plans ahead, including going into the studio with Johnny Goss at Dandelion Gold Studios for their second full-length. The band is planning on a 7” release some time in October before they hit the road with shred-legends The Fall of Troy and Kylesa in November.

“We were all kind of collectively puking and crying when we were offered that tour,” Flores said. “When we get back from tour we plan on releasing our second full length, and then going on an album release tour in the Spring.”

So expect to see and hear a lot more of POWWERS in the coming months and get your hands on their debut album to acclimate your ears for your inevitable indoctrination into the POWWERS legions.

LIVE SHOW: Catch POWWERS on July 10 at The Shakedown. For more about the band, see www.facebook.com/powwerstheband. 

Published in the July 2015 issue of What’s Up!