I first started talking to Tim Pryce of Powerhouse back in 1989. The Powerhouse demo had just been released and I was doing Common Sense fanzine. Tim had sent me a demo to review and right off the bat it became a favorite of mine. Over that year, I must have listened to that demo hundreds of times, then when the 7" was released on New Age, that went into regular rotation. I also had a great live tape that I'm pretty sure came from Tim as well. For whatever reason, listening to Powerhouse on my Walkman while I delivered news papers on my paper route, became part of my routine. I loved that band and it was always cool catching up with Tim, but like so many great bands from that era, they broke up and completely dropped off the map.
Many years later, sometime around 1999 or 2000, I found myself in contact with Tim again. We picked up where we left off and have tried to keep in touch ever since. A few weeks ago, Powerhouse vocalist, Ivan White contacted me and sent me a DVD of a live Powerhouse set, which got me thinking that it was time to bring these guys on board for some DCXX content.
So here we go, part one of what should be a multiple part entry with Florida's Powerhouse. Thanks to Tim for answering our questions. -Tim DCXX
First off, how and when did hardcore/punk find its way onto your map?
It was mostly through skateboarding when I was about 13-14 in 1985. I was about a year or so younger than a lot of my friends, and they were going to shows a lot on Miami Beach at this huge old movie theater called The Cameo Theater. The place was pretty big and every band used to play there. The punk scene was rather big back then – there were 1000+ people at every show there, and there were shows twice or more every single week.
Who were your favorite bands when you first discovered it?
Of course, the obvious – Minor Threat, 7 Seconds, Bad Brains, Black Flag, AF, Cro-Mags, The Misfits, The Meatmen, Descendants, Government Issue….
Ivan fronting Powerhouse, Photo courtesy of: Powerhouse
Early show memories? What bands do you recall and who left a lasting impression?
Wow… there are lots… when we saw 7 Seconds (Ivan & I) just as New Wind was coming out – it was incredible. We wanted to meet Kev so badly. We got lucky & got to walk South Beach with him and talk for like an hour before they played. It changed our lives… Bad Brains on the I Against I tour was something else… It was the very first (and only if I recall) show that they actually ran a TV commercial for! Seeing bands like AF touring with GBH was crazy… There were so many awesome shows… Seeing Fugazi for the 1st time was really magical for me…
The Florida hardcore scene isn't exactly the most well-documented, what can you tell us about the scene in those early days? Who were the popular bands? What were the happening venues? What were the positives and negatives?
Well, it’s true that there isn’t a lot of documentation of the scene down there, but it was really big. It wasn’t “splintered” up the way it became in the mid-90s on. There were punks, skins, skater/surfer kids, guys, girls – everyone from South Miami all the way north to West Palm Beach went to every show. It was pretty violent back then too – most of the Florida scenes in the other main cities had white power skinhead gangs & stuff like that. It was never that way in Miami.
There were a lot of HUGE battles in those days. You had to kind of “earn your stripes” back then… First, there was a place called Flynn’s on Miami Beach – then The Cameo was the big place for quite a few years. After we started playing a lot of shows (and setting them up), we had a bunch of smaller venues – The Junkyard, The Thrash Can, Washington Square and a bunch of others… The positives were that we had crazy times and formed truly deep friendships… The negatives, of course, were that it was dangerous at times and people got hurt, and sometimes searching for venues to have national acts come to play was rough.
Tim, Ivan and the rest of Powerhouse, Photo courtesy of: Powerhouse
What are some your memories from the late 80's straight edge bands coming through Florida? Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, etc. What bands stood out and how did some of these bands leave an impression on you?
It’s funny, my earliest memories were of 7 Seconds and Government Issue. Actually, one of the first of the “spirit of '88” bands to come down was Insted. That was really great – those guys are awesome. When we first saw YOT, Break Down The Walls was still on Wishingwell Records – but they were one of the most energetic bands ever. I think Ritchie was playing guitar for them then, and Mike was playing drums. They all had shaved heads, & of course, tore the place apart. We were blown away be them. In '89, at the Cameo, YOT, Bold, Reason To Believe, GB, Insted & Uniform Choice played all together in one night. That was incredible! At the time, I had been writing to some of those guys - and it was really great to see all of them at once.
Give us your band history? How and when did Powerhouse come together and what sort of goals did you guys lay out in the beginning?
Ivan and I started playing in '86/'87. We went through a few name changes, like most bands – but we just wanted to bring as much energy as we could to our shows. There were only a very few other bands playing HC there at the time – but we all stuck together and made a great time of it. We played as a 4 piece and a 5 at times – but Ivan and I were the constants. We always had fun and everyone who played in the band with us had a ball.
More Powerhouse to come...
Andrew Powell on Drums with Powerhouse, Photo courtesy of: Powerhouse
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 9:37 PM