P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P Interview

P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P Interview

Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen

Illinois-based metal band P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P. formed in 1994 and have been cranking out originals and cover songs locally for 15 years. This year has been a busy one for P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P. They played 99 shows in the St. Louis/Illinois area, released a DVD, and are in the process of recording their debut CD. I caught up with three of the five members of the band to discuss their background, what they are currently up to and their future plans.

P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P. (Keyboard Player Izzy, Vocalist Harsh and Lead Guitar Player Mike Lee)

Metal Babe Mayhem (MBM): First of all, what are you guys up to right now?

Harsh: Trying to record a lot of the newer stuff that we’re writing, trying to build it up, and trying to work with a few different guys… Not gonna say any names, we’re not playing that. We have a few guys that are interested in what we’re doing, and then we hope to play Europe.

MBM: Really? You plan on playing Europe before touring the U.S.?

Harsh: Oh yeah, completely.

Mike Lee: That’s the way it’s gotta be with rock. Even if you go back to the 60’s. Jimi Hendrix made it big in England before he made it big here. In Europe and Japan they are more open to the artistic aspect of it, whereas in the U.S. it’s more of a trend thing and a fad. I could see our career being mostly in Europe and Japan, and if we do make it big over here, it’s a bonus.

MBM: So you’re working on finishing the CD and then trying to get on some festivals or a tour?

Izzy: Exactly. We are currently working on getting on the Philadelphia Music Festival and SXSW (South by Southwest). So hopefully we can play those next year.

MBM: Where are you at in the recording process? Myspace only has two songs available so far.

Izzy: The goal is to write about 30 songs, and then go through that and pull the best CD out of those 30 songs. And like Harsh said, we have a couple good name producers that are looking at working with us. So good things could happen… And they have connections in Europe as well. Without giving names… But I know that you’ve seen at least two of the bands, in one night, that are interested in working with us.

MBM: I’m gonna open my big mouth and say, what’s going on with Jon Oliva? (Everyone laughs.) Would anyone like to speak on behalf of that?

Izzy: He’s a really good guy and he really kinda digs what we’re doing. We sent him some new stuff, to see if he likes it as much as he liked the older stuff. That’s our “Ace in the Hole,” I guess you could call it. That’s who we’d really rather work with than anybody. Another band that played that same show, who’s from another country, are also interested in working with us…

MBM: Manticora! I said it, you didn’t! (Everyone laughs again.)

Izzy: So… We have big European connections that are happening right now. Actually, thanks to my Wife who had some family that worked in the record business we have… all I’m going to say is “a legend” in the country music field interested. In fact, they are coming to see us at our next show. There were some discussions with them about a possible tour coming up with them shortly. To us, country and metal…it’s all the same. You have bands like Kid Rock winning CMT awards.

P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P. MBM: How did you come up with the name P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P.?

Izzy: The name P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P. is actually an acronym. Harsh and I created it while we were heavily under the influence! It stands for People Opening the Worlds Eyes to Reality Through Rage Interaction and Perseverance. That pretty much says it all. The songs are realistic in content, and we’re either gonna get it through to you by playin’ to ya or talkin’ to ya.

MBM: I didn’t know the acronym. I’m glad you said that. How would you describe your musical background and influences?

Mike Lee: I basically see us as Bluesmen. Even though, stylistically, we are very different than what the original Blues was. I more tend to view music as what is the emotion behind it.

Izzy: Such a broad variety… Personally I come from a metal, rock, jazz, classical, and blues background.

Harsh: We’re all well-schooled in the classics; I guess you could call it. But then, Mike and I are more into the harder stuff. Bands like Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, As I lay Dying, Bury the Dead, Children of Bodom… A lot of Hard Core.

Izzy: Anything that has keyboards, I pretty much dig it. Being a Classically trained piano player and then getting back with these guys… I’d spent seven years with them some time back and their style had changed drastically since the time I got back with them.

MBM: How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P. before?

Izzy: It’s quite a challenge. The description I get most often is Testament or Pantera if they had a keyboard player. We get that a lot… Every one of us grew up on bands like Iron Maiden, and things like that, where you got a show along with your music, as opposed to seeing a bunch of guys stand in one place all night and play. We make sure that nobody walks away disappointed, that they get their money’s worth. We do the cover tune shows as a way to support the original stuff. Unfortunately being an original heavy metal artist in the United States it’s kind of expensive these days and we are fortunate enough that we have 100+ cover songs to fall back on. We are pretty much able to give people whatever they want, whether it’s Country, Rap, Blues… There’s a little bit of everything.

MBM: What can fans expect from a live P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P show?

Izzy: Pure energy… When we do Cover shows, it’s four hours of a true rock band.

Mike Lee: When we do our cover shows, we don’t do the same cover shows, we don’t do the same songs that other bands do, or the songs on the radio. We do the songs we are passionate about and that influenced us. We’re talking about doing “Martian Boogie” by Brownsville Station, or “Long Haired Country Boy,” or “You May Be Right.” Everything we do, we do it the way we’d actually play it.

MBM: Any last words for our readers?

Izzy: Keep your eye out for P.O.W.E.R.T.R.I.P. Our website is powertripmusic.com and who knows, maybe sometime soon we’ll be out in L.A. and you can check us out live.

MBM: Sounds great. Thank You for your time. Best of luck with everything you’re doing and we hope to see you in L.A. sometime soon.