The rather tragic events of the last couple of years would finally come to a head in the early part of 2014. Within a few months into the year, it became necessary to replace nearly half the band. But Powerhouse was determined to not only rebuild and continue on, but to make the band better than it has ever been. The first to give notice of his intent to leave was Roger, our drummer. Roger had been working for years with another very successful local band, and as that band was ramping up their act and his day-job commitments became greater, he decided that he could no longer give sufficient time to Powerhouse. Next to leave was our keyboard player, Tony. He wanted to spend more time working on his own personal musical projects and again, wouldn’t have the time to put into working with our band. And finally, Mike, our bass player, decided that he’d had enough of performing live – at least, for a while – and he gave his notice. By the beginning of March, the band was left with their three-piece horn section, Steve on lead guitar and a lot of work to do.The first to be recruited was Pete Crolly on bass guitar, pictured above right, in his more casual setting. Pete was a regular out of the Toronto music scene and with his musical ties with Carlo, our trumpet player, and his hometown ties to the Hamilton area, he made a relatively easy transition as he joined the band. Next up was Vince Rinaldo on keyboards – pictured to the left in his more distinguished ‘Dr. Vince’ day-job setting. Vince, a studio-quality talent, had played with the band in the past and his transition back into the band was also seamless. To complete the band’s rhythm section, Carlo recruited John Persichini (pictured, to the right) as our new drummer. John’s most recent work was as a front man for the band Lightspeed, but Carlo was well aware of his ‘other’ talents behind the kit. Fronting a band, John hadn’t played his drums in a while, but as he said to us in the beginning: “I’ll get it up to speed, I just need a little practice” – (Aside: It took him all of two practices to do so. End Aside). To complete the band’s new line-up, we decided to do something we had not done before – add a female vocalist as a full-time member of the band. In stepped Paula Tessaro (pictured, to the left). Most of us had heard of Paula’s talents from her work with Ray Lyell and other local projects and she did not disappoint. Her addition to the band would quickly be in the form of a vocal-dominant role.We had our new band. Now it was time to get to work and get everyone up to speed with the Rod Stewart and Chicago Transit shows. It was also decided to completely redo the Powerhouse show. Most of the songs of the past 30 years would be replaced with fresh, new material. The song you’re listening to (if you clicked on the mp3 player above) was one of our first ‘cover’ choices. The new band would play their first show a few months later.
The band played its first show of the year, and with the new line-up, outdoors, in the early spring at Hamilton’s Royal Botanical Gardens. Outdoor venues of this type, gardens, at this time in the Canadian year can be a little ‘barren’. So it was up to the band to warm the place up. It felt good to play with the new band, as the level of talent and the comraderie jelled quickly. The influx of new people and new material gave a very positive look into what was to come from the band, Powerhouse. Pictured above, left to right in the back row is Don on trombone, Nick on sax, John on drums and Steve on guitar. Middle row has (from left to right), Carlo on trumpet and Vince on keyboards. And down front is Pete on bass guitar. Missing from this picture is Paula, who had not yet joined the band when this picture was taken.
Da Horns -- Don, Carlo and Nick
And the new guys -- Vince on keyboards (above), Pete on bass (above right) and John (to the right).
Pete and Steve, our guitarists
And trombonist, Don, filling in on synth
It was sunny, a bit chilly, the trees were bare, the crowd was appreciative and the music was hot. In Canada in the early part of the year, that’s what we call a Spring thing.
Next up, and under much warmer conditions, was a stop in East Hamilton for a private corporate party at the yard of Metro Truck. There was a great crowd there that day (and evening) as the band performed their Powerhouse and Chicago Transit shows.
To the left is Paula Tessaro, the newest member of the Powerhouse Band. And above are the Powerhouse horns with the usual suspects: Don on trombone, Nick on sax and Carlo on trumpet.
Above, from left to right, the Powerhouse rhythm section: Vince, John, Pete and Steve.Below: Carlo doing his usual excellent job of bringing the crowd into the show.
It was a great (but long) night of music, as the band was called to the stage for an extra show that went on long past the setting sun.
As always, it was another great night of music and newest member, Paula, did a fabulous job in her first show with the band -- a truly professional performer. The band would close out the year by taking their Powerhouse and Rod Stewart shows to Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack and then to a mid-December full three-set Powerhouse show at Stonewall’s Restaurant and Live Music in downtown Hamilton. Although the new band didn’t play a lot of shows this year, a lot of work was done rebuilding the band and its three shows. But there was still a lot to do -- work that would continue full speed throughout the coming year.