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Rewired rock band still a Power House

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Cathy Dobson

Hot off a win at the Rock for Dimes Battle of the Bands, the boys in Power House are determined to capitalize on the band’s comeback.

“Winning it was pretty awesome,” says lead singer Will Hughes.

“Yah, we didn’t expect it,” agrees Chris Fraser, absently strumming his eight-string guitar.

Hughes and Fraser are the founding members of Power House, a band that casually got together in 2011 for a show at SCITS high school and hit a nerve with its edgy rock and covers of ‘80s Glam.

Last summer, Power House won Sarnia’s Indiefest, a music festival series that pits independent bands against one another.

The phone really started to ring after that, says Chris Fraser Sr., Chris Jr.’s father and manager of the group.

But fortunes quickly fell last fall when three of Power House’s five members relocated to other cities. There were promises to come back for practices, but that never worked.

“So I went out recruiting,” says Chris Sr. “I wanted to find the best and I did.”

Early this year, Mike Pitel came on board as lead guitar. T.J. Arts is the new bass player and Billy Riley the new man on drums.

Chris Jr., the band’s original drummer, has decided he wants to be more of a front man and concentrate on guitar.

“I was getting tired of hiding behind a drum kit,” he said. “I picked up a guitar for the first time two-and-a-half years ago and just watched how it was done.”

Their first month together was intense, says Chris Sr.  “They were practising every night until the Battle of the Bands.”

At BrownStones Sports Bar and Restaurant on March 28, the new Power House took the stage and blew the competition away.

It may be a nearly-new band but the music style is the same. Power House plays heavy rock and metal covers of the likes of Cinderella, Guns N Roses, Deep Purple, Motley Crue and Nazareth. They’ve got the ‘80s Glam look with their leather and chains, and they focus on technical detail.

“That’s why I wanted to join,” says Mike Pitel. “This band is technically proficient. They do it right.”

Original music may come later, says Chris Jr.  “For now, we’re concentrating on covers.”

“But we’ve been writing and it’s starting to sizzle,” said Pitel.

Power House will be returning to this year’s Indiefest at Rustic on May 30. However, as last year’s winners, they won’t be competing and will perform the last set. In fact, Power House has contributed $500 toward Indiefest’s prize money.

The band is firming up details for summertime shows, Chris Sr. said.  And Power House will definitely be out to support any fundraisers for the Playfair Music Complex, which burned down last week.


Arcing wires near a light switch are being blamed for a devastating fire April 6 that destroyed the Playfair Music Complex on Mitton Street South.

The music community is rallying behind owner Steve Dumont who says he intends to resurrect the business, which included a recording studio, rehearsal halls, equipment repair, retail store and concert hall.

Damage was estimated at $500,000 and firefighters said the building could not be salvaged. No one was injured.

As of press time, details hadn’t been confirmed for a fundraising event but numerous local bands have said they’ll participate. Meanwhile, donations are being accepted at http://www.gofundme.com/r2zkd54.


If you have a story idea of cultural importance to our community, contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.


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