Kowalski: A band of writers
You’ve probably heard or seen Kowalski thanks to the Last Band Standing competition at the Underground in which the band made it to the final round and blew the drinks out of the audience’s hands. Perhaps you know them from opening up for Hell’s Belles who were so impressed that they’ve made them their permanent Bellingham warm-up band (it was Kowalski’s second show ever that solidified this; the Fairhaven Pub was so packed that singer Chad De Roux had to fight his way to the stage to start the set). Or maybe you know this band because you’ve heard any one of its members’ other projects like the DT’s, 76 Charger, Medici, Choker, and more. These musicians have been around for a while (I estimate close to 80 years in Bellingham between them) but Kowalski has only been around for two years.
Each member of Kowalski brings something different to the band. Singer Chad De Roux is the classic rock guy, guitarists Jeremy “Wheels” Hunter and Jeremy Latorre bring in the Pantera element, bassist Casey Proctor provides the prog with influences like Tool and Meshuggah, and drummer Russell Bogle Dingus rounds it out with his classic Bonham style. The band writes cumulatively even when it comes to lyrics, sometimes each writing a few lines that De Roux compiles into is often documentary-inspired lyrics.
“There aren’t any leaders of the band, we’re a band of writers,” said De Roux.
“It’s real band camaraderie,” added Proctor.
Kowalski currently has a four-song demo available online that was recorded by Rich Canut at Lab Studio in Bellingham. They admit the demo was only made to help them get shows but that they have plans to record in September, most likely in a studio down south. Once their album is finished they’ll start plans to tour but so far have only played a few shows outside of Bellingham, most notably in Portland with Devilry and Crag Dweller, the latter of which will be making our way for a show with Kowalski and Tacos! at the Shakedown on July 28.
One of the great things about Kowalski live is their interaction with the audience. They’re one of the few local bands I’ve seen lately that the crowd really gets into. The first time I saw them De Roux had hurt his leg during the set, separating tendon from bone, but finished the set anyway.
“I thought he was joking so I threw beer on him; it wasn’t until later that we found out that it was serious,” said Hunter.
“There are times where I’m afraid and it’s like – take it easy guys,” said De Roux in reference to how the crowd can get a little rough. On the other hand De Roux said that in all his time playing music it wasn’t until Kowalski that he got to crowd surf.
When the band started they took a year to “brew” their sound but say they’re still just a baby and haven’t reached their full potential. The band has, however, been good friends for a long time, played in other projects together, lived together in some cases, and the chemistry really helps. They often get their families together for barbecues and, of course, they like to party.
“We’re just a bunch of goofballs,” said Proctor.
They said that they have some confidential plans in the works that they couldn’t disclose for the interview but that we should keep our ears open in the coming months. As for their stint in Last Band Standing they agree that music shouldn’t be a competition, and while it was fun, they never want to do anything like that again.