by Eric Baylies
John Powhida International Airport is not an actual place as of this writing, but it may be someday. They are one of the most well known and respected bands in Boston. I spoke with John Powhida about music, madness, and all the nations’ airports.
Noise: As a courtesy introduction to our readers, who is in the band and what do they play? What other bands do they play in?
John Powhida: Peter Moore handles keyboards and vocals, Nathan Logus plays the drums, Mike Castellana plays guitar, Jim Zavodowski plays bass, and I play guitar and sing. Peter was in Think Tree and currently heads Count Zero. Mike plays with Amy Correia and the Blue Ribbons. Nathan is in the Weisstronauts and was in the Rudds with me. Jim was in the Damn Personals and Rule.
Noise: How did the band start and how did you come up with the band name?
John: The band started when the Rudds broke up in 2007. Paul Kolderie (Warren Zevon) invited me to his studio to record an album, which is actually the last full album I have made. It is called Cut Way Down. I needed a band to perform that material and still loved the Rudds songs, so I just kept on trucking. As far as the name goes, I saw that Ronald Reagan had an airport named after him, and I wanted one too! I have never actually had a driver’s license.
Noise: How did you end up in Boston in the first place?
John: I have been a gallery guard at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston since I moved to Boston in 2000 from Albany, New York. It is a great place to write songs in my head while at work! There are 19 songs on the upcoming JPx debut; some people say that is way too many songs to release these days, but I say just because everyone has A.D.D. that is no reason to compromise my vision!
Noise: You told me that you have a West Coast version of the band. Can you explain how that came about?
John: The drummer from JPx West was a Berklee student who I met at the MFA. He was also a gallery guard. When he went back home to Los Angeles he turned his bandmates onto my tunes and I feel like Chuck Berry when I go out. I don’t even bring a guitar and they set up the practices and gigs and I absolutely love it! I go out there and play with the West Coast JPx every year. I’m actually going out there to play Burbank in a couple of weeks.
Noise: That is very cool. Who are some of your favorite Boston-area bands?
John: I moved to Boston partly to be closer to three of my favorite bands, the Upper Crust, the Gentlemen, and the Neighborhoods. To my amazement some of them have become friends and collaborators. Moving to Boston was the smartest thing I ever did.
Noise: Do you ever play around Providence? It seems you only play in Boston.
John: I dated a girl from North Attleboro and spent a lot of time in Providence and also when my friend Mike Gent lived there. I loved the Boxcar Theater and Thayer Street but sadly I really have no musical relationship to that city, which is just pure laziness!
Noise: What have you been up to?
John: Music is not everything… but it’s really important. I am constantly writing and we are heading into a mystery location this weekend to begin recording another single. 2013 has been very busy. I produced a track for my friend Amy Correia, which she released on Valentine’s Day called “Hot Dream.” She used JPx as her band and she is a monstrous talent! That song is on BandCamp. I co-wrote another song on Mike Gent and the Rapid Shaves’ upcoming album. JPx is playing Tweed River Fest in August out in Vermont. We occasionally get hired to moonlight as a Todd Rundgren tribute band and play fan events when Todd performs in certain markets. Last year during our show in Akron, Ohio, Todd joined us onstage, which was a thrill! We are going out again at the end of August to play a fan party and Todd is performing the next night with the Akron Symphony Orchestra. Todd is God!
Noise: You sound pretty busy, John. What are you doing right this second?
John: Today was my 47th birthday and I spent it here in the apartment with the cats, finishing lyrics and practicing for Brett Milano’s wedding on Saturday! JPx… we just may be three or four of your favorite bands!
Noise: Any touring plans?
John: We play Albany, Vermont, Worcester, and Boston. We will only tour elsewhere if we become teen sensations!
Noise: I know you are finishing up a new record. Who is producing it, and who’s putting it out?
John: Our record is produced by me, Jon Lupfer, and Mike Gent. It will be self-released late this summer.
Noise: I can’t wait. Anything else you would like to share with us?
John: There is a Christmas single released last year on Bandcamp. Our new single is also our new video “John Mayer Dines with Taylor Swift.” JPx also released a vinyl single “Daddys the Man” on the Q Division’s Q-Dee label in 2010, it’s a hummdinger. I also wrote a song with the Figgs that was released as a 45 on Q-Dee,”The Central Stumble.” Search YouTube for “John Mayer Dines with Taylor Swift” from our upcoming Destination: Sake Bomb. It was recorded over the course of the last two years at Q Division, Moontower Somerville, and Bang-A -Soug in Gloucester. The disc features the 2011 Rumble-winning JPx and also the current lineup. Look for John Powhida International Airport on SoundCloud for nearly finished samples of the upcoming album.