The SV Houserockers -
Working Hard and Loving What They Do
If you haven’t had a chance to see the Silicon Valley Houserockers cover band you’re missing out on one of the true gems in bay area music. Led by front man Paul Kent, the Houserockers have become one of the bay areas most highly sought after acts, and one of the busiest. Winners of the 2010 K-FOX “Last Band Standing” competition as the best cover band in the bay area, the Houserockers playlist includes rock, R&B, funk and soul hits from the 60’s and 70’s with a sprinkling of 80’s and 90’s rock and soul tossed in for fun.
I asked Paul what the best part of playing music was. His answer was the crowds. “We love seeing our dedicated fans follow us from gig to gig just to watch us play, and dance.” And dance they do. From the opening song to the second - or third encore, people are on their feet. From “Dancing on the Avenue” in downtown Willow Glen, to the Capitola Begonia Festival, and all points in between, the Houserockers have lit up the south bay this year, having playing over 40 of their scheduled 50 performances. Their final gig for the year is at the Fox Theater in
City on New Year’s Eve.
Paul, who also maintains a full time career, started playing guitar as a kid. After injuring his leg in a basketball game, his mother decided it was time for another hobby. She bought Paul his first guitar and a love for music was born. Lessons followed, as did stints with a few bands in high school. “ We weren’t great back then, but we loved to play!” Paul remembers with a smile.
With early influences from artists on the Stax record label like Sam and Dave, Ottis Redding and Eddy Lee Floyd, Paul kept at the guitar until his early 20’s when life, career and family became his focus. That was until Christmas of 1997 when his wife Terri surprised him with a guitar. “Didn’t you say you used to have one of these?” she asked with a smile, as he opened his gift. By the spring of ’99 the Houserockers were born.
Though the band has had a few lineup changes, the core of the group has been together since the beginning. “It’s great to play with guys for so long who share a love for the same types of music, and a love for playing.” Paul remarked. “It’s in our DNA and the music never fails to deliver adrenaline, whether we’re playing for 50 people or 5,000.”
In addition to the dedication and hard work the band puts into every performance, what comes through is their heart. The Houserockers have donated their time and talent to several causes and local charities over the years, including the American Cancer Society, private fundraisers and scholarship drives. “We love playing music, and we love a good cause. Since we all live in the bay area, we want to give back to our communities.”
I asked Paul what he is most appreciative of regarding music. He answered, “If you learn music as a kid, you will always have it with you. It can help you learn good habits, and give you a creative outlet. It can unlock your brain, and we all need that!” He continued, “Music, when played right, is universal. It is something enjoyed by people of all ages. And it creates endless opportunities.”
As he speaks, his love for music shows on his face, and weaves in and out of his words. He sits across from me, smiling with a youthful enthusiasm and a childlike grin. It’s what you get when you watch Paul and the Houserockers perform; ten musicians, working hard and loving what they do. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Catch the band’s upcoming performances by going to their website: http://www.svhouserockers.com
Al Gonzalez - Trumpet
Jon Hassan - Baritone Sax
Paul Kent - Guitar, Vocals
Mark Proudfoot - Trombone
Mike McWilliams - Trumpet, Vocals
Nick Chargin - Keyboards, Vocals
Michael Mendoza - Sax
Simon Santiago - Guitar, Vocals
Joe "BAM!" Rizzi - Drums, Vocals
Steve Strom - Bass, Vocals
Bill Tasto - Sound Engineer