Jersey cover-band Killerwatt is a heavy metal tribute band who prides itself on the enjoyment of playing out. They seek out people who love heavy rock as much as they do and bring them back to metals
“We’re doing it for the love of the music now,” said bassist John Kaye, who relives the moment hearing metal music for the first time when he plays on stage. “It’s just one of those things,” he said.
“Either you have it or you don’t as far as the desire for it.”
Killerwatt officially formed in ’98, but some band members have played together since their early teens. Their staying power is proof that heavy rock still lives on. While their first task is a good
time, their underlying mission is to keep their favorite music in people’s ears and on their minds. “People come up to me at concerts and say, ‘thanks for keeping metal going and thanks for keeping it alive,'”
They have built their following by playing with other hard rock cover bands like Bad Hair Day and Rock Kandy. This exposure gives them the opportunity to meet new people interested in seeing another
cover band like theirs. It still is tough to build a following, as metal continues to decline in popularity. “People who like metal are either older and don’t go out as much anymore or young and all over
the place,” said Kaye.
Killerwatt covers a wide range of metal acts from thrash to glam to plain old hard rock. “We have a song list of 60 to 70 songs and we try to mix it up a bit and not play the same sets,” said Kaye. “Recent
sets have included Tesla’s “Modern Day Cowboy”, Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam”, Warrant’s “Uncle Toms Cabin” and the usual assortment of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Kiss, Van Halen, (and so on).”
The band also focuses on covering a broad spectrum of metal’s time periods, Kaye adds. “We actually do hard rock and metal from the 70's, Kiss, U.F.O. and Priest, 80's, Ozzy, Warrant, Slaughter, Maiden
and 90's ,Creed, Tool, Alice In Chains,” he said.
For their performances, the band tries to choose songs which can showcase their talent. According to Kaye, they’re not afraid to show off their chops. “We try to think in terms of what people will remember,”
he said regarding their set list. “We also try to show off the various (band) members.” The band, however, does try and stick to the basic format of the original song. “We take the basics and individually
throw some of our own improvisations in. (For example, the) solo may be different, but we try to keep the spirit of the song,” said Kaye. “For the most part, it's pretty much as the recording. We also like
to keep the energy level high.”
Keeping the energy level high is a good way to keep the crowd happy. “The New Jersey crowd response has been good, people seem to definitely be into the music we're playing,” said Kaye. “Pennsylvania
crowds were crazy, they love their metal! We're looking to branch out into Long Island and New York as well.” The band currently plays many clubs and bars in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but Kaye had some
trouble picking a favorite. “We like all the places we play at, great rooms and the owners and managers all treat us well, but I guess you might call the Sports Section our home,” he said.
The band was included on Commodity Oddity Entertainment’s Garden State of Mind Volume One CD, playing Skid Row’s “Sweet Little Sister.” “It's NJ bands covering other NJ bands,” said Kaye. “It's
available at Jack’s Music, Vintage Vinyl, CD World and online at www.comoddent.com for more info and song samples.”
Killerwatt’s upcoming gigs include March 23 at A's, with Get Your Guns and April 28, where they’re doing a set at the NY Kiss expo in Hackensack, New Jersey around 6 pm.