By Todd Houston
Exclusive to TRRT
Rockford Rocked Interview: Who are the members of Prowler?
Prowler: Steve Watson (lead vocals and bass), Dan Hay (guitar), Brian Benney (drums and vocals), and Jim Watson (guitar and vocals).
RRI: You guys are all seasoned musicians from the Rockford area but I’m told a few of you have been inactive in the local music scene for many years. What was it that made you want to get back together and rock again?
Dan: We all took time off to raise families and that sort of thing. I guess when it’s in your blood it never really gets out of your system. We’re all very adamant about playing the same stuff we were doing back then.
Brian: For a few of us Prowler was our first band back in 1979. We actually had the name and the vision before we could even play instruments. The aspect of returning to where you began becomes attractive. It’s a special time for us right now. We’re all good friends with a lot of history together.
RRI: You guys came out with a bang booking a lot of shows right off the bat. Your set list primarily consists of classic rock tunes by artist like Def Leppard and Black Sabbath. What has the reaction been like from the younger crowd?
Steve: We really weren’t actively seeking out shows. The only gigs we actually sought out were a few shows with Clark Colborn and Byronfest. We are truly grateful for the opportunities that have come our way.
Jim: We have had a great response from the younger crowd. A lot of them have come up to us after our shows and said they really enjoy hearing the music they grew up listening to from their parents and older siblings. Original rock from the ’70s and ’80s never gets old.
Brian: I think we are pretty good at being young ourselves at least for an hour and a half (laughs).
RRI: Back in the ’70s and ’80s local music stores and record shops were hangouts for area bands and aspiring musicians. I personally knew people that would spend entire Saturday and Sunday afternoons hanging out, trading riffs and chatting with one other. In your opinion how have times changed with the invention of social media?
Dan: The one thing that I remember the most is all of the musicians and bands used to put messages and want ads on the bulletin boards at local music stores. Now it’s all on different social media sites.
Brian: It’s a double-edged sword really. The amount of content you can share with your friends and fans is insane but there is something special about physically seeking out your favorite bands that make it special. Some of the excitement gets lost in the digital world
RRI: Black Diamond Music in Freeport is releasing a Christmas album featuring local artists. I understand Prowler recorded a song for it. Tell us how it turned out.
Dan: The folks at Black Diamond have been a real pleasure to work with. The song we did turned out great. The album will be available soon and we will let everyone know how to get a copy.
Brian: I think we surprised ourselves. The spontaneity really added to the vibe.
RRI: Local Craft Brew master and friend Matt Skorniak made a limited batch of Prowler Porter Beer using ingredients that he believes capture the essence of the band. Rumor has it that real bits of Black Panther fur were used in the process. Thoughts?
Steve: Matt did an awesome job of creating this special beer for us. As for the Black Panther fur, we don’t believe it has any of that but it definitely has some claws.
Brian: We can’t divulge any secret ingredients but we can say that any panthers that may have been used in the process were treated humanely and returned to their natural habitat (laughs).
RRI: I’m going to say a word or phrase and you reply with the first thing that pops into your heads.
RRI: The former Anytime Club on Auburn street.
Dan: Was a cool place to play in the late ’80s and always packed.
RRI: WYBR Y95 (former Rockford Radio station).
Jim: Y95 rocked. One of the best memories was the Y95 album that showcased local bands.
RRI: The annual Mother’s Day Concerts at Anna Page Park.
Dan: Always a blast.
Brian: Fun Times. Bring it back.
RRI: Where can we find more information on Prowler?
Prowler: On our Facebook page, reverbnation.com, or come out to a show and ask us in person.