The story behind the rebirth and evolution of Charlotte’s rising rock ‘n’ roll stars Pröwess

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The five-piece hang out in their white RV midday, reminiscing on all they’ve accomplished in the past year, while preparing to play their last show at a venue they call home, Amos’ Southend. Dalton comfortably lounges on the bus’s off-brown couch while rolling his own tobacco and gazing out the cracked-open window as show goers wander down the street. He affectionately shouts at the faces he recognizes. Adam leans up against the blue interior in the entranceway near the white stove to the rear while Kenny rests on the red and white ice chest that doubles as a stool. The two joke about the everyday ghost that continuously flings the RV’s door open that batters against the side of the vehicle when the wind blows. Kip reclines to the right of the band’s 32-inch, black RCA television that hangs off the wall, directly across from Scott who abruptly reminds the band – it’s their first birthday.

Pröwess // Photo by Benjamin Robson

Pröwess // Photo by Benjamin Robson

Before there was Pröwess, there was 21st Century Goliath, a band that each member played a professional hand in except for Dalton. The band began from one of Scott’s visions that ultimately grew into a profound identity within the hard rock music scene. Despite a few hurdles, in 21CG’s existence, they amassed many accolades including opening for Halestorm at the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race festival, playing alongside Slash and landing an album at No. 8 on the Billboard Heatseaker’s chart. The foursome poured years of hard work and energy into the creation, and relished the fruits of their labor, but ultimately parted ways with the lead singer prompting the construction of Pröwess.

“It would’ve been easy for me to say ‘we have a crowd and following, let’s just carry on.’ The hard thing to do was burn that all and start over, especially because we didn’t know if we’d fall flat,” Scott said. “We were concerned that existing fans would revolt and leave us without any safety net.”

However, deep inside, the band firmly knew that 21CG was short lived after the former vocalist’s departure and conveniently forgot to bring merchandise to shows. It wasn’t fair to force newly recruited Dalton to sing cover songs. The writing was on the wall, but the new five-piece continued to play shows under the old moniker to ensure that when they officially unveiled the name change, they were “cooking with fire.” Surprisingly, of the five members, the fresh front man Dalton held the most skepticism toward the band’s rebirth.

“I was in a different band, but I liked the 21CG material,” the vocalist admitted. “I didn’t have a problem with it, but it took me from playing in front of the same people on a regular basis to playing at the Lincoln Theatre, at Amos’ Southend to even opening for Ace Frehley. I was skeptical about the whole idea though. I felt like I had just joined a band that was really good and now we’re going back to the beginning.”

The new quintet began writing new music and forging a new identity. They prepped for their first gig together under the new name, at the homely Amos’ Southend. They headlined that night and introduced Dalton to Charlotte.

“We had our old banner hung up and dropped it in front of everyone to show the new name and logo. We didn’t tell anybody and debuted our new material,” Kenny remembered.

The moment marked the end of 21CG and the beginning of Pröwess.

In Pröwess’s young life, they’ve accomplished enough to justify the reinvention and Scott’s fearless attitude toward the change. They boast a recognizable sound that’ll teleport listeners back to the heart of late 70’s rock ‘n’ roll. Pröwess stems from another generation and their in-your-face rock is a breath of fresh air in genre that’s evolved over the years. Each member holds a different piece to the puzzle; each musician brings something unique to the table.

As the band describes it:

Everybody has clay. Kip’s might be dirty, [Kenny’s] might be too dry and [Adam’s] might be like mud, but together it’ll make a pretty pot.

Each member grew up with a different musical influence. Their parents introduced the quintet to the acclaimed classic rock – Aerosmith, AC/DC, Ted Nugent. However, once they turned 15, they began to latch onto their own musical interests. While Prince and Bruce Springsteen influenced one member, KISS and David Bowie influenced another. With that, Pröwess’s unique sound formed.

“The late 70’s is where we all line up – that’s where all the lines cross. That’s the era we like to draw from but sometimes we’ll walk out Kip’s way or Kenny’s way. Sometimes we’ll walk out Dalton’s way or Adam’s way. Then sometimes we’ll walk out [Scott’s] way. It’s one giant venn diagram and they all meet up in the middle with classic rock,” the band concluded.

Pröwess is keenly aware that they cannot expect success while ripping off their childhood idols. Instead, they seamlessly use minute elements to create their own exclusive image that’s become well-liked and respected in the rock the scene. Whether it’s Dalton’s shrieking tone, reminiscent of Joe Elliot and Def Leppard or Scott and Kip’s driven guitars, there’s a sense of originality in the familiarity. Although the five-piece has only played cohesively together for just over a year, they’ve drawn respect from legendary rock legends.

Pröwess caught the eye of former lead guitarist of KISS Ace Frehley and opened for Skid Row at the Greensboro Coliseum. While each event brought its unique experiences and memories (such as Scott’s dramatic fall of the stage in Greensboro in front of thousands of fans), Pröwess gained an insurmountable amount of knowledge from each. They know what it takes to reach the level they aspire for.

“Don’t be afraid of a big crowd,” Scott proudly stated. “The bigger the crowd, the more they can sense your fear. It’s charming in a small room and you might win them over if you’re timid. They might have a soft spot for you, but those that paid their money and drove a long way expect to be entertained. You can’t be afraid.”

Pröwess // Photo by Benjamin Robson

Pröwess // Photo by Benjamin Robson

The start of Pröwess’s final show at Amos’ Southend ticks closer and the mood increasingly grows somber with each passing memory of the legendary Charlotte music venue. The line in front of Amos’ Southend for the venue’s final show begins to grow. It’s the end of a historic era for the Charlotte music scene, but Pröwess remains proud and humble knowing that they’re playing the venue’s send-off show. It’s where the band’s career started and where they recently held their EP release party.

“Amos’ is a staple,” Scott said. “It’s a place we could sell to our fans. We played across the tracks and my old bands have played in other areas. Amos’ was a place that we could bring people from out of town. We had someone fly in from Sweden for our EP release party. It’s a marquee venue – people outside Charlotte know what Amos’ is.”

Pröwess grew up with the venue that has held the likes of Shinedown and Thirty Seconds To Mars during their uprising. Adam grew up attending metal shows and dreamt of performing on the wooden stage with his own band one day. It’s a dream that’s come true and a reality that’s quickly vanished. Pröwess has played at Amos’ Southend four times in the past year. They’re in the position that the now arena-worthy bands of the past were in a decade ago – and they know it.

“It’s a wrinkle in time; a side-story. It’s cool to be a part of it,” Pröwess said. “In 10 years, someone will say, ‘Do you remember that place Amos’?’ We’ll respond, ‘As a matter of fact, yes I do.’”

Pröwess

About author

Jared Allen

Jared Allen

Jared is a music journalist, photographer and avid music listener living in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys live music, long car rides with Kellin Quinn and trips to the local record store, even though he still doesn't own a turntable in fear that his roommates will evict him.

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