Not to be confused with other bands that have also been named Powder -- one of which was a Who-obsessed '60s combo from the San Francisco Bay Area -- this Powder became one of the top live attractions on the Los Angeles/Hollywood club scene in 2001. That didn't translate into major national recognition right away; when 2003 arrived, the alternative pop/rock band still wasn't very well-known in other parts of the United States. But locally, the L.A. residents created a strong buzz and developed a small yet highly enthusiastic following. In contrast to all the alterna-rockers whose lyrics are reality-based, Powder brings a healthy dose of fantasy and escapism to the table. Between lead singer/founder Ninette Terhart's colorful, over-the-top sex appeal and the band's wildly theatrical live show, Powder is a very fun, entertaining band.
Southern Californians who have seen Powder live have often commented on how Terhart and friends have one of the most exciting live shows in alternative pop/rock; like the Tubes, Kiss, and Alice Cooper during their heyday, the members of Powder goes out of their way to put on a show. But if Powder's live performances represent a return to the sort of outrageous showmanship that was a big part of '70s and '80s rock, the band's music is far from retro. Powder's members, who describe their infectious music as "turbo-pop," favor a style of alternative pop/rock that is hard and aggressive yet melodic, poppy, and hooky -- their sound could be described as a combination of Garbage, Republica, and Veruca Salt.
Terhart formed Powder in early 2001, when she recruited guitarist Phil X, bassist Allan Hearn, and drummer J-Bo Dynamite. Before Powder, Terhart already had a musical resumé; in 2000, she caught the attention of producer/songwriter Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds (who was half of the urban contemporary team L.A. & Babyface), and was invited to do some work for the film Josie & the Pussycats (an early-'00s adaptation of the Archie comics favorite). Terhart, who is classically trained, coached the movie's actresses. (Edmonds produced the soundtrack.) Phil X, meanwhile, has played guitar on albums by Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, and Methods of Mayhem (former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee's rap-metal project of 1999). Powder released its debut album, Sonic Machine, on its own label, Powder Records, in 2002. ~ Alex Henderson