Washdown, The
Label: Lookout Records
Genre: Rock
Online: Artist Website


The Washdown hails from Tampa, Fl, not a town necessarily known for its rock. But band members Ryan Hess (guitar), Michael Waksman, (guitar/vocals), Bryan Bates (bass), Heath Dupras (drums) and Phil Salick (guitar) were brought together through friendship and a desire to get their town dancing. And that is exactly what they have done. Says founding member and singer Ryan Hess, "Michael and I had always half joked about trying to start a danceable rock band that sounded like an old Otis Redding tape we heard in a car years ago. The idea was to substitute guitars for the horn parts, and try to create a sort of dissident, brooding intensity. It never really materialized musically, but it was the impetus which got us moving in our current direction."

The Washdown began originally as "Dead America" and caught the attention and devotion of ex-Tampa resident Megan Blackburn, who at that time was booking the legendary Mercury Lounge in New York City. Megan flipped over the Dead America demo and shared it with her friend and NY publicist, Steven Trachtenbroit, who then passed it along to Molly Neuman of Lookout Records. Needless to say, the succession of flipping out and excitement continued on and on. While the A&R types were starting to check the guys out, who by this time had changed their name to the more unique The Washdown, everyone involved agreed the best thing to do would be to get a record out as soon as possible. The demo became the bands self-titled EP and was released on Lookout in the fall of 2002.

Touring followed with Bratmobile, The Mooney Suzuki, Sahara Hotnights, The Pattern and Hot Hot Heat among others. Their unique brand of danceable punk has recently become more in vogue thanks to the success of the aforementioned Hot Hot Heat and bands like The Rapture, !!!, Moving Units and Outhud. However, The Washdown twist is stylish without being pretentious. The sound of the street, not flashy, a gem yet to be discovered.