Box your ears


Georgia Mowers and Mike Rover of Pushbox rock out. The third member of the trio, drummer Pat Williams, is not pictured.

Georgia Mowers and Mike Rover of Pushbox rock out. The third member of the trio, drummer Pat Williams, is not pictured.

Photo By Nicholas Higman

Georgia Mowers of Pushbox sings with bold determination and passion that mesmerizes audiences. “I love it,” she says, “I come from a family of show offs,” she says.

It wasn’t always that way. This fearless singing came to Mowers after she had an audition for music legend James Brown.

“I was so nervous that afterward I said I would never allow myself to be intimidated again,” the blonde dynamo says.

Brown offered Mowers a job as a backup singer, but, in an audacious career move, Mowers turned him down to sing on her own.

Pushbox is a Reno original: expressive with a wide-ranging sound, hard to pin down but in hot pursuit of a chance to be heard. The three-piece band is led by Mowers, the singer, songwriter and lead guitarist, with Mike Rover on bass and Pat Williams on drums. Spawned from open mic nights around town more than six years ago, Pushbox has refined its style while playing as many local venues as possible as often as possible.

Despite Mowers’ confidence as an onstage frontwoman, the rest of the band is still protective of her. “I get a little pissed when guys come up to give Georgia pointers on the guitar,” says drummer Williams. “I don’t think they would say shit to her if she was a guy.”

The band’s sound has evolved during its years together. Williams describes it now as “No Doubt meets Afghan Whigs,” but the band cites an eclectic range of influences, from Portishead to Tool to Ben Harper. Considering the combination of such varied styles, the fact that the music is at all coherent is a testament to the members’ determination and talent.

On the whole, the music is aggressive: hard bass-lines matched in rhythm by the drums, while the electric guitar and vocals slap the listener in the face.

The band’s sound varies from song to song as they experiment with new rhythms to add zest to the music. Song lyrics range from the defiant and independent “Go Romeo” to the gloomy self-doubt of “I Use to Be."The members of Pushbox manage their own business, and they’ve self-recorded four albums. The latest is Immaculate Infection. Williams recently constructed a sound studio for recording at his metal shop in Reno, and the band is making a new album.

Each band member had a life based in music long before joining forces in Pushbox. Williams was the drummer for Redcel, a Reno hardcore band. Rover is a veteran musician, having played in local bands, like Seven and Farmer’s Tan, since the 1980s. This is Mower’s first band, though she has a childhood background in opera and piano-playing and used to sing competitively in choir.

“Everything is inspiration,” says Mowers. “I write about life and just about everyone that I meet … though it’s with a what-the-hell kind of attitude.”

While Mowers is the driving force behind the songs, each member of the group contributes creativity. Mowers compares the songwriting process to “painting with three hands.” This synergy in the music is tangible onstage, as each member plays off the others’ sound.

“I start to play a song,” she says, “and they both know right where I want to go with it.”