eye (2006-51)

Bil Powell R.I.P.


Bil Powell R.I.P.

“Bil had the capacity to love everybody ,” says Sarah Powell, Powell’s wife of 15 years. “Other than the fact that he had these gorgeous blue eyes and was just the gentlest person, there’s something really attractive about a man that is completely devoted to you. We fell in love the first time we met. We were completely dedicated and completely wrapped up in each other. His best personality trait was his just unparalleled capacity to love.”

The 5Twins was the perfect musical vehicle for Powell, who added a metallic accent to the band’s sound and, more importantly, a humorous angle. Powell’s most famous stunt with the ’Twins was a show where he dressed as Santa Claus—in early November.

After the ’Twin’s demise in 1982, Powell disappeared from the scene. He did resurface for a brief moment in late 1984, playing a couple of shows with an embryonic version of Teenage Love . After that, Powell disappeared for well over a decade.

Around 2000, Powell decided to pick up the guitar again, playing with a comical KISS tribute band called Dressed To Clown and in his own metal band, the aptly monikered Wyldbil.

In the fall of 2006, Bil’s longtime wish was granted: The 5Twins were going to play a reunion show at the Hank Days festival. Sadly, the show was postponed because drummer Billy Baker ’s appendix burst on the eve of the concert. (The reunion was rescheduled for February 2007.)

“When the 5Twins broke up in 1982, it broke his heart,” says Sarah. “He once told me that he had enjoyed the 5Twins so much that he just didn’t want to be in another band.

“And I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as excited as he was when the ’Twins were going to get back together—and this is a guy who gets excited about everything ,” she continues. “But he was just completely involved in the reunion from the minute go. I can’t even explain how excited he was about that.

“He got so much energy and so much pleasure from being with the guys again,” Sarah continues. “And these are guys that he hadn’t seen in a long time! He enjoyed the fact that everyone had become buddies again. He thought the friendship was more important than even the music. So even though the show never actually happened, he got what was important to him out of it.”

Powell’s funeral was a unique event that was as upbeat as possible, considering the circumstances. The ceremony began with The Ramones ’ “Blitzkrieg Bop,” drawing knowing smiles and raised eyebrows in the audience. After the eulogy, the ceremony closed with a live version of the KISS classic, “Rock’n’Roll All Nite.” The version included Paul Stanley ’s predictably overblown and imminently fitting preamble:  “You’ve been a dynamite audience and you deserve to give yourselves a round of applause, let’s go!!”  The audience clapped and cheered, the song played, and it was all over. And I can’t think of a more fitting goodbye to one of Knoxville’s all-time rock’n’roll greats.


Friday, Dec. 22: There’s something about this time of year that screams: Just get in the car and drive!!! On your way out of town, stop by the Corner Lounge to hear The LoneTones with Jack Renfro . Have a few PBRs, save the gas money and go home. You can run away next year.

Saturday, Dec. 23: The Colonel Sanders Trio will be at the New Knoxville Brewing Company. (Note to self: Do not tell chicken jokes, do not tell chicken jokes, do not tell chicken jokes.) Why do chicken coops have two doors? Because if they had four, they’d be chicken sedans! (Dammit.)

Sunday, Dec. 24: Buy yourself a kazoo. You can play for the rest of us. Well, I got you a kazoo, electric ukelele, two spoons, and a jug of Carlo Rossi./ Sing a song, strum some chords, smack my legs, be bossy.

Monday, Dec. 25: Escape to The Cornbred Blues Band at Preservation Pub. Just tell your family you’re friends with the band, and that you pretty much have to go. Jon Worley will vouch for you.

Tuesday, Dec. 26: Today is Boxing Day in Canada. Gene Bush will be at WDVX Blue Plate Special at noon. And no, those last two sentences do not have anything to do with each other.

Wednesday, Dec. 27: Ate too much Christmas pie? Shake it off with Roman Reese at Backroom BBQ.