Doorway 27's Bryan Wohulst Looks Back at West Palm Beach's Music Scene
Courtesy Oh, you wanted a newer picture of Doorway 27? They don't exist.
Palm Beach County music fans have had it lucky. We're currently fortunate enough to stroll down Clematis on any day that ends in 'y' and catch live acts. But it's the magic of yesteryear that still elicits warm fuzzies for anyone who had a hand in it. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a special vibe about town that circled around a growing live music scene.
At the helm of that ship were bands Doorway 27 and Boxelder. As if to take us back to this simpler, somewhat edgier time, both will be reuniting at this year's Summer Jam. Doorway 27 lead singer Bryan Wohulst currently sings for Luxury of Company and is an established actor at the Lake Worth Playhouse. Wohulst took us on a tour of Doorway 27's bootstrapping beginnings and told us how to properly manage a life that includes rocking out and musical rehearsals.
New Times: The Doorway 27 heyday was back in the mid 2000s. Have you noticed any changes in the local music scene between now and then?
Bryan Wohulst: Yeah, obviously there have been changes in music all over the world. There are more eclectic styles of music now. The 90s and early '00s, there were a lot of Incubus, 311 type of bands. Bands with more of a reggae feel, there was a lot of that going on around the time that we were doing it. Since then, playing out with my other band (Luxury of Company), I have noticed a change that things are a little more garage-y, as far as where I have been. Which is cool with me! But it was a bit more poppy and it seems like it has changed in that respect.
So how are you doing balancing being the frontman in a couple of rock bands and working with the Lake Worth Playhouse?
Well, it has been nice with Luxury of Company because everyone has something going on. Pretty much everyone has family stuff going on or another band. So then when we have the time for a bigger show or festival, we will come together and do it.
I guess it's ego driven, but I always want to be on stage, whether it's acting or with a band. It's just where I am happiest.
So are you focusing a little more on the acting side of things now?
Well actually, I just wrapped up In The Heights, and I am probably not going to do anything until Spamalot in mid January. So I am really going to focus on music for the last half of this year. I did a lot of it in college and high school and here and there throughout the years. But since Doorway disbanded, I definitely have gotten more back into the entire acting thing.
What about Summer Jam made it an event worthy of getting the band back together?
Luxury of Company did the Spring Jam a couple years ago in Jupiter and had such a blast. It was just a great vibe and great sound. So when this opportunity came back around, and we caught wind that our friends Boxelder, who we used to play with all the time, were doing it we had to be in. We were asked far enough ahead that we could work it out. Because Angel, our drummer, he is a drumming instructor in New York now. So it was far enough in advance where we can schedule it out.
So he's coming all the way down just for the show?
Yeah! He is going to move in with me for a week and we are going to play the old tracks and see what we come up with. We also have Chris Wood, a lake worth guitar player,. He will actually be playing with us too so we will have a fifth member, a fifth Beatle. I am really happy how it sounds with the two guitars.
Technically, this isn't the first Doorway 27 "reunion," right?
Well, we never really broke up. It was just kind of an unsaid parting of ways. Angel was like "I'm going to New York", and around the same time, I found out that my wife was pregnant. So it was never an official break up. There was not animosity or anything.
What does it mean to the Palm Beach County local music scene to have Doorway 27 and Boxelder back sharing the same stage? Will there be a rift in the space/time continuum?
(Laughs) Yeah, I think there might be some wormhole action. It was a real special time in the late '90s for Clematis. My drummer lived above O'Shea's; we started rehearsing there. Obviously, that was our first gig. Just had to haul drums and stuff downstairs to play.
And then I lived above Respectable's for a while so watching it all grow in the late '90s with us and Boxelder and another band called Black River Circus, we were kind of the three bigger local bands. It was cool to see the scene evolve, and it was special to play downtown with those bands. It was our stomping grounds. It will be real good to be with those guys again, particularly playing in West Palm. It beings it all full circle, so to speak.
Is there anybody else you are looking forward to seeing at Summer Jam?
Yeah, Inner Circle, obviously. Moska Project, I have always been a fan of them. It's going to be a killer lineup!
What would you say to someone who is contemplating maybe going to summer jam but hasn't bought a ticket yet?
I would just say that it is going to be a one-of-a-kind event. A lot of rock, a lot of reggae. It's going to be a beautiful summer day in downtown West Palm Beach right on the water, and you are going to get a little history lesson in the WPB music scene. So it will be well worth the ticket price.
Summer Jam is Saurday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1 at the Meyer Amphitheater, 104 Datura St., West Palm Beach. Doorway 27 plays on August 31. Tickets are $30 for one day or $50 for two days. Doorway 27 will be performing Saturday, August 31.Visit musicjamproductions.com.