If you’ve had an ear to the ground, so to speak, or perked toward Northeast Florida’s punk and hardcore scene at all over the last three decades, you’ve certainly heard Mitch Gerganous harnessing the outrage of each respective era with apoplectic growls over buzz-sawing guitars and expeditious drums. Gerganous is best known as the long-time lead vocalist of seminal local punk band The Mighty Powerball. Formed in the mid-90s, Powerball’s had several iterations, shuffling members as the band toured with national acts like Anti-Scene and played with virtually every local punk or hardcore act worth their salt. As other bands formed and scenes flourished and floundered, Gerganous’s snarl and poetic lyrics have endured.
So when Powerball’s iconic frontman was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, friends from the local punk and HC scenes were quick to offer their support. Musician and Rat Town Records founder, Danny Knieriemen, who played in Powerball in the early 2000s, has even organized a benefit for Gerganous at Atlantic Beach’s Harbor Tavern.
“The first thing I thought when I first heard about Mitch’s diagnosis is, ‘How can I help?’” says Knierieman. “We’re trying to get him some money but I think PMA [Positive Mental Attitude] is the biggest part of healing. I wanted him to feel love and respect from those people and bands that he knows personally so that when he comes to the show, he can feel good.”
On Saturday, May 5, generations of local punkers, hardcore and metal bands will take the stage at the Harbor not only to raise money for Gerganous’s treatment, but to lift his spirits.
“All the bands jumped on it,” says Kniereman of the evening’s lineup, which features a range of heavy local acts from skate punks The Concrete Criminals to hardcore supergroup Walk With Wolves. “It’s indicative of the positive impact Mitch has had on our local music scene. Everything he’s done in his life, if it were to come to an abrupt end, here’s all these people that love and respect you. I’m not a doctor, but I think that’s a huge part of healing.”
The Mitch Gerganous family benefit kicks off at Harbor Tavern on Saturday at 7PM. There’s a $10 cover at the door.