By Ronnie

ILL MIC is a band that proves that member individuality can enhance the group. The four distinct personalities of this hard-rocking quartet are what makes ILL MIC stand out from the myriad of face less, assembly-line rock bands. You might be wondering, "what's so different about the standard lineup of guitar, bass, drums and vocals?" Well, its the fact that each band member DOES have a distinct image/personality that makes the group so interesting live. Andy is simply amazing on guitar while Tim is the consummate heavy metal bassist. Then you have Lori, complete with leather pants and her drum riser pushed to the front of the stage - definitely giving ILL MIC that sex appeal quotient (sorry guys, she's married). Finally, you have the vocals of Shon, who evokes a modern day Otis Redding on stage. However, just having an entertaining image does not a good band make, but ILL MIC delivers the goods with great songs! I recently talked to the band prior to one of their Atlanta shows...

E.C.: I was fascinated to hear about your tour of the Middle East. How did that come about & where did you play?

Andy: The tour was for the whole month of July.

Tim: The tour came about...we joined the Recording Academy here in Atlanta . We met a guy at their Christmas party named D.J. Bridges and he's with Big Bend Entertainment...he got our CD and press kit and sent it in to Armed Forces Entertainment. When they heard the CD they called us back.

E.C.: Mainly military bases?

Lori : We cant say the locations (laughs).

Andy : We can say the countries...Kuwait....Saudi Arabia...

Tim: Bah rain, Oman, we did one show aboard a ship in the middle of the Persian Gulf.

E.C.: What was the reaction?

Shon: It was awesome!

Andy: A lot of them were just in need of entertainment and they were happy to see us.

Lori: They were very appreciative.

E.C.: Was your song "M-16" written with the tour in mind?

Lori : No.

Tim: Before that [the tour] came about, before September 11th came about. We've had that song since about last November.

E.C.: Did this tour open up any doors for other tours?

Tim: Possibly...I mean it takes time. I talked to the guys from Armed Forces Entertainment and they said that they'd like to add us to their list of bands...but they don't get funding from Congress until October. Cause it costs a lot of money to ship us and the gear and everything over there commercial.

So, we're just waiting to hear back.

E.C.: That asinine question that you have to ask all bands...what does the name "ILL MIC" mean and how did you come up with it?

Shon: Well, not it means "illiterate microphone". Initially, it meant "illiterate Mike", cause we had a drummer before Lori came in and his name was Mike and he couldn't spell the word "pity". We were like, "alright, we'll call the name 'Illiterate Mike' you dumb ass." And it stuck.

Lori : But people couldn't spell the words, so we just stuck with "ILL MIC".

E.C.: All your songs are credited to "ILL MIC" - is songwriting a total group effort?

Tim: Yeah, we're open to suggestions from anybody in the band. I mean if Shon comes to the table and has a song in mind and we start kicking the times that it's done, its never like what he envisioned. Same for me and the same for any of us.

Lori : That's what makes us so diverse, because we all listen to different kinds of music.

E.C.: If you were to market your group, to what audience would you try to target? How would you describe your music?

Tim: We really can't because of our diversity. We're a lot like the like the weather in Georgia...if you stick around for a minute, it's gonna change.

Lori : I think is how we ARE marketable, in that we are so diverse. We appeal to such a broad range of people. We have fans that are 5 and we have fans that are 65.

Tim: And different ones come to the shows for different songs.

Shon: Eight to eighty...blind, crippled or crazy...we take them all!

E.C.: Do you get much radio play?

Altogether: NO!

Lori : They play us in Montgomery, Alabama. There is a lady there that has really been promoting us.

Tim: The music scene in Atlanta, Georgia is really tough to crack. There's a lot of major radio stations that don't wanna touch a band that don't have a record contract.

E.C.: When will there be a new album? Is there a plan to have a new one out every year?

Tim: We are working on writing new material right now. The tour really set that back, because granted, we were only gone for a month, but it took about two months to get everything ready. We had to fly our gear commercial and all of our stuff was too heavy, it didn't meet the airline restrictions. So we had to buy new gear.

E.C.: One thing I come away with after seeing your show live is the distinct personalities of each band member. It that intentional?

Shon: I'd get bored if we were all the same. They bring [other band members] a harder edge to our music. The thing that grabs everyone's attention is that you HAVEN'T heard anything like this, at least I hope not.

E.C.: It's also refreshing to see, because there are so many face less bands. You'll hear 'em on the radio...

Lori : They all sound so much alike, you don't know who sings what song anymore!

Shon: Even the new "thing" right now, that retro-thing like the Hives and the Vines and what not...I can't tell the difference between them.

I don't know if that's going to work against us in the long run. I mean, I still love STP, but there are so many STP wannabees. I look at all we hear on the radio and I think that Tim and Lori just started listening to the radio not too long ago...I mean like listening to radio instead of popping in a CD. I think that we could complete with everybody else that is out there. But, then we can't because we don't sound exactly like everybody else out there! It's definitely a double-edged sword.

E.C.: ILL MIC definitely has a presence playing live, especially compared to some of the other bands out there.

Lori : We've really been trying to put a lot into the shows. There are so many bands that just stand up there...he and I [Tim] are big Kiss fans!

Tim: I want to give people a fifty dollar show for five bucks!

Click here to visit the official ILL MIC website