Bill Mike

Bill Mike Band, Better News

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

With the rampant return of Green Day to MTV there is a whisper in the wind, blowing a ballyhoo of sound into the new millennium. Verve pariahs like Guns n’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, and Nirvana still have sinewy members satiating the scene in Velvet Revolver, Queens of the Stone Age, and the Foo Fighters. Bill Mike was a roadie for bands like them when he lived in LA (Jimmy Page too), careening there via Ohio. Eventually he jettisoned all the way to Minnesota where he transposed what he saw into a spectrum of effervescent maelstrom music, sinking to the depths of renaissance rock.

The Bill Mike Band’s new CD oscillates around a love of alternative/indie music and stagnates in the pools of vitality and youth. The album, Better News, has a fresh new sound waiting to be tasted. It opens with, “All Over Again” and sets the tone for the entire disc. An electric orient opening turns into harder rock as the guitar quickly muffles the effects. A sinister voice rings in and holds the notes into a rough edged chorus. The drums add the exclamation point and bang in at just the right moment. A squirrelly effect chases the song up a tree where it blooms out into a beautiful piece of music. Hard and rough, the tune has just the right mixture of electronics and alt rock. Midway through there is a complete change. A steady drum beat and more effects take over before the organ enters quietly, with innocence to it. A woman’s voice joins the song and sings that, “Freedoms die.” Later Bill sings the chorus that is kinda catchy with a long held out, “ohhhhh.”

On the album Bill is joined by Steve Goold on drums and Chris Morrissey on bass. When the band plays “Wearing Out Love” they open with a wavy metallic intro before banging in a barrage of futuristic guitar. When the song settles it has a modern rock quality of Chemical Romance or NIN. The chorus is framed perfectly so you can hear bill sing, “Wearing out love” clearly and get hooked in. The song is a verifiable hit.

“Leftover” has the same trademark intro, and then settles into more of a U2 sound. There is almost a quiet electric mandolin sound that feels like, “Where The Streets Have No Name.” “Count To Three” comes next and has a classic rock riff in the beginning swirling around and making it ferocious. The bass creeps in the rear and follows the guitar. There is a great solo rounding out this harder song.

“I Need A Favor”, like “Count”, has a spacey feel with Bill sounding like Bono. He sings about a connection and has another hooky chorus of, “You need a favor, Cuz I need a favor too.” He is a changeling though, and on “One To One” the sound is gritty and catchy with a polished commercial effect. It also showcases Bill’s talent of making the music really dance perfectly with intricate electronics. The next song, “Secure”, is hard and has a Marilyn Manson meets Trent Resnor sound. Timed pauses and wavy effects make the song one part punk with another part alternative.

The Bill Mike Band has had songs appear on MTV staples like Road Rules and The Real World. This is album number three with 1981 Décor (Niche Records) and Letter To Yourself (Niche Records) being recorded previously. Bill currently resides in Minneapolis, but makes his way up to the Northland every so often. He describes the music as, “If Al Pacino and Sean Penn had a rock band it would sound like The Bill Mike Band. Indefatigable, memorable hybrid rock from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Coltrane and Hendrix would dig this stuff! Truly independent since 2003.” You can listen to and purchase his CD at his web site: