Interview With Scott Mills Of Life In Shadow
Bolingbrook, Illinois' death metal act, Life In Shadow, has a purely unique sound in a genre, much like black metal, that seems to have pretty much run its course at this point. The band consists of Scott Mills on lead guitar/backup vocals, Mark Ebbers on lead vocals, S810 on rhythm guitar, Mark Jenkins on bass/backup vocals and Josh Abbott on drums. They have been steadily creating quite a commotion this year on the true metal underground scene. They are being embraced by hundreds upon thousands of fans, be it on the road or on the web at their MySpace music profile and seem to be putting themselves in a very strong position now moving forward to climb to the top of their genre as one of death metal's hottest indepenent acts. I spent some time recently doing Q&A with their lead guitar player, Scott Mills.
Rocket: So are you a native of Illinois, bro?
Scott: No. I was born in Indiana. I've lived in Indiana, Texas, Michigan, and Illinois. I've lived in the Chicago 'burbs since 1997.
Rocket: When did you first start playing the electric guitar?
Scott: My parents bought me my first electric when I was 12 for Christmas. It was this 99 dollar Sears Catalog special with a treetrunk thick neck.
Rocket: Man, that's truly hardcore right there. Ha! So who are your biggest guitar playing influences of the past or present?
Scott: When I was first trying to cop riffs and licks back in the late 80's, it was all about Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhaods, Ace Frehley, and Joe Perry. Later, I got into the riffery of Hetfield and the lead work of Hammett form Metallica. I was and always will be a Dimebag Disciple.
Rocket: That's a great list. What kind of guitars are you playing on the stage and in the studio?
Scott: My two main ones are a Washburn Dime 333SC with a Dimebucker in the neck slot, and '98 B.C.Rich Warlock with Seymour Duncan pickups.
Rocket: What kind of amp rig?
Scott: I'm using a Fender FM100 1/2 stack now. The bottom this thing gets is SICK, which compliments my palm-mute heavy style pretty well. I've been looking at getting something from Mills Acoustics outta Alabama.
Rocket: What kind of strings? Give us brand and gauge.
Scott: GHS BOOMER 10'S on the Dime. GHS BOOOMER 09'S on the Warlock.
Rocket: Can't go wrong with them Boomer's. Tell me, what is the Angel Song about?
Scott: War rages on and I can't fly. It's a lyrical window into the doubts and anger or a man who thought that his life had amounted to nothing. It was written in about 5 minutes. I'd had the acoustic thing at the beginning kicking around since about '96, after I went through a divorce. I just tried to convey the doubt and pain I was feeling at the time.
Rocket: Well, it's really brilliant and deeply affecting in its mood. Dimebag Darrell meant and still means so much to all of us in the metal community. How did his onstage murder personally affect you?
Scott: Every performing musician since that tragic event at some point or other has to face the fact that it could have been any one of us, and make the decision as to whether or not they continue to get out on a stage anyway. It's what I think Dime woulda done, had he survived.
Rocket: Excellent point, man. You have all these damn critics saying it was 'The Devil Music' of metal that made this happen. It's bullshit! Just another way to pass the buck on the issue of gun control safety and laws for keeping nuts like that in mental hospitals where they belong. On a lighter note, what's the funniest thing that's happened to you on the stage?
Scott: That time when from outta nowhere our singer Mark pulls a banana from his pocket and throws it into the pit from the stage at our Soundlab show... I almost pissed myself laughing.
Rocket: I've heard of a 'Banana Split'... but this is a 'Banana Pit'. Okay. Haha! Who are some of the other local acts on your scene that you are impressed by right now?
Scott: Repressed Crusader, Destined Apostle, Kastasyde from here and Lazarus outta Wisconsin.
Rocket: Right on. Yeah, I've heard Kastasyde's stuff. Not bad at all. What's your favorite metal album for 2006 so far?
Scott: The new Shadows Fall CD is killer. Cannibal Corpse's "Kill", Soil's "True Self".
Rocket: Cannibal Corpse's "Kill" is definitely at the top of my list so far too, bro. Do you ever take time out to answer your Myspace fan mail?
Scott: Always. Without our fans, we are just a garage band.
Rocket: That's the answer I was lookng for. Thank you for that. What are a few of the upcoming shows for Life In Shadow?
Scott: July 15th at O'Malley's in Alsip,Illinois, July 22nd at Halftimes Romeoville Illinois, July 30th Day 3 of NOISEFEST at J.J.Kelly's Lansing, Illinois.
Rocket: I really had a cool time with you on this interview. Again, thanks very much. Give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Scott: To all of the fans and friends, our people at Shadow Entertainment, Grant and Mark at Horns High, the NYDM crew and every single sick f'n MINION who ever bought a ticket to one of our shows, I gotta say thank you from the bottom of my Death Metal heart.
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