Critical Bill to commemorate 15 years with a star-studded concert celebration this week.
Rap-rockers Critical Bill have been throwing parties disguised as concerts for fifteen years and show no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Formed in 2006 they quickly gained national attention after their independent release, 313, sold over 16,000 copies. The success of that release led them to tour with national acts like Tech9, a long time friend and mentor to the band.
The band are a local music lovers favorite, with regular headlining appearances at several annual festivals around Michigan. Local fans always turn out in hundreds, if not thousands for their hometown shows. Tickets are snatched up quickly for these shows, and some fans even buy extras just to give to prospective fans. The rollicking, energy packed performance of a Critical Bill hometown show seems more like an extended family gathering. The crowd sings along word for word and every song is provided with an immense chorus of backup singers.
Guitarist Mike Scott took some time to answer questions for us about their upcoming concert this Friday, September 16th at the Diesel Concert Lounge. Special guests and supporting artists include Anybody Killa, Cadre, Justin Alexander & The Modern Classics, Volcano & The New Radio Standard, Detroit Voodoo, Beauty In Failure, DJ Carlito, and Special Host – Rude Boy! Follow the Facebook event page with set times and ticket links.
Mick McDonald: Give us a brief introduction and rundown on how Critical Bill came to be and what your plans were when you started.
Mike Scott: I had just left my previous band, and I knew that I wanted to work with Powerdise, who also just left his hip hop group called Etched In Black. Basically, I called him up and asked him to come by and check out some of my new music, but the plan all along was to get him to be in the band lol. Long story short, we wrote and recorded a full CD and then immediately started to tour. It was always the intention to break out onto the national scene.
Mick McDonald: Critical Bill have had the chance to share the stage with several other national acts. Which ones have been the most special to you?
Mike Scott: We’ve actually toured with more national bands than I can even remember, but some of my favorite tours would have to be with Tech N9ne and Rehab – they were always a blast and some of the most memorable tours that we’ve been on. The Tech N9ne tours were where we really got our start, so they will always be special to the band.
Mick McDonald: Tech9 played an important part in the rise of the band. How is your relationship with him these days?
Mike Scott: We have nothing but love for Tech and the whole Strange Music family. We still keep in touch with him and who knows, maybe there will be a Critical / Tech show again? It was great to be a part Strange, and we would definitely be open to doing something with them in the future.
Mick McDonald: The band’s sound is described as a rap/rock hybrid. Many have dismissed that style as dated and outplayed. What do you feel it is about Critical Bill that defies the naysayers and keeps the band, and your fans, growing every year?
Mike Scott: Yes we do have both rock and hip hop elements in our music but we have always just played what we wanted to play without “planning” a certain sound and I think that the fans realize that. People have been blending genres for decades, so this isn’t a fad.
Mick McDonald: Tell us about the 15th anniversary show on September 16th and what you have planned for your set.
Mike Scott: We will be playing music spanning all 15 years – some really old songs that we don’t play very often, the songs that you’d come to expect to hear at our show and some new twists on songs that we’ve enjoyed playing live in the past. You won’t be disappointed with this set list!
Mick McDonald: The supporting lineup is quite diverse. Give us some insight on the opening acts, how they relate to Critical Bill, and how you came to choose them.
Mike Scott: We wanted to play with bands with we enjoy and who have played with us throughout the years. ABK has taken us on countless tours, so we wanted to have him involved, no doubt.
Mick McDonald: Your last album dropped in 2014. What are the plans for a new release in the near future?
Mike Scott: I think that we will probably do some new music in the next few months. I don’t know if we have plans to record a full-length CD anytime soon, but I can definitely see some singles being released before too long. And we’ve been talking about doing some collaborations with a few artists, so that could happen soon too!
Mick McDonald: A lot has changed in the music industry over in the past 15 years. What are your thoughts on the state of the industry now?
Mike Scott: Social media has changed everything – so for the better, some not so great. It’s awesome that so much musical content is available at your fingertips, but I think that it make people less likely to go out to clubs and seek out new bands.
Mick McDonald: What are your thoughts on the current state of the local music scene in Metro Detroit? What has changed for the better, and also for the worse?
Mike Scott: Detroit has never had a shortage of talent but the scene has changed big time over the past few years. Venues are closing, bands are breaking up, and it seems that the support for original music has gone down among people in the area, but make no mistake about it, there are still a TON of killer bands that deserve their shot at the national spotlight.
Mick McDonald: You’ve collected thousands of special moments in the band since it started. Are there a few that truly stand out above the rest? A memory that gives you chills or overwhelms you with emotion when you think back on it?
Mike Scott: I think it was the first time that we ever played an arena show – it was on a tour with Tech N9ne and Pitbull. I can just remember standing at the top of the arena, looking down at our tiny van and trailer and think how small it looked in this giant venue lol. It was surreal to be there, but it was a blast.
Mick McDonald: What would you want Critical Bill to be remembered by more than anything else when all is said and done at the end of the day?
Mike Scott: Critical Bill was a band that always did things exactly the way they wanted – they never compromised, they always played from the heart, and they were as real as it gets!
Mick McDonald: Closing out this interview, what questions or questions were you hoping we might ask that we didn’t?
Mike Scott: Who the Fuck is Critical Bill, lol!
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Diesel Concert Lounge
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