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The BEST OMD (Online Music Distributor) for INDIES (MUST be - WE are there):


ALL artists!  I am very, VERY happy to announce that IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION is ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS again.  I have been granted a (possibly long-term) stay of execution for my trip to Iraq.  I will still  be traveling all over the U.S., so new issues may be a little less timely, but (as always), we will review your materials as soon as possible after we receive them.  Look at the guidelines for submission below, please:


MUSIC:  All formats accepted.  Snail mail to:  Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 5308 65th Avenue, Lacey, WA 98513  The only criteria for music you submit is that it MUST HAVE high performance energy... if you submit lacklustre material, it will be reviewed accordingly

POETRY:  Poems are accepted for publication ONLY via e-mail.  Poems submitted in any other fashion will NOT be published.  Poetry that includes some reference to music is granted first priority for publication.

BOOKS:  We will review some books; books about music are PREFERRED.  We will NOT return any books submitted for review.  Snail them to the address listed above for MUSIC.

DIY Announcements:  We will post your (e-mailed) ad about DIY projects, regardless of genre or medium... HOWEVER, this is ONLY for INDEPENDENTS... if you are a corporation, don't even BOTHER sending stuff... it will be marked and reported as SPAM!


Improvijazzation Nation - Issue # 68

INTERVIEW with Mike Milillo



Zzaj:  We’ve discussed a mutual like (& admiration for) Frank Zappa’s work.  Where did that come from (for you)?  Is his music & compositional style a big influence on your own compositions?



Mike: Frank is the very reason I write music today! I can't believe the elements he's used. He's encompassed just about everything. I want to be as multi-dimensional as possibly. I'm not into writing the same old redundant crap that the media has force fed me with. As for love songs, I simply cannot write a song about some poor girl who is crying on her bed because she found out her boyfriend likes to hump water buffalo…Not for me…I need to be true to this art form because this art form is who I am. I exude sound….



Zzaj:  Since the Internet (& other technologies) have made music-making so accessible to so many, there is a LOT more music available on the net; does this lower the quality of music available, or is that only a “percentage” thing?


Mike: Well as far as lowering the quality, that's an objective/subjective thing. Whose to say what music is lower or not? I never get into percentages. That's so irrelevant to me. We're talking about arranging sound intervals into a personal logical sequence. It's a personal thing. I would have to get up inside each person to truly understand what they're doing. I don't think in terms of a lower element in terms of musicianship…Just an inadequate way of bringing the point across…



Zzaj:  I’ve noticed (in some of your posts) strong leanings towards Buddhist thinking.  How did that come about, & how strong an influence is it in your music/life?



Mike: I have always questioned things. Like my existence for example. When I began to experiment with LSD, this really opened up my thinking, but it did create a bunch of different questions. Through cause and effect I was fortunate to find the book The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda who was a Hindu Yogi/Avatar…Well without getting into detail, because it would take me a week from today to elaborate, Yogananda answered every question I ever had. Now if my practice will ever become fruitful, well that's another issue…Not an easy thing to do and say as the master does…



Zzaj:    How interested are you in “signing” your music?  Would you turn down a “big company” record exec if they made an offer?


Mike: Well I have said in the past that I don't really care. But yes I would. Even if they wanted to change my music as originally written. I know in my heart how I write and I will always continue to do that as I'm doing now. At this point in my life I will do anything to get out of my current job. I don't like it at all and it is a direct antithesis of who I am…For me to turn down money because of my artistic integrity is actually a bunch of bullshit…

I know in my heart what music means to me. And that's all I need...


 Zzaj:  Do you believe your music, & the talent you have for it, is here to heal “you”, or to (help) heal others?   Both, or neither?


Mike: I have no idea what it's purpose is. Like I said, I'm just fascinated that I have this ability to organize sound any way I want. There are no boundaries to it. In sound, I am totally free. Hey if it helps someone, sure that's great. I just like when I'm writing and I come across something really wonderful. Well, that just makes me sit back and smile…So yeah, it helps me not want to be a politician or an attorney or some other gray position that some people strive to be...Hey these people produce sound, but aren't aware of it...

The difference between them and me is I am aware of sound and it's possibilities...


Zzaj:   As you probably realize (by now), I’m not especially fond of “political animals”… what would your approach be if you had been commissioned to write a score for a movie designed to help “soothe” these beasts & get them to slow down enough to realize the damage they are doing to the world?


Mike: Well I wouldn't want to soothe them…I would play 12 tones simultaneously incessantly. I want revenge! I would round up all these mental misfits and put them all in a room and let them listen to all 12 tones for hours. I guarantee they won't be bothering us anymore…This brings up a point of Weapons of Mass Destruction…Sorry to deviate here…Doesn't any government know they have the most powerful weapon in the world? That's sound. Sound could kill and maim… Am I the only one who realizes this? Oops! I let the cat out of the bag…


Zzaj:  You’ve taken a pretty firm stance against drugs in some of our exchanges on Indiehangout.  Is that because your own experience dictates that drugs are a bad thing, or because enlightenment has made you realize how false the drug experience can be?  Or, is it even an important issue for a musician?


Mike: Well for myself, LSD has been one of the most beneficial experiences of my life. I just don't advocate this particular drug for it's permanent mind altering ramifications. If your not a secure person to begin with, don't touch the stuff. And that goes for the other drugs that produce various echelons of euphoria. I don't advocate anything that a person is in no mental shape to get involved in. Be very careful out there…Be very discernable…


Zzaj:  Seems you are very much multi-instrumental.  What is your favorite instrument to play?


Mike: I'm not multi-instrumental at all. I do play the saxophone, but that's it. I use the Piano/keyboard to write music, but in no way shape or form am I a piano player. I know a pathetically low number of note organizations with the harmonica.


Zzaj:  What big musical projects (if any) do you have coming up?  Do you approach these projects from the standpoint of “big”, or are they (like mine) just “improvised”, with little planning?


Mike: My classical compositions are not improvised, but are battled with. They're friggin hard to write! I do go in with an idea and then one idea allows my brain to tell me that this next thing is what I should write. But yes, I do battle all the time and sometimes I agonize over it. I'm a perfectionist. It has to be as perfect as I could get it. I have spent as much as an hour on one measure! I like the sax portion of my writing for the improvised nature of expression. I do have an alter ego because I don't like to add my sax with my classical. Maybe one day the two will meet. I usually like to come up with an idea and then translate that thought into music. I'm very much a spectator in this life and I see so much to write about. I'm sort of a reporter...For instance I know this wonderful man  from the IndieHangout we call Thumper. His name is Robert Glutch. Well he has such a weird way to write posts. He's not the best typist in the world, but it is very interesting. I hear rhythms and melodies in everything. Well I always heard sequences in his posts. So I had to write a piece called THUMPER'S TEXT...That's how I usually approach my writing. Through life's experiences, no matter how trivial they may seem to another individual…


Zzaj:  This is a question we ask all indie musicians… what are your “words of wisdom” for players (young or old) who are “just starting”? 


Hey it's very simple. Be truthful to your craft. There is nothing like expression through music. It's the highest form of expression in my eyes. Show integrity in this art form. I don't care if your using two notes to do it. It has to come from your heart or it's meaningless…





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'k, alla' you hardcore D.I.Y'er's!  We've added a D.I.Y. forum board!  Simply click on the lil' button below to TELL US wot' you think...




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