Mike Mills and Tom Scruggs from Southbound band's interview
by Philippe Archambeau

Can you introduce the band and its members to our readers ? Where are you from ?

Mike Mills on lead vocals and acoustic guitar from Conyers, Georgia
Tom Scruggs on electric,acoustic,lead and slide guitar from Stone Mtn, Georgia
Rusty Rowe on electric, lead and slide guitar from Stone Mtn, Georgia
Ben Morgan on Bass from Lawrenceville, Georgia
Jim Wheless- drums from Athens, Georgia
Steve Mayfield- piano, B-3,keyboardsfrom Winder, Georgia

When was the band created ?
Tom Scruggs: the band was originally put together right out of high school we played a graduation party for a friend of mine named Buckshot Jones who is now a NASCAR winston cup driver.The name of the band came from the old Marshall Tucker song "Can't You See" the line gonna take a southbound all the way to Georgia now. that band wasn't very good and didn't last. but then about two years later I guess around 1989 or 90 I met Rusty Rowe and we formed a band and we like the name and kept it. That band did very well, very quickly playing at The Original Country Rock Cafe in Atlanta and at Stonewalls, The Copper Dollar Saloon, and Jammers. We even wrote a couple of the songs from the Roadhouse album back then. We would often find ourselves jamming with the likes of Travis Tritt, Doug Stone, Danny Shirley of Confederate railroad, Jeff Carlisi of .38 Special, the Ricks (Rick Richards & Rick Price of the Georgia Satellites), Steve Stone of ARS, Danny Chauncey from .38 special, and our good friends from a band called Midnight Rider who later became Joe Diffies band and then evolved into Trick Pony. We learned a lot early on from these guys. It was always somebody new playing a different style. Then Rusty and I hooked up with Michael Allman (Gregg's oldest son) to form the Michael Allman Band around 1993 or 94.
We got fed up with all these bands because we couldn't keep people sober or serious, so Rusty and I finally quit altogether. Then about 4-5 years later Rusty gives me a call and says " I found him, I got the singer we've been lookin' for" that's how I met Mike and I knew when I heard him Rusty was right. It took about a year to get the personell right, then once we did it was magic.

Did you always play country rock songs with southern influences ?
Mike Mills: Well, we 're from the south, so everything we do sounds southern, it's natural to us. but , yeah we love Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Travis Tritt, The Allmans all that stuff.
Tom Scruggs: We play everything, when you 're playing the places we play you gotta know country, blues, rock, originals, R & B, you name it. We call it Roadhouse Music. That's why we call the CD Roadhouse Music, its sort of s mixture, not all southern rock, not all country but, all southern flavored from the honky tonks, roadhouses and dance halls through-out the south. We can do "oh, Darlin' " by the Beatles and it sound southern. We play with a lot of feeling in our music, we call it chittlin's and greens. (Traditional southern food dishes eaten primarily by country people and African Americans)

When we first heard your album, we were quite impressed with the voice reminding us a lot of Travis Tritt ? Have you already heard that comment ?
Mike Mills: yeah I get that a lot. I love Travis, but I'm not trying to imitate him. In fact I am trying not to sound like him now, but I naturally just sort of do sound like him.

Can you tell us about your album recording process ?
Tom Scruggs: We cut up in Nasville at Sound Emporium. A lot of big stars cut there. Trisha Yearwood was there in Studio A and we were in Studio B.
Mike Mills: We cut the whole thing in two days and mixed it in 1 day. I wish we had more time to work on the songs, I wasn't happy with all of the cuts.
Tom Scruggs: We basically played the rhythym tracks live Drums, Bass, Guitar and scratch vocal. Three takes is the most we took on any cut. I was playing my Les Pauls through a Marshall half stack, ocasionally I used my strat. Ben went direct with his 1970 Fender Jazz, and Jim had his drums well mic'd. Rusty also was playing his Les Paul's through a half stack. We came back and did the lead dubs usually in 2-3 takes then added keys and finally the vocals. We worked with a guy named Jim Le as an engineer and he got a great guitar sound for us.I think he worked on the "Brother where art thou" sound track for the Soggy Bottom Boys.

Who wrote the songs for the album ? Were they written long before you entered the studio ?
Tom Scruggs: I primarily wrote most of the stuff on this CD. Mike and I do work very well together though. We co-wrote "Things I Do for You" and Mike helped out on "Man who hung the Moon" Rusty and Mike and I co wrote "Bringin Daisy Down" "You Instead of Time", "One More Chance" and "Last Laugh" was a collaboration between us all.
Mike Mills: We wrote one in the hotel room in between sessions.
Tom Scruggs: One of our Producers brought us a song he had written for Travis Tritt which Travis cut but did not release on his "Down the Road I Go" album. The words were alright but the music was like a hoe down it had this real hillbilly sounding fiddle intro and steel guitars and it was just way too much yee ha for us. So Mike wrote down the words, came up with some chords and I came up with a guitar riff and an arrangement. We played it in the Hotel room with an acoustic guitar, an unplugged strat and a Nashville phone book for a drum. The next day we cut it in three takes and did the twin lead in one take un-rehearsed.

Did you open for well established bands ? if yes, which ones ?
Mike Mills: No not really, we've played some pretty big stuff like the State fair grounds in Perry, Georgia and The Track and Field Stadium at the University of Georgia but we pretty much have done it on our own with our own promotions and management.
Tom Scruggs: I've been in bands that opened for big acts and the recognition would be great but it is such a hassle having limited room on stage, back stage and all of that. We are a huge on stage band with lots of stage gear and we need a lot of room to do our show right. We don't just stand there play. We put on a show.I would love to start opening for some known acts though, at this point we need the recognition to sell CD's and T-shirts.

Are you living by the music or do you have a regular job ?
Mike Mills: We all have families to support, except Ben. So we all work regular jobs and gig on the weekends.
Tom Scruggs: It is very difficult to balance a home life with this weekend warrior life style. We could not do it at all without great support at home, work and on the road. Our Families are quite suppotive for the most part. Sometimes our bosses are supportive and our road crew which goes ahead of us to set up and make our arrangements are very helpful. Thanks To Ben And Danny and Wayne and Judy and our better halves Chris, Lyn, Becky, Doria and Denise.

We really loved your album from the very first listening. What about playing european festivals next year ?
Tom Scruggs: When does the Concorde leave?
Mike Mills: Show me the Money

Which kind of music do you generally listen to ?
Mike Mills:Contemporary country and Classic Rock Travis Tritt, George Jones, Toby Keith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Sr and Jr.
Tom Scruggs: I like anything that is done good. I like a Kid Rock to Vivaldi. My favorite I guess is like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, or Skynyrd and the Brothers (Allman Brothers), Stevie Ray (Vaughan) and ZZ TOP.

Have you heard about bands such as EAT A PEACH or ALLIGATOR STEW, which are having quite success here in Europe ? if yes, what do you think of them ?
Mike Mills: Did they open for us in Macon at the Cherry Blossom Festival?
Tom Scruggs: I've heard of "Eat A Peach" I think they were on "One Hour from Atlanta to Charlotte" (A local music radio show in the Carolina's" right before us. I like it.

What do you hope and wish for the future of SOUTHBOUND BAND ?
Mike Mills: I hope to be able to make a living playing or writing music
Tom Scruggs: I would love to sign a major label deal. Do two or three records. cash a nice check and become a song writer for other talent.

Last question, which is a traditional one. If you had to last your life on a desert island, which albums would you take with you ?
Tom Scruggs: All of them. How many can I take?
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced, Second Helping, Street Survivors
Allman Brothers-eat a peach, Allman Brothers, Fillmore East
Stevie Ray Vaughan- Texas Flood
ZZTop- Best of
Eagles - Greatest Hits vol 1 & 2

Mike Mills:
Travis Tritts - greatest hits
Lynyrd Skynyrd - gold and platinum
Otis Reddings - greatest hits
Ray Charles - Greatest Hits
Eagles - greatest hits
Elvis - anything and everything
Jerry Lee Lewis - greatest hits
George Jones - greatest hits
ZZ Top-Best of
John Lee Hooker- anything


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