No formulas, no fashions, no formats. Detroit-based urban rock outfit, Critical Bill, is a band loved by thousands of fans for being what it is. Real.
Since its start in 2006, Critical Bill has brought its powerful blend of rap, hip hop beats and dirty rock guitar to radio in dozens major markets and to countless live audiences all over the U.S. and Canada.
The band built a massive following headlining shows and touring extensively with the formidable Kansas City Rap King Tech N9ne. They've also been tour support for Buckcherry, Candlebox, DMX, Drowning Pool, Uncle Kracker, Powerman 5000, Ill Nino, Twiztid, Puddle Of Mudd, Sponge, Rehab, Hed PE, Dope and Saliva, among others. Within the last 18 months, the band has played 150+ shows, to more then 250,000 people, with no end in sight.
So it was no surprise that their 2006 independent full-length CD "313" quickly sold more than 16,000 copies with no real promotion or marketing. The band of four just did what they do best.
"We've been out on the road for a while doing this," singer/rapper/Detroit MC Powerdise says. "A lot of kids that see us, they are missing that energy that we put out. There are a lot of artists that lack the electricity live if they don't focus like a lot of the old school artists do. We're a real MC with a real rock band that makes real music."
"I sing, I rap. Some of its rugged, some of its more metaphoric, some of its melodic. We're taking it to the next level."
And indeed they are. After playing hundreds of shows with Tech N9ne and being featured on his biggest CD to date, 'Everready: The Religion" the band has built a huge underground fan-base. Critical Bill quickly signed a deal with funk pioneers Westbound Records (George Clinton, Funkadelics, Ohio Players) to release their next two CDs: "Downtown The Wolrd" (Distributed Universal/Fontana) & "The Underground Kingdom."
From the heavy blast of the first track "The End" to the smooth melodic truth of "Better" the CD covers a broad spectrum of musical styles and proves Critical Bill to be one of the most innovative and cutting-edge acts to rise out of the Motor City in years.
And it's about time. Powerdise has been in love with music since he was a three-year-old hanging out in the studio with his father, the legendary Motown drummer and songwriter, Melvin Davis. When he was just 18, he started rapping and soon after formed his own hip hop group, Etched In Black, with J. Naugh-T!
"When I grew up, I didn't know music was something I was actually going to be doing," he says. "I just knew I loved it. My love for different types of music really set the direction the band is going in right now."
Critical Bill got the flow of rap, the melodic pulse of hip hop and hard rock's aggressive edge. All that packed with catchy hooks, tight grooves and an intensity that rivals some of the bands own musical heroes: Rage Against the Machine, Godsmack, and Sevendust.
Guitarist, Michael Scott, who has been known to thrash on the strings till his hands bleed, brings the hard rock element to the band. Scott is a self-taught player who got his start playing in Detroit area rock bands when he was a teenager.
We've done many interviews on hip hop stations where the stations are playing our music," Scott says. "And they don't understand why people get it. It doesn't sound like everything else that's on the radio. They say "I don't know if we can play this." Then they play it and all of a sudden the phones light up. That is why we do this."
Yeah, Critical Bill has a hip hop and rap element that demands the energy of a rock band, but they are not to be confused with fad groups that have faded under the label "rap-rock'. As Scott so eloquently put it, "That's like comparing apples to hand grenades.