photo by Trent Siggard
Blackout 101 is an up and coming rock band from Woodland Hills, CA. It is made up of, Chris Bowman on vocals and guitar, Skylar Leon on guitar, Gavin Bennett on bass and vocals, and Miles Kottak on drums. Miles is the son of Athena and James Kottak (Athena is Tommy Lee’s younger sister and James has worked as a drummer with the Scorpions. They are both members of the rock band Kottak). Their self released EP is titled “A Work In Progress.” Blackout 101 is currently in the studio working on new music. I recently caught up with Chris and Miles for a chance to learn more about that.
Maximum Ink: At what age did you know you wanted to be a musician? What led you to that realization?
Chris Bowman: I think that I was destined to make this my life since the beginning, but you have to have a trigger. My trigger was slightly cheesier than others. I saw the movie School of Rock when I was nine years old and as soon as the credits started rolling, I was a whole different person. I went to bed that night knowing what I was going to do for the rest of my life, without any previous thought given to the idea at all. I don’t know how a nine year old could have been so sure of anything, but not a day has gone by that I’ve questioned that decision I made that night.
Miles Kottak: I was born into a family of musicians. It seems I didn’t really have a choice, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
MI: Did you ever want to be anything other than a musician?
CB: I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a little kid…go figure…
MK: I was convinced I’d be in the NBA one day…
MI: Are you from California originally? How has coming from there influenced your musical stylings?
CB: I spent my first four years living in Florida. Then I moved to Woodland Hills, California, where I’ve lived ever since. That’s interesting. I don’t know how living here has influenced my taste in music, because quite frankly, I don’t know anything else.
MK: Yes. Growing up out here, It’s always been about rock music, and that’s what stuck with me.
MI: You come from a long line of drummers, your mother Athena being one herself, your father James as well, and your uncle Tommy. Did they foster your love of music at an early age? What is it like to come from such a musical family? Do you have any amusing stories from that you are at liberty to share?
MK: They’ve always been very supportive of me. It’s an honor and blessing to be apart of a family such as mine, and I certainly don’t take it for granted. Not one particular story stands out, but let’s just say its not your typical Thanksgiving Dinner.
MI: What is it like to get to see them all at work? What is the best advice each of them has ever given you?
MK: It is very inspiring to say the least. Every time I go to a Scorpions show, or a Motley Crue show, all that is going through my head is, “That’s gonna be me one day”. Its also great to see what goes on behind the scenes. The best advice I’ve been given, is the best advice anyone can take. Keep your head up. If you want it, you can have it. Never stop working. So cliche, but it’s very true.
MI: There isn’t much about Blackout 101 out there..yet. Can you tell us a little about it? What led you to form the band? Where does the name come from? What is it like to work with Skyler and Gavin?
CB: Skyler, Gavin, and I all met in Junior High. We never even threw the idea around of putting a band together until after being best friends for several years. I had always been playing in different bands, and the other two spent their time practicing their instruments on their own. It took a long time for this band to finally become what it is now. None of us knew Miles until the summer of last year. I had been playing in another band at the time, and Miles had jammed with us a few times. What I could only explain as an unexplainable chain of miracles followed, and he ended up joining the band. Working with these guys and just being with these guys all the time is more fun than anyone could ask for.
MK: Working with those guys is like a circus. Never a dull moment with them.
MI: How would you describe the Blackout 101 sound?
CB: It’s so hard to describe the sound of a band. I can’t describe it without making it sound too complicated, or too simple. It’s hard hitting punk-tinged rock music. I listen to a whole lot of music, and I don’t like to restrict myself to any genres, but there are definitely certain genres which I can write off right away. My top five biggest influences in music probably don’t listen to each others records.
MK: Unique. Music that appeals to a wide variety of listeners. Real, raw, good music. Baby Makin’ music if you will. haha
MI: What can fans expect from a live show?
MK: Lot’s of energy, Lot’s of sweat. A great punk rock show to say the least.But you can be the judge of that!
MI: What do you enjoy doing other than music?
CB: I don’t enjoy doing much else.
MK: Playing basketball, being with my girlfriend, hanging with friends,eating, movies, video games..etc. your typical teenager.
MI: What little known fact about you would your fans be surprised to learn?
MK: I used to be in love with Amy Lee of Evanescence. We never met but hey, I know she wanted me.
CB: Well, I gave up eating meat about four months ago. It’s a lot tougher jumping into than it is sticking to it.
MI: Where would you like to see your career in music go next?
MK: Through the roof. I’d love to get signed, start touring, and make this my career.
MI: Do you have plans for a full length album anytime soon?
CB: We just finished recording our first full length album, and we’re expecting to put it out before the year is up.
MI: What projects can your fans look forward to next? Where can they go for the latest happenings?
CB: Well, the album for one. We’ve been posting a few songs at a time from it on our myspace page. Now that we’ve finished the record,
we’re starting to tour at the end of the year. Go to Myspace.com/TheBlackout101 , Facebook.com/TheBlackout101, Twitter.com/Blackout101, and
Youtube.com/Blackout101Videos. We’ve got it all covered.
CD: A Work In Progress Record Label: Blackout 101
• Purchase A Work In Progress on Amazon
• Download A Work In Progress on Amazon