Hi there,kidz ! after a LOOOOONG delay i’m back with some news and updated status! I will be on tour with ARNO HAAS and the project in october so i’ll be posting the dates here shortly so come out and support us and enjoy great music from Arno’s upcoming cd BACK TO YOU! I’m out !
5 March Traube Karlsrhue
12 March AMP Weinstadt
19 March Arno Haas and AMP Untersiggenthal,Switzerland
21 March Blaueshaus Böblingen
24 March Triangel Karlsbad
26 March AMP BIX Stuttgart
31 March Abessina Nürtingen
18 April Blaueshaus Böblingen
24 April Jazz Club Hannover
28 April Abessina Nürtingen
6 May Alvin Mills Project with Karl Frierson Lindau
9 May Blaueshaus Böblingen
26 May Abessina Nürtingen
4 June Luxembourg
13 June Blaueshaus Böblingen
18 June Idar-Oberstein
8 July Bad Homburg
9 July Langen
14 July Dulkshausle Esslingen
31 July Bochum
4-7 August Stuttgart Sommerfest
12 August AMP Blaubeuren
2 September Barry White Tribute Show Kassel
15 September AMP Konstanz
19 September Sweet Soul Gospel Italy
23 September AMP Tubingen Sudhaus
29 September Session Possible Mulheim a.d.Ruhr
1 October Barry White Tribute Show Knokke Belgium
2 October Bluefonque Bonn
27 October Abessina Nürtingen
3 November Schramberg
14 November Blaueshaus Böblingen
17 November Abessina Nürtingen
18 November AMP Untersiggenthal
19 November Blaueshaus Böblingen
23 November CD Release concert BIX Stuttgart
24 November Bluefonque Tübingen
1 December AMP Offenburg
3 December AMP Oberhof
12 December Blaueshaus Böblingen
15 December Schramberg
16 December Sweet Soul Gospel Schwabisch Hall
27 December Sweet Soul Gospel Munich
28 December Sweet Soul Gospel Nürnberg
30 March AMP Nürtingen
Alvin Wade Mills was born November 26, 1968 in an Army Hospital at Fort Knox, Kentucky USA. His father was a soldier in the US Army so the family traveled and lived all over the world. He is the fourth of five children (older brothers Rufus and Joseph, older sister Beverly (Sakenah) and younger brother Michael.
Alvin’s interest in music came from his older brother Joseph, who was influenced to play drums after seeing the Beatles first American appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. As a child Alvin was exposed to various forms of music, from his parents’ Blues, Gospel and Jazz records to his brothers’ Funk, Soul and Rock collection.”I am lucky to have grown up in such fertile time for music, when there was still an interest in playing an instrument and music was made with feeling and depth,” he explains.
Alvin’s family moved from Kentucky to Selma, Alabama in 1972 and as he began school there he recognized he was a bit different from the other kids his class. “I could read and write by the age of three and I didn’t have much of the typical “Southern accent” so the other children made me painfully aware of this.”
However, he was able to make friends quickly due to his skills in drawing and illustration (an interest he also got from brother Joseph and one that continues to this day).
Although he had various toy musical instruments during his childhood he would practice playing “drums” along with brother Joseph on the bed. “We destroyed some blankets and matresses during my childhood and Mom would always get at us about that,” he recalls.
Perhaps it was the lack of having a real instrument to play that sparked his interest in music and resonated throughout his childhood; as a child, he would sometimes resort to making instruments from aluminum foil
(“I kept myself occupied by doing this and my family and friends thought I was nuts”, he says jokingly). It is a hobby he still has to this day.
Brother Joseph recognized his younger brother’s talent when he witnessed Alvin playing a toy guitar and how he figured out how to play the main riff to ACDC’s “Highway to Hell” completely by ear. (“My brother looked at me like I was an alien”, Alvin recalls)
From then on Alvin received various instruments from his older brother, including his first drum kit. With this kit the world began to change for Alvin. He practiced tirelessly, and eventually was asked to join the band of his local church as the drummer. Alvin toured with the band on weekends throughout Alabama, Missisippi and Florida.
One fateful event changed Alvin’s musical life forever. Alvin explains:
“Our bass player had quit and we continued for a while without a bassist. We practiced every Tuesday and Thursday, and on one particular practice day we were rehearsing, the musical director asks one of the background singers (who was, ironically, the drummer I replaced) to play bass on a song. He played a little bass and although played the line technically well, it didn’t really have the feel the band was going for. Then he asked me to try it. I picked up the bass and I played the song like I had been playing all my life. Everything was in the pocket! Everyone in the group looked at me like I was an alien. The musical director jokingly shouted: “Where have you been all my life…?” After rehearsal I received a Fender Coronado Jazz guitar to practice bass on.”
“Wednesdays I would home from school and practiced by listening to the radio trying to play the bass lines to different songs. Thursday we practiced and I played drums as normal. Fridays after school, I turned on the radio and learned bass lines again. Then Saturday morning, something woke me up, I locked both doors, opened the window, turned on the radio and I played bass to every song that came on the radio between 7:00a.m. and 10:00 p.m. (!) I only came out for dinner and bathroom breaks.”
“We had a show on Sunday and that was the debut of Alvin Mills, Bass player! And I’ve played ever since. I Guess I was meant to do this!”
After picking up the bass, Alvin continued with the group until his graduation in 1986. In that time he also recorded an album with the group. After graduation he joined the National Guard and came back after his basic training and learning his military job (I learned to be a mechanic, but I was terrible at it,” he admits) Sensing the need to do something else with his life, Alvin joined the Army in 1987 and was sent to Stuttgart, Germany. He spent 4 years in the military (2 years in Germany, 2 years in Ft. Campbell. Kentucky, where Jimi Hendrix -one of Alvin’s heroes- was stationed almost 30 years prior). In this time he had no time to play, so he gave up playing altogether. What sparked his interest again was playing with a group called “Finesse”. In this group he met his musical soulmate Charles Simmons. “We had an immediate connection from the very beginning”, Alvin says. Charles was the singer & keyboard player in this band and because they were around the same age there were many thing they had in common.
Another major turning point in Alvin’s life was being sent to Iraq during the first Gulf War. Alvin says it was here that he realized how important music was to him. “I was scared to death the entire time and the only way I could relax was to play this acoustic guitar that was there…! Then I realized music is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” After the war Alvin returned to America and was discharged honorably from the Army. He then decided to return to Germany in 1991. In 1992 he started making key connections to help him break into the music scene in Germany. 16 years later he is still going strong.”I have had a chance to meet and and play with some very interesting and diverse artists. Some are even my idols!”
Alvin has performed with many nation and international recording artists. Among them:
Mary J. Blige
Nile Rodgers & CHIC
Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann)
Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet)
Roger Hodgson (Supertramp)
Steve Lukather and Simon Phillips (TOTO)
Ian Paice & Don Airey (Deep Purple)
and many more.
His future plans are to continue to learn & grow as a musician, since that also enables him to grow as a person. “I try to bring my life energy to whatever situation I’m in and to try to spread some much needed positive vibes in a volatile hostile world. Everybody needs to rock out, get funky or chill out…so let’s do it together!”
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