Killola (or How the West Was Won)

killola-vert-darkby Kevin Egan

(The following piece was originally written for last fall’s issue of the now defunct, Chord magazine.  I felt it was a shame that this piece didn’t make it to print, since I’m not sure if I’ve come across a band that works as hard as Killola.  Anyway, I just wanted to get this out there where it belongs.)     


Who says melody is dead? 

All you have to do is go up on a steep hill and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can see L.A.’s latest pop-rock sensation, Killola, an act with some of the catchiest and sing-songiest tunes ever, riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.

I know.  That metaphor has been used before.  But Dr. Thompson was writing about a time when something exciting was happening in California.  So am I. 

At times reminiscent of bands from the eighties and nineties, Killola remains true to what made the music of those two decades intriguing, with great hooks, quirky lyrics and a solid rock beat.   But this isn’t something they’re conscious of when writing songs.  They just love catchy music.  

“Sometimes all it takes is a D major chord with a little whistling, “says bassist, Johnny Dunn.  “A good melody makes it.  The test is if it can sound good acoustically.  If you can take it to the parking lot, you win.”   

Johnny’s referring to the many parking lots Killola will be playing acoustic sets during their upcoming U.S. tour, for their underage audiences that can’t get into the 21-and-over venues.  To them, it’s the least they can do for the fans that have proved their loyalty by helping Killola become a worldwide internet sensation.

“We used to do an interactive webcam night on Friday nights,” says Lisa Rieffel, lead singer of the group.   “We’ve developed relationships with these people.  We know what these people look like.  We know how they laugh.  We know what they look like in their pajamas.  We just haven’t met them.”

Killola seems excited to finally have a chance to get together with their longtime friends but there’s still one element to these types of encounters that frustrates Rieffel just a little.   “If one more person tells me I’m much shorter in real life, I’m gonna be pissed!”

But that seems to be the extent of what irks Rieffel.  Killola are truly dedicated to the people that are truly dedicated to them.  In fact, to reciprocate the love and loyalty, Killola have recently put their latest album, I am the Messer, plus two bonus songs, on their website (, to be downloaded for free. 

Now everyone has a chance to ride that high and beautiful wave of the catchiest and sing-songiest tunes ever.           


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