Windsor family band creates new CD, awaits word
Wednesday, December 31, 2003 –
The Windsor Times
By Bert Williams
On Dec. 20 the Mystic Seamen
converged, from several points around the country,
at the Windsor Community Center for a performance to
introduce their new CD. Eighteen musicians
collaborated to create the music. Above, Gary Millan,
Shaun Bond, Jeffrey Millan and Mark Millan sang
backup while Al Millan took the lead during the
Saturday night gig.
Brothers Al, Gary and Mark Millan were camping at
Lake Tahoe with their families in August of 2002.
They had brought their guitars along, thinking they
might break them out in the evening around the
campfire. Instead, Mark recalled recently, they did
little else than make music together.
The camp out marked the beginning of a family
project that came to full fruition this month with
the issuing of a new CD. The recording, entitled
“Dusk, Not Doom,” is a multi-generational effort of
family members and friends playing straight-ahead
rock music. The band celebrated on Dec. 20 at the
Windsor Community Center with a concert for other
friends and family.
“The song ‘Dusk, Not Doom’ embodies what the
whole CD is about,” said Mark. It became a way for
us to articulate out emotions about everything
that’s been going on after 9/11/”.
Millan owns the public relations firm Data
Instincts, which specialized in water-related
issues. Millan’s largest PR project of late had been
the Geysers Pipeline, and it hasn’t left a lot of
time for hobbies and diversions. “I’ve been busy
having a career and life and kids,” said Millan.
But music has always been part of Millan’s life.
He became a member of A.S.C.A.P. (The American
Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) in
1980 because he was writing advertising jingles for
“Getting my jingles on the air is what got me into
advertising and PR,” said Millan.
The new CD is not his first recording venture.
Millan produced half a dozen vinyl LPs for groups in
the late 1980’s, including The Money, The Feel, and
Mark and brothers Al and Gary have a shared history
of making music together. It wasn’t hard, then, to
get back into a musical groove at the Tahoe camp
“We played for two or three days straight,” said
Millan. “The old guys were playing and the young
guys were playing.”
The “young guys” included Gary’s son Jevon,
Mark’s son Jeffrey and Mark’s nephew Shawn Bond, who
is an English teacher and a writer.
“The first day was actually pretty terrible,”
said Mark. But the music kept their interest, they
kept playing, and the music got increasingly less
The final result on the CD is a mix, not just of
old guys and young guys, but of old songs and new
“One of the songs, I wrote when I was 18 in Europe,”
said Mark who has just turned 50. “I found the
lyrics, tweaked them a little bit, and now it’s on
the CD.” Mark’s brother Al has been writing since he
Another of the songs on the recording began life
as a poem Jeffrey, a 13-year-old Windsor Middle
School eighth grader, wrote for a school assignment.
The song ended up being a father and son project.
Jeffrey wrote the lyrics. Mark put them to music.
Producing the CD has been a geographical as well
as a logistical challenge. One of the nephews who
appears on the recording lives in Florida. Another
lives in Boston. And they’re all busy guys.
“We knocked this out between the rigors of daily
life,” said Mark. Initial recordings were made by
the group in November of 2002. As the project
continued to take shape, the brothers, sons, uncles
and nephews began to realize that they needed
recruits to fill in some gaps. Harry Green, a music
teacher from San Francisco and a friend of Shawn’s,
played drums on some cuts and bass on others. Lesa
Connell, a friend of Mark’s, who sings regularly at
the Spring Hills Community Church, sang lead vocals
and also backup vocals. Other musicians, some dating
clear back to Mark’s grammar school days, made
contributions. The final production included 18
“It’s mainstream rock,” said Millan. “Influences
include Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and some jazz.
It’s an eclectic mix. …These songs are about real
stuff- life, love, losing.”
“It’s all your own experiences,” said
Connell who had been listening in on the
The group chose for itself the name “The Mystic
Seamen.” “We had about 100 names,” said Millan.
“This is the one that stuck. It’s inspired by the
song ‘Set Your Sail.’”
The label on the CD is Ellie Mae Music, a
publishing company that the brothers have owned for
24 years, named for their mom.
“Whether of not we do more just depends on what
happens with this,” said Millan.
Something might happen.
The CD is now available on Amazon.com, CDBaby.com,
iTunes and Poor Man’s Music in Windsor. The CD cover
was created by John Maxwell. A Hollywood movie set
decorator who used to be in a band with Al Millan.
Mark said that one of the CD’s songs, “Send Me an
Angel,” is being considered for use on the
soundtrack of a Cameron Crowe movie. If that were to
happen, this CD might go somewhere. And then there
could be other projects.
“Right now I’m working on the hip-hop thing,”
The group decided to produce 1,000 CDs to start off.
So far, there are still some available.