illicitizen
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illicitizen

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Duo Rock Soul

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Dec
05
illicitizen @ Olivia

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Oct
18
illicitizen @ The Way Station

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Sep
27
illicitizen @ Pianos

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Music

Press


R&B has influenced a long list of rockers over the years, ranging from metal and/or hard rock bands (Living Colour, Faith No More, Primus, the Red Hot Chili Peppers) to new wavers (Blondie, the B-52s, Soft Cell, Frankie Goes to Hollywood). In the case of Illicitizen (a New York City-based male/female duo consisting of Eric Cavanaugh and Maria Zaccaro), R&B is something to be combined with art rock, alternative rock and indie rock.

Their album, Feathers and Wax is best described as art rock, alternative rock and indie rock with elements of funk, soul, disco and urban contemporary. And their direct or indirect influences include, among others, Roxy Music, David Bowie, Brian Eno, the Fixx and the Talking Heads. Cavanaugh and Zaccaro do like to get funky, although the funkiness that prevails on gems like “Warsaw Six Gun,” “Orphan,” “Nothing” and “Letter for Gorky” is not the gutbucket funk of Parliament/Funkadelic, the Ohio Players, the Gap Band or Cameo. Rather, Illicitizen get funky in the way that Roxy Music got funky on “Love Is the Drug,” Bowie got funky on “Golden Years” and “Let’s Dance,” the Fixx got funky on “One Thing Leads to Another” and the Talking Heads got funky when they put their quirky new wave spin on the soul classic “Take Me to the River” (which had been a major hit for Al Green in 1974). “Next,” “Helicopters” and “No Extras” are not the work of musicians who are claiming to be R&B purists; those songs are a lot more likely to be heard on alternative rock or college stations than on urban contemporary stations. But they are exciting demonstrations of the ways in which elements of soul, funk, disco and urban contemporary can enrich what is essentially a rock album.

Cavanaugh and Zaccaro both take a very hands-on approach throughout Feathers and Wax. They co-wrote all 12 of the songs together, and both of them play different instruments. Cavanaugh is the singer, showing a strong appreciation of Roxy Music founder/lead singer Bryan Ferry and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. And Cavanaugh contributes both electric guitar and drum programming, while Zaccaro contributes electric bass and drum programming. Feathers and Wax makes it clear that the two of them are partners and collaborators in the true sense.

This 50-minute CD never sounds like it was thrown together in a random or haphazard fashion; Cavanaugh and Zaccaro obviously put a lot of thought into Feathers and Wax both musically and lyrically. The lyrics on this album can be quite political. “Helicopters,” “Letter for Gorky,” “Warsaw Six Gun” and other meaty selections indicate that Illicitizen pay close attention to what is going on in the world (apathetic they obviously are not). But Illicitizen’s more political lyrics tend to be complex, cerebral and thought-provoking, and lyrically, Illicitizen don’t necessarily go out of their way to be accessible. They don’t necessarily spell things out for the listener; they want the listener to do some thinking and some analyzing. But the fact that their lyrics can be on the intellectual side does not mean that Feathers and Wax is difficult to absorb on a musical or melodic level. Much like David Bowie, Cavanaugh and Zaccaro know how to combine thought-provoking lyrics with catchy, infectious, easy-to-absorb hooks. The hooks on “Nothing,” “Chased by the Sun” or “Send a Message,” for example, reach out and grab hold of the listener even though the lyrics require some thought, reflection and analysis on the listener’s part. Cavanaugh and Zaccaro manage to address some serious subject matter and have some fun at the same time. Feathers and Wax has both intellect and a strong sense of groove.

All of the pieces come together in a consistently appealing way on Feathers and Wax.

Illicitizen
Feathers and Wax
Review by Alex Henderson
4 stars out of 5

###
- Alex Henderson (Billboard, Spin, All Music Guide)


Illicitizen is an indie rock band formed in 2005 consisting of Eric Cavanaugh (lyrics, vocals and electric guitar) and Maria Zaccaro (electric bass). Both share in writing the music and programming the beats while Zaccaro takes charge of writing the synth orchestrations responsible for the big sound of their newest release "Feathers and Wax". Playing up and down the East Coast USA since their inception the duo gigs relentlessly and has been known to drive into natural disasters to pick up shows. Their eponymous debut was released in June of 2010. "Feathers and Wax" was recorded in early 2012 and released July 13, 2012.


RENEby: Illicitizen is a pretty awesome name. Which one of you came up with that?
Eric: A play on words “illicit” and “citizen”; it was a response to a climate that felt restrictive and invasive both politically as well as socially.

RENEby: You guys are a duo with a big sound. What do you think gives you that sound?
Illicitizen: As a duo we have more room to spread our wings in a lot of ways. Maria writes orchestrations that aren’t merely accompaniments, but could live a life of their own. Having a vision that avoids the repetitive and harkens back to a period when things sounded larger not due to loudness or compression but because there was simply more music makes the “bigness” perception unavoidable. Additionally orchestration and arrangement of all the “instruments” allows the music to sound full without overstuffing it. This allows more headroom in the recording for everything to be experienced


RENEby: “Feathers and Wax” is your second CD. How do you think your sound differs from the first?
Illicitizen: Our eponymous CD came out of the closet with its’ own baggage and was somewhat of a back catalog of previously unrecorded songs from Eric’s previous musical forays as well as new material. We were also figuring out our individual roles on the first CD. As we continued to write material for the second while performing and recording our first we developed our individual strengths to collaborate on the second CD. There was also the material difference of taking an extended period to self record the first CD in our home studio as opposed to recording “Feathers and Wax” at Monster Island Studio in NYC.
As a side note Maria suffered a severe wrist fracture 2 days before we were set to record the second CD. She ultimately tracked all of the bass in one day with a metal rod holding her radius bone together. If you look closely on the album cover you can see the external fixator on her right forearm. That photo shoot happened during a break in the mixing. So although it had no bearing on the sound there was a lot more afoot during the recording of the second CD including relocation of the band from Charlotte NC to NYC!

RENEby: What was your thought process while making the album?
Illicitizen: Originally not too different than the 1st. Get 10+ songs and sweep them into a pile, head to the studio. But they take on a life of their own. Some are rebels, some are shy, some are athletic, and some are prom-queens. Some are planned and many “just happen”. That family of children becomes the record. After writing the beginning of “Send a Message,” Eric was pretty sure he wanted to use the refrain “Feathers and Wax” as the title. It is hard to get better than classic mythology and the Icarus tale comes painfully close to a lot of artistic endeavors including our own.


RENEby: Dark Mod Cabaret Folk Rock is your own description of your music. Can you explain?
Illicitizen: Actually that was an entertainment reporter for the Charlotte Observer’s take on our 1st release. We feel it is fitting because we do tend to lean to the Dark side for lyrical and musical content. Illicitizen probably uses more diminished chords on any one record than most folks use in their careers. We are definitely more Mod than Rocker. We have always had a penchant for dramatic presentation both vocally and instrumentally. Additionally our belief in social responsibility comes out in the lyrics and themes. There is a statement on almost every song on the record. This is good. This is bad. This is a travesty. Where is Bradley Manning’s due process? Why do so few know about the rich history of predominantly black and gay disco music? What about the homeless, many of whom are Veterans? And then sometimes you just have to lighten up and have a politically incorrect laugh (No Extras) or indulge in the fantasy of a Tarantino style revenge killing (Warsaw 6 Gun).


RENEby: Any shows coming up?
Illicitizen: Always.
3/20/2013 8 pm Wicked Willy's in New York, NY, US

3/31/2013 11:00 pm Otto's Shrunken Head New York, NY, US

4/1/2013 9:00 pm Piano's Lounge New York, NY, US

4/10/2013 10:00 pm Alphabet Lounge Manhattan, NY, US

6/19/2013 TBA Spike Hill Brooklyn, NY, US

RENEby: What is your favorite venue to play?
Illicitizen: We have been fortunate enough to play a lo - Reneby


23RD JULY 2012

5Q: ILLICITIZEN

It only goes so far for us to talk about we think is important to know about the industry today, which is why we tap our artists to give us their perspective on the stage in addition to sharing their music. Cue ILLICITIZEN, comprised of a grocery bagger and dominatrix, are very much symbolic of the harding working DIY musicians trying to figure it all out like the rest of us. We talk radio vs. web marketing, mixtapes v.s. playlists and brand marketing.

DOWNLOAD: Feathers and Wax

Someone wrote that it’s smarter for bands to either go small or big, i.e. duo bands or huge bands. What are your thoughts?

I don’t know about “smarter” but we believe for our situation smaller is better.

If you are two people (like us), then it is way easier to focus your aesthetic, plan practices, book shows, and generally get-it-together. Most of our tracks have guitar, bass, drums, and vocal. Then the variables are the percussion, strings, horns, and other parts that Maria writes. We’d both like to play with a backing orchestra one day. But typically on that level you can write the music and expect it to be played pretty close to how you imagined it. Neither of us cotton much to the idea of a large band of free-wheeling musicians nor would we ever want the lack of dynamic that comes from having multiple musicians all playing on top of each other at the same time.

In terms of music discovery, radio is still a behemoth compared to the web, why do you think culture moves so slow in following technology in terms of music?

Neither of us can recall the last time we discovered new music we wanted to listen to on the radio. There are some exceptions, but most markets are pretty sewn up. Even for finding “new” old music, we both rely on the internet first and foremost. Radio is where the top sellers are rewarded with royalties. But counting those numbers as culturally relevent is akin to using unemployment figures that do not represent the under employed, and people who are no longer elegible to be counted. I mean no offense. But I think the portable music player has supplanted the radio station. That being said, we love hearing our record on a bonafide broadcast station. And there’s a huge difference between College or otherwise independent radio, and most commercial FM broadcasters. So there is RADIO and radio.

Did you think about your marketing brand before making music? Is it smart to do that or completely beside the moment of making music?

Well no, because then all you are is product. We thought a lot about how we wanted to represent ourselves. But we had time to get our brand together before playing our first live show. We evolved a bit but the image we wanted to present quickly became clear because it is really just an extension of our personal aesthetic and not something we “put on” as in a uniform.

Why is that indie rock doesn’t like hip-hop in the sense of creating lots of mixtapes. Seems like it’s a more successful DIY space…

Are mixtapes really that different from the split 7”? Most of the “indie rock” I listen to are compilations people gave me. I think in 2012 “mixtape” is synonymous with “playlist.” But maybe I am misunderstanding the question.

What do you guys do outside of music?

Maria is a Professional Dominatrix and I bag groceries. - OneRPM.com


23RD JULY 2012

5Q: ILLICITIZEN

It only goes so far for us to talk about we think is important to know about the industry today, which is why we tap our artists to give us their perspective on the stage in addition to sharing their music. Cue ILLICITIZEN, comprised of a grocery bagger and dominatrix, are very much symbolic of the harding working DIY musicians trying to figure it all out like the rest of us. We talk radio vs. web marketing, mixtapes v.s. playlists and brand marketing.

DOWNLOAD: Feathers and Wax

Someone wrote that it’s smarter for bands to either go small or big, i.e. duo bands or huge bands. What are your thoughts?

I don’t know about “smarter” but we believe for our situation smaller is better.

If you are two people (like us), then it is way easier to focus your aesthetic, plan practices, book shows, and generally get-it-together. Most of our tracks have guitar, bass, drums, and vocal. Then the variables are the percussion, strings, horns, and other parts that Maria writes. We’d both like to play with a backing orchestra one day. But typically on that level you can write the music and expect it to be played pretty close to how you imagined it. Neither of us cotton much to the idea of a large band of free-wheeling musicians nor would we ever want the lack of dynamic that comes from having multiple musicians all playing on top of each other at the same time.

In terms of music discovery, radio is still a behemoth compared to the web, why do you think culture moves so slow in following technology in terms of music?

Neither of us can recall the last time we discovered new music we wanted to listen to on the radio. There are some exceptions, but most markets are pretty sewn up. Even for finding “new” old music, we both rely on the internet first and foremost. Radio is where the top sellers are rewarded with royalties. But counting those numbers as culturally relevent is akin to using unemployment figures that do not represent the under employed, and people who are no longer elegible to be counted. I mean no offense. But I think the portable music player has supplanted the radio station. That being said, we love hearing our record on a bonafide broadcast station. And there’s a huge difference between College or otherwise independent radio, and most commercial FM broadcasters. So there is RADIO and radio.

Did you think about your marketing brand before making music? Is it smart to do that or completely beside the moment of making music?

Well no, because then all you are is product. We thought a lot about how we wanted to represent ourselves. But we had time to get our brand together before playing our first live show. We evolved a bit but the image we wanted to present quickly became clear because it is really just an extension of our personal aesthetic and not something we “put on” as in a uniform.

Why is that indie rock doesn’t like hip-hop in the sense of creating lots of mixtapes. Seems like it’s a more successful DIY space…

Are mixtapes really that different from the split 7”? Most of the “indie rock” I listen to are compilations people gave me. I think in 2012 “mixtape” is synonymous with “playlist.” But maybe I am misunderstanding the question.

What do you guys do outside of music?

Maria is a Professional Dominatrix and I bag groceries. - OneRPM.com


TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2012
every tuesday we feature a band that submits tracks to our show. marc the intern and i threw all the

names of the bands that submitted tracks in a jar, shook it up, and pulled out this weeks band. we

would like to introduce you to Illicitizen. this two piece from North Carolina definitely has their

own sound. their facebook page lists off an eclectic mix of influences ranging from Captain

Beefheart to Smokey Robinson. the track they decided to submit was Helicopters off their album

Feathers and Wax. the first thing that stuck out to me was the lyrics. they are putting down

something that is ripe to be picked up. the album is twelve tracks of bass lines, funky guitar, &

some thought provoking lyrics. i dig it alot, you may as well. listen to Warsaw Six Gun and try not

to have "Theres A Place In France Where The Naked Ladies Dance" stuck in your head all day. go out

and get Illicitizen into your lives

~fuckyoudie - Beneath Everything


TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2012
every tuesday we feature a band that submits tracks to our show. marc the intern and i threw all the

names of the bands that submitted tracks in a jar, shook it up, and pulled out this weeks band. we

would like to introduce you to Illicitizen. this two piece from North Carolina definitely has their

own sound. their facebook page lists off an eclectic mix of influences ranging from Captain

Beefheart to Smokey Robinson. the track they decided to submit was Helicopters off their album

Feathers and Wax. the first thing that stuck out to me was the lyrics. they are putting down

something that is ripe to be picked up. the album is twelve tracks of bass lines, funky guitar, &

some thought provoking lyrics. i dig it alot, you may as well. listen to Warsaw Six Gun and try not

to have "Theres A Place In France Where The Naked Ladies Dance" stuck in your head all day. go out

and get Illicitizen into your lives

~fuckyoudie - Beneath Everything


Illicitizen of Charlotte, N.C. is the duo of Eric Cavanaugh and Maria Zaccaro, who make New Wave electronica they’re quick to admit in their bio earns them comparison to the Talking Heads. But wait, there’s more! Their quirky songs also nod to modern hip-hop and ‘50s slow-dance-in-the-gym songs. - Knoxivi Blog


Stan Says:
Illicitizen has a great sound that isn’t heard often anymore. Very much a new wave sound yet not in a bad way. I say that because I almost feel like I’m insulting them by calling them a “new wave” band, as they’re so much more than that. Initially I did hear a distinct Talking Heads sound, with Elvis Costello thrown in and some Joe Jackson (minus the piano). Illicitizen consists of two members, Maria Zaccaro and Eric Cavanaugh. Maria plays bass and has programmed the sequencer (and so much more) and is responsible for a large portion of their sound. Eric plays guitar and sings, which is why the rest of their sound relies on him. A great look all around as well as a great sound. Eric looks like a cross between Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello, yet totally cooler than either of those two (who, in my opinion do happen to look very cool themselves). Maria’s look honors Debbie Harry, in style and attitude. Though they have that New Wave sound, they’re not stuck in that era. They have a creative approach and a wonderful interplay between them and their instruments. The bass playing is fantastic, keeping the songs going yet great with Maria playing octaves and driving along runs. Eric’s guitar solos are sharp and melodic. Maria doesn’t smile, it’s part of the attitude though and the stage presence, which all works toward the great sound that they have.

Then they covered a Talking Heads song, “Psycho Killer”, which proved to me that their influences run deep. I say that because though Psycho Killer was a hit for the Talking Heads, it’s not a great hit of theirs and not as well known as “once in a lifetime” or “And She Was”. Originals by Illicitizen are also wonderful, they played one called “irresponsible”, which I found to be catchy and very radio friendly.

This band is not just a retro show, they’ve got their own sound and are really an enjoyable show to see as well as hear. I look forward to hearing anything they’ve recorded as well as seeing them perform again. If you like your early 80's New Wave with a modern twist, this is definitely the band for you. I happen to love that people are still into that sound!
Jodi Says:
Eric Cavanaugh and Maria Zaccaro are what comprises Illicitizen. Maria plays bass mostly though I believe she did help program the machine that does drum beats and other random stuff for them. Eric does the vocals and guitar work. Their sound is definitely a pop/folk/indie sound that reminds me of the Talking Heads, crossed with Elvis Costello. Later in the set, I also heard what reminded me of They Might Be Giants, and also for just a moment Eric reminded me of the lead singer for Crash Test Dummies.

I was very impressed with the intricate bass lines that Maria threw all over the place. She had a song or two that reminded me of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers bass lines, and she definitely holds her own during the song creating a very fine underlying mesh of sound for Eric to work with. Eric does a few “talky” songs, which are not high on my list of things I enjoy in a song. They are minimal though, as most of the time he’s singing and he has a very good vocal range. Later in the evening, they covered “Psychokiller” by the Talking Heads, further emphasizing that similar sound.

One note is that Eric is very aware as an audience member. Before going on stage, he helped Bryan Bielanski of Angwish out by adjusting stuff on stage when he noticed something was amiss. To help out another musician during their set without thinking about it is very cool and respectable. Eric jokingly mentioned when he took stage that he was from Instanbul, NC which is between Concord and Huntersville. He is very charismatic on stage, silly, funny, and has a great time performing. I also enjoyed that lyrically he often uses more intelligent words, such as the word insidious being thrown in the middle of a verse. He also shows talent with the guitar and had a couple good guitar solos thrown into the mix.

If you like Elvis Costello or the Talking Heads, you’ve got to check these guys out. They just may surprise you with just how much talent they bring to the stage. - Live Limelight


By Correspondent: John Winn Fri, Apr 01, 2011
Illicitizen, Driven, and Drunk and Disorderly play Somewhere Else.
Greensboro may have been more sedate than usual the evening of March 12, but as the street hummed with traffic, one tavern nearly throbbed with the sound of ear-splitting bass.

While motorists hurried from their weekend jaunts to get home, a crowd of dozens gathered at the Somewhere Else bar on West Friendly Avenue to hear some of the region's hottest bands in a concert for the ages.
...
Last on deck was Illicitizen. The Charlotte-based alt-rock duo may have been the last to grace the stage, but they still rocked the house, wooing the crowd with a collection of hits including the YouTube sensation "To Arms," "Minervamerica," "Two Eggs Any Style," and a host of others.

Eccentrically dressed in a 70's style leisure suit, frontman Eric Cavanaugh pulled the crowd in with his eerie, David Byrne-like voice, even as he alternated between quirky sets and some of the band's heavier material. Not to be outdone, bassist (and Cavanaugh's girlfriend) Maria Zaccaro managed to keep the crowd entertained with her own mix of bass and keyboard that kept the quirky vibe going well into the midnight hour.

As the evening wound down, the crowd spilled into the street, but the party isn't quite over. Illicitizen is scheduled to pay a visit to Elliot's Revue in Winston-Salem April 8, while Driven rocks the house at Deep South the bar in Raleigh on May 21.
By day, the duo composed of Eric Cavanaugh and Maria Zaccaro are average, well-meaning, law-abiding citizens, coloring within the lines that society set for them. By night, they don their Chuck Taylors and latex skirts, breaking all the musical rules as indie group Illicitizen. The couple's rebellion against the tyranny of the Top 40 has earned them the praise of critics and a legion of fans from Boston to Savannah. Yet there's more to them than horn rimmed glasses and PBRs.

Magazine33 caught up with Eric and Maria. In a brief interview, they discussed their love of Parker guitars, animal rights, and the spark that started them on their musical journey.

33: When did you realize that you wanted to perform professionally as a musician? What were your musical influences?
Eric Cavanaugh: I think it was after college, as far as "professionally." I've always felt like a songwriter and a musician, but I tended to feel more like a composer or experimentalist. But after years of listening to punk rock records I realized that the people I valued just did what they wanted. That was an aesthetic I liked.
Maria Zaccaro: When I met Eric. Collaborating with Eric sparked a creative urge I forgot I had.

33: Your music has been described as a cross between the Talking Heads and the Clash. Any plans to don a giant suit while you're on tour?
EC: I have a fancy turquoise suit I think you'd dig. It's not BIG in the Byrneian sense, but larger than life.

33: You're an outspoken defender of animal rights. What sparked you to make that decision?
MZ: We both feel very strongly about this. The kindness and regard we show (or do not show) to other living creatures can indicate how we treat humans. That being said, humans are by and large not defenseless against cruelty while animals cannot defend against atrocities.
EC: Man is a bad animal.

33: What is the most unusual instrument you've ever played?
EC: I have an old analog synth that is pretty crazy. I think my first instrument choice of 5-string banjo speaks volumes.
MZ: Hardly unusual but...clarinet.

33: Why the love for Parker guitars? You must hate real America.
EC: Haha, my Parkers were made in the U.S.A. by Americans, paid a living wage to craft amazing instruments. I've always liked oddball looking guitars, but the Parkers are just worth the hyperbole. Nothing plays like a Parker. Also, you don't see many other people with them.

By Correspondent: John Winn

Born in an age of legwarmers, boomboxes, and MTV, John Winn still remembers a time when mixtapes were cool. The product of a musical family, from an early age he showed a precocious interest in rock 'n' roll. Finding the world of an ink-stained wretch much cooler, John traded his Fender guitar for a Bic pen, traveling the world interviewing musicians and non-musicians alike. His work has been featured in Racket magazine, Times Square.com, and Buzzy Multimedia, among others. - 33 Magazine (NC)


By Correspondent: John Winn Fri, Apr 01, 2011
Illicitizen, Driven, and Drunk and Disorderly play Somewhere Else.
Greensboro may have been more sedate than usual the evening of March 12, but as the street hummed with traffic, one tavern nearly throbbed with the sound of ear-splitting bass.

While motorists hurried from their weekend jaunts to get home, a crowd of dozens gathered at the Somewhere Else bar on West Friendly Avenue to hear some of the region's hottest bands in a concert for the ages.
...
Last on deck was Illicitizen. The Charlotte-based alt-rock duo may have been the last to grace the stage, but they still rocked the house, wooing the crowd with a collection of hits including the YouTube sensation "To Arms," "Minervamerica," "Two Eggs Any Style," and a host of others.

Eccentrically dressed in a 70's style leisure suit, frontman Eric Cavanaugh pulled the crowd in with his eerie, David Byrne-like voice, even as he alternated between quirky sets and some of the band's heavier material. Not to be outdone, bassist (and Cavanaugh's girlfriend) Maria Zaccaro managed to keep the crowd entertained with her own mix of bass and keyboard that kept the quirky vibe going well into the midnight hour.

As the evening wound down, the crowd spilled into the street, but the party isn't quite over. Illicitizen is scheduled to pay a visit to Elliot's Revue in Winston-Salem April 8, while Driven rocks the house at Deep South the bar in Raleigh on May 21.
By day, the duo composed of Eric Cavanaugh and Maria Zaccaro are average, well-meaning, law-abiding citizens, coloring within the lines that society set for them. By night, they don their Chuck Taylors and latex skirts, breaking all the musical rules as indie group Illicitizen. The couple's rebellion against the tyranny of the Top 40 has earned them the praise of critics and a legion of fans from Boston to Savannah. Yet there's more to them than horn rimmed glasses and PBRs.

Magazine33 caught up with Eric and Maria. In a brief interview, they discussed their love of Parker guitars, animal rights, and the spark that started them on their musical journey.

33: When did you realize that you wanted to perform professionally as a musician? What were your musical influences?
Eric Cavanaugh: I think it was after college, as far as "professionally." I've always felt like a songwriter and a musician, but I tended to feel more like a composer or experimentalist. But after years of listening to punk rock records I realized that the people I valued just did what they wanted. That was an aesthetic I liked.
Maria Zaccaro: When I met Eric. Collaborating with Eric sparked a creative urge I forgot I had.

33: Your music has been described as a cross between the Talking Heads and the Clash. Any plans to don a giant suit while you're on tour?
EC: I have a fancy turquoise suit I think you'd dig. It's not BIG in the Byrneian sense, but larger than life.

33: You're an outspoken defender of animal rights. What sparked you to make that decision?
MZ: We both feel very strongly about this. The kindness and regard we show (or do not show) to other living creatures can indicate how we treat humans. That being said, humans are by and large not defenseless against cruelty while animals cannot defend against atrocities.
EC: Man is a bad animal.

33: What is the most unusual instrument you've ever played?
EC: I have an old analog synth that is pretty crazy. I think my first instrument choice of 5-string banjo speaks volumes.
MZ: Hardly unusual but...clarinet.

33: Why the love for Parker guitars? You must hate real America.
EC: Haha, my Parkers were made in the U.S.A. by Americans, paid a living wage to craft amazing instruments. I've always liked oddball looking guitars, but the Parkers are just worth the hyperbole. Nothing plays like a Parker. Also, you don't see many other people with them.

By Correspondent: John Winn

Born in an age of legwarmers, boomboxes, and MTV, John Winn still remembers a time when mixtapes were cool. The product of a musical family, from an early age he showed a precocious interest in rock 'n' roll. Finding the world of an ink-stained wretch much cooler, John traded his Fender guitar for a Bic pen, traveling the world interviewing musicians and non-musicians alike. His work has been featured in Racket magazine, Times Square.com, and Buzzy Multimedia, among others. - 33 Magazine (NC)


Our mog friend Doombilly from Illicitizen has posted up a latest demo that's well worth a listen. I played it 3 times in a row, and it got better every time.It's hard to fit their music into a category and this song, "Monstr0", has all the passion of the classic 60's Folk protest song, beefed up, with an element of Indie pop sensibility that draws my attention to The Verve's 90's Britpop. In fact if one listens closely, Doombilly's voice has a boyish Richard Ashcroft sound to it.I like it a lot, particularly the lines, "I will steal your life, and come on to your wife,I disappeared your passport". The vitriol isn't haunting or threatening,it seems to represent a form of resignation to all the political, cultural and security mis-management that many of our friends across the pond feel right now.Give it a listen, I'm sure you'll like it, and give a fellow Mogger our support.Here's the link http://mog.com/doombilly/blog_post/58738Jeff - Mog.Com


Our mog friend Doombilly from Illicitizen has posted up a latest demo that's well worth a listen. I played it 3 times in a row, and it got better every time.It's hard to fit their music into a category and this song, "Monstr0", has all the passion of the classic 60's Folk protest song, beefed up, with an element of Indie pop sensibility that draws my attention to The Verve's 90's Britpop. In fact if one listens closely, Doombilly's voice has a boyish Richard Ashcroft sound to it.I like it a lot, particularly the lines, "I will steal your life, and come on to your wife,I disappeared your passport". The vitriol isn't haunting or threatening,it seems to represent a form of resignation to all the political, cultural and security mis-management that many of our friends across the pond feel right now.Give it a listen, I'm sure you'll like it, and give a fellow Mogger our support.Here's the link http://mog.com/doombilly/blog_post/58738Jeff - Mog.Com


ILLICITIZEN A Two piece featuring guitarist/singer Eric Cavanaugh (ex-The Blots) and bassist Maria Zaccaro, Illicitizen's demos for their upcoming full-length include promising touchstones from throughout the punk/post-punk era: the Jam's spiky beats, the Clash's agit-prop, early Elvis Costello snark, etc. Befitting the demo stage, the sound is a bit rough around the edges and should benefit from non-programmed beats. In other words, stay tuned. This is an item-donations Homeless Benefit, with Kimosabe and Holster also on the bill. Evening Muse ([Writer is John] Schacht). - Creative Loafing (Charlotte) Music Menu TUESDAY, NOV. 20


Illicitizen - Bands that meld together lots of styles of music are usually either A) lauded, more often than not if they're a younger band, and thus "reveling in their influences" or B) vilified, for not mastering a particular style. Illicitizen's Eric Cavanaugh, a Charlotte music scene veteran (The Blots, the vastly-underrated-at-the-time Frocky Jack) suggests a third paradigm: an open-minded bandleader who enjoys throwing his phonetical fishbasket into the sea and making dinner with whatever happens to come up. Not to further a food analogy, but think of it as cooking with seasonal, if not regional, ingredients, and putting together something that works: in this case, the songs themselves. Free, Keg & Cue, www.myspace.com/kegandcue (Timothy C. Davis) - Charlotte Creative Loafing


(By Jeff Hahne)
The Deal: Charlotte's Illicitizen independently releases its debut, self-titled CD on June 4.

The Good: It's not easy to try and categorize the music of Illicitizen – hints of '80s rock, dark mod, indie rock, blues, punk, folk – combined with the fact no two songs sound the same musically. "Detached" reminded me of the tone of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" – though I couldn't decide if it was closer to Donovan or Butthole Surfers interpretation. The music retains a stripped-down, garage feeling to it, without sounding cheap or "high school." "New New One" had the vibe of a song from the 1950s with some punk riffs thrown over the top of it. "Two Eggs Any Style" uses a bit of a reggae groove in it.

The Bad: Using a programmed rhythm section can be limiting, but the band makes the best of it. There's not a whole lot of range in singer Eric Cavanaugh's voice – similar to David Byrne at times (see the Talking Heads vibe of "Imagine That" – which can sound a bit repetitive.

The Verdict: The band finds a way to be unique in its approach while combining familiar elements – giving them a foothold of their own on the music scene. Illicitizen will hold its CD release party at Snug Harbor on June 4, with Beloved Binge and Mumu Tutu. - Creative Loafing Charlotte 6/1/2010 CD Review


(By Jeff Hahne)
The Deal: Charlotte's Illicitizen independently releases its debut, self-titled CD on June 4.

The Good: It's not easy to try and categorize the music of Illicitizen – hints of '80s rock, dark mod, indie rock, blues, punk, folk – combined with the fact no two songs sound the same musically. "Detached" reminded me of the tone of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" – though I couldn't decide if it was closer to Donovan or Butthole Surfers interpretation. The music retains a stripped-down, garage feeling to it, without sounding cheap or "high school." "New New One" had the vibe of a song from the 1950s with some punk riffs thrown over the top of it. "Two Eggs Any Style" uses a bit of a reggae groove in it.

The Bad: Using a programmed rhythm section can be limiting, but the band makes the best of it. There's not a whole lot of range in singer Eric Cavanaugh's voice – similar to David Byrne at times (see the Talking Heads vibe of "Imagine That" – which can sound a bit repetitive.

The Verdict: The band finds a way to be unique in its approach while combining familiar elements – giving them a foothold of their own on the music scene. Illicitizen will hold its CD release party at Snug Harbor on June 4, with Beloved Binge and Mumu Tutu. - Creative Loafing Charlotte 6/1/2010 CD Review


Illicitizen:
WHO: Quirky and original male/female indie-rock duo of Eric Cavanaugh and Maria Zaccaro that forgoes the popular guitar/drums configuration of most mixed-gender pairings in favor of guitar, bass and vocals against programmed rhythm tracks.
WHEN: 10 p.m. today.
WHERE: Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St.
WHY: The duo celebrates the release of its self-titled 17-track debut, which highlights demonstrative vocalist Cavanaugh, whose dramatic delivery echoes David Byrne in his Talking Heads days and Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano. On the' eclectic disk, the pair swerves from cabaret-folk to arty post-punk to jangly minor chord alt-pop without losing its, identity or its sense of humor on tracks like "Two Eggs Any Style," "Therapy" and "Olives and Almonds."
Tickets: $5. Details: 704-333-9799; www.snugrock.com. - Local Flavor (by Courtney Devores CLT/Charlotte Observer 6/4/2010)


Charlotte, North Carolina's Illicitizen are Eric Cavanaugh and Maria Zaccaro and their first release, self-titled, is an eclectic mix of fluent blues guitar playing and soft, rhythmic synths and programming to back it up. The two-piece have combined their musical skills expertly to create this great first album, a real testament to their hard work and tireless effort.

A record of 17 tracks in length, it suffers from the problems that all long albums do whereby the first instinct is to be overwhelmed by the number of tracks even though the songs themselves are generally around 2-3 minutes in length. In terms of production there is very little to be rankled with, the only slight issue I have is the volume of the vocal production on some tracks but these small issues aside, Illicitizen have produced an LP of excellent quality for a debut release with very few flaws, and certainly something to be proud of.

Cavanaugh's vocal style echoes David Byrne from his Talking Heads days and a young Jarvis Cocker, slow, quiet yet attention-grabbing and melodic while Zaccaro's steady bass line, similar to that of Joy Division, compliments it wonderfully. The guitar blues are not revolutionary but the tight playing of Cavanaugh is implicative of an accomplished player and the programming is indicative of an imaginative and well-versed band.

Although the band claims to have a positive plethora of influences on their myspace page they have found a niche of their own within all of these and only time will tell how wide this will become. They certainly deserve the chance to make their mark on the big scene.

Tracklist:
1. Minervamerica (Radio Edit)
2. Detached
3. To Arms
4. Monstr0
5. Irresponsible
6. Overwrought
7. Second Best
8. New New One
9. Two Eggs Any Style
10. Olives and Almonds (Radio Edit)
11. Imagine That
12. Estate
13. Therapy
14. Gardenia Radicans
15. It Ends
16. Minervamerica
17. Olives and Almonds - The Pop Stalinist


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Illicitizen is an indie rock band formed in 2005 consisting of Eric Cavanaugh (lyrics, vocals and electric guitar) and Maria Zaccaro (electric bass). Both share in writing the music and programming the beats while Zaccaro takes charge of writing the synth orchestrations responsible for the big sound of their newest release "Feathers and Wax". Playing up and down the East Coast USA since their inception the duo gigs relentlessly and has been known to drive into natural disasters to pick up shows. Their eponymous debut was released in June of 2010. "Feathers and Wax" was recorded in early 2012 and released July 13, 2012. In June of 2013 the duo joined up with the creative wizards at Nightlife Productions and released a newly recorded (Mirrortone Music) version of "Needle."

Band Members