Paste Music Magazine, in a poll conducted by both writers and artists, listed Bill Mallonee as 65 in their "100 Greatest Living Songwriters Poll." "At the end of the day, it's about the story living under your own skin. In my work, I've just tried to chase that story down and put something of a frame around it for a spell."
Mallonee, (pronounced MAL-O-KNEE) the lyrical and musical source behind the late Vigilantes of Love, started playing music in Athens in the late 80's. Mallonee learned guitar quickly and the post-punk-pop of the La's, XTC, Joy Division, the Clash and Echo and the Bunnymen. Great college scene bands that passed through Athens, Georgia during that time were Athen's own R.E.M., the dbs (with the great Chris Stamey and Peter Hosapple), Mitch Easter's 'Let's Active. These were also big influences. Each of those bands proudly wove indebtedness to the first "British Invasion" into their musical flags.
Still, Bill's deeper love for music and lyricism of artists like Dylan and Neil Young left an indelible mark on his writing and vocal delivery. "Being a son of the South, it's hard not to be surrounded by the beauty of things fractured and incongruous...that's the stuff of real songs...and that's what I learned on the road doing 180 shows a year from 1995 till about 2002... What came out was my own version of what I deeply loved in the work of those two." [Dylan and Neil Young] Mallonee's love for all things folk-rock and raw-boned acoustic won out over these early influences. The "4- guys-in-a-van-with-no-safety-net-beneath-us" dynamic of life on the road left a profound imprint on Mallonee's way of looking at his life...and is deeply woven in the sound and feel of his music. "The work of folks like Flannery O'Conner, Thomas Merton, Kerouac, and a fella named Frederick Buechner helped me make sense out the road. We made 24 records over 16 years. It all played out, very unglamorously, on the asphalt and in the clubs. I gravitated to the old soul of folk and country artists because it seemed like what we (VOL) were doing and how we were doing it lent a measure of authenticity to the art." He says,"I tend to be a heart on the sleeve fella. I figure it'll resonate with someone somewhere...we're all made outta similar stuff, I think."
Whether writing Americana or trippier stuff, Mallonee seems equally at home with both. He says, "I think there were always huge connections between the Brits and their affinities for '60's west Coast psychedelia...the Byrds being an obvious example. But for now Muriah and I are just content to play as a duo, the sound being folkier." With Vigilantes of Love behind him, Bill is focusing on the solo artist gig. He's back to being "just a guy from a college band from Athens, GA." He's 8 albums into his solo career (he's been doing about 2 a year since 2002), touring and performing with his wife, keyboardist and vocalist, Muriah Rose.