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Indie Spotlight: Leo Milner Review

by Sherrill Fulghum

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At the age of eleven Leo Milner - aka Mojo Zap - fell in love and that love affair has never died no matter what form it came in. Leo's love affair is with music, more specifically guitar music. Although he began singing in church at age six and picked up the organ at seven, it was the guitar that captured Leo's heart; so much so that Leo even started building his own guitars and has his own guitar line - Zlitch guitars. Leo builds only a few guitars a year because each one is crafted lovingly by hand. Leo built his first guitar at age eleven shortly after getting his first guitar. With the help of his father's electronic knowledge Leo had the beginning of two careers; one as a musician and the other as an electronics engineer.

Whether it was fate or destiny Leo Milner's life was laid before him from birth. His English mother saw to Leo's cultural upbringing while his father took care of the rest including always having a song on his lips. The only son of navy man Leo, an Air force vet himself, and his sisters moved a number of times as a child including living down the street from the boys of Lynard Skynard in Jacksonville.

In the early days Leo's musical travel took another path - one on the road of folk music instead of the rock and blues he plays today. Over the years Leo has studied classical guitar, the work of Andrea Segovia, and any of the great guitar players of the day including playing with the legendary Buddy Guy. After a stint as a coffeehouse folk singer and a founding member of the rock group the Blood Puppets Leo is once again on his own and with a style all his own.

Leo has studied many guitar players and been influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and Robin Trower, but when it come to playing on any given day and at any given time it is the world around him - his mood, the setting, the environment - that have the most influence on Leo, how he sounds, and how he plays. As a result no two songs or shows will ever sound the same.

These days Leo calls Chicago home and can be seen four nights a week at a club called Johnny's.

Leo has also just released a new CD which contains 12 original tunes. "The Other Side of Midnight" shows a photo of a wolf baying at the moon on its cover, but the title of the CD represents a triumph over the adversities in life. Moving from the darkness into the light. Inside the CD presents 12 original songs penned by Leo. Besides playing all the guitars, Leo lends his skills on the keyboards and drums along with vocals on some of the songs. Leo has designed this CD of rock and blues music so that no two songs sound the same. Each song is fresh and brings something new so that the listener will find something different in every song.

Leo's CD is doing well and can be found on his website at www.mojozap.com or www.myspace.com/mojozap; as well as, some samples of Leo's music.

In days gone by when managers and promoters believed musicians required a cute name or gimmick to draw in the crowds Leo was told to get a name. Leo chose Mojo Zap because it represented being magical and fast. Even though his skills as an accomplished guitar player are what make people listen to him the name has stuck.

This red haired left-handed player from Chicago may sit outside the circle of Chicago's elite musicians in the eyes of those who control the clubs but Leo Milner is a class act with a style of his own who can stand alone and stand out in any crowd.

In the past Leo has studied Theology, been an internet marketer, a health and nutrition specialist, and an electronics engineer for the Air Force but he always returns to his first love - guitar music.


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