Edited to correct the Little Debbies' date at Peacock Room from the July 17 to the correct date of July 19
Back in October of '07, I wrote a piece on the Latin metal band Milka and their long journey to what would turn out to be their last album, The Morning After. What I mentioned at the time was that I was struck by how shaky the band's future seemed to be at such a triumphant time. "I had a lot of fun here [in Orlando] and met some wonderful people, but I feel it's time to move on," said singer Milka Ramos.
Immediately following that article, the band cancelled their gig at the Rock For Hunger Festival at Back Booth and it looked like the word "hiatus" might be employed eventually.
Then Ramos disappeared.
I tried contacting her many times over the last few months to check on the band's status and her own well-being. I wasn't the only one. Ramos had packed up her things one night and told her roommate, "I'm going to Puerto Rico." He was the only person she told (besides her mother) and she says she wouldn't have even told him if she didn't have to.
Now she's back state-side and Milka (the band) played their proper farewell gig June 28 at the Social. She was kind enough to give me a call this morning and, finally, explain what the hell just happened.
Read the interview after the jump
Here's how she describes the end of Milka:
"I'd been with [Milka] for about 10 years. And we got a record deal [with local record company Big Shot Recordings] that pretty much went nowhere. After the record deal came, a lot of problems started because we'd been doing it so long, it's like we finally got a break. And it was the worst nightmare cause I end up losing my songs. The process of me losing the songs, and the record label not working for us ... "
"It's a great record, but what it came out like? It shouldn't have been a year. It wasn't that great a record that it took a year. We kept getting pushed back on our sessions for other artists and we were supposed to be the first band to ever sign to Big Shot Records. They promised heaven and hell and all those things. Our contract looked very good for us, but none of those things happened. We really couldn't sue because it doesn't look right when you're trying to make a name for ourselves and you have a lawsuit on your hands. It just sucks."
[We lost control of] the masters. We recorded what we thought were the best songs for this record. And those songs I won't be able to re-record again, ever, for anybody else. Which, to me that really sucks. To my band it's like, 'Alright we'll write more.' That turned into 30 minute practices, to 'I don't wanna play that gig.'
My reaction to that was to go to Puerto Rico. Because I went into a fucking breakdown. Not only can I not keep my songs, my band is not really supporting me -- they're not playing shows, they don't wanna practice -- they don't wanna do anything. I'm the one that lost the songs! I'm very stressed out, I'm crying every day, I don't know where my life is going anymore. I don't even have the support of my band. Everybody was just tired. To me, it was the time to kick it to another level, to write new songs about how pissed off we are. That was my mentality against their mentality, which was 'This is bullshit, we don't wanna do this anymore.' Nobody broke up the band, you could feel it in the air. So I lost my mind and went to Puerto Rico, got some help, stayed there for three months, spent some time with my family, regrouped.
Upon her return to Florida, she jammed with some scene veterans, including Michéle Lane, Erin Nolan, and Tina Ferrell (Vomit Pop, Jeanie and the Tits) and found a chemistry she'd been looking for. They formed a band called The Little Debbies and play their first show July 19 at the Peacock Room.
"It's kind of vintage surf-rock, it's grungy, it's very sexy and it's a little heavy. It's nothing like Milka. It's no metal. I'm playing more of a laid-back sound, something you can have fun and dance to, and feel like having sex at the end of the night. That's what we're going for. Grungy vintage surf-rock. I don't even know if I can say that three times in a row."
Ramos says she's taken on an entirely new outlook recently.
"I don't have any remorse or resentment towards [Big Shot Recordings.] It was a learning experience. Now I know how not to get fucked over by a record label. Don't sign anything. Ask for everything ahead."
As a matter of fact, don't sign anything, just do it yourself."