Hot Southern Grunge
"Music is a part of our everyday life and our home-life adds chemistry to our stage performances but we do try to keep certain aspects separate and prioritize our family time. Sometimes things spill over but in the end we are in this together and we are partners working towards a common goal." ~Kirk
Husband and wife, Kirk and Calli Joiner, partners in marriage and hard Southern Grunge Rock. Raised on early 90's music, their influences range from Nirvana to Stone Temple Pilots to the Breeders. So, how does a Southern Grunge Rock band capture fans in Savannah, Georgia? Easy. By living up to the expectations of their idols and influences and bringing their modern rock voice to the stage. Today, I was able to speak to Kirk and Calli about their band, LILAKK. Now you'll know why this band is On the Climb!
By Kreig Marks, June 15, 2021
KM: Savannah, Georgia. Not really known for Grunge bands. How has your sound set you apart from all the other bands in Savannah?
LILAKK: Our sound is kind of unique to the area, we aren’t exactly Grunge, but we draw a lot of our sound from that influence. We’ve been coined “Southern Grunge”, “Grunge Pop” and even “Grungy Punk Pop” at times. Savannah has a lot of Metal and Jam types of bands, but the Rock scene has actually grown a lot lately, with bands drawing from the 90’s sound we are influenced by. We all take aspects of many different genres and influences to create our unique Savannah sound.
KM: Kirk, your singing voice is definitely reminiscent of Kurt Cobain, which is a compliment. What do you feel is a positive that comes from that and what is negative?
Kirk: Thanks! I guess the positive is that it’s good for the type of music we play, and the negative is that I feel like it kind of puts me in a box. I’ve always wanted to have an Axl Rose or Chris Cornell style voice, just high ranged and dirty!
KM: Ha. A husband and wife fronted rock band. What came first, the band or the relationship?
Calli: The relationship came first but it wasn’t long after we started dating, LILAKK was formed.
KM: Who's idea was it to form the band? How did it come about?
Calli: I had just finished studying abroad in Australia and moved back to the states to live with some friends in LA. During my visit I met Kirk in Georgia, but I had to go back to LA. We continued a long distance relationship, and me being young and in love, I left everything behind to move to Georgia. I had planned to get an agent straight away, and start working on my portfolio for film/TV but Kirk convinced me to play music with him instead. We came up with the band name as we saw a lilac flower on the side of the road driving into Statesboro, where I bought my first bass guitar at a local pawn shop. We went back to his mom’s house, wrote some cheesy songs together on her porch, and showcased them at his home town. We did “Relay for Life” to support his mother who is a Cancer Survivor of over 10 years.
KM: Great story! Calli, how did Kirk propose to you?
Calli: I was working as a waitress at this seafood restaurant and, during my night shift, he sat at one of my tables and surprised me with the proposal.
KM: Slick! I'll assume you both had been together for a while at that time, or was this a love at first site proposal?
Calli: We had been together for almost a year, but we were very young and still in that puppy love stage. Kirk said to me how, from the moment he laid eyes on me, he wanted to marry me, and then a few months later he asked me. Everyone thought we were jumping into the marriage too quick but, when you know you know and here we are, a decade later.
KM: The band has been together for 10 years now?
Calli: We created the band together about 10 years ago, but we haven’t been playing consistently for that long. We took a break and started a family, and then in 2017 Lilakk was reborn with the current members today. It’s just the last 4 years that we really pushed the music. We made that commitment to each other before we started the band again. It was all or nothing, and we’ve been going full force ever since.
KM: A few years back, I noticed you were playing bass in the band.
Calli: When we started back, I switched to rhythm guitar and Johnny is on bass.
KM: What do you prefer, bass or rhythm guitar?
Calli: Definitely rhythm guitar. Every now and then I’ll fill in bass when someone is out or sick and can’t make the show, but I love my geeetar. LOL. Plus, I love writing songs with my acoustic. I do love the bass when I play my bass. I always say bass and drums are the heartbeat of the band.
KM: How difficult is it to share a home-life together and also the stage?
Kirk: Music is a part of our everyday life and our home-life adds chemistry to our stage performances, but we do try to keep certain aspects separate and prioritize our family time. Sometimes things spill over, but in the end we are in this together and we are partners working towards a common goal.
Calli: We try to keep our personal life and work life separate even though sometimes that can be difficult. But, at the end of day, we’re not only husband and wife, but we’re parents to our beautiful daughter, as well as best friends.
KM: It's great how you work well together. What do you think is the biggest challenge when it comes to being a married couple and also being in a rock band?
Kirk: I guess the biggest challenge is not taking things personally when we disagree on things in the band.
Calli: Sometimes when we have a band disagreement it can be hard to accept that your spouse is not always going to side with you. But we learn to respect each other as band mates and friends.
KM: Let’s hear about one of the biggest disagreements you both have had pertaining to the band.
Kirk: The band direction, as far as song choices and the sound we are going for, is the biggest thing that causes disagreements. Some of us want to go heavier or go more Punk and others want to go more Alternative.
Calli: I agree with Kirk, definitely song choices are a big one!
KM: Calli. Kirk comes to you with a new idea for a song. You listen a bit and think it sucks. Are you 100% honest with him?
Calli: Yes, I’m honest. But when it comes to writing it’s a proces,s and songs are very personal to the writer, so we try to give each other constructive criticism.
KM: Kirk, Calli tells you a recent song you’re working on isn’t so good. How do you handle that?
Kirk: I tell her she’s wrong and we play it anyway. If it sucks I will know by the crowd's reaction! Ha Ha.
KM: LOL! And if the crowd reacts negatively toward the song, do you tell Calli she was right?
Kirk: Probably not! JK. Sure!
KM: Tell me about the first time you were on stage together. How did it go?
Kirk: I think we were kinda nervous, even though there wasn’t much of a crowd. I remember us being really stiff on stage, but all in all it wasn’t horrible.
Calli: It was nerve racking but exhilarating at the same time. It is surreal sometimes thinking how much we have grown as a band since our first show.
KM: Who is more critical of your performances?
Kirk: Calli and I are pretty critical but in the end it’s about how the energy felt on stage. We could play horribly but if the crowd was hyped, it’s a great show. At the same time, if we play perfectly and there’s no crowd interaction we can consider it a horrible show. The whole point for us is to get the crowd going to have a good time, then people are more receptive to our music.
Calli: We are both pretty critical of ourselves but we are always striving to do better than the last performance. You can never stop learning and growing.
KM: When you guys argue, what is it usually about?
Kirk: You name it and we’ve argued about it! LOL, but I do pick a lot, and that gets me in trouble sometimes, Ha, Ha.
Calli: We’re been married for almost 10 years. What don’t we argue about? LOL "Did you take my pick?!” “Did you tune back to standard before that song?’ “Don’t play my guitar, play your own guitar!!” LOL
KM: LOL! Sounds like marriage. Let’s hear the craziest story about one of your shows.
Kirk: Besides the Stage on Bay, we were playing a gig in Charleston and eating pizza in our band van when a drunk driver hit the back of our van. I got out, and the guy sped off after I got out. Everyone from the bar was chasing the guy as he sped away. Calli fell ill and puked in the van, so we had a bent bumper and vomit on the floor, while trying to finish our pizza on the ride home!
KM: Oh wow! With the smell of vomit in the van, you guy still ate the rest of the pizza? Rock 'n Roll life at it's finest! OK, Calli. Same question. Craziest story about one of your shows.
Calli: We played a show on the Stage on Bay in Savannah and we thought it would be a cool idea to bring our BBQ trailer and sell food at the show. Mind you, this show had scary clowns walking around, and it wasn’t Halloween! After we got off stage we ran outside to serve food. Kirk dropped a bunch of frozen hot dogs in the hot grease, the grease spilled over and up went the flames! I had half my body out the window screaming. There were Metal heads running around screaming, and Kirk, with his mighty spatula, trying to put out the flames! LOL. That’s one show I’ll never forget! LOL.
KM: LMAO! You've had some luck at that place, eh? The most fun that you’ve had performing. When was that?
Kirk: I’ve had so many times that I’ve had fun that I can’t really name one, but I guess if I had to pick it would have to be one of our last few Wormhole gigs. It’s awesome when the crowd sings along to your songs and matches your energy. I feed off of that energy.
Calli: I had a lot of fun playing at The Masquerade in Atlanta on New Years Eve when we opened up for 10 Years.
KM: Excellent! Rock ‘n Roll is a sexy business. You guys finish your set, walk off stage and some girl comes over and starts to flirt with Kirk. Calli, what do you do?
Calli: Smack her with my LTD! Ha, I’m just kidding. We’re both pretty good about handling the situation.
KM: Your dream show. What bands would you want to share the ticket with?
Kirk: Definitely Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and some of our favorite local bands we love to play with. We play with a lot of talented local bands.
Calli: Foo Fighters, The Offspring, and our homie bands!
KM: What’s your favorite song to play live and why that particular song?
Kirk: I think right now my favorite to play is our newest single “Basement” I like the Punk energy!
Calli: I like playing one of our originals called “Hey." It’s a little heavier than our other songs but it’s really fun to play and gets the crowd going.
KM: What are the goals for the band for the rest of 2021?
Kirk: Just to keep grinding, playing shows, releasing music, and just continuing to Rock 'n Roll!
Callii: We are just going to keep doing our thing. Playing shows, visiting new areas, releasing more music, and hopefully creating new fans.
KM: What’s the long-term goal for the band? What progress have you made toward reaching that goal?
Kirk: My long term goal for the band is to be able to tour the world and make money full-time with our music. My goal is to have LILAKK become the biggest rock band in the world!!!
Calli: The long term goal is to one day, tour around the world. We have made short -term goals of hitting our surrounding states but what I think is so neat is, the amount of international friends and fans we have made along the way. Ireland, Spain, Australia, Brazil, and Philippines, just to name a few, and they have been requesting for us to play in their home country!
KM: That's what it's all about. Good luck with the band and let's see LILAKK in South Florida soon.
For further information about LILAKK, follow them on Facebook and you can find them on
Kreig Marks, Founder/Publisher, TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.