The Hawkins family of Santa Clarita make up some members of this band, which has a unique way of minimizing its “stage footprint.” The group’s rock/country/blues sound is enhanced by drum and bass tracks, which accompany its live performers: Ryan Watterson, playing lead guitar and vocals; Bill Hawkins on rhythm guitar and vocals; and sisters France Hawkins on keyboards and vocals and Teri Villani on lead electric violin.
The drum and bass tracks are recorded live, and allow the band to “have more control over our dynamics and subsequently are able to play in small or large venues with a consistent sound,” says Bill Hawkins.
Teri Villani, France and Bill Hawkins studied music from a young age. Bill was in a band at the age of 13 called American Zoo, which was signed to a record label, and currently, a Spanish record label is re-releasing all of those recordings on CD.
The three musicians played with various bands and eventually ended up writing and recording in the same group. While Teri continued to hone her skills playing in country and rock bands, France and Bill married and had two sons, Ryan and Tyler.
“Though music was still a big part of our lives, the performing took a back seat,” explains Bill. “The boys were aware of our musical life, and although lovers of their own types of music, never really indicated an interest in performing.”
The Hawkins boys were academic and athletic rather than musical, but as a teen, Tyler surprised his parents by expressing an interest in playing the guitar.
“I taught him a few things, but he grew past me quickly and it wasn’t long before he was cruising through Eddie Van Halen guitar solos with ease,” says Bill. “He loved classic rock and through his discovery of music it brought it all back for us.”
Tyler left Canyon Country for the Naval Academy, and for his graduation four years later, the Hawkins family formed a band to play at the Academy’s ceremony in Annapolis!
Miles 2 Go got its start, enhanced by the fact that Tyler was based in San Diego and could join his family for weekend gigs.
“We knew a time would come when he would deploy, so when we played, it was with more passion and emotion, because we never knew if this would be the last time with him before he left,” says Bill Hawkins. “It is hard to describe the feeling when you’re playing and you look and see your family there. You are making this great music together. You see the people dancing and enjoying the music and there just is no other feeling like it in the world. It creates a connection, a strength you could feel in your spirit and we hoped Tyler could take that with him once he deployed.”
Tyler deployed and a childhood friend, Ryan Watterson, stepped in to play while he is too far away to perform.
“It was with pride and heavy hearts we said goodbye to him. We keep yellow ribbons on our mics in his honor for his safe return,” says Bill.
The musical influence of such a group has a very wide range.
“Since France, Teri and I are all children of the ‘50s and ‘60s … together we have a tremendous experience of music we are inspired by, from classical, to rock, to country to progressive rock.”
Tyler Hawkins and Ryan Watterson, with their younger perspectives have broadened the soundscape of Miles 2 Go even further.
“With such a large anthology, we are able to pick and choose to cover music we really like and enjoy playing,” Bill adds.
Santa Clarita audiences can expect to hear a quality derived from the band members’ years of experience.
“Teri and France are exciting to watch, and when you add the layers of keyboards and Ryan’s guitars, we have a full sound and tightness that comes from the bond with each other,” says Bill. “We enjoy doing what we do and the fun we have is infectious.”