Mo Burks

Mo Burks
Vocals & Percussion

The story of Mo begins in October l968. Being up way past my bedtime at the age of lO, I saw Don Kershner's Rock Concert TV show for the first time. On that show I saw a young black drummer/vocalist named Buddy Miles and his band The Buddy Miles Express. I was mesmerized. I saw a drummer that could sing and play at the same time, was the leader of the band and he and the drums were out front. At that moment I knew that this was something I could do. Mind you, I had no doubts.

I asked my parents for a set of drums for Christmas of that year. It was my Mom that persuaded my dad to get them for me. When I got them I went to work. I watched and listened to drummers from all genre of music. After five years of "woodshedding," it all came together. I knew I was ready to perform. In 1973, a neighbor of mine had a friend who had a band. Their drummer was ill before a gig and they needed a replacement fast. After enduring years of my constant banging, my neighbor told them about me. I had three days in which to learn 40+ songs. Quite a task for a 15 year old. The gig was part of the KCMO Parks and Recreation "Music in the Park" program. I did the gig, had the best time ever and was given a check for $200.00 for three hours work. There was NO turning back now.

In the summer of 1973, some of my schoolmates and I wanted to start a band. After my experience in Swope Park earlier that year, I was dying to play. It was a seven piece group called Sweet'n Sticky. The name was inspired by the keyboard player's little sister and a caramel apple. We played mostly Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago material due to our horn section. I was in this band that I sang my first lead vocal to the Buddy Miles classic "Them Changes." After all, he was my mentor. We played at high school dances, wedding receptions and birthday parties.

After graduation in 1976, the members of Sweet'n Sticky went their separate ways. I joined the Army and was stationed at Ft. Riley, Ks. It was there that I met guitarist James McLeod and bassist Steven Wright. Together we formed McFunk, Inc. and played various gigs stateside and overseas. After my discharge in September 1980, 1 spent the next four years in college and performed as often as I could.

In the fall of 1985, 1 joined The Suburban Blues Band out of Blue Springs, Mo. It lasted two years. In 1987, 1 was a member of The Nightcrawlers out of KCMO for the next three years and headlined the KC Spirit Festival for all three years. When The Nightcrawlers disbanded, bassist Laura Hardy put me in touch with the late bassist Linda Lindell of the rock band Hired Gun. They had just signed a regional performance contract with Omni Entertainment, and needed to replace their present drummer who was wrestling with substance abuse. Upon Hardy's recommendation, Hired Gun took me on as their timekeeper and I spent the next eight years touring the States and Canada. In 1993, we were asked to play the Annual Sturgis Harley-Davidson Biker Convention in Sturgis, South Dakota. We played before a crowd of 250,000+ people. It was the first time I was ever nervous about performing. After that, we played the convention annually for five years.

In the spring of 1997, Linda Lindell was diagnosed as having lung cancer. Her radiation and chemotherapy treatments made it impossible for her to tour any longer. A band meeting was held and, in spite of her wish for us to find another bassist and press on, Hired Gun disbanded. Linda was one of the founding members and the b2nd's manager. We were, in every sense of the word, a family. We couldn't go on without her. She fought long and hard, but lost her battle with cancer two years later.
Later that same year, I answered an ad in what used to be The Inferno Music Magazine. This brings us to my next band Joe Don’t Care. L came to this band just as future Allied Saints guitarist Joey Walsh was leaving. Even though the band broke up two years later, we had a good following and enjoyed local success. It was in this band that I wrote my first song "News for You," a poem I wrote after my first wife divorced me back in 1987. Here also is where the stage name "Mo Black" was born, for obvious reasons.
After JDC I joined a southern rock band called Doin'Justice, lead by frontman Bryan Gentry. We won a battle of the bands contest and got to be the opening act for The Yallapalooza Tour held at Sandstone Amphitheater in 1999. A while later, Bryan Gentry became a force unto himself and the band fired him. The bass player soon followed. And so myself, guitarist Chris Vance, keyboardist Teri Scott and new bassist Jeff Schoffner formed the country/blues/rock band New Evidence with yours truly as the new lead vocalist. This band is still here today.

It's been said that good musicians borrow and great musicians steal. The Allied Saints have learned their lessons from the very best in the music world, so we have earned the right to be known as GREAT MUSICIANS.