MILLI Vanilli, the dreadlocked duo who lip-synced their way to stardom, is doing Carefree gum commercials that poke fun at their fraud.
Kevin Liles is laughing, but not all the way to the bank.
He's one of the five people who are credited with the hit song, "Girl You Know It's True," which propelled Milli Vanilli -- Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan -- to a Grammy Award and international fame. Meanwhile Liles and his band, the Numarks, lingered in anonymity.
"We started everything," said Liles. "Without 'Girl You Know It's True,' there wouldn't have been a Milli Vanilli or anything."
Numarks is a local rap band that made the first recording of "Girl, You Know It's True." Some of the original members have left Numark, which now consists of Liles and Wayne Mallory, a disc jockey.
Numarks lives on, though. Liles and Mallory are in the recording studio, finishing songs for a new album. The first single, already playing on the radio, is dedicated to the Baltimore street that is home to Odell's, the nightclub where band members got their start, Liles said. The song is called "North Avenue . . . Drop Down."
As for the other members of the original Numarks, they're still involved in music. Bill Pettaway, who wrote the music and produced the song, works at the same job he's held for 10 years, at a gas station in Annapolis.
"The Milli Vanilli thing has not tarnished my life in any way," he said. "Kevin and everybody else involved, we made a hit song. I'm happy, I'm proud."
He's currently working with a young Washington woman on a possible singing career.
Ky Ademo of Columbia composes music regularly and is the father of twins. Rodney Holloman of Baltimore has embarked on a solo career. And the others, Darryl Mims and Sean Spencer, "they're still making music," Liles said.