A little over 100 months ago, I called Maximum Ink Music Magazine and spoke to a guy named Rökker. Things have never been the same since. I’ve seen some great Wisconsin bands like Mad Trucker Gone Mad, Pachinko, Mudride, Boris the Sprinkler, Fez Petting Zoo, Jr. High, Rhoda, The German Art Students and Shot To Hell disappear into the sunset without achieving the rewards that they deserved. On the other hand, the best rock band in the world today is Madison-born and New York City-based, The Cummies. Does that mean to make it in the music biz, you have to leave Madison? Do deer hunters shit in the woods?
I’ve written hundreds of obituaries of musical giants and woodshedders. I tried to treat them all with the respect that they deserve. I’ve written about three friends of mine, Comedian Dave Grey, poet Ken Hunt and guitarist extraordinaire John Glick, all who died way too young and tragically,
Just setting up an interview with a musician can be a time/space continuum problem. You have to remember that musicians aren’t the most time-oriented people on Earth. Jon Auer from the Posies called me two weeks after the issue they were supposed to be in was on the streets. A Madison musician once called me at 3am, 12 hours early for his interview. I’ve had a couple of bands that were so hard to get a hold of or just so belligerent that I said screw it, I don’t need to take this crap. In most cases, the more successful the musician is, the nicer they are.
I’ve interviewed Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil, Trey Gunn of King Crimson, Joey Burns of Calexico, Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, D.A. Sebasstian of Kill Switch…Klick, Klaus Fluoride of the Dead Kennedys, Jason Trachtenburg of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Allison Robertson of the Donnas, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, Tommy Skeoch of Tesla, The Gin Blossoms, Zen Guerrilla, The Red Elvises, The All Girl Summer Fun Band, Jason Webley, Jackie Greene, Kasim Sulton and Billy Idol. The most pleasant interview that I’ve ever done was with Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs, who was as nice of a guy as can be. Having seen Todd Rundgren perform eight times over a 20 year period, interviewing him was personally the most exciting interview that I ever done.
Reggae pioneer Justin Hinds was incredible, as he had the thickest Rastafarian accent that I’ve ever heard and would answer my questions before I asked them. I couldn’t get Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull off the phone. He called me an hour late and talked for two hours. He talked for a half and hour on how he thinks that Wisconsin and the Great Lakes are one of his favorite places in America. I missed a vet appointment because of him. I had Jill Sobule ask herself the questions that she always wanted to be asked in an interview but was never asked. I got an extremely honest interview with Fee Waybill of the Tubes, who came this close, several times, and yet no hit song. Another of my personal favorites was interviewing modern bluesman Otis Taylor. Taylor doesn’t suffer fools, and for the first half hour of the interview we talked about everything but music. I saw him perform a couple of months later and he is the living blues.
And, by far, my most outrageous interview that I’ve done for Maximum Ink Music Magazine was with Morgan Lander, lead vocalist of the all-female, Canadian metal band Kittie. Morgan started telling road stories and told me how her sister, drummer Mercedes Lander, stuck a sharpie up the butt of a groupie in Reno.
I’ve screamed long and hard about how some musicians are complete crap, and I’ve been taken to the woodshed more than once for my criticisms. But I know that the readers of Maximum Ink don’t want to be fed a spoonful of crap from a public relation firm about their artist. That is why I explained so many times in Kulczyk’s Korner that Lenny Kravitz, Bjork, The John Spencer Blues Explosion, Patti Smith, the Bee Gees, Bonnie Raitt, Derek Trucks, Sleater-Kinney, Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction and Susan Tedeschi are not only spurious, but they suck.
I once wrote that Gwen Stefani sounds like “a dolphin with its dick in a vice.” But in my humble opinion, the most vile, talentless, musical leach in the music world today is Elvis Costello. It is bad enough that he has to pair himself up with more talented musicians just to make a record, but now he’s whoring himself in Lexus commercials. Why won’t this man put us out of our misery?
I don’t know how long that I’ll be writing Kulczyk’s Korner for Maximum Ink Music Magazine: Until I die, or whenever Rökker finds someone better…