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Madison's Awesome Car Funmaker on the Cover - photo by Rokker

Awesome Car Funmaker

by Mike Huberty
July 2005

Appealing and unpredictable, the high-energy rock n’ roll of Madison’s Awesome Car Funmaker is just plain infections. They recently celebrated their two-year anniversary, a feat in this modern age of bands.

ACF’s influences, which range from Queen and These Arms Are Snakes to 60’s soul music, are witnessed throughout their manic stage show that features the band dressed in quasi-Mod, loudly colored suits. Fueled by bassist Justin’s spastic pogoing and lead singer/guitarist Ryan’s over-the-top guitar hero posturing, Awesome Car Funmaker engage the audience with moments that range from the gorgeously saccharine sing-a-long tune, “Part Two,” one of the band’s current favorites to play, and the bombastic, metallic stomp of “Torture Chamber,” to the ridiculous cover of Journey’s epic “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).”


Madison's Axiom


by Mike Huberty
October 2008

Alternately ridiculous and rocking, Madison rockers AXIOM have been bringing their own concoction of humor-laden grunge-metal for the past several years. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist, Jakob Wheeler, Justin Roettger on bass, and drummer Dan Stoffels, the band mixes influences from Primus to Nirvana to hints of GWAR (without the cartoonishness and fake bodily fluids) and just released their first full-length LP, Philly Phakeout, in June. Wheeler says the inspiration for the name came from “wanting to name the album after a move like ‘The Dirty Sanchez’ or ‘The Cleveland Steamer’ (grossout sex position jokes that became popular on the Internet and on MTV’s former late night sex show, Loveline) and Philly Phakeout seemed like a good name for one (”people will have to Google that one”, Roettger laughs.) As far as the reaction to the album title, Stoffels laughs, “Chicks have a mixed reaction, some are grossed out by it and some are slighty intrigued. Some only act like they’re disgusted so their friends don’t think they’re weird. And some grab you and pull you into the bathroom.”


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International artist Bernard Allison on the cover of Maximum Ink in June 2000

Bernard Allison

by Dave Leucinger
June 2000

“My dad told me to never be a copy cat,” emphasized guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Bernard Allison in a recent telephone interview. “He told me, ‘you’ll have influences and idols, but you’ll need to put yourself into what you play.’” Allison, son of late titan Luther Allison, has taken his father’s message to heart in a career that reaches back more than 15 years. “I’m doing what I’ve always done – mix a 12-bar blues tune with a couple of rock tunes, and a couple of funk tunes.”

Contrary to many perceptions, the senior Allison was not the foremost musical teacher in Bernard’s early career. “There wasn’t that much teaching at the musical level,” Allison said. “I taught myself how to play guitar and sing pretty much on my own, although he showed me how to play a few things. But Our relation was more like brothers than father/son.” Bernard did note that his father gave him sage advice on other aspects of the business, however. “He did teach me about the road – but I also learned a lot from my 3 years with Koko Taylor.” That apprenticeship with Taylor, and later with Willie Dixon’s Blues All-Stars, saw the teenage Allison emerge with more of his own voice, further developed through tutoring by Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. So zealots who expect – or hope – that Bernard will develop into a clone of his father will be disappointed. “A lot of our music is naturally the same,” Allison said.  “Early on, there was a lot more stuff where I sounded like him. But now, you can hear a song and tell if it’s Bernard or Luther.”


 - photo by Buzz

Dave Arcari

An interview with Scottish Bluesman, Dave Arcari
by Mike Huberty
July 2014

Solo singer-songwriter, Dave Arcari, has all the darkness and mystery of an old school slide guitar Delta Blues sound. But then he starts singing in a Scottish accent, and all of a sudden your expectations are completely turned around. Then when the elements of Rockabilly and Cowpunk come in, you know you’re hearing a unique take on the traditional. A seasoned and nonstop performer, Dave is a Scottish artist on his second tour through the United States. 30 dates in 6 weeks across the Eastern half and Midwest of the US, he’s got 8 dates in Wisconsin alone where you can catch him. We spoke to Dave about the tour, about what inspires his distinctive sound, and how a Scotsman got into a very American musical form.


David Arkenstone

David Arkenstone

An interview with instrumental composer David Arkenstone
by Max Ink Writer List
October 2010

David Arkenstone has been creating contemporary-instrumental music for well over 20 years. He combines electronic samples with acoustic instruments. His albums are are often fantasy themed and usually come packaged creatively with literature and art. Arkenstone has gained three Grammy nominations over the years. Through he mainly plays keyboards, he impressively plays a wide variety of instruments including, mandolin, guitar, bass, harp, cello, flute, piano, Turkish Saz, pennywhistle, pan pipes, drums, melodica, and bouzouki. His work has graced computer games like World of Warcraft - Cataclysm, Lands of Lore (2 & 3), Emperor: Battle for Dune, and Blade Runner. He has composed music for television for NBC Sports, The History Channel, and the Discovery Channel in addition to writing the original score for the independent film PRISM.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your background growing up? What first led you to pursue a career in music?
David Arkenstone: I distinctly remember being 4 or 5 years old and being fascinated by the Nutcracker music by Tchaikovsky. I desired to know how those sounds were made, and why they made me feel the way it did. Also, my parents were both musicians, so there was a lot of music and a piano in our home all the time. I took piano lessons as a child, then as I became more proficient, I started to compose my own music.


Don Airey - keybordist for Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Ozzy, Whitesnake and more!

Don Airey

by Jeff Muendel
December 2008

Don Airey isn’t a name that many people know well, but his keyboards have been heard by most anyone listening to American radio in the last twenty-some years. The pipe organ intro to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mr. Crowley?” That’s him. The slick strings in Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night” or the glassy electric piano on “Here I Go Again?” That’s him, too. How about the freaky synthesizers on Black Sabbaths’ Never Say Die album? Yeah, that’s Don Airey again.

The list if bands that Airey has either recorded with or been a member of is long, but includes (besides those already mentioned) Jethro Tull, Judas Priest, Gary Moore, The Michael Schenker Group, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, and UFO.  He has come to be the most prolific keyboardist in hard rock. He is also the current organist in Deep Purple, perhaps one of the most keyboard-intensive bands in the history of rock.


Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson

An Interview With Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson On The 2013 Thick As A Brick Tour And July 22 Stop At Ravinia
by Gregory Harutunian
June 2013

Ian Anderson is best known as the frontman, singer-songwriter, musician, flute player, engineer, producer, and whatever other duties he will tell you regarding the legendary band, Jethro Tull. With more than four decades of performing under his belt, the last decade has seen him step out on his own projects. Distinctly Anderson, the music slides to the more melodic avenues in discovering instrumental nuances to dally with.

His own touring group consisting of bassist David Goodier, keyboardist John O’Hara, drummer Scott Hammond, and wunderkind guitarist Florian Opahle have performed with Ian on his solo dates, as well as having performed at various times as members of Jethro Tull. They all participated on the recent release, “Thick As A Brick 2,” an update companion to the original 1972 release which answers the question,” What ever happened to Gerald Bostock,” TAAB’s supposed writer.

Audiences got to find out firsthand last year, as the original TAAB was performed in its entirety for the first time since 1972 including the weather report and prostate awareness skits, that bookend with TAAB2. The 2013 tour extends the fun stateside through the month of July, concluding with a performance at the Highland Park (IL)’s Ravinia Festival ( on the 22nd. British singer Ryan O’Donnell, who has been active in the UK theatrical scene, was added to sing difficult vocal parts. Anderson wants to perform vocals and instrument parts as they appeared on the original THICK AS A BRICK.

A phone interview, conducted with Anderson, touched on the tour itself, the TAAB sequel, and what’s on his plate for future endeavors. What follows is an edited transcript of the conversation.

Maximum Ink: We last spoke three years ago, and I must update the more serious inquiries… what is your favorite color, and if you could be any tree, what would you be?
Ian Anderson: Still gray, a nice battleship gray. As for tree, still an oak. They’re slow growing, slow to mature, a bit grand, solid and decorative. Plus, they are quite useful, if you want to build a ship, sail around, and attack a small country far away, or something like that.


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