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Donald Braswell II

Donald Braswell II

An interview with Singer/Actor Donald Braswell
by Tina Hall
October 2010

Donald Braswell II is a classical crossover tenor/composer/actor who is best known for his appearance on America’s Got Talent (he was a Top 5 finalist). A feat which is rather impressive considering he suffered a car accident in 2005 and was left unable to speak for nearly two years. Braswell is a graduate of the Juilliard School. He performs in various genres including classical, soul, and mainstream pop. Donald sings in several languages aside from English, including Spanish,Italian, Neapolitan, French and Russian. His most recent album is titled We Fall and We Rise Again. He can be found working alongside other truly talented artists in the Tim Janis: An American Christmas Carol at Carnegie Hall on Dec. 2nd (which is also a benefit for Little Sisters of the Poor).

Maximum Ink: What was your childhood in Texas like?
Donald Braswell: I had a very good childhood. We grew up in the country just south of my hometown Boerne. It was a simple life full of country values. We were not poor but we were not wealthy either though many thought we were in a community where most had very little at that time.


Emily Bear

Emily Bear

An interview with pianist/composer Emily Bear
by Tina Hall
November 2010

At the age of 9, Emily Bear has accomplished more than most of us could ever hope for! She began studying piano at the age of 5 at The Music Institute of Chicago. She also made her first professional debut performing solo at Ravinia Music Festival in July of 2007. Emily performed at the White House in 2008. That same year she was awarded the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition Award. She made her orchestral debut at age seven as well. She is the youngest person ever asked to study at The Aspen Music Festival. Emily has released four Cd’s, partial profits from each are donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities, Susan G. Komen for The Cure, and The Children’s Hospitals of Los Angeles and Chicago.She plays jazz, classical, or her own compositions with ease.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about where you are from? What would you say is your favorite childhood memory so far?
Emily Bear: My favorite memory was playing at the White House and also all the amazing places where I have performed. My favorite non-musical memory is apple picking with my family and family game night!

MI: What was it like to began your training at age 5?
EB: So much fun!! My teacher would always make the lessons fun and I loved to practice for the lessons. He would also draw funny things in my music notebook.


Eric Burdon

Eric Burdon

An interview with The Animals and War vocalist Eric Burdon
by Tina Hall
December 2010

Eric Burdon was a founding member of The Animals in Newcastle, England in 1962. The band quickly became one of the most popular bands of the British Invasion. With hits like House of the Rising Sun, the anti Vietnam anthem Sky Pilot, and Boom Boom, The Animals are certainly legends in the music industry. Eric also was a member of the band War while living in San Francisco in 1969 and reunited with War for the first time in 37 years to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London on April 21, 2008.

Eric Burdon has also had a rather successful solo career with the Eric Burdon Band (later changed to Eric Burdon’s Fire Department) which lasted up until 1980. He was inducted into the Walk of Fame in L.A on his 60th birthday and has appeared in several films, including a small role in the movie The Doors.

Eric also worked in television appearing on shows like China Beach, has two autobiographies and recently formed a new group of Animals featuring Billy Watts on guitars, Terry Wilson on bass, Red Young on keyboards and Brannen Temple on drums.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about where you came from and how it influenced to become who you are now?
Eric Burdon: I came from a working-class family in Walker, Newcastle Upon Tyne.  I was born on May 11, 1941, supposedly during an air raid. I found out just recently that the situation at the time of my birth was worse than I realized and that a lot of people were displaced at the time. Our house was within walking distance from the Tyne river and I could often be found taking long walks along the river and daydreaming about it being the Mississippi River in New Orleans. From an early age, I was planning my escape to the birthplace of the Blues.


Gabe Burdulis performing live at the 2014 MAMA awards in Madison at the Overture Center - photo by Hedi Lamarr Photography

Gabe Burdulis

by Teri Barr
August 2014

Some recent messages via both Facebook and email with Gabe Burdulis are still making me laugh. There’s one in particular, where Burdulis says, “Ahhh. Just answering this now, at 5 am. It’s been a busy, but great weekend,” and is a pretty good indication of the life this young Madison musician is living.

Burdulis plays alone, or with any number of groups, because he just wants to make music. He describes his sound as “kinda indie, acoustic-y, poppy, rocky, alt. with a lot of mixed elements. And some blues thrown in for good measure.” His on-stage presence has been called amazing, commanding; a true show-man.

And did I mention, he is still a high school student? I grabbed this opportunity to ask Burdulis some questions about his music, the recognition, and his goals. It’s a chance to get to know him, before the rest of the world catches on to this break-out talent.

Maximum Ink: Where are you getting your influence, especially at such a young age?
Gabe Burdulis: The people I get to play with are a constant influence on me. Also relationships, nature, and of course people like John Mayer and Jack White.

MI: And you’ve been playing successfully for quite a few years?
GB: Yeah, I took a couple guitar lessons around the age of 12, and kinda took off on my own from there. Once I had what I needed, I was able to let my creativity take off.

MI: So, what kind of goals or dreams do you have right now?


1714 ViewsPermalinkGabe Burdulis Website
Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce

by Mario Martin
December 2001

The 1960’s British music scene afforded one of the greatest bands the world would ever see, Cream. Jack Bruce provided the rhythm for which to do it.

Jack Bruce On His Current Project:
Jack Bruce has played with some of the most diverse musicians in the business, none more diverse than his current project that was turned into a band for the sheer enjoyment of the music. Jack said, “I’ve enjoyed playing with so many musicians through the years, but my favorite is my band right now.” [Jack’s current band is comprised of Vernon Reid on guitar; Bernie Worrel on Hammond organ; El Negro Horacio Hernandez from Cuba, Robbie Ameen and Richi Flores, all on drums.]  “When we were making the record, we decided to continue and make a band out of it.”

Jack Bruce on the Music Industry:
Jack Bruce is one that sees the melting pot of music as a blessing. “Music has always been, it just got bigger. There are so many more kinds of music today but their roots were always there. Me, I consider myself a non-celebrity and play music because I love music…all of it.”  When asked about what types of music he listens to, Jack said, “I listen to everything. I’m very open to what’s out there. From Limp Bizkit to whatever gangster rap is around.”


Joey Broyles - photo by Adeline Peck

Joey Broyles

Singer-Songwriter Joey Broyles leads a Future Pop Revolution
by John Noyd
December 2014

Raised in Sun Prairie, Madison musician Joey Broyles distinctly remembers playing all the parts of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves for his family as a young child. A born entertainer, Broyles also remembers making up songs all his life without ever thinking he could actually write a song. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that his artistic vision took root and he applied his skills as a self-taught pianist and young Garageband dabbler to create a stage persona and musical identity. Inspired by a performance from local scensters Sexy Ester and mentored by the sure-handed production skills of multi-instrumentalist Son Voyager, Broyles soon caught the attention of the Madison musical community, eventually going on to win RAW Madison Musician of the Year 2013, MAMA Breakthrough Artist 2014 as well as a recent semi-finalist in 105.5 Triple M’s Project M Songwriting competition before completing this fall his full-length debut, “Future Pop Revolution.”

A realist with vision, a futurist shaped by a difficult past, Broyles pairs an extravagant imagination with a crusader’s sense of integrity; a renegade individualist who collaborates with a large network of artists and performers. As a founding member of arts collective and on-line publication Project Famous, the whirlwind entrepreneur enlists film-makers, costume designers and visual artists to help manifest his ideas whether it’s a video shoot, album artwork or a club date. As a performance artist, image and presentation are integral to Broyles’ message which he insists gets communicated with substance and pizzazz. Citing the ADD generation filling the clubs, Joey knows people want to be entertained but he also wants to provide more; specifically a role model for acceptance, championing the LGBT community and putting ideas back into pop music.

Drawing from his experiences being bullied as a young teen and time spent in the Foster care system, Broyles is well equip to confront social injustice and societal pressures. His rainbow-strewn storm-trooper debut tackles mindless music, gender expectations, corporate hypocrisy and rampant consumerism; often assuming the identity of his targets to uproot their weakness and duplicity. Popping Big Brother’s bubble with a court-jester cackle wrapped in royal trappings, “Future Pop Revolution,” styles alien grooves in a satin pageantry, heralded by a flourish of synths, bold beats and rock-hard guitar. Unconcealed and extra-real, Joey tickles fancies as he liberates fallacies, slyly dividing sarcastic travesties by undermining labels and breaking free of preconceived notions.

A dystopian perfectionist whose subversive mirth and unlocked mockery carry a message of self-expression to everyone everywhere, Joey confronts modern reality with defiant flair; shining, not hiding, demanding to be heard through lush synthetic power chords and swooning cut-throat harmonies. After the success of, “Future Pop Revolution,” Broyles is even keener to maintain his domain, absorbing new music software with an almost Zen-like appetite and digging into his childhood influences of TLC and Salt-N-Pepa to supplement his freshman Prince and Madonna obsessions while mining the past year spent immersed in a gossip-fraught bureaucracy for new song ideas. A pervasive presence on the web, it is as a live performer where Broyles fulfills his potential, combining music, theater and dance into a fiery mirrorball of provocative thought. Watch out world, this quick-witted misfit has just started to spread his wings. Catch him December 13th at Madison’s Inferno.


2548 ViewsPermalinkJoey Broyles Website
Julien Baker

Julien Baker - FRZN Fest 2016

An interview with FRZN Fest 2016 performer Julien Baker
by John Noyd
December 2015

Held in the depths of winter, FRZN Fest 2016 presents a dozen hot bands that are anything but frozen. Whether erupting within dynamic songs or evolving as artists fusing genres, this year’s three-day explosion contains a fiery blend of underground favorites and rising newbies covering indie-folk, alt-rock, electro-psychedelics and punk-pop. In its fifth year hosted by Madison’s High Noon Saloon FRZN Fest highlights include cyclonic TORRES, who opened up for Garbage this past tour, headlining January 14th, crackling psychedelic blues-rockers ALL THEM WITCHES the 15th and Minnesotan folkie slash beat-pop troubadour JOHN MARK NELSON on the 16th. A frequent visitor Nelson looks forward to returning to Madison. “There is a life and energy to that place that always makes it stick in my mind,” he says, ” every time we have played there, we have been greeted by enthusiastic and sincere listeners, which is a rare and beautiful thing.”

A showcase for emerging acts, this year brings an extra buzz when the final night opens with nineteen year-old folk-rocker JULIEN BAKER, whose, “Sprained Ankle,” has generated interest for its arresting restlessness pitching perceptive sentiments. Ms. Baker was kind enough to answer a few questions to help Madison prepare for her Wisconsin debut.

MAXIMUM INK: A sensitive, articulate college-aged artist, you seem custom-made for Madison. Do you identify with your generation? Is it strange to be thought of as a Voice representing anyone other than yourself?

JULIEN BAKER: I do identify with my own generation; I think it is impossible not to associate oneself with whatever cultural or generational context they exist within, and as an artist that probably is reflected in my work to some degree. I don’t often think of myself as a “voice” necessarily—I am afraid it might be presumptuous to say I speak on behalf of any particular demographic. Perhaps it is better to just say that whatever personal experiences I am candid about in my music might be relatable to other people around my age group, or might touch on issues that other people face. I think as a musician my goal is not to create a specific platform, but just to create relationships and be open about those experiences so that they can be discussed and shared

MI: Did you always want to be a musician?

JB: Absolutely, from when I started playing music in middle school I knew I would want to do it for the rest of my life, whether that meant being in cover-bands at bars or my living room or a stadium. 

MI: Having lived in and around Virginia and Tennessee, are you prepare to head north in the middle of winter?

JB: I think I am prepared this time; the first time I went up north through Wisconsin it was last year on a little DIY tour with my friend Ryan Azada. I had never been up North, and I found myself in Ann Arbor, MI in January trudging through snow in only Vans sneakers. We even played a show in Detroit where the venue had no heat, I could barely feel my fingers! I had only toured the south and was not at all accustomed to the weather. But I learned my lesson. This time I am making sure to pack enough warm garments, socks, and boots, haha. 

MI: What are your impressions of Madison or Wisconsin in general?

JB: I have never been to Madison, though I have driven through Wisconsin and thought it was beautiful scenery-wise, fields of wheat and corn and the like. That stretch of road gave me a very “American Heartland” vibe, which was nice. As far as Madison in particular, I don’t know much, so I am excited to visit a new city with no existing impressions!

MI: On tour, what’s the first thing you seek out in a town you’ve never been before?

JB: Every time I show up in a new town, I make a beeline for the best coffee - I will have to consult some locals about the best place upon arrival!

Visit for more information, including run-downs on psycho-digitbots TOBACCO, six-string minx PALEHOUND, bop-robbers CHARLY BLISS and Anglo-jangle transplants AMERICAN WRESTLERS, among other jaw-dropping acts.


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