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Japan's Cibo Matto on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2001

Cibo Matto

by David A. Kulczyk
May 2001

Very few bands have had such an incredible debut album like Cibo Matto’s Viva L.A. Woman. Like an inexpensive sushi bar, Viva L.A. Woman was a Smorgasbord of contradictions.  Light, but heavy, simple yet complicated, joyful with a hint of homesickness in an electronic mix that never sounds the same way twice.

Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, expatriates from Japan have fused Trip-Hop, rap, rock, jazz, Asian and Brazilian music into a sound of their own that has been described by music journalists as fun, precious, teasing, joyful, cheerful, good-natured, quirky, silly, carefree, ironic and wry.  Multi-instrumentalist Honda is a longtime member of the Manhattan art scene and was once in the Brooklyn Funk Essentials.  Hatori, a former member of the Tokyo rap unit Kimidori and a former club DJ, came to the States in 1993. After meeting in 1994, they started the short-lived band, Leitoh Lychee.  Honda and Hatori formed Cibo Matto, (Italian for “food madness”) shortly afterwards.

Cibo Matto take their time in the studio, their latest release Stereo Type A appeared in the stores in 1999.  Although less edgy than Viva L.A. Woman, Stereo Type A shows signs of maturity and the affects of love and all the good and bad things that go with it.  I had a chance to interview Miho Hatori.


Circleswitch having fun in the studio


An interview with Milwaukee hard rockers, CircleSwitch
by Mike Huberty
April 2013

Milwaukee is a hard rock town. Fueled for decades by album rock radio stations like Lazer 103 and 93QFM, as well as being a stomping ground for local bands who weren’t afraid of crunch like REALM, DOC HAMMER, or BAD BOY, there’s an entire generation of musicians who grew up loving whiskey-soaked party bar rock n’ roll that’s nasty and fun. CIRCLESWITCH carries on that proud tradition with Danny Rodic on guitars, Kenny James on vocals, Eddie Gunz on drums, and Johnny Wahlen on bass. We had a chance to talk to the band about their new album, Ritual, and their upcoming performance at The Blue Pig (formerly the mighty Cudahy live music mainstay, Vnuk’s Lounge.)


Circleswitch singer Kenny James, photo by Absolute Eddy - photo by Absolute Eddy


An interview with Danny Rodic and Kenny James from Milwaukee's Circleswitch
by Mike Huberty
March 2016

Melodic hard rockers, CIRCLESWITCH, has been busy tearing up stages for Midwestern headbangers since we last talked to them in 2013, releasing their album, *Daybreak* and a stream of music videos. Their latest video, “Alibi” will be released in March (found on their website, and they’ll be performing in Madison at The Red Zone Annex on April 2nd. We talked to guitarist Danny Rodic and lead singer, Kenny James, in advance of the show.


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Molly Ford, singer for The Civil Engineer  - photo by Mary Sweeney Photography

The Civil Engineers

an interview with guitarist Chris Castro
by Teri Barr
August 2015

Sing along, dance along, or just nod your head along; the music of The Civil Engineers will not allow you to just sit there. The 7 piece band has almost every instrument covered – Molly on vox, Chris plays guitar, Garrick has the keys, Tim aka T-LO plays bass, Carl on drums, Jason plays sax, Catherine is on the trumpet – and the groove the group lays down together, isn’t like anything else you’ve heard before with a little rock, some soul, and a lot of funk. The band is working on its debut CD, an EP they’re calling “Save the Bridge,” which is expected to be done by fall; yet even without it, The Civil Engineers have already built a strong following around the state (the next Madison show is at The Frequency on August 21). I talked with lead guitar player Chris Castro about the band’s unique sound, the funny way they got their name, and why you need to be ready for almost anything when you go to a show.

Maximum Ink: How did you find the sound that defines The Civil Engineers?
Chris Castro:
Our sound is definitely rooted in soul, since that’s how we got our start - just jamming out on Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye tunes in Molly’s basement. It’s evolved pretty far from there—and we’ve taken elements of funk, rock, hip hop, and ska – and spread it throughout our tunes. It’s music for dancing and partying, though we do throw a few curveballs in the mix.

MI: And with that mix of elements, your backgrounds in music must be diverse, too?
Garrick, Carl and Catherine all hold degrees in music. I know Jason studied jazz at some point. Molly’s powerhouse voice was formed by years of musical theater. Tim and I aren’t as formal. We’ve just played in lots and lots of bands (psychedelic jammy stuff, bluegrass, hardcore, you name it).

MI: What brought your current line-up together?
We sorta knew each other from here and there, but it took a mutual friend who said to us “yo you guys are all really talented! You should form a band” to make us act on it. The first version was Molly, Garrick, Tim and I, along with a different drummer. We gathered in Molly’s basement one night and started slammin’ some PBRs, and jammin’ some Motown tunes. We had fun so kept on doing that for a few months, and then at one point a friend of ours asked us to come out and play at his house party.

After that we just started playing wherever people would have us - parties, bars, backyards, you name it. Carl then joined us in late 2014, and then our horn players, Catherine and Jason, joined in early 2015.


The Claudettes from Chicago


An interview with Johnny Iguana, founder and pianist in punk-blues act, The Claudettes
by Mike Huberty
June 2017

After spending the 2000s with Chicago indie rock/popsters, OH MY GOD, keyboardist and singer JOHNNY IGUANA started a piano/drum band in 2011 as the house act at a little Illinois bar called Claudette’s (and named themselves after the club and its wild owner.) Starting with good old American Roots music, he began borrowing elements from punk, blues, jazz, and even classical to create their sound and since the spare beginning they’ve added more musicians to the mix to fill out the sonic spectrum. In addition to Johnny Iguana on piano and vocals, THE CLAUDETTES are Berit Ulseth on vocals, Zach Verdoorn on bass/vocals, Matt Torre on drums. We talked with Mister Iguana to discuss their upcoming show at AtwoodFest at 2pm on July 29th.


796 ViewsPermalinkCLAUDETTES Website
Clovis Mann  - photo by Erica Krug

Clovis Mann

An interview with Clovis Mann
by Sal Serio
August 2010

MAXIMUM INK:  Can you give me a quick history of the band?

DANIEL WALKNER:  Well, I had some gigs lined up and everybody quit the band except for Stosh. This was about 2004. Ethan moved back from New Orleans.

ETHAN NOORDYK:  The Polish Mound Of Sound.

DW:  That’s right, Stosh Jonjak, (our) former bass player. We had a bunch of songs written up, and we had a gig Friday. There was a Battle Of The Bands on Thursday in Whitewater. So, Ethan came back, we practiced on Wednesday, we went into the Battle Of The Bands, and we won it. Then we went and played our gig at the Waverly in Two Rivers, and that was it.

EN:  We recorded in Milwaukee that weekend too.

DW:  Oh, that’s right. That was Saturday, at… wherever that place was. Then, about 1,000 shows later, here we are.

MI:  So you knew each other already.

DW:  Right, I knew Ethan from playing in blues bands years ago, and from doing pick-up stuff. Then we were in a bigger band and we kinda separated because we wanted to do a three-piece, because we were writing our own stuff and getting sick of doing that “Mustang Sally” routine. Stoshie and I had written some material together, “When You’re Gone”, “Stone Moses”, “War Child”, some of that stuff, and then we just started playing out. It kind of grew from there, and we rocked it as a trio. We did the first Clovis Mann album, and then the second album was Dues. Now we’re moving on to the Metamorphic album, with Danny Plourde on bass, Vince Farris is playing keys on almost everything, Craig Baumann from Fat Maw Rooney is playing guitar on one, and Pat Ferguson from Smokin’ Bandits is playing guitar on our gospel rave-up manic insanity church picnic theme song “The Light”.


2046 ViewsPermalinkClovis Mann MySpace
Clutch on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2008


an interview with Clutch vocalist Neal Fallon
by Andrew Frey
April 2008

From the first time I heard the song, “A Shogun Named Marcus” in the early 90’s, Clutch has been one of my favorite bands. They have been around for quite a few years and have garnered numerous accolades. This hard rockin’ and hard workin’ outfit from Maryland has produced 10 enthralling full-length releases with the most current being, “From Beale Street To Oblivion.” After all this time and numerous tours both stateside and abroad, I was lucky enough to capture a moment of time with the sardonic, yet nonchalant vocalist for the group, Neil Fallon. The band is completed by guitarist Tim Sult, bassist Dan Maines, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and organist Mick Schauer.


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