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The Deftones on the cover of Maximum Ink December 2006

The Deftones

an interview with Stephen Carpenter
by Rick Florino
December 2006

An interview with guitarist Stephen Carpenter of The Deftones


The Delta Routine

The Delta Routine

by Mike Huberty
July 2014

Maybe it’s all the pretense of producer teams and their made-for-TMZ Pop divas and the “just press play” live shows of Electronic Dance Music that’s forced Rock music to go back to its very beginnings. In an era where people can make a record on their laptop and viral YouTube videos are routinely made with a mobile phone, the natural sounds of a band that can really play their instruments to an audience that just wants to get down seems almost quaint. If a musician can just straight up play guitar or sing their guts out in a band onstage on a Friday night somewhere, it seems old-fashioned in a world of “everyone’s a star” karaoke and televised singing contests where melismatic teenagers fight over who’s prettiest. So when you hear THE DELTA ROUTINE, a straight up rock band from Milwaukee that takes the best elements from the founding fathers of the genre, it’s a genuine delight to hear a genuine mix of rock n’ roll mayhem that combines the swagger of THE ROLLING STONES, the energy of THE BLACK CROWES, and the modern sounds of THE STROKES. Consisting of Nick Amadeus on lead vocals and guitar, Al Kraemer on keyboards, Victor Buell IV on guitar, Evan Paydon on bass, and Kyle Ciske on drums, they’ve released three full albums, the latest being “Cigarettes & Caffeine Nightmares”. In 2011 the band won Milwaukee radio 88.9’s Milwaukee Band of the Year award as well as Alternative Band of the Year at the Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards. Also, in true Wisconsin beer-drinking spirit, THE DELTA ROUTINE has also been featured in an ad for Chippewa Falls-brewed (and Miller-owned) Leinenkugel’s. After making an appearance at Milwaukee’s Summerfest on Thursday, July 3rd, they’ll be performing in Madison at Atwood Summerfest on Saturday July 26th. With a voice that sounds a little like Noel Gallagher got in a drunken fistfight with Satisfaction-era Mick Jagger, we talked to Nick Amadeus about the band and their upcoming Atwood performance.

Maximum Ink: What’s the single? What track would you want people to hear that hasn’t heard THE DELTA ROUTINE before?
Nick Amadeus: There are probably a few, but I guess one of my favorite songs would be ‘I Wait Alone’ off our 2012 release ‘Cigarettes and Caffeine Nightmares’.


Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever

An interview with Ethan Holtzman from Dengue Fever
by Mike Huberty
June 2012

As an American band inspired by equally by Cambodian pop music as well as American 60’s bands (you can hear the Credence dripping out of each song), DENGUE FEVER, occupies a fascinating niche. While most of the band hails from LA, their songs didn’t even have any English until their third record. Formed by brothers Ethan and Zac Holtzman in 2001, they met up with Cambodian immigrant (and already a famous karaoke singer in her native country), Chhom Nimol, to fill out the sound of the band. Their latest full length is called Cannibal Courtship is their fifth and they’re touring to support it. We took some time to talk to DENGUE FEVER’s Ethan Holtzman about their upcoming Madison show.


Dessa Darling - photo by Aaron Wojak |


by Justin Beckner
April 2010

Most monocle wearing, high brow music scholars would tell you that rap and hip hop are nothing more than a senseless spat of Thom Foolery. But in Minneapolis, a group of musicians have brought the modern music of the streets to the world of academia, and rightly so. Over the past two decades, no form of music has grown in popularity and influence more than Hip Hop. I also understand that McNally Smith now has the only Hip Hop Diploma Program in the country!

No place but Minneapolis has such a diverse and groundbreaking group of rappers. Not only groundbreaking in their music, but in their actions within the community as well. This is an interview with Dessa Darling, a prominent member or the Doomtree Crew and an instructor at McNally Smith. Dessa has just released her first full length album entitled A Badly Broken Code and is currently on tour with another Minneapolis born rap powerhouse P.O.S. You can check out for more dates and info! 

MAXIMUM INK: What is your least favorite interview question?
DESSA DARLING: I like talking about rap. And I don’t mind talking about being a woman. But the question “What’s it like being a woman in hip hop?” is too broad to evoke an interesting answer. It’s like being asked, “What’s it like to be a person on Earth?” I just haven’t been anything else long enough to speak intelligently on how it might compare.


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Devil City Angels

Devil City Angels

An interview with guitarist Tracii Guns
by Tina Ayres
October 2014

Tracii Guns is best known as the guitarist for the metal group L.A. Guns. He was also an original member of Guns N’ Roses as well as a member of supergroups Brides of Destruction and Contraband. He is currently touring with Devil City Angels alongside drummer Rikki Rockett (Poison), Eric Brittingham (Cinderella), and Brandon Gibbs (Cheap Thrill).

Maximum Ink: What were you like as a child? What would you say are some of your most fond memories from that time?
Tracii Guns: I was a typical late 60’s kid. My parents were way too young but, they were hip. I spent a lot of time with my cousin Lannie who was 5 years older than me. We were adventure seekers and music lovers. He passed away when I was 17 and it was awful. My mom loved to travel so we went on lots of mini vacations and camping trips. By the time I was 7 I had been to France and Mexico and had been to sleep over camp. I was ready for the commune, traveling circus kind of lifestyle at that point.

MI: When did you first discover music? Do you happen to remember what your first favorite song was?
TG: Mostly my mom and AM radio. I liked The Rapper by the Jaggerz and Bang A Gong by T Rex.As far back as I can remember I’ve loved rock n roll.


Devil City Angels

Devil City Angels

An interview with Singer/Guitarist Brandon Gibbs
by Tina Ayres
October 2014

Brandon Gibbs has been in love with music since an early age. By the age of 8 he had discovered guitar and by 14 he was performing at a national level. From his first band, The Gibbs Brothers Blues Band, to Cheap Thrill Brandon has worked tirelessly to pour his soul into the music he loves so well. Currently he can be found as the frontman for Devil City Angels alongside Rikki Rockett (Poison), Tracii Guns (L.A Guns), and Eric Brittingham (Cinderella).

Maximum Ink: Do you remember what it was like to start singing as a toddler? Was it more fun to have your brother at your side then? What is it like to be a twin?
Brandon Gibbs: Being a twin is such an amazing feeling! My brother and I were obsessed with music at such an early age…It’s all we wanted to do and we did at all together. Another part of being a twin was when we would play together, you could always tell what the other one was thinking. For instance, we could come out of a “mistake” and it would have sounded like we meant to do it. Although we don’t play music together anymore, in general I can usually tell what he is going to do with whatever circumstance we face. Usually it’s all in humor, at 29 we still laugh like we did when we were 10!

MI: Aside from your love of music what were you like as a child? What are some of your most fond memories from that time?
BG: As a child and even to our early 20’s we had a Grandpa who was active in our lives. We had so much fun with him and spent a lot of time learning from him. My brother and I would pull pranks on him all of the time and he would do the same with us! It was such a fun/funny environment to be around. He also taught us when it was time to be serious and have goals. Most kids on Friday nights were hanging out with their schoolmates which is perfectly normal, my brother and I wanted to see what he was doing first and then go from there!(laughs) I personally spent a ton of time on the golf course with him learning the game. Early into our teens we took a lot of road trips with him and our family because we were starting our career. There are lots of great memories with that man. The names and numbers tattooed on my hands are a memorial to him. I think Brent (my bro) would say the same thing. (smiles)

MI: What was your very first favorite song?
BG: My first song that I fell in love with was The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King. My parents bought me B.B. King Live At The Ole Miss and I burned that CD into my head! Every time that track came up I always got goose bumps!

MI: How did it feel to be performing at a national level by the age of 14?
BG: Everything was sort of a test…For instance, promoters liked the concept of the Gibbs Brothers, but since we were so young we had to prove to them night after night that we could handle the job!! We gave up sports and other activities and learned how to perform and entertain…When show time came around we did exactly that! There was always a hug and a high five waiting for us as we walked down the ramp. Also how we handled mishaps, wireless units cutting out, amps breaking on stage, snare drums splitting…We had backup plans for these real problems and didn’t panic, they seen that and knew we weren’t as young mentally. After we would do these shows, much like American Idol, we advanced to the next level. Once again a test…“Dear Gibbs Bros, here’s your next assignment, don’t let me down.” (smiles)


Morgan Rae - photo by Cocao Malamiravicht

Devil To Drag

An interview with singer Morgan Rae
by Teri Barr
May 2015

Sometimes, starting in reverse, can throw you into full forward.
It’s what the members of Devil to Drag may be learning right now. This Madison-based group began simply—as an acoustic duo—but expanded to a trio, and eventually a full power alt rock band. And though Devil to Drag is still young on the scene at less than a year together, the musicians involved bring experience, and an aggressive attitude for forging ahead. I recently talked with lead singer and guitar player Morgan Rae for Maximum Ink, just as the band gets ready to release a new video and album on May 15th: 

Maximum Ink:  Introduce us to your band, and why it’s pretty unique in the way you got together?
Morgan Rae:  Cocoa Malamiravict plays guitar and sings with me. It’s actually how Devil to Drag got its start. The two of us played and wrote together acoustically. It was his idea to then add Wade Coisman from Real Knives on bass. They’d played together in Underground Day 1 too, and have always worked together really well. It’s almost creepy sometimes to watch them communicate in rehearsal, because a lot of it is done through looks and vocal cues that aren’t actually words, but they still somehow understand each other.
Kai Anderson, also from Real Knives, was the last member to join, but in my opinion is the most influential addition when it comes to creating the sound we have today. We had asked him to play with us for a bigger show, then realized none of us wanted to go back to the more stripped down sound.
I feel really honored to be able to write and play with these three, and aside from all their musical talents, they each bring something different and important to the table, which I think is really going to set us up for success. Cocoa knows everyone and his brother, because he travels the country building greenhouses. He gets us a lot of great opportunities like playing Steelbridge Song Festival in Sturgeon Bay. Wade works at a print shop, so he knows all the ins and outs of navigating merchandise. And Kai not only works at WJJO Radio as a D.J., but also teaches at Madison Music Foundry, so he really helps make sure our practices to run smoothly when we’re tightening up material. Oh, and I have a full-time job too, at Peak Performance Massage.

MI:  Alot going on between the four of you! Where do you find your energy, and even your spirit for working on the new music?


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