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early Droids Attack

Droids Attack - 2003


by David A. Kulczyk
March 2003

In five years of writing for Maximum Ink, it is rare that I receive a call from Rökker at 9pm asking me to check out a band’s website and write about them two hours before print time. You must remember that Rökker receives 4,000 CD’s a year and hundreds of phone calls a month from bands, publicists and managers. And while he’s easily amused, he’s not easily impressed. ‘What band could be so important?’ I thought. Tapping in www.droidsattack.com, I immediately saw what Rökker was pining about.

The website crafts a dyamic, user-friendly interface that reflects Droids Attack founder Brad Van’s favorite hobby, and business - video games. Brad owns Aftershock Video, soon to be featured on State Steet in Madison above Ping Time. In his world, robots attack humans everyday.

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Dropkick Murphys on the cover of Maximum Ink November 2007

The Dropkick Murphys

an interview with Vocalist Al Barr
by Kimberly E. McDaniel
November 2007

Coming from a working-class background in Boston, The Dropkick Murphys have not forgotten that life. Having been successful with fans and critics, the band has had one hell of a ride, highlighted in recent years by Martin Scorsese using their song “Shipping Up To Boston” in his film “The Departed” in 2006, and writing the theme song for the Boston Red Sox in 2004.

“The Meanest of Times” delivers the band’s trademark Irish-infused punk, with the central theme of family tying the album together. The album also marks the launch of the band’s label, Born & Bred Records. In the midst of their current tour, vocalist Al Barr took time out to talk to Maximum Ink.

MAXIMUM INK: Most people describe your music as punk music. Do you really think that fits?
AL BARR: Opinions vary. For me, we have the ferocity and the backbone and the ethos of punk.

MAX INK: How did you decide to put the Irish music in with the punk? Are you guys all of Irish descent?
BARR: You’re talking to the one guy in the band who doesn’t have any Irish blood in him! Everyone else in the band has got some Irish blood in them. The first song that the band wrote, “Barroom Hero,” had bagpipes on it. We could have always done it in the studio, but we decided that if we couldn’t recreate that onstage then it was kind of cheesey.

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Dropkick Murphys live at Summerfest 2013 - photo by Peter Murphy

The Dropkick Murphys

An interview with drummer Matt Kelly
by Joshua Miller
August 2013

“For Boston.” These are the words prominently displayed on the front of t-shirts created and sold by Irish-punk rockers the Dropkick Murphys as part of their efforts to help raise money for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Donations from these shirts went to Claddagh Fund, a charity started by founding band member Ken Casey. They also supplemented those donations through benefit shows at Boston’s House of Blues and Boston Garden, where they sold their new EP “Rose Tattoo: For Boston Charity.” On the EP, Bruce Springsteen joins the band for a re-recording of their song, “Rose Tattoo.” According to Rolling Stone, the band raised over $300,000 in total donations. Earlier this year the band released their eighth studio album “Signed and Sealed in Blood,” a title that could be applied to the band’s pride and loyalty towards their home city and staying true to its ideals. Prior to his band’s headlining slot at Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebration Thursday, Aug. 29,  drummer Matt Kelly took a few moments to answer some questions over e-mail about helping their city, finding plenty of inspiration for “Signed,” as well as his connection to Harleys and memories of playing Milwaukee.

Maximum Ink: On “Signed and Sealed in Blood” there are some atypical story songs like, “The Season’s Upon Us” (which describes a dysfunctional family at Christmas). How does the songwriting on it, in general, compare with past albums?

Matt Kelly: Well, it was a refreshing and relaxing change from the challenge of making “Going Out In Style”, which was a concept album. As fun as that was (and it was a blast, don’t get me wrong!!), “SSIB” was a bit more free-form and written more off-the-cuff, much like a lot of the songs on our first album, “Do Or Die”. Songs came together quickly, and in some instances, with less effort than on some past records. 

We’re psyched about it, and since debuting some of the songs live six months before it even came out, our supporters have really dug it, too. The response to the new stuff really blew us away, and the fact that people went out of their ways to familiarize themselves with new stuff via Youtube videos, etc., really surprised us. We’d come through a city and you’d see people singing along to the new stuff that wasn’t even officially released yet. Pretty damn cool!

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Drowning Pool circa 2004

Drowining Pool


by Sarah Klosterbuer
February 2004

The void that Dave Williams left behind when he died of heart complications two summers ago expanded beyond the borders of his band and shook the entire rock industry.

His band mates made the brave decision to continue the dream that Williams helped create. They kept their name and their arsenal of material, and began the search for a new singer. Fate ran its course, and the band unanimously chose Jason “Gong” Jones, a musician who had been working in the crowded LA scene.

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Drown on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 1999

Drown


by Paul Gargano
April 1999

Say what you will about America as it races towards the millennium, but the country is soft. Where else in the world does Matchbox 20 sell 10 million records? Where else have politically correctness and money-hungry lawyers made it hazardous to speak your mind? And politics being what they are, where else can a mockery of a sex scandal not cause a country to reassess their moral and ethical standards? Yes, America in the 20th century can’t boast the hardest of inhabitants. In fact, with hundreds of television stations, the Internet offering the world at our fingertips, and Domino’s promising a piping-hot pizza in “30-minutes-or-less,” we’ve got little reason to leave the house. In a world ruled by survival of the fittest, we could be doomed, but don’t tell that to Drown.

In a music industry seldom recognized for rational thinking, Drown—frontman Lauren, guitarist Patrick Sprawl, bassist Sean Demott and drummer Marco Forcone—have survived more adversity than any one band should have to face. They’ve proved they’re amongst the fittest, and Product of a Two Faced World is their double-fisted heart punch to an industry that’s stabbed them in the back a few too many times. With debut Hold on to the Hollow unveiled in 1994 by Elektra Records, and the following three years bogged down by bureaucracy, last year’s Product of a Two Faced World, the band’s sophomore release and first for Slipdisc/Mercury, provided vindication. “No more days putting faith where it doesn’t belong, I’ve been held down here for too goddamn long. Seen you all come and go and I’ve been led on. But I am still alive and I proved you wrong,” charges frontman Lauren in “1605 (for my suffering),” a crushing condemnation from a band that refuses to go away, let alone quietly.

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Drowning Pool on the cover of Maximum Ink in November 2001 RIP Dave!

Drowning Pool


by Paul Gargano
November 2001

Don’t let their casual charm and effervescent personalities fool you, on the package tour dubbed Music As A Weapon, Drowning Pool ‘s performance is the equivalent of stumbling into the ammunition hold and dropping a lit stick of dynamite. Sure, Disturbed have earned their stripes and deserve their place atop the tour they assembled, but if the headliners are the United States Navy, Drowning Pool are the Navy Seals, sneaking up on the unsuspecting crowd with stealth, and attacking with a sonic spray that numbs the senses.

Granted, it’s getting harder for Drowning Pool to “sneak up” on anyone, especially given the breakthrough success of their debut single “Bodies,” one of the most potent metal hits this side of Pantera ‘s “Walk.” The song is a smash even becoming the theme music for the World Wrestling Federation’s recent plotlines, but the acclaim it’s brought with it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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 - photo by Phil Hunt

Drowning Pool

An Interview with guitarist CJ Pierce
by Karli Norton
November 2014

The superstitious better say their prayers, because Drowning Pool is bringing the “unlucky” full force. After 13 years, the band is re-releasing their 2001 album ‘Sinner.’ The expanded reissue is a two-disc set with remastered originals as well as 13 demo tracks including “Soul” and “Hero Sleeping”, the last song to be recorded with the band’s first singer Dave Williams, whose untimely death in 2002 at the age of 30 marked an unlucky end to a rising star. The current tour is a chance for new fans to see some of these classic songs live. Max Ink caught up with guitarist CJ Pierce out on the road.

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