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Madison's Damsel Trash featuring Meghan Rose and Emily Mills

Damsel Trash

an interview with Meghan Rose and Emily Mills
by Teri Barr
April 2016

Do you ever hear (and in this case, see) a band, and wonder where the group may be headed? The first story I wrote about Meghan Rose came out in February, 2014, after meeting her at Ladies Rock Camp in Madison, where she helped coach and encourage a group of women wanna-be rock stars. A few people at the time asked, “Who?” But, I had the feeling any obliviousness wouldn’t last long, especially when she partnered with Emily Mills to form Damsel Trash, a self-described two-women, trash punk rock your face band.

Fast-forward a little more than two years, and we now know where Damsel Trash is going:  Meghan is moving to New York City in May, and though Emily will remain in the Madison area, there is a pact between the two. We haven’t heard the last from Damsel Trash. I had the chance to ask them more about the band’s past, and get some great details about their plans for the future.   

Maximum Ink: How did Damsel Trash get started?
Emily Mills:
Meg and I were in Little Red Wolf (alt-country) together. But it wasn’t until we did a Hole tribute band for Halloween, 2012, that I think things started to really click in terms of both of us wanting an outlet for our shoutier, angrier, more theatrical sides. Meg learning so much about Courtney Love for that Hole tribute, and sort of embodying that rowdy, take-no-shit persona really fucking opened a door for her, I think. It was a beautiful thing to witness, because she hadn’t really embraced that punk side of herself, not fully, prior to that.


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Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks in Maximum Ink in December 2007

Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks

by Brett Lemke
December 2007

Dan Hicks has been performing an eclectic mix of staccato, alt-jazz guitar over the brushed swagger of his swing band The Hot Licks for over 30 years. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hicks has just released “Duets,” a download-only album featuring collaborations with Tom Waits, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, and Rickie Lee Jones. Hicks spoke with Maximum Ink about the new incarnation of The Hot Licks, his first band The Charlatans, and working with filmmaker Ralph Bakshi.


Toronto's Danko Jones

Danko Jones

by Justin Beckner
April 2010

Danko Jones is a power rock trio who have been relentlessly touring throughout the world for a very long time. I had a chance to catch up with Danko Jones on opening night of the 2010 Guns & Roses Tour in Winnipeg, Canada where they played to a nearly sold out MTS Centre.

MAXIMUM INK: Tell me a bit about your latest album.
DANKO JONES: It’s a little confusing. Our newest album was released in March of 2008. Its called Never Too Loud. We toured for that for about a year, then we put out a B-Sides record and toured for that in Europe last year. And we just finished the new follow-up album this last December, so only a month ago. That’s gonna be out this year - hopefully around May. So, Never To Loud just got released in America, B Sides is our latest record in Europe, and in Canada Never Too Loud got released almost two years ago.


Dark New Day

Dark New Day

An interview with guitarist Clint Lowery
by Aaron Manogue
January 2012

Since 1994, his music has pierced the impervious veil of hard rock and created a sound all its own that’s as recognizable as zebra at a horse farm. If you are a fan of rock n’ roll or even simply a fan of musicianship, you can’t help but admire the body of work he’s put together over his long career. His musical portfolio is so diverse that you would think there’s no way the same person created it. From the soul searching lyrics and soft guitar riffs of Hello Demons Meet Skeletons, to the undeniable ass kicking each Sevendust record brings, Clint Lowery has been part of it all. Clint’s incredible talent coupled with other amazing musicians such as Will Hunt (Evanescence), his brother Corey Lowery (Eye Empire), Brett Hestla (Virgos Merlot) and Troy McLawhorn (Evanescence) has created yet another monster, with Dark New Day’s release of New Tradition. Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue talked with Clint about the new record, his upcoming project with Morgan Rose titled Call Me No One and what it’s like to work with his brother Corey again.

Maximum Ink: Talk to me about the new record.
Clint Lowery: Oh man, it was great. This is a lot of B-Side stuff and stuff that we worked on at the end of the first Dark New Day cycle, for Twelve Year Silence. These are songs that we were actually writing years ago so we haven’t been back in the studio recording in years. This is kind of just something we wanted to release to the fans that we thought were pretty legitimate songs. We just remastered them and tweaked them up a bit in the studio.


Dark Star Orchestra - photo by Bob Minkin

Dark Star Orchestra

An interview with guitarist Jeff Mattson
by Sal Serio
January 2013

One of the true originals in the history of American music remains the Grateful Dead, and even though the group disbanded in 1995 after the death of lead guitarist, vocalist, and co-founder Jerry Garcia, the Dead phenomenon continues full force. Among the strongest contingencies involved in keeping the vibe of the Dead authentic, and turning on new fans to the GD concert experience is Dark Star Orchestra, who formed in Chicago in 1997 when guitarist John Kadlecik and keyboardist Scott Larned shared the concept of starting a band that recreated entire Grateful Dead concerts from the past. Over the years, Dark Star’s legacy has grown, and a few line-up changes have occurred, including the shocking passing of Scott Larned in 2005. In 2009, Kadlecik was asked to join the band Furthur with original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, and at that point Jeff Mattson, of Zen Tricksters and Donna Jean Godchaux Band fame, was logically asked to fill the Jerry Garcia role in Dark Star. In anticipation of DSO’s approaching upper Midwest dates (Jan 30 at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Jan 31 at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison WI, Feb 1 at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, and Feb 2 at the Vic Theater in Chicago) I had the opportunity to speak to Jeff Mattson by phone while he was enjoying some time off at his home in New York state.


Days Of The New on the cover of Maximum Ink

Days Of The New

an interview with Travis Meeks
by Paul Gargano
August 1998

They produce one of the purest sounds in music, they’ve spawned the most influential songs in the history of rock `n roll, and they’re the favorite for songwriters the industry over, but in the eyes of hard rock fans, acoustic guitars are still fighting for respect - on radio they’re equated with power ballads, in live shows they result in a sea of lighters, and unplugged sets have become nothing more than trendy sidebars during performances.

Enter Days of the New frontman Travis Meeks, whose acoustic guitar has meant a great deal more. It’s helped him earn a platinum album, one of the most coveted billings of the summer, and an opportunity to disprove the fallacy that unplugged bands can’t rock as heavy as their amped-up peers. An impressive list of accomplishments for a 19-year-old from Kentucky whose artistic vision projects far beyond his breakthrough commercial success.


The Dead Daisies

The Dead Daisies

An interview with Guitarist Richard Fortus
by Tina Ayres
July 2014

Richard Fortus has graced the stage with artists like Rihanna, The Psychedelic Furs, Nena, Love Spit Love, Honky Toast, The Compulsions, Thin Lizzy, and Guns N’ Roses, with a stage presence that is nothing short of amazing. His work with the music production company “Compound” has been featured in various tv, film, advertising and video game projects. Fans of the former television show Charmed have enjoyed his work on the theme song, as well. His work ethic and drive led to his being one of the most sought after first call sessions artists in NYC. He recently joined forces with the band The Dead Daisies. It is my pleasure to bring our readers a little more information on the latest project.

Maximum Ink: Where are you from? What were you like as a child? What would you say are your most fond memories from that time?
Richard Fortus:
I’m from Saint Louis. I started playing violin and drums around 4 or 5 years old. I didn’t pick up guitar till I was around 13. I don’t think I was a bad kid. I got in to some trouble, but I wasn’t too bad. I really fell in love with rock n’ roll at an early age and used to go to every concert that I could. It didn’t matter if I was really a fan of the band or not, if they came to St Louis, I went. I definitely have a lot of great memories from shows.

MI: What do you love most about the act of making music?
The spiritual high that is achievable through music is unlike anything else. It’s a place where you are completely out of your body and mind and are acting only as a conduit or channel. It’s something that I’m also chasing. My primary objective is to reach that place every night. Some nights it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, it is bliss. 

MI: Why do you think music has always had such an appeal through the ages?
For THAT reason! Music is a spiritual experience for the musician and the listener. It can move you unlike any other art form. It’s immediate and can be incredibly powerful.

MI: What advice would you offer those wishing to learn to music regardless of their instrument of choice?
You have to love it so much, that it possesses your body and soul. If you don’t have that passionate love, you will never be great. That is, of course, only if you want to seriously make music a career. If not, as long as you enjoy doing it, you are doing the right thing!


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