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Guitarist Richard Fortus

Guns n’ Roses

An interview with guitarist Richard Fortus
by Tina Hall
December 2011

Richard Fortus has graced the stage with artists like Rihanna,The Psychedelic Furs, Nena, Love Spit Love, Honky Toast, The Compulsions, Thin Lizzy, and most recently Guns N’ Roses, with a stage presence that is nothing short of amazing. His work with the music production company Compound has seen his work featured in various tv, film, advertising and videogame 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.

Maximum Ink: Who were some of your earliest influences?
Richard Fortus: The Beach Boys, Beatles, Stones, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, T Rex, Neil Young.

MI: As someone who has studied music professionally do you recommend formal training to others? What advice would you offer the musicians of tomorrow?
RF: It really depends on what you want to do. It’s definitely not necessary, but I always wanted to gain all the skills possible to be as good of a musician as possible. I always wanted to learn everything I could about music. You never stop learning.

MI: You started playing the violin and drums as a child. What made you want to become a guitarist?
RF: There were always guitars around the house when I was growing up. I was always pretty intimidated by them because they had 6 strings and I had my hands full with 4! I always loved guitar though. Guitars are just so sexy! 

When I was about 12, I used to jam with other kids and they started showing me stuff. I became fairly adept very quickly. I always hung around older kids that were much more advanced. They hung out with me because at a very young age, I was a pretty solid drummer and they all played guitar.



Guns n’ Roses

An interview with producer/Guns 'n Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal
by Tina Hall
January 2012

Guitarist, songwriter, producer Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is best known for his work as the guitarist of Guns n Roses since 2006. He has appeared on many various albums as a quest artist with nine albums credits of his own.  As writer his work can be found on various jingles, theme songs, and shows such as The Metal Show on Vh-1, Smallville, WWE Raw, Real World, Pimp My Ride, Hogan Knows Best, Osbournes, Made, Clone High, Road rules and countless others. With twenty years experience as a producer Ron has worked in a vast array of genres bring his unique musical vision to many projects. Thal is also a member of the MS Research Foundation Board of Directors.

Maximum Ink: Is it true that you could spell by the age of 2 before you could talk?
Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal: Yes, but with time it flipped around. Now I can talk but can no longer spell.

MI: What is your fondest early memory?
RBT: Hmmmm, the first thing that popped in my head…birthday party when I turned 1. Big cake, parents’ friends & their kids, and they put this pointy party hat on me, I hated the fucking thing. It had an elastic string that went under the chin, fastened to the hat by a staple on each side. My hair in those spots right in front of my ears kept getting caught and pulled by the staples, was pissing me off. And I couldn’t figure out how to get the hat off, that elastic string turned the hat into some kind of skull super-magnet. I’d lift, move, let go, smack back on my head. And if I was making progress some sadistic giant would reposition the hat and I’d have to start from scratch. I’ve kept my distance from such hats since. But yeah, other than that wardrobe malfunction it was a good night, earliest memory of some good partyin’.

MI: You have stated that from an early age you didn’t need most people. Do you think that is a good thing to learn considering the whole issues of trust and loyalty?
RBT: I’ve just never liked dependency. I’ve always been able to entertain myself just fine, stay busy, I usually flourish when I’m alone, undistracted, I’m more productive, body and mind both get stronger, my interests grow, get new skills. Only problem with that is in the end everybody is depending on you, you’re the ‘Go To’ Guy for everything, and if you’re not able to say NO for 99% of it you become nothing more than everyone’s life support system wherever you turn. And that’s when life becomes empty and questionable - when you slowly realize you’re just a fucking carcass getting picked at until there’s nothing left. I believe in being wanted, not needed. Being wanted is by choice. Being needed drains my batteries.



An interview with Lead Vocalist, Oderus Urungerus and Bassist, Beefcake the Almighty
by Edub
April 2012

Maximum Ink: This is E-Dub from Max Ink Radio hanging out at The Majestic Theatre in Madison, WI with Oderus Urungus and Beefcake the Almighty.  12 Studio releases, 22 videos, a couple of grammy nominations
Oderus: We’re ashamed of those, of course….

MI: And yet you still find the time to rape, murder, and pillage…How do you manage to keep that schedule?


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Ian Gillan

Ian Gillan

An interview with the legendary singer from Deep Purple and Black Sabbath
by Tina Hall
September 2010

Ian Gillan is best known for his work in Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. Over the years he has made several guest appearances with other artists. He has countless albums to his credit. Ian has also worked on four published books in his time. I recently caught up with the legendary frontman to see what fans can expect next.

Maximum Ink: Who where some of your earliest influences?
Ian Gillan: Well I grew up in a musical family so opera and jazz piano (boogie-woogie) were there from early days. Also I was a boy soprano in the church choir – yes I know!!! But it was really the young Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry that hit the spot.

MI: What was it that first led you to consider a career in music?
IG: I never really considered it to be a career, in fact I haven’t given it much thought; it just kind of happened. 

MI: You performed at the Jeff Healey tribute concert in Toronto in 2008. Did you know Jeff? Did you ever have the chance to work with him?
IG: Yes, I knew Jeff; he used to jam with us every time we played Toronto and he did me the great honor of recording a contribution to my anniversary album ‘Gillan’s Inn’. There’s some nice footage of him on the visual element of that record too.


Jackie Green on the cover of Maximum Ink in August 2003

Jackie Greene

by David A. Kulczyk
August 2003

Jackie Greene has often been called an overnight sensation, but his overnight success took six years. “I don’t want to say that I’ve paid my dues, but I kind of have,” said Greene.  “I’ve played since I was 16 in stupid little clubs, just myself, and got paid shit to do it. I had to go outside on breaks because I wasn’t 21.”

Now 22, Jackie started playing piano when he was very young, took a few lessons, but eventually quit and taught himself. Then, after a Metallica-Guns and Roses-Nirvana preteen stage, he started listening to the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles .  Working his way backwards, he went through his parent’s record collection and discovered Ray Charles, Muddy Waters and Mississippi John Hurt. His life changed completely. He dove into American roots music and never looked back. Inspired by Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, Greene decided to start writing his own material.


Jessie Galante

Jessie Galante

An interview with singer and songwriter Jessie Galante
by Tina Hall
October 2010

Jessie Galante had been working in rock since the 80’s when she was in the band Actor in Buffalo, NY. Her first solo album was later released under the name Gesua, her Sicilian name. She also lived for a time in Holland.

Jessie’s newest album “Spitfire” was co-produced by Larry Swist (who worked with Lou Gramm, Ike and Tina Turner, Sly and the Family Stone) and Grammy award winner Mick Guzauski (who mixed Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Anastacia, KISS, Madonna, Celine Dion, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. The album also features covers of Sass Jordan’s “High Road Easy’”, and Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination”. 

There is an impressive lineup of artists from America and from Europe on the album as well. From the US is bassist Jack Daley (Lenny Kravitz, Joss Stone, Janet Jackson, Everlast), guitarist Rob Bailey (Billy Joel, Jive Jones, Mandy Moore, Anastacia), drummer Frank Ferrer (Guns N’ Roses, Tommy Stintson, Psychedelic Furs), and From Hungary she has Janos Szuccs and Peter Raso on guitar, Tibor Ferenczi on bass, and Jano Takacs on drums who joins her band for her seasonal European work.

Maximum Ink: What was it like to grow up in a Sicilian household? What is your fondest early memory from those days?
Jessie Galante: Our home was a lot of fun. I have four brothers and we are very close thanks to our parents who believed in doing everything as a family. Music was a big part of our lives as my father used to listen to traditional Italian/Sicilian music and play clarinet and my mother had an amazing singing voice. All five of us played an instrument until I eventually turned to singing. As it turns out four out of the five of us now have careers in music. The fondest memory I have from those days is sitting around the kitchen table at dinner time yelling, laughing, screaming at each other….chaotic! I miss those days. However to this day, when the five of us get to get together, which is rare because we are spread out all over the country, we turn into kids again and act the same way.

MI: How old were you when you first knew you wanted to be a singer?
JG: I was a late bloomer when I decided I wanted to make music my career. When my father passed away it was a wake up call for me. At that time, I was married, had a house and a great job, but with my father passing away, I looked at my life….it was boring!  So I left my job, left my husband, sold the house and ended up singing in a very popular band six nights a week!


The Pimps (Goodyear Pimps)

by Jeff Muendel
March 2000

The Pimps from Rockford on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2000.

When rock music and Rockford, Illinois are mentioned in the same breath, the only thing that comes to mind is Cheap Trick . Rockford is not known as a musical mecca, but as in any city, there are always at least four or five punk kids who come together, form a band, and create something worthwhile. It is now Rockford’s turn again to offer a group that demands attention on a national level, and this time the entity is called The Pimps. Originally christened The Good Year Pimps , the band was forced to drop half their name because the mighty tire company that has become synonymous with blimps didn’t like the quintet’s little word play. While this was a disappointment to the group, they realized that good rock and roll is about the, not the name. Indeed, the Beatles were once the Silver Beatles, Grand Funk were once music Grand Funk Railroad, and Chicago were once Chicago Transit Authority. On top of the historical justification, “The Pimps” is easier to remember, shorter to type, and has a bit more of a sting to it.


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