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Madison's Robert J on the cover of Maximum Ink in June 2008

Robert J

by Kristen Winiarski
June 2008

A man who simply goes by “Robert J” fronts the band The Rowdy Prairie Dogs who jam on the Potawatomi Stage at Summerfest on its concluding day, Sunday, July 6 at noon. I had the opportunity to talk with this man who has been through so much just in the last year: dealing with a heart attack, forming a new band, and now, preparing to play Summerfest next month. When asked about the festival, Robert J said, “I’ve played there [Summerfest] about 6 or 7 times, mostly with the Moon Gypsies, I played with a band called Howlin’ at the Moon…I’m always excited to play Summerfest; it’s a big party.”

Robert J got started in the music industry at a young age, playing the guitar when he was just two years old. He is a guitarist and singer, but most of all a songwriter. When asked how he got started in the music industry, it was obvious it was a long effort, “Ohhhhh okay, actually I graduated from college and I had been playing in bands in Detroit. And I jumped in the band van and moved to Colorado in a van.  I had been playing a little bit, but that was pretty much when I decided okay, I’m just going to go be a musician for a while.” When he jumped into this van, he was also jumping into the band Happy Trails, merely one of about 20 bands that Robert J has been a part of.


Canadian actress & singer Sass Jordan

Sass Jordan

by Tina Hall
March 2010

U.K. born, Montreal raised Sass Jordan has proven she can make it in the rock world as well as the acting world. Her singing talents have been promoted by Gene Simmons of KISS, as well as the late composer Michael Kamen and hung out with counterculture guru Timothy Leary. Sass has recorded and toured with such acts as Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Cheap Trick, Van Halen, Carlos Santana, and Joe Cocker.

Sass took on the world of acting starring as Janis Joplin in the off Broadway “Love Janis.” She enjoyed a show stopping run in the Canadian version of “The Vagina Monologues” and was given a guest role on the NBC show “Sisters”. For six years she was a judge on Canadian Idol.

Her newest release “From Dusk Til Dawn” is set for March 16th on RBE Music/Kindling Music/Fontana. It features a remake of Tom Waits’ “Ol 55” along with her newest offerings. I recently had the opportunity to ask a few questions.

Maximum Ink: Did you mother, being a ballet dancer and actress, influence you to partake in acting yourself?
Sass Jordan: Not really, because she wasn’t actually working when I knew her. She quit it all to be a full-time Mom.


Tim Janis (seated right) with Paul McCartney

Tim Janis

An interview with musician, composer, arranger, and conductior Tim Janis
by Tina Hall
October 2010

Tim Janis has worked with some of music’s most talented minds like Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and Ray Charles to name a few. He has composed ten Billboard charting albums over the course of his career. Janis has had his work featured on four public television specials to date and is currently working on the special Celebrate America, which focuses on music in public schools. Tim has worked to promote several charitable causes like the American Cancer Society and Church World Service.

On December 2nd he brings The American Christmas Carol to Carnegie Hall to benefit Little Sisters of the Poor. Featuring a cast of truly talented artists it is a show you simply have to see. The cast comprises of Tim Janis, Chandler Lutz, Donald Braswell, Jim Cole, Sarah Darling, Wendy McPike, Emily Bear, and the ever talented Wisconsin native Eli Mattson (who I am sure readers remember from the third season of America’s Got Talent). Jimmy Nichols is the Music Director and Andy Hire, Todd Sullivan, and Kevin Cooper conduct the symphony orchestra and chorus. Rolland Smith is the host for the event, one of those rare events that remind you of the joy and wonder of Christmas felt as a child from the true meaning of the season, that the entire family can enjoy together.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about where you are from and how your early beginnings helped shape you into who you are at this point in your life?
Tim Janis: I am from Maine. I thank God for my gift to write music. I was at a Military HS when I decided to do music so I had a lot of catching up to do. But it was all in the heart.


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