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The Joykiller

The Joykiller

An interview with Ronnie King and Jack Grisham
by Tina Ayres
February 2015

The Joykiller is a punk rock supergroup founded by Jack Grisham(vocals), Ron Emory(quitar)Billy Persons(bass), Chris Lagerborg(drums),and Ronnie King(keyboard) in 1995. Their latest offering is Music for Break-Ups.

Maximum Ink: Do you happen to remember the moment when you first discovered the power of music?
Ronnie King: Well For me at 11 yrs I was recording a record in a real Studio. I was singing my part. Guess what I cried (laughs)
Jack Grisham: It was probably when I was a kid. There was trouble at home—alcoholism, strife, and detachment. I felt alone, uneasy, unloved, and then I heard Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay and it gave me a warmth, a love, and a connection that I’d never felt. The song let me know that it would be okay. I remember copying the lyrics and pretending that I wrote them about she who would one day be in my life.

MI: What was it like to start playing music at the age of 5? Do you think coming from a musical family offered you more encouragement to pursue your interests in the field?
RK: They weren’t in the Music Business at all. They all play with an unconditioned freedom.I sold out a long time ago…I’m having a wonderful time in this time of my life. I’m enjoying music ( It’s all about the music.)

MI: What were you like as a child? Did you develop your love of music early on as well?
JG: I was trouble, too smart for my own good and too sensitive to be comforted. I loved music but I wasn’t gifted as a singer and I had no discipline or desire to learn an instrument.

MI: Who are some of your earliest influences?
RK: I loved listing to Barry Manalow, and McCoy Jazz Great Piano Dude Chick Corea, and the music at the Catholic Church.
JG: Frank Zappa and the Mothers, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.

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Judas Priest on the cover of Maximum Ink in August 2004 - photo by Craig Gieck

Judas Priest


by Jeff Muendel
August 2004

In 1969, while hippies pranced about the farm fields of Woodstock, New York with flowers in their hair, Birmingham, England was giving birth to a monstrous new musical genre that came to be known as heavy metal. A group called Black Sabbath released its first album that year, and while others both in the United States and England were flirting with the heavier side of rock ‘n’ roll, it was that band that nailed metal squarely between the eyes.

Five years later, Birmingham’s fertile musical loins produced another heavy metal monster, one that came to rise just as high as the first, and perhaps, at times, was even more nimble. The vocals soared over others, the songs galloped faster, and two lead guitarists were used rather than one. That band was Judas Priest.

Amazingly, both Birmingham groups have reformed after varying hiatuses and are touring together this summer with Ozzfest, still playing the aggressive, distortion-heavy songs they wrote decades ago in front of fanatical, sellout crowds around the world. Recently, Rob Halford, the outspoken lead singer of Judas Priest, was kind enough to talk with Maximum Ink about his recently reunited band as well as the resulting tour and musical releases.

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Juliette Lewis

Juliette Lewis


by Mike Huberty
October 2009

Actress and musician, JULIETTE LEWIS, knew she wanted to be an actress from the time she was six and she was nominated for an Academy Award before she was twenty years old. Known for roles in films like Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers, and The Other Sister, when she took the leap from acting to fronting a band, known as JULIETTE AND THE LICKS, in 2003 it might have been dismissed as a Jennifer Love-Hewitt or J. Lo-type vanity project. However, instead of sugary pop, she opted for a straight-up rock n’ roll and punk style and has since collaborated with the impressive likes of Dave Grohl from The Foo Fighters and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez from The Mars Volta. Earlier this year, Lewis let go of The Licks and has released her first completely solo album, Terra Incognita.

“We toured the world three and four times over with the Licks.”, Lewis says, talking about her old group. “Around the same time, I had a breakup with my band and a breakup with my love and I was contemplating my existence and the future… I figured if I wanted to evolve, then I should make music now as my own name. It was the first time I really created a record by discovering who I was musically and all the contrast .There’s so many kinds of songs and so much flavor.”

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July explodes with musical options this year

July’s Live Music Overload

A Brief Overlook of Live Music Options this July
by John Noyd
June 2015

July lights up its musical skies with fireworks all month long as festivals, free shows and rare appearances fill the month with incredible choices. Halfway through July, the 17th fires up three festivals within a few hundred miles of each other. Eaux Claires’ inaugural festival features an impressive line-up ranging from world-class acts SPOON, SUFJAN STEVENS and THE NATIONAL to regional heroes BON IVER, PHOX and FIELD REPORT. Highland WI’s second annual Bluelight Festival focuses on local experimental musicians such as JULIAN LYNCH, TAR PET and NEENS as well as touring bands SCAMMERS and CROWN LARK. Finally, Chicago’s long-established hipster haunt Pitchfork Festival scores appearances from established acts like WILCO and SLEATER-KINNEY plus rising stars such as punk-busker COURTNEY BARNETT and blistering Canadians VIET CONG.

If festivals aren’t your scene, fear not, the assembling festivals mean Madison catches fabulous acts stopping in as they pass through. Club dates for radioactive-crackerjacks MELT-BANANA, precious folk-messenger JESSICA PRATT, feisty feminists EX HEX, indie-folk pioneers INDIGO GIRLS and sultry singer-songsmith NATALIE PRASS orbit various festival schedules. Bargain-hunters should delight in several free shows from mega-spectacular pop-robbers THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS and ferocious alt-rockers BULLY taking over downtown to all-star powerhouse NO BS! BRASS BAND, indie-disco brainchild SHAMIR and bedroom-soul patrollers MR TWIN SISTER lighting up campus.

If only the weeks before or after allowed any down-time. As Milwaukee’s Summerfest winds down, the first half of July has Stoughton’s Catfish River Music Festival heating up with Madison’s Le Fete du Marquette hosting slide-bluesman SONNY LANDRETH along with Cajun party-king CJ CHENIER and swamp-stompers THE REVIVALISTS. The last half presents folk-maelstrom LADY LAMB on campus, lofty pop-sophists SAN FERMIN and CLOUD CULT Live on King Street, Nashville blues-rockers SIMO playing Atwood Fest, Cambodian-fronted psycho-surfers DENGUE FEVER at Olbrich Park and country-rock doctors THE MASCOT THEORY at High Noon’s Summer Patio.

The already overstuffed month brings two anniversary tours to Madison; post-rock apostles THE APPLESEED CAST celebrates the fifteenth anniversary and vinyl reissue of their classic, “Mare Vitalis,” while alt-pop iconoclasts CLAP YOUR HANDS AND SAY YEAH revisit their pivotal self-titled debut from ten years ago. The month also sees rare sightings of California power-pop dreamers THE ORANGE PEELS, psychotropic guitar-rock prophets LAZYEYES and rainbow-pop Aussie LENKA while returning conquerors MATTHEW SWEET, DICK DALE and THE MELVINS also manage to find suitable venues. Sorry all we overlooked, but rock on, it will be over before you know it.

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Michael Jackson of The Jackson Five

Paul Gargano remembers Michael Jackson


by Paul Gargano
July 2009

I always wished I could moonwalk.

Not because I listened to hip-hop and wanted to add the move to my breakdancing repertoire, but because Michael Jackson made everyone wish they could moonwalk.

Michael Jackson is the King of Pop because he made awkward and pudgy white kids in suburban America wish they could move like he could. Gawky kids like me were the final frontier, and he was the great unifier. Everyone loved Michael Jackson, because you couldn’t not love Michael Jackson.

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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.

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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.

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