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Kodo Drummers

Kodo Drummers

by John Noyd
February 2009

In Japanese the word “Kodo” conveys two meanings: “heartbeat” the primal source of all rhythm and, “children of the drum,” a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play their drums simply, with the heart of a child. Bringing their One Earth tour to Madison’s Overture Center on February 21st Japan’s premiere taiko drumming ensemble continue their quest to unite the world through sound, transcending cultural barriers to remind us of our membership in that larger community—the world.  Taiko is not simply percussion,” long-time Kodo member Akimoto explains. “It’s a part of life, and part of communities. It unites people with people, and also people with nature and even with gods.” Community is a central theme in Kodo’s philosophy. More than a musical group, it is a village that harvests rice, runs a two-year apprentice program, and even crafts eco-friendly Earth Furniture. In concert, the thundering drums startle and mesmerize, racing in arresting rhythms that rumble in war-like marches and ripple in whimsical jigs, seismic salutations whose relentless beats collapse consciousness, altering moods and elevating the spirit in collective thought. A venerable tradition nearly thirty years old, Kodo is a sight to behold, a forceful reminder of individuals working together, united in a common goal.


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Kodo Drummers

Kodo Drummers

by Andrew Frey
March 2005

The first drum beat each of us experience is our mother’s heartbeat. This drumming continues as our own heartbeat propels us through each day of our existence. On Sado Island near Japan, the group known as KODO express their own heartbeats through drums. Taiko drums to be exact.“

Historically, every culture has had their own kind of drum. It can be considered as “a tool shared by all mankind,” explained Jun Akimoto, KODO’s tour manager. “It definitely has the “power” and “possibility” to appeal to and connect the people all over the world.”

During their performances, the KODO performers are clad in sweatbands and loincloths and meticulously beat their drums to create rhythms and patterns as old as our collective human heartbeat, yet as new as the ears that hear them. Drums with names like “Hirado-daiko” (flat-barrel drum), “Chu-daiko” (middle-sized drum) and the giant 800 pound “O-daiko,” (a double headed drum made from the trunk of an African Bubinga tree and the hide of a large cow) all have been chosen and woven into tightly composed and choreographed rhythmic and musical tapestries. KODO have given over 2600 performances in 42 countries on all five continents since their debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981. When asked about a favorite among their live performances, Akimoto replied, “All the performances we’ve done are memorable in their own way but to name one, the outdoor concert that we did at Red Rocks, Colorado in 2002 as part of a music festival made a lasting impression as the venue was unique. Also our concert at The Acropolis (in Greece) was amazing.”


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An interview with drummer Ray Luzier of Korn
by Aaron Manogue
July 2012

There have been very few bands in the history of metal that have paved the way for other bands much like Korn did in the ’90s. The biggest thing that people don’t realize is that with their latest change toward dubstep is that change is Korn’s mode of operation. They came onto the scene with a new form of metal that would later be dubbed numetal and quickly became one of the world’s most recognizable sounds.


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Korn on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2006, the Ten Year Anniversary Issue, and the second time Korn made the cover - photo by Paul Gargano

Korn - 2006

by Paul Gargano
March 2006

In an era where nameless, faceless and meaningless have become standards, Korn have transcended hard rock and heavy metal banality with a sound and vision that defies categorization. They bubbled from the Bakersfield, CA, heavy metal underground more than a decade ago, emerged as a hard rock phenomenon with the breakthrough success of Follow The Leader in 1997, and have exceeded any and every conceivable expectation since then. It may seem premature to consider Korn legends in only their second decade as a band, but not when you acknowledge the facts.

Impressed by numbers? Korn have released seven albums, surpassed the 25 million mark in worldwide sales (more than 15 million of those in America alone), and have had every album since their self-titled debut enter the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart in the Top 10, with all seven of their studio albums achieving Platinum sales (their 2004 Greatest Hits release is certified Gold). The numbers don’t lie, but they don’t even begin to tell the story of Korn, who not only redefined heavy metal with the diabolic, cutting-edge histrionics of their 1994 debut, but turned the industry on end in the years that followed, having a profound influence on today’s heavy music scene and making a marked impact on the way metal has reemerged as a sonic force on the pop-driven musical mainstream.

In one fleeting decade, Korn have single-handedly changed the way America views heavy music. Now, with the release of See You On The Other Side, they’ve opened the doors to even more disarray, taking their trademarked sound to the next level. It’s what they’ve always done, but to even more astonishing depths.


James Kottak


An interview with Kottak Vocalist/Guitarist/ Scorpions drummer, James Kottak
by Tina Hall
December 2010

Rocker James Kottak is best known as the drummer for Scorpions, which he joined in 1996. Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, he has certainly come a long way since his days in the land of baseball and whiskey.

Beside performing on over 130 albums and dvd’s, and numerous tours with the Scorps, he has his own band Kottak. The latest Kottak CD titled Rock & Roll Forever is out now.

Maximum Ink: When did you first know you had to become a musician?
James Kottak: I saw a cover band at my sister’s school when I was in 5th grade and they played Stairway To Heaven. I immediately wanted a drum set, got one, and was obsessed. I also played trumpet from 4th grade on thru college.

MI: Who were some of your earliest influences?
JK: Led Zeppelin of course, Grand Funk Railroad (Live album), The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper).  By the way I just saw the Beatles, Love show in Vegas, Amazing!


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Germany's Kraftwerk in Maximum Ink in April 2008


by Jeff Muendel
April 2008

The history of Kraftwerk begins in 1970 when Florian Schneider-Esleben and Ralf Hütter, the founding members of the band, formed a group called Organisation. The Oranisation’s only album, Tone Float, was a mixture of tape loops, electronic feedback, and clanking rhythms. It was decidedly experimental compared to what the rest of the musical world was doing, and while a German record contract was landed, the LP did very little in the way of sales. By the end of that same year, however, the group had morphed into Kraftwerk.


Kris Lager on the cover of Maximum Ink

Kris Lager Band

From Omaha to AtwoodFest 2018
by Tommy Rage
July 2018

A few rules to live by if you are a blues musician: Your happiness is directly linked to the day of the week, the preacher man is frequently of no comfort, and trusting people that you meet at the Crossroads is unwise. Unless you come upon a crossroad that leads you directly to AtwoodFest on Sunday July 29th, on the Madison Heritage Stage at 3:45 pm. The unique heavy soulful guitar workings of the Kris Lager Band bring foot-tapping blues and funky boogie-rhythm to the community festival.

The latest release from the Nebraska foursome Love Songs & Life Lines share the band’s tales from the road on songs like “Where The Green Grass Grows Tall” and “San Francisco Bound.”


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