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La Bomba Waters and Les Cougars - photo by Chad Sutherland - Rise Up Lights

Les Cougars

La Bomba from Les Cougars
by Teri Barr
February 2015

The Valentine invite intrigued me. Live musicians, comedy, dancing, burlesque—an all in one, all-woman show (unless you count Cupid, a young man wearing a diaper, as the only contributing factor to the male side of the cast). But once the lights went down on a packed house at the Cardinal Bar in Madison, a full complement of creative energy was on display, and did not disappoint. Tulin Waters takes her opportunity to entertain very seriously. Her group is known as Les Cougars, and her on-stage persona, “La Bomba,” is brash, but brilliant. Yet her whole goal of this good time revolves around supporting other entertaining women of a certain age—- meaning, not your 20-somethings. There were shapes, colors, styles of all types showing off their talents. And if it left the performers feeling good, it also left almost everyone in the audience with a certain kinship, and sense of power. As Les Cougars prepares for another show, they’ll be part of the CD Release Party for Meghan Rose at the Inferno on February 13th at 9 pm, Tulin took time to talk with me about the importance of making a difference, and how she’s finding the stage a perfect place to do it.

Maximum Ink: You are funny, but in a real, relatable sense. Your show includes humor, but still revolves around music, why?
Tulin Waters: I am a music scout, not a musician, which allows me to create a different type of show. My ear for talent came from living in 6 different countries growing up. It gave me a sense of respect and admiration for all types of music. The more you learn about other music from around the world, the more you grasp who has a real passion and understanding of it.

MI: Music is mixed with the unexpected for your group, Les Cougars. Why did you focus on this approach for a show?
TW: I started Les Cougars because this town is full of talented women over the age of 35. In the entertainment business, “maturing” women face ageism and get overlooked unfairly way too often. To me this is a travesty because talent only gets better with experience, and it is at this age when women are in their prime and absolute best up on stage. We should be glorified for what we have accomplished, not replaced, and I am proud to bring to the table a show where there are so many diverse and talented women coming together to preach age empowerment.

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Les Paul holding a copy of Maximum Ink backstage at the Iridium Jazz club in New York City - photo by Otto Schamberger

Les Paul


by Sarah H. Grant
May 2007

‘Upgrade’ is a fairly new term in today’s society, yet it has sparked an international obsession. We need our internet faster, our cars bigger, our celebrities skinnier, and our televisions more…defined? Well listen up, Generation Next, because the man responsible for the original upgrade worked for it… Without the cheat codes.

There is no doubt Les Paul is a living legend of the twenty-first century. He not only invented the first electric guitar, but revolutionized the music industry with countless recording breakthroughs. Les Paul has played for kings, queens and presidents, and is revered by musical titans throughout the world. But one Monday night, on the busiest and brightest street in New York City, this legend sat on a moth-eaten, dusty couch, alone in a cramped dressing room, just a door-swing away from his audience.

A chill ran up my spine. I tried to imagine all the influential people that had gazed into those misty blue eyes, as I was doing. Every inch of his face was brimming with eagerness to talk about the past, perhaps wondering which stories I would conjure. He gently twisted the top of his cane as his eyes darted around before settling on an object across the room, and then back at me.

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5835 ViewsPermalinkLes Paul WebsiteLes Paul Wiki
Les Percussions De Guinee on cover of Maximum Ink in January 2001

Les Percussions De Guinee


by John Noyd
January 2001

A heavenly outpouring of throbbing jubilation, forceful uplifting beats and pounding enthusiasm, Les Percussions de Guinee’s djembe drumming is vibrant and hypnotic, a tumbling tapestry of blustery resonance and driving rhythms. International cultural ambassadors, this government sponsored ensemble takes the most talented players from their Les Ballet Africains and competing regional companies to showcase this rhythm nation’s complete complement of percussion instruments, including log drums, water drums, five headed drums and a xylophone predecessor called a balafon.  Playing with celebrities as diverse as Harry Belafonte, Elvin Jones, and the Police, this dancing, drumming storytelling troupe represented their country in the worldwide touring company of Africa Oye as well as Imax’s new production of global rhythms hosted by British performance artists Stomp.

Thunderous and uproarious, the fifteen-member troupe presents thousands of years of tradition with decades of experience. Their groundbreaking use of female drummers reinforces Mickey Hart’s belief that before man took over the drum for their military communications, the women were the principal performers, linked to various fertility rituals. Historical speculation aside, the current version of the Ensemble is one of the best. With three new members, bringing one of Guinee’s chief folklorist out of retirement, the addition of flute and the twenty-two stringed kora, Les Percussions de Guinee 2001 blends youth, wisdom and perspective, moving the group from a remarkable drum circle to a phenomenal panorama of a rich musical culture.

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LevRage

LevRage

An interview with vocalist Joel Beaulieu
by Laura Sorensen
October 2015

LevRage is pure American metalcore. No bells. No whistles.

Formed in the year 2000 and based in Madison, Wisconsin, the band is fronted by Wisconsin native and vocal powerhouse Joel Beaulieu. I had the opportunity to speak with Joel and find out what makes LevRage tick.MI:  Can you start by giving me a little background on LevRage and who makes up the band?  It is LevRAGE right, not Leverage?

JB: It is LevRage, long A. The band was formed 4 or 5 years ago in Lake Geneva, WI. Four of the members were from Illinois and one of them was from Lake Geneva. They were based out of Schaumburg. The band made some changes, my brother Mike created the band and he’s the one who stayed constant. He made personal changes as they went, not only him but other band members. As we exist now, four of the members are from Wisconsin and only one is from Illinois. We decided to move our base out of Illinois and into Wisconsin to the Madison area. We feel that Madison is the most legitimate place to put your music out in Wisconsin and one of the biggest rock cities in the Midwest.

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Life Of Agony on the cover of Maximum Ink May 1998 - photo by Paul Gargano

Life Of Agony


by Paul Gargano
May 1998

an interview with Alan Robert of Life Of Agony during the Whitfield Crane era

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17-year-old Sam Lyons releases second album,

The Light

An Interview with 17-year-old Sam Lyons
by Geert Driver
June 2013

Sam Lyons is one of the most celebrated young musicians in the Madison area. He’s a talented songwriter, singer, and guitarist whose former bands Stereocolor and Moonjelly dominated the Launchpad awards a few years ago. He’s won 5 MAMA’s and is a MAMA finalist this year in several categories. He’s gone on to perform everywhere from NPR to Summerfest and has also been the guitarist for the Isthmus High School Jazz All Stars since 2010. Now 17, Sam has released his second full length album of original songs and is getting airplay on a few area radio stations. His new 6-piece band features Madison pros Al Falaschi (Phat Phunktion) and Dave Adler (The Gomers), and he also performs solo and with an acoustic trio. Hear his music on itunes or at www.samlyonsmusic.com

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Lion's Mouth

Lion’s Mouth

An interview with Lion's Mouth's singer-guitarist Chelsea Z.
by John Noyd
August 2015

Like a modern Horatio Alger times two, the musical duo LION’S MOUTH embodied the American Dream, heading West from their Wisconsin home to seek not gold but a golden dream of making music full-time. Equipped with ferocious talent and unflappable attitude, guitarist Chelsea Z. and percussionist Sara Wexler took on the challenge of making their mark in the L.A. music scene and in doing so found themselves releasing a strong self-titled debut they are happily bringing with them on their first national tour that takes them back home. Aptly titled, “The Coming Home Tour,” they play Madison’s The Frequency September 6th with area favorites HEAVY LOOKS, THE MILLENIUM and KAREN WHEELOCK. Before heading on tour, Chelsea was kind enough to talk with MAXIMUM INK about their experience in L.A. and how the move affected their music.

MAXIMUM INK: What were your notions about L.A. before you headed out there and how did they change once you got there?

CHELSEA Z.: We had heard that Los Angeles is full of beautiful, shallow people and that we’d love the weather. Though we found some people to be vapid and self-centered, we also found people who are caring and passionate about what they do. (We also thought we’d be the frumpiest and worst dressed, and that has proven to be correct). The weather is beautiful all year, but as Midwesterners we found ourselves missing a cloudy day. We were also cautioned to not get our hopes up because everyone in L.A. is trying to “make it”. At times we felt overwhelmed by the competitive, individualistic nature of the city, but despite all the negative things we had heard, we found a lot of opportunities. We landed a commercial agent who got us several auditions, we’ve met a lot of talented musicians and played great shows in a lot of famous venues.

M.I.: Did you write the album while you were out there?

C.Z.: The songs on our self-titled album were actually written about two years prior to us moving out to Los Angeles. We have another album’s worth of material that we wrote before and during our time here.

M.I.: Did being in a new stimulating environment change the way you wrote songs?

C.Z.: The songwriting since our debut has become much more collaborative. We definitely honed our sound and how we work together. We think about the structure and impact of the arrangement more than we ever have and we have both become better musicians. Our performances are tighter and our songs are riskier.

M.I. Changes can inspire but also challenge.

C.Z.: We’ve been so busy that starting and finishing songs has taken longer. We had a bumpy start and ended up moving several times before we landed in the place we are now. Because of that our practices had to become more deliberate, “what are we playing at the show?” kind of practices whereas before we would jam a lot more. For a while survival was our number one priority.

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3046 ViewsPermalinkLion’s Mouth Website
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