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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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3386 ViewsPermalinkLion’s Mouth Website
Listening Party from Milwaukee, WI

Listening Party

An interview with Weston Mueller from Milwaukee's Listening Party
by Mike Huberty
July 2016

Milwaukee’s LISTENING PARTY is downhome Americana folk, soothing and smooth vocal harmonies over acoustic guitars with a little electric piano and clean electric guitar layering extra melodies over the top. If you’re into TRAMPLED BY TURTLES or THE LUMINEERS, you’ll find lots to enjoy listening to their songs. Musicians Weston Mueller, Joshua Hester, and Jacob Wood just released LISTENING PARTY’s self-titled debut on May 6th and I talked to Weston to get some background on the band and their upcoming show at Atwoodfest on Saturday July 30th at 2:15pm on the Harmony Bar Stage (in the parking lot of Monty’s Blue Plate Diner.)

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Lita Ford rocking Ho-Chunk Casino in Wisconsin Dells - photo by Tricia Starr - TStarr Photography

Lita Ford

Lita Ford at Ho-Chunk Casino on August 4th for Rockn' The Dells
by Tommy Rage
July 2018

Lita Ford talks about writing her book, her longtime friendship with Dee Snider and how her biggest hit “Close My Eyes Forever” came about.

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451 ViewsPermalinkLita Ford Website
Little Red Wolf

Little Red Wolf


by Troy Johnson
May 2011

Success is happening fast for Little Red Wolf. The four Madison women who make up the group and have been writing multidimensional folk based pop songs together since 2008. Each member of LRW is well-versed in various instruments and the singers harmonize like a group that has been together for years. With influences ranging from seminal riot grrrls Sleater Kinney to current groups with diverse but traditional sounds like The New Pornographers and Grizzly Bear, listening to LRW develop their sound is going to be a thrilling ride. When asked what groups they would most like to share a stage with drummer Emily Mills mentioned the Ditty Bops and Fleet Foxes. “Both of these groups have taken traditional American music and found a way to put their own, unique and—frankly—awesome, spin on it. I think we’d mesh pretty well with them.” Kelly Maxwell added, “Little Red Wolf with Fleet Foxes would be amazing. I would just die of happiness.”

The four seem to agree that traditional folk music is just a starting point in their quote"collaborative” song writing process. Maxwell said, “Most of the time it starts with something simple and we all add to it: One of us has a riff, we’ll work on it in rehearsal several times with different instruments until it sounds right, then someone will bring lyrics and that person gets to sing it.”

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Wayne Nelson

Little River Band

An interview with Singer/Bassist Wayne Nelson
by Tina Ayres
April 2015

Wayne Nelson is best known from his work as the lead singer/bassist for Little River Band. Founded in Australia in 1975, the band has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, and are the first band to achieve the record of having Top 10 hits for 6 consecutive years.

Maximum Ink: When did you first discover your love of music?
Wayne Nelson: My earliest memories are infused with music. My parents constantly had music in playing in our home…Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, et al from my mom, and marching music from my dad who was a drum major in college. And both loved Broadway music and plays. They also both sang in the church choir, and were active in local theater groups. So I went with them to rehearsals and services. Rhythm, harmony, and composition were in the air on a regular basis.
MI: Who were some of you earliest influences?
WN: Once I was able to choose new music that I wanted to hear, I loved the Four Seasons, The Beach Boys, The Turtles, and Dion…lots of vocal harmonies and great songs. Next came Motown, The Beatles, The Stones, and Cream. Then horn bands like Chicago, BS&T, EWF, and Chase. From there I started listening to jazz and more esoteric music like Yes, Weather Report, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, Spyro Gyra, and Michael Walden.
MI: What was it like to have had the chance to hone your musical skills in Chicago? Do you feel privileged to have had the chance to play in an area so rich in rhythm and blues?
WN: Chicago was a great town for seeing bands and soaking up live music. Although there was a lot of blues on Lincoln Ave at the time, it hadn’t become as commercialized and popular as it is now. I spent more time seeing CTA and Styx and Cheap Trick at clubs and college venues. What was very hard for any young band in Chicago was to play R&B, which is what all of my friends and fellow musicians were into…Stevie, Motown, EWF, etc. And it was never an easy town to work in…6 sets a night, loading in and out with wind chills of -10, ice on the pavement and at the doorways. Chicago was boot camp for me.

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Livewire in Concert

Livewire

An interview with Madison rockers, Livewire
by Mike Huberty
March 2015

Hair metal never made the magnificent comeback that some of us were hoping for (Even Disco got a full revival, how is that fair?), but as long as cocaine and hair extensions exist, the spirit of the Sunset Strip can never truly die and Madison’s Livewire is keeping that blues-based classic hard rock alive on campus. Going to college in the 90s, it felt like Alternative inherited the Earth from the dinosaurs of Glam, so seeing UW students coming together to pay homage is a rock n’ roll Jurassic Park . Justin Blair sings and plays guitar, while Ryan Pease is on drums and is also a Nuclear Engineer (Yeah, I know, I couldn’t wrap my head around it either.) Emma Meinholz lays down the bass and Charles Lease plays rhythm guitars and backup vox. They just released a new video, “She’s A Storm”, and I had a chance to talk to the band to preview the release.

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1548 ViewsPermalinkLivewire Website
Living Statues on the cover of Maximum Ink for April 2014 - photo by Adrienne D. Williams

The Living Statues


by Mike Huberty
April 2014

Melding a classic garage sound with British Invasion hooks and the straight-up timeless rock n’ roll fashion sense, Milwaukee’s THE LIVING STATUES have been blazing a trail through the Midwest like a hot rod since their formation in 2012. Their first EP, Knockin’, is released on Tuesday April 8th. We took a few minutes to talk to Tommy Shears (guitarist and lead vocals), Chris Morales (drums and vocals), and Alex Thornburg (bass and vocals) about how the group got together, excitement over their new release, and their near-future plans.

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2033 ViewsPermalinkLiving Statues Website
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