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Lotus - photo by Tobin Voggesser

Lotus to make two-night tour stop at the Majestic

Electronic, instrumental foursome will help Madison fans get on their groove
by Emily Genco
October 2011

Electronic and instrumental hybrid group touring with their new self-titled album will play two consecutive nights at the Majestic Theater Nov. 4 and 5. Members Mike Greenfield, Jesse Miller, Luke Miller and Mike Rempel like to keep things fresh for audiences at shows through extended improvisation on already richly composed tunes.


Love and Death

Love and Death

An interview with Singer/Guitarist Brian "Head" Welch and Guitarist J.R. Bareis
by Tina Hall
May 2012

Former KORN guitarist Brian “Head” Welch formed Love and Death in 2009. Comprised of Welch as frontman, Dan Johnson on drums, Michael Valentine on bass and J.R. Bareis on guitar the members where chosen from open auditions on YouTube. Most recently they released the 5 song EP Chemicals and are with the highly anticipated new full length album expected out later this year. The band is set to tour alongside P.O.D and Red from April 30-May 24. I had the chance to catch up with Brian Welch and J.R Bareis for the latest on things to come.

Maximum Ink: So can you tell me what you where like as a child? What is your foundest memory from that time?
Brian Welch: I was kinda shy, but determined to learn the guitar! My fondest memory is getting my first Ibanez guitar for Christmas.

MI: When did you first develop your love of music? Do you remember what you very first favorite song was?
BW: I was 10 years old and my first song was “Don’t stop believing” by Journey.
JR:I’m pretty sure I loved music before I was conceived or even considered. Hahaha! All I did was listen to music growing up. I just absolutely love it. I can’t even remember my favorite song or if I even had one. I love all kinds of music. Even now, I can’t make up my mind on a certain song.

MI: When you decided to form Love and Death why did you decide to hold open audition on YouTube? Do you enjoy having the chance to give up and coming artists a chance to show the world what they can do?
BW:  Yes. The YouTube idea was to save time from having to fly people to us to jam. Saved a lot of time and was fun to watch all the videos.

MI: How do you feel about being in this band at the age of 17? What have you learned from the experience so far? What was the first thing that ran through your mind when you learned you had gotten the spot?
J.R.: It’s crazy! It’s always been my dream to be in a band and tour.  I’ve learned so much from it. Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is to not let my guitar hit the ground on purpose. At our last show I did and my guitar snapped in half!  The first thing that ran through my mind when I got the spot was, “This seriously can’t be happening. SOMEBODY PINCH ME!”. That was a good day to say the least.


Lucas Cates

An Interview with Lucas Cates
by Teri Barr
January 2015

Add up the miles. 2000+ to the west coast, another 1100 to the Gulf Shore, and then multiply it by at least a dozen times. Lucas Cates, founder of Madison-based The Lucas Cates Band, has been on the road from one end of the country to the other, and almost non-stop since 2006. But recent change to the long-time lineup is giving Cates time to re-group and re-charge. As one of the few full-time, DIY working bands, he’s also now pursuing other interests. Yet Cates still has an eye on the music scene. He’s pulled together a new group, which will open a big show at High Noon Saloon January 22, and plans to include a sampling of songs from their new album, expected out in February. I asked him about his past, his future, and what he’s learned along the way.

Maximum Ink: Has music always been your focus?
Lucas Cates:
I have a musical background but one I never took seriously until college. I played french horn and trumpet in high school, then dabbled at drums and piano but wasn’t great at either, so I finally learned guitar when I was 20. It was the first time in my life I felt like I had a natural ability to do something. I have always been drawn to acoustic guitar, and much of the music I was brought up on featured it. I think we are influenced by our environments and music has always been part of mine.

MI: And you have a new version of The Lucas Cates Band (TLCB)?
Yes! New additions to the band are Cody Davis on bass, and Travis Drumm on drums. Both are extremely talented and humble players. Over the last few months of playing together we have become a cohesive unit and great friends. I think our new album, “Back to the Cocoon”, really captures that. We also have some great guest musicians on it: Kenny Leiser (Mighty Wheelhouse, former TLCB band mate), Darren Marabelli (Katie Scullin Band) put down some electric guitar parts; Andrew Traverse (The Mustache) played some killer trumpet; Jesse Warmka (also a former TLCB band mate) contributed backing vocals.


hip hop reggaeton from Madison/Milwaukee, Lucha Libre

Lucha Libre

by Mike Huberty
July 2008

Madison hip-hop/reggaeton group, LUCHA LIBRE gives a nod to their home turf in their song, “Midwest Bang” on their new album, The Takeover. With a nod to Coolio’s “Sumpin’ New” (quickly followed by a Buffalo Springfield quote), they chant “There ain’t no party like a Midwest party ‘cuz a Midwest party don’t stop.” It’s an interesting statement. After all, this is Madison, where hip-hop is supposed to be controversial and problematic. Amid that, LUCHA LIBRE is creating their own success in a city where hip-hop and rap fans have complained for years that they haven’t gotten the same respect or opportunities. And with their new record, they’re confident and stepping up.


Luna Mortis live at the Annex in Madison, Wisconsin - photo by Matt Mommaerts

Luna Mortis

by Rökker
October 2008

Halloween is coming, metal is in the air and Madison will make another mark on the heavy metal map.

Last December you may remember Maximum Ink ran a band called The Ottomon Empire, a Madison metal band featuring the operatic and sometimes brutallic vocals of Mary Zimmer, guitarists Brian Keonig and Cory Scheider, drummer Erik Madsen and bassist Jake Bare, on the front cover.

I had to go back to the Max Ink website to check out the story one more time, seeing how so much had changed in less than a year… but oddly, it was the same.

In July, it was announced that band had signed to Century Media records and that explained to me why they had changed their name to Luna Mortis.


Mary Zimmer from classic Ottomon Empire days...  - photo by Laura Koeppel

Luna Mortis

Looking Back and Moving Forward, the Return of Luna Mortis
by Sal Serio
July 2013

So you wanna be a rock ‘n roll star? Well, listen now, to what I say. You shopped around your demo, attracted some major label interest, and – viola! – you got signed. Now it’s time to live the dream, right? Elaborate catering requests on riders, swanky tour busses, swimming pools, and groupies lined up down the hall of the Embassy Suites. You’re on easy street, right? I’m sorry to say, the trip may not be a rosy as a baby’s bottom, after all.


Sam Llanas

Sam Llanas

"An Interview with founding BoDean singer Sam Llanas"
by John Noyd
October 2011

Born in Waukesha WI fifty years ago, Sam Llanas spent nearly half his life as co-founder of the BoDeans, working with Grammy-winning producers, recording at world-class studios and skyrocketing to public awareness when the BoDean’s, “Closer to Free,” was picked as the theme for the television show, “Party of Five.” Sam’s first solo venture, under the band name Absinthe, came when the BoDeans took a brief hiatus in the late nineties. His second solo outing, “4 A.M.,” was released the end of last month, a few short months after he announced his departure from the BoDeans. A powerfully quiet affair marked by a low-key tenderness that highlights Sam’s emotion-laden voice, “4 A.M.,” beautifully captures the late night mood where love, truth, loneliness and sympathy walk hand in hand. Sam was kind enough to answer some questions via email and shed light on the process behind such a personal undertaking.

MAX: “4 a.m. here we are again,” a great line for a very nocturnal album and for your second solo outing. Were there any insights in your second time around?

SAM: The only thought I had in my head when I started this project was that I wanted it to be very different from both, “A Good Day to Die,” and any BoDeans record. The obvious thing was to make a record that was almost entirely based on acoustic instruments. 


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