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Mix Master Mike and his Moog pedal of the Beastie Boys on the cover of Maximum Ink - photo by Dustin Rabin

The Beastie Boys - Mix Master Mike


by Mario Martin
December 2004

November might be cold in Wisconsin, but just before Talib Kweli’s set at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, I had the chance to speak to one of the hottest DJs in the game. He’s the DJ for the headlining Beastie Boys and one of the founding members of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, but this 34 year-old California native waxes about music, life on the road and the like.

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Ben Masel imagery by Dan Goodrich

Ben Masel Day

420 is Ben Masel Day
by Rökker
April 2012

Last May, Madison’s city council along with mayor Paul Soglin passed a resolution (legislative file #22458)  “honoring the life of Bennett “Ben” Masel, his contributions to our community and declaring April 20th as “Ben Masel Day” in the City of Madison”. Ben Masel, the iconic Madison civil rights defender, passed away last April after a battle with cancer.

Here is the full text of the resolution from the city’s website, CityOfMadison.com:

“WHEREAS,  Bennett “Ben” Masel was a fierce defender of personal and civil liberty, a champion of the Constitution, the rule of law and the founding faith that the freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights were not just ideals, they were practical tools to be used on a daily basis to challenge power; and

WHEREAS, Ben Masel peacefully fought for his rights with courage, cleverness, and joy; and

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3240 ViewsPermalinkBen Masel Day Website
Chicago's Cameron McGill

Cameron McGill And What Army


by Dan Vierck
November 2008

Cameron McGill is a pop-fectionist. What should be needless to say, is that this has nothing to do with aesthetic, marketing or sales. Be it McGill solo or with his Chicago-based band What Army, the music doesn’t just take center stage, it’s the only thing meaningful thing on the stage.

McGill’s music is the new smooth voice of the Midwest. People like Bright Eyes, Devandra Banhart, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, Jentri Colello and Madison’s whole alt-country scene plus so many more have started or taken on this quest of giving our green plains an audible, distinct, interesting and unique musical pulse. McGill’s place in this line up is on the radio.

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Charles Mack

Charles Mack

An interview with bassist Charles Mack
by Tina Ayres
January 2015

Charles Mack is the former bassist for Grammy Award winner James Cotton and Lucky Peterson. His work has spanned a wide array for genres. He has shared the stage with such acts as Inflatable Soule, Cypress Hill, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Jimmy Johnson, and Kenny Neal, just to name a few. The can currently be found performing with Charles Mack Band featuring Eric Robert (Keyboard), Joel Tipke (Guitar), and Jarvis Oliver (drums)

Guitar Digest: At what age did you first discover your love of music? Can you remember what the exact moment was like when you first realized how powerful music can be?
Charles Mack: As a child, I would listen to my family play blues, I had no idea what they were doing, I just knew the notes, along with their singing relaxed me. I was around 5 years old when I first noticed it, even though I heard it when I was younger, I just didn’t know what it was until age 5. Music has a way of making changes in the spirit. I used to cry a lot, but my mother would play jazz and I would immediately stop crying and fall asleep. The feeling I had when I was 5, from what I remember, music was like a warm blanket on a cold night, wrapped tightly, embracing every element of your being. I had a feeling of pure happiness, enjoyment, and fulfillment.

GD: What are some of your very first memories pertaining to music?
CM: The very first memories pertaining to music were of being around family, a room filled with guitarists and singers. When I was younger, my father, aunt and uncle would get together and play music, playing blues. I was amazed at how happy it made them feel. I had never seen my dad smile so much. My aunt played slide guitar, my dad and uncle were straight blues, finger pickin’ (rhythm and solo). The happiness that would come out of my family from playing music was incredible! The feeling that they were getting, I wanted to feel. This is by far, the best experience I have had as a child regarding an incredible feeling/experience pertaining to music.

GD: Who were some of your earliest influences? Do you happen to remember what your very first favorite song was?
CM: My earliest influences were, Bach, Miles Davis, Coltrane, BB King, Muddy Waters, The Supremes, The Dells, Earth Wind and Fire, Ron Carter, Charlie Parker, R Vaughn Williams, Copeland and Big Momma Thorton. I was a weird kid and I listened to everything. My first song I ever heard was a Luis Jordan song, my mother would play his music quite often around the house. Run Joe, 5 Guys named Moe ; the list goes on and on.

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Door County native Eli Mattson

Eli Mattson


by Tina Hall
January 2010

Eli Mattson is probably best known as runner up on TV’s America’s Got Talent, on NBC, where he lost to Neal E. Boyd by only 0.5%. He has made several appearances in Vegas with AGT winner Terry Fator. Eli started playing the piano at 5 and has been performing as a vocalist/pianist since the age of fourteen.

MAXIMUM INK: You claim Door County, WI as your home. What it is like to get chances to play your home town?
ELI MATTSON: “Well I lived in Door County as a kid, went to Southern Door, and worked at the Pizza Hut in town. After that I moved around a lot but what Door County really gave me was a start with music. My first regular gig was at Java on Jefferson when it was there.  Now when I play there it’s great to see the people who supported me first.”

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Eli Mattson

Eli Mattson

An interview with Wisconsin Singer/Songwriter Eli Mattson
by Tina Hall
December 2010

Eli Mattson is best known as the runner-up on season three of America’s Got Talent (AGT). The following interview was done around September 2009 (before the interview that ran on here … for a magazine that never went to press). Seeing as it is so very hard to find an artist that does deserve to be praised for their talent as much as this one, I thought the readers of Maximum Ink might like to see this interview (a prequel of sorts). Eli is a Wisconsin native who has been performing as a pianist and vocalist since the age of fourteen. He has made several guest appearances in Las Vegas with AGT winner Terry Fator. He has four albums to date and talent to spare. He recently performed along with several other musicians in the Tim Janis Christmas Carol at Carnegie Hall.

Maximum Ink: Where are you from and when did you first take an interest in music and why? When did you take up the piano?
Eli Mattson:  I was originally born in Duluth, MN, but my family moved around a lot. We came to Wisconsin when I was about ten, and I was in Door County off and on most of the time. I can’t really say why I took an interest in music. It just always made sense to me. I started playing the piano when I was five, and I fell in love with it. I can’t imagine it not being a part of me.

MI: Who are some of your biggest musical influences and why?
EM: Well, Elton John and Billy Joel of course, but I really love all music. I think it’s important to listen and learn everything you can from any artist out there, especially when you’re trying to be one. Some other names would be, Jimmy Newquist, Alice in Chains, Harry Chapin, just to name a few. Good music is good music!

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2312 ViewsPermalinkEli Mattson Wiki
Helen Money - Heavy Cello

Helen Money


by Mike Huberty
November 2009

Listening to the new instrumental record by HELEN MONEY, In Tune, is a completely different kind of instrumental experience. Alison Chesley is a Chicago-based cellist who earned her rock credentials with the 90’s alternative band, Verbow, then started performing with world-rockers, Poi Dog Pondering, and even recorded with nu-metallers, Disturbed. If you’re expecting just cello renditions of rock n’ roll songs, you won’t hear that, but you’ll hear music that’s completely unafraid to reach into dark places and her mixture of pizzicato, heavy bowing, distorted leads over beds of soft strings is a fascinating listen of how to channel rock’s traditionally guitar-oriented aggression through an instrument that gets most of its heavy metal recognition from the bridge section of Whitesnake’s “Still Of The Night”.

For her interesting choice of musical direction, Alison says that it was because the traditional model didn’t appeal to her.“ I grew up in Los Angeles and I spent about ten years after I dropped out of college, where I just wasn’t feeling inspired playing cello.”, she says. “So I started going out to clubs to see bands like The MInutemen and Meat Puppets and Bob Mould

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