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Rich Meyer - photo by Tricia Starr--TStarr Photography

Rich Meyer

An Interview with Grammy Nominated Highly Suspect's Rich Meyer
by Al Brzostowski
August 2018

Highly Suspect’s deep roots in blues progressions, crunchy guitars and aggressive drums are all packed into an eclectic form of rock and roll. With Johnny’s lyrics, you feel transported to a smoke filled room in a blues club, singing about heartbreak, politics and humanity.

The stage is backed with the letters “MCID,” which stands for “My Crew Is Dope.” The crew refers to both the audience and the revolving cast of friends that have a guest role such as DJ Redbees and Matt Kofos, along with members of the bands that open for them.

Each member is given their chance to shine during the set, and drummer, and twin brother to Rich….Ryan Meyer has a huge chunk of time blocked out for him to rock out, alone on stage. Then, like a magic act, Matt comes in to parallel Ryan’s beats, and takeover for a few. Nonetheless, an amazing experience to see in raw musicianship.

Ryan, has a moment to show more talent other than just backing vocals and bass. “Round and Round”, another sexy, blues inspired song, takes you on a journey, almost hypnoticatically.

Rich had a few moments after sound check to check in with us.

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Madison based singer/songwriter Shawndell Marks - photo by Nissa Brehmer

Shawndell Marks

Q&A with Madison based singer/songwriter Shawndell Marks
by Teri Barr
December 2016

Inspiration—good and bad—can run deep.

Shawndell Marks makes no excuses and uses both to her advantage. She can turn pride or pain into an outstanding song. And as I quickly learned, she would rather do that than an interview, any day!

Marks has been on the area scene for a long time, though you may only recognize her outstanding skills as part of an ensemble or tribute band. She’s solo now, and this tiny but mighty woman’s new album is just out. Look for it, along with December show dates on her website and keep reading for more on her surprising music roots, and why it would be ok if she didn’t like Elvis.

Maximum Ink:  Let’s start with one of my favorite questions—when did music become an interest? Every person I’ve talked with has a very different story. What’s yours?
Shawndell Marks:
  I was in 2nd grade, and my family moved into an apartment that had an old, out-of-tune upright piano stashed in the back of it. I would sit with an open hymnal in front of me and pretend to play. I had no idea what I was doing, but felt confident it sounded STELLAR. It was instant love for those black & white keys. My grandmother eventually bought me my own piano after our family moved out of the apartment. I played organ and piano in church through middle school, and in high school auditioned for “The Wisconsin Opry,” a music theater in the Dells offering nightly country-western shows to tourists. I worked there for three summers (performing Patsy Cline’s Crazy), and at the age of 18, I met my future husband who asked me to join his cover band, Thunder Road. We opened for George Jones, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and also played clubs and festivals.

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The Mad Mad Ones  - photo by Kris Eidnes

The THE MAD MAD ONES

An interview with The Mad Mad Ones drummer, Nick Bretl
by Mike Huberty
November 2015

Straight outta Wausau, THE MAD MAD ONES are alternative-style hard rock that will make you think of the big rock anthems of STONE TEMPLE PILOTS’ first record (still their best) and the wails and screams of JANE’S ADDICTION’s groove-metal head bangers. Guitarist/vocalist Ted Fox, drummer Nick Bretl, guitarist Jeff Sandbom, and bassist Ryan Anderson have delivered a monster in the form of Down The Rabbit Hole, their debut album. It’s all belching guitars, piercing vocals, and relentless drums that evoke equal parts ALICE IN CHAINS and WOLFMOTHER. I went down the rabbit hole with Nick to talk about their album and their upcoming Madison show at the Willy Street Pub and Grill (AKA The Wisco) on Friday December 11th.

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Tom Morello - The Nightwatchman (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave)

Tom Morello - The Nightwatchman


by Mack Dreyfuss
November 2008

Music lovers attempting to use their money wisely during these dour economic times may have just found the show of the year to attend. Musico-political titan, Tom Morello, is coming to the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on Nov. 12 under the moniker, The Nightwatchman. For those who don’t immediately recognize his name, you may be familiar with Rage Against the Machine or Audioslave, bands who have been built with Morello on lead guitar. Rolling Stone rates him 26 on the list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. His most recent solo project released Sept. 30 is called “The Fabled City.” The Nightwatchman, Morello’s “folk singer alter ego,” transfuses politically charged lyrics into guitar riffs reminiscent of “eighties Dylan + Jimi Hendrix.”

The genesis of The Nightwatchman occurred while playing packed stadium shows with Audioslave. Morello hungered to voice his political views and be more intimate with his audience. Soon after, he released “One Man Revolution.” He states: “…it was absolutely the most fulfilling, artistically as anything I had ever done….There were a few nights where it really felt like in this tiny, dark coffeehouse that everybody’s soul in the room was at stake.”

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