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The Pimps (Goodyear Pimps)


by Jeff Muendel
March 2000

The Pimps from Rockford on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2000.

When rock music and Rockford, Illinois are mentioned in the same breath, the only thing that comes to mind is Cheap Trick . Rockford is not known as a musical mecca, but as in any city, there are always at least four or five punk kids who come together, form a band, and create something worthwhile. It is now Rockford’s turn again to offer a group that demands attention on a national level, and this time the entity is called The Pimps. Originally christened The Good Year Pimps , the band was forced to drop half their name because the mighty tire company that has become synonymous with blimps didn’t like the quintet’s little word play. While this was a disappointment to the group, they realized that good rock and roll is about the, not the name. Indeed, the Beatles were once the Silver Beatles, Grand Funk were once music Grand Funk Railroad, and Chicago were once Chicago Transit Authority. On top of the historical justification, “The Pimps” is easier to remember, shorter to type, and has a bit more of a sting to it.

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Chicago Pitchfork Festival 2014

Pitchfork Festival 2014

A Reader's Guide to Chicago's 2014 Pitchfork Festival
by John Noyd
June 2014

A classic salad of new and established acts covering hip-hop, ambient-trance and indie-rock, this year’s Pitchfork Festival hosts rising stars, electronic giants and first generation legends reuniting over blue lakeside skies in a green oasis of metropolitan proportions. As in years past each day of the three day event brings a slew of possible you can’t go wrong strategies as well as the unavoidable conflicts inherent in festival logistics. While three color-coded stages offer an incredible spectacle of diversified styles that allows the participants to chill in one area for a reasonable length, those with eclectic tastes will be scurrying to stitch together the perfect string of musical trophies. Day by day let’s look at the highlights and pitfalls that is Chicago’s 2014 Pitchfork Festival.

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Pitchfork Festival Chicago 2014

Pitchfork Festival Chicago 2014

Three Days of Great Music and then some
by John Noyd
July 2014

Amazingly free of major technical glitches, obnoxious partiers and garish advertisers there was a lot to like about this year’s Pitchfork Festival in Chicago. The weather was a blessing, the diverse line-up top-rate and the eye-candy ranged from chic bohemian to vintage hipster. Tats, hats and mustache wax, free Tacos and Twinkies dispensed at one end and free flowers and sunscreen on the other, plus cutting-edge indie-rock, electro-pop and hip-hop smack dab in the middle. To call it manageable underscores how hard it is to fed and please 20,000 people, but after years of practice Pitchfork has it down pat.

Several alumni moved up from side stages to stronger standing this year. A lively and upbeat SHARON VAN ETTEN returned with a tightly-knit band after braving the festival a few years ago accompanying herself on guitar; going from mind-blowing loops and a ukulele, the ever-exotic TUNE-YARDS upgraded to a colorful posse of talented singers and a second drummer while the previously rained-on CLOUD NOTHINGS found sunshine and thunderous applause. From how dark sunglasses complimented the all-black attire of the DUM DUM GIRLS to the smarmy, hearty, “good morning,” Chicago’s own TWIN PEAKS gave when they began their pummeling set Saturday afternoon, each act adapted to their open-air surroundings with the quietest tunes heard clearly and only the most bombastic bass occasionally bleeding onto other stages.

Measurable festival success came from unexpected encounters; whether it was the warm fuzzy feeling seeing that two-year old in The Smiths t-shirt, the subtle puzzlement from the awkward, “white people,” comment from SUN KIL MOON or simply the giddy thrill of NENEH CHERRY performing Stateside for only the second time ever.  From the cheesy glee of EARL SWEATSHIRT asking you to sing Journey’s, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” to the waxing nostalgia watching seeing Generation Z dance to the late great Donna Summer via GIORGIO MORODER; there were plenty of reasons to feel the feel-good vibes.

Luck may have placed you in the mosh-pit when TWIN PEAKS suddenly threw the body of a smashed guitar into the crowd, being given MAJICAL CLOUDZ’s microphone to tell a joke while they valiantly tried to fix a midi controller they later destroyed on stage or simply standing in the right spot to catch a rose from GRIMES as her dueling dancers and wind-blown hair animated a absolutely techno-groovy set. Giant video screens allowed people far away to witness ST. VINCENT wriggling on her back shredding guitar, dream weavers HUNDRED WATERS lacing cyber-swollen soul with flute or BECK placing crime scene tape across the stage. Other scenes flew under the camera’s watchful eyes; a stranger fainting, security firmly informing tokers the Blue Stage is hundred feet from a church that houses a school or standing nearby when one dude was compelled to tell everyone to go F themselves. So whether you spent the entire long weekend or just ended up catching parts of the live webcast, Pitchfork Chicago succeeded in furthering the cause to bring musical talent to the yearning masses.

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Plain White T’s

An interview with Plain White T's frontman, Tom Higgenson
by Mike Huberty
May 2011

Plain White T’s started in the Chicago area in 1997 when vocalist and guitarist Tom Higgenson, who had been a drummer previously in local high school bands, decided to get out from behind the drum set and take the foreground as a front man and songwriter. After spending years developing their following in the underground scene, they exploded with their 2007 Grammy-nominated Number One single, “Hey There, Delilah.” This winter, they released their latest record, Wonders of the Younger, and have been touring on it since. They’re headlining a free music festival, The Journeys Backyard Barbecue, in Minneapolis over Memorial Day Weekend. We talked to Higgenson about the new record and the tour.

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 - photo by Rökker

Plastic


by John Noyd
March 2000

Plastic - sturdy, modern, and ubiquitous.  When referring to the musical group Plastic, the same qualities come up - plus adaptable, durable and multi-faceted. With current influences ranging from Radiohead, Bowie and the Cure, the eight-year-old band has dabbled in everything from greaser rock to British pop soul without softening a thing.  The axis on which Plastic turns are original members Joe Price and Joe Williams, the bass and drums, the backbone to any great sound.  Besides sharing first names, Joe and Joe share a telepathic intuition that cut through the rainbow of musical rosaries to move the beast along.  They do so with swift Swiss movements, like a funky Missing Persons meets son of Primus; intricate and propulsive, precise and explosive.

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Poc live - photo by Wac Division

Poc

An interview with singer Poc
by Tina Hall
February 2012

With her debut apptly titled Rise Above the mexican rocker Poc proves to the world that she can do just that. As a teen when her budding career as a professinal ballet dancer was cut short by an accident she focused in on the music that she had loved from the young age of 5.Her singing and songwriting skills showcased around Mexico City led to her opening for the iconic rock band Guns N Roses and to being discovered by their guitarist, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. Thal was so impressed with her unique talent and drive that he brought her to the U.S. to record the album. Finding herself far from home for the first time in her life the talented songstress set out to show the world what she is made of.

Dealing with a language barrier, acts of nature, Ron’s rehabilitation from an accident of his own, and even threats of murder and extortion the pair proved with enough determination, grit, and pure talent a truly solid rock album is inevitable. Joined by Guns N’ Roses drummer Frank Ferrer, the album is influened heavily by rock legends such as Janis Joplin, Aerosmith, and Led Zepplin. Featuring a mix of tracks heavily in Spanish as well as in English this debut has a global appeal that is hard to deny. The first single off the album, Rock N Roll Baby gave fans a chance to participate in the recording by submitting their own backing vocals via Skype.

Maximum Ink: What were you like as a child growing up? How do you think your earliest days have influenced you to be who you are now?
Poc: Well, I have always been walking trouble, I think the most difficult age for my mom to control me was between 15 to 18. I was completely out of control, I like taking things to the limit, and I never give up which can be something good or something really bad. I think the person who really made who I am today is certainly my mom, she taught me everything and she has been there for me everytime I needed her, in good and bad times.

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Pop Evil by LeAnne Mueller - photo by LeAnne Mueller

Pop Evil

An interview with lead vocalist Leigh Kakaty of Pop Evil
by Aaron Manogue
September 2011

Michigan has a prestigious reputation for producing some the greatest musicians of modern time. From Alice Cooper to Eminem and even the twisted act Insane Clown Posse, the state has a wide variety of famous musicians who have hugely impacted music, whether good or bad. The trend continues with Pop Evil, the latest band to shake up Michigan’s music scene. War of Angels, the recent release from the Michigan-bred rockers, has once again infected the rock n’ roll world with their catchy riffs and memorable stage presence. Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue talked with lead singer Leigh Kakaty about their Michigan roots, new album and touring with 3 Doors Down and Theory of a Deadman.

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