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Madison's The Sharp and Harkins Band

The Sharp and Harkins Band

by Cactus Joe
May 2009

“To Each His Own” is the newest album by Wisconsin acoustic rockers the Sharp and Harkins Band. Branching out from acoustic and folk roots, the record is a mix of styles, with the goal of capturing the band’s more rock-influenced live sound. Many of the 14 songs on the album sit solidly within the rock genre, while still retaining a loyalty to the acoustic and folk sincerity that has won them considerable acclaim.

“This album was more for us to do our own thing,” said Ryan Harkins, one of the founding members along with Andy Sharp. “Our first album was more acoustic based, influenced by Jack Johnson and Ben Harper. After playing live we evolved into more of a rock band and we wanted to show that in our new album.”


Every show might be their last! She Might Have A Gun on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 1999

She Might Have A Gun

by David A. Kulczyk
March 1999

My dog Zeus always sits in the same room as me when I write.  He is my barometer to gauge the intensity of music.  Although my Michigan Shepherd didn’t run out of the room like his ass was on fire like he did when I wrote about “Kill Switch…Klick,” he did become highly agitated and restless when I put on the She Might Have a Gun CD, Live Drugs. In fact, I haven’t seen him this distraught since I fed him leftover Sloppy Joes last summer.

Rising out of the debris like bum in Tenny Park on a Sunday afternoon, She Might Have a Gun is the end product of too many Madison bands [Magic Seven, Horizon 90, Last Crack, Autumn’s Dance, One Day War, Breath of Life, The Lotus Band, Krash Holiday].  Curiously, much like Green River/Mother Love Bone/Pearl Jam a decade before them.

Formed in the summer of 98, by Trinity James Mellon and Jamison Downing after they both found themselves without a band. Scraping together other musicians to fill the hole, She Might Have a Gun was born. Dispensing with all regards to the current trends, She Might Have a Gun blazes it’s own way, distributing its sonic barrage with tribal abandonment.  She Might Have a Gun’s music bites you in the ass like a beer soaked squirrel in your sleeping bag. The band consists of Jamison Downing and Noah Rickun on guitars, Trinity Mellon on vocals, Chin on bass, Hooch on congas and poetry and the multi-talented and infamous Buddo on drums. I spoke with the band while they were trying to decide what limo company to hire for their next show.


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by Teri Barr
November 2014

SHESHE is one hard-working band, and quickly becoming popular due to the unique talents the three women-members bring to the group. Julia McConahay plays fiddle and sings, Dana Perry is on guitar and vocals, and Shannon Callaway covers the drums and also sings. They all have different styles and musical interests, and it’s what is getting SHESHE attention from around the Midwest. I recently had the chance to talk with them about the upcoming release of their first album together, and how they are already planning for the future: 

Maximum Ink: What is making SHESHE, and the band’s new music, work for you?
Julia McConahay:
Music is what makes sense to me. I’ve never known life without it, so it’s never really been a choice, more like a way of being. It’s how I’m identified most of the time. People have always asked me to come jam with them, or sit in for a set, record on their album, or join their tour. It’s an honor and a joy, all at the same time.
Dana Perry: I really can’t see myself doing anything else with my life other than making music. I love how SHESHE has come together to make such bitchin’ noises together! I’m proud of the gigs and festivals we’ve played (Steel Bridge Song Festival, Ragged Roots Festival, Atwood Fest, the Bubble Festival, to name a few), and I’m proud of how we consistently have fun, but especially proud of us for working together to get this album out.
Shannon Callaway: I feel as though music has been my back bone through everything. It’s more than a purpose, it’s just there. I pretty much consider my stylings to be hand in hand with my emotions. If I’m pissed off, I’ll drop that E string down and rage. If I feel light as a feather and have a smile on my face, I’ll tap dance on my drumset.

MI: How did SHESHE get started?
I started SHESHE as an acoustic duo with Leah Brooke Conway (now of Elk’s Teeth and Rabbit’s Feet) whom I love dearly! After a few months, Dana Perry and Amada Marquez (Inferno Nightclub) caught the SHESHE fever and we grew into a four-piece band. Life happened and both Leah and Amada moved out of town, so Dana and I pressed on with our bad selves as a duo. Soon after, we saw a little glimmer from behind a closet door and we learned her name was Shannon Callaway! She’d been writing music with Meghan Rose and was interested in developing her drumming skills, so we busted that door open and ka-pow! The SHESHE three-piece was born.


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Brooklyn's Shinobi Ninja on the cover of June 2010 Max Ink

Shinobi Ninja

from Brooklyn by way of Madison
by Troy Johnson
May 2010

A ninja is a stealth mercenary agent who is a highly trained assassin and an expert saboteur.  Like their namesake, the six members of Brooklyn’s Shinobi Ninja are professional musicians with a broad set of skills ranging from turntablism, to hard guitar riffs to off-the-cuff street lyrics.  With an innate ability to rock a party and the musical knowledge to pay homage to a variety of influential artists, Shinobi Ninja has already built a fan following that grows each time they take the stage. 

I spoke with Maniac Mike the band’s lead guitar player while the group was rolling to Virginia Beach for a gig. I asked him him which albums he considered Shinobi Ninja’s biggest influences. He rattled off a diverse range of albums, including Pantera’s “Vulgar Display Of Power”, Janet Jackson’s“Control”and “In Utero”Nirvana’s less heralded follow up to ‘Nevermind.’  He also gave props to classic hip-hop albums by The Notorious B.I.G. and Beastie Boys, which came as no surprise.

The band’s MySpace page features three sample tracks that highlight this wide variety of musical influences. In these tracks, one can quickly identify metal, punk, grunge, electronica, hip-hop, dance, rave, reggae, beats, and Rock n’ Roll blended seamlessly together. This eclectic style lends itself equally to both live and studio music but performing in front of an audience seems to be Shinobi Ninja’s favorite medium. “We are fans of music before anything else,” Mike told me, explaining how a group with such diverse tastes can work so well together. “Half of us are producers and we are all cognitive of each other’s style. No egos.”


Shot To Hell on the cover of Maximum Ink in September 2002

Shot To Hell

by David A. Kulczyk
September 2002

It is not everyday that you see a band fly out of the starting blocks like Shot To Hell.  Their enthralling version of Psychobilly has been burning the boards throughout the Midwest, uniting fans of multiply genres and age groups.

After a trying year that included three different drummers and a van fire, Shot To Hell has finally (hopefully) put their bad luck behind them with the addition of permanent drummer by the name of Daphna Ron, who also contributes backing vocals.

Shot To Hell has two full albums worth of songs to release, which they will record at their own Psyclops studio in La Crosse. Next month they are going to have a remix version of their song (If you) Think I’m Dumb on the Georgia based Illbilly Records compilation “Dropped On The Head - Vol. 2”


Madison's Stoner Rock Shotdown


by Andrew Frey
March 2003

Madison’s Stoner Rock Shotdown, an interview with vocalist Kyle Peterson


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The Shtetlblasters

The Shtetlblasters

by Mike Huberty
July 2010

A shtetl is defined as a small town with a large Jewish population, “You know, like Fiddler on the Roof”, Sam Harmet laughs, while describing the name of his band, THE SHTETLBLASTERS. A play on the term, “ghettoblasters” because of their introduction of funk into Klezmer, the traditional European Jewish dance songs (like the kind you’d hear in the aforementioned Fiddler musical.) So, West Coast meets Eastern Europe in THE SHTETLBLASTERS.


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