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Sexy Ester on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2013 - photo by Nick Berard

Sexy Ester

An interview with Sexy Ester lead vocalist, Lyndsay Evans
by Mike Huberty
April 2013

Firmly establishing themselves in the Southern Wisconsin scene since forming in 2009, Sexy Ester is a Midwestern PoMo Blondie, mixing classic rock and New Wave into poppy melodies with synth hooks and a relentless beat. They cleaned up at last year’s Madison Area Music Awards, taking home eight trophies including Artist of the Year, Vocalist (Lyndsay Evans), and instrumentalist (Keyboardist Roscoe Evans). Their new release, “Monomania”, is came out last month. We took a few minutes to talk with Lyndsay about the new album,  .

MI: So, tell me a little bit about how you guys all met?
LE: We all knew each other in our town before we came to Madison. I’m from Gratiot, Wisconsin. A tiny town. Adam (Eder, guitarist) and Brad (Schubert on bass) are from a town right over the border in Illinois. We met while he was in a goth/electronica band in high school. We just started writing songs together for ten years after that. We moved to Madison in 2002. We did acoustic stuff together and decided to start playing out live. We originally had a harmonica player and it veered towards classic rock. We’d already been in Madison for 7 years when we started Sexy Ester. But when we added the keyboardist (Roscoe, Lyndsay’s brother) it really pushed us in a New Wave direction. A little over a year and a half ago, our original drummer left to run for office and is now a District Attorney in Northern Illinois. Our new drummer, Jenna (Joanis), well, Adam describes her as adding an element of danger

.

MI: What were the bands that you connected on?
LE: We were huge Beatles fans, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who. It was later that we started to love the New Wave bands and we started getting compared to them a lot. Roscoe listens to the unknown bands and Ween, Brad likes Metallica. Everyone brings in different sorts of styles. We never set out to be a New Wave band, it just sort’ve happened. People started comparing us to Siouxsie, but I hadn’t really known those bands beforehand, so it really evolved without me even knowing.

MI: How did you get involved with Girls Rock Camp, and what does it mean to you?
LE: Beth Kille contacted me about GRC and asked if I’d be willing to be a coach. The first camp I coached a was a Ladies’ Rock Camp, and it was a blast! I couldn’t believe that these fearless ladies formed a band, wrote a song, and performed it in three days! It was magical for me. And GRC is that times 10. These young girls do the same thing in a week. It is so inspirational and motivational for me. I love every minute of it.

MI: In what ways has providing that instruction through GRC influenced you personally and professionally?
LE:  I’ve met a lot of amazing women and girls. We’re sort of a community. I believe this is my third year with GRC and I had no idea how many great female musicians there were in Madison before that. That networking has opened doors for all of us, I’m sure.

MI: As an instructor for GRC, what advice do you have for aspiring young musicians?
LE: Don’t give up. Be yourself. Give it your all. And put on a show. Also, we are all here and willing to give advice. Anyone can contact me with questions. I’d be happy to share my knowledge and experience.

MI: What are the themes behind “Monomania”? Is there something that really connects the release together?
LE: A lot of the songs are about uniqueness and who you are and not being afraid of that. About finding yourself. One of the songs was inspired by a drag queen that I know. I did a call on Facebook asking people to message me about something that they always wanted to do, but never did. In the choruses, I list off all the different things that people wrote me. “Silver Shoes” is the name of it.

MI: What’s the title mean?
LE: It’s about being infatuated with one thing. One of the songs on the album is “Spotlight”, and the title comes from the lyrics of the song, which was inspired by the Local Sounds web story by Rick Tvedt from when we first started playing out. It’s about someone who’s quiet and unassuming in person, but transforms into a rock star onstage. And I hear that from people all the time, that I’m shy and introverted when I meet people, but when they see me onstage it’s a different person.

MI: What are you guys looking forward to over the next year?
LE: We’re going to play the WAMIs (Wisconsin Area Music Awards) at Turner Hall on April 14th. We’re really busy right now, which is awesome, playing every weekend and trying to get out of the city more. We played Chicago, Milwaukee, La Crosse, and trying to get into The Cities. This last year after our MAMA wins, people started to pay more attention to us and doors are opening up for us more.

Catch Sexy Ester on April 7th at the High Noon Saloon in Madison and find them in May at Bratfest.

 

 

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Shadows Fall

Shadows Fall


by Chris Fox
October 2009

East coast, heavy metal monsters, SHADOWS FALL, find themselves on the razor’s edge between the new school and the old. Having 12 years of playing under their belts, and the dissident edge of the eastern metal scene, this quintet delve into a melodically aggressive area of music. As singer Brian Fair explains, “it’s a cross section of metal influences over the last few decades,” and the diversity is instantly apparent. With influences ranging from Iron Maiden to their favorites from the underground scene, SHADOWS FALL spawn their latest creation “Retribution.”

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Eric Boatright of Shallow Side at Bratfest - photo by Tricia Starr TStarr Photography

Shallow Side

A Chat with Eric Boatright
by Al Brzostowski
May 2018

Alabama rockers Shallow Side, who have brought back their energy to Madison at BratFest this past Saturday, shows that rock isn’t dead. It’s very much alive in their stage presence and overall musicianship. Re-inventing the driven side of rock, these southern boys, (and one Midwesterner, Matt Daniels, the new kid playing the bass slot), Shallow Side hits it home hard with songs like “Can You Hear Me”,  and go to the soft side with “Crazy”.

Eric stands by the saying, “ Don’t be in that grey area”. And Shallow Side proves it every time they hit the stage.

I had a chance to talk to Eric Boatright, frontman for Shallow Side before they hit the stage Saturday at BratFest:

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Shane Stanley and Bret Michaels on the set

Shane Stanley


by Tina Hall
August 2010

If you are like me you know Shane Stanley best from his work with Bret Michaels and Poison, but as I found out, he is a very interesting soul to say the least!

For those of you that don’t know, writer/producer/director Shane Stanley won his first Emmy Award when he was seventeen for “The Desperate Passage Series,” which he worked on alongside his father Lee Stanley. The series went on to earn thirty-three Emmy Nominations and won thirteen statues.

In 2001, he launched his own production company, Visual Arts Entertainment that produced the number one box office hit, “Gridiron Gang” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Before that, Shane struggled in a rock band as a drummer that opened for The Stone Temple Pilots, Lenny Kravitz, and The Black Crowes back in the 1990’s. And an avid motocross racer (getting his first minibike at three) has won two Grand Prix Championships. The latest film he directed, “My Trip To The Dark Side”, stars Jason Pace, Ryan Judd, Brienne De Beau, Courtney Gains and Emmy nominated, Sean Kanan and is the story of a man who’s had a successful film career and can only find employment working in the adult entertainment industry as a means to provide for his family. Shane took the time to speak with us while in post-production.

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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.”

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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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SHESHE


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?
JM:
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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