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JD Simo at Atwoodfest 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin - photo by Teri Barr


an interview with guitarist/singer JD Simo
by Teri Barr
October 2015

He is old school, and proud of it. J.D. Simo says pounding the pavement to meet people, and playing live night after night, is what suits him and his style of music. Simo grew up in Chicago, quit high school, and moved to Nashville where as a studio musician he played on more than 500 albums. He says many were popular names we may recognize – which made him recognize – he didn’t want to play sessions the rest of his life. In just the last five years, the now 30-year-old released his own album, formed a trio named SIMO, played festivals, opened for Greg Allman, Deep Purple, and recorded another album. It will be released in January, 2016; while SIMO, continues to tour non-stop, adding Europe to the schedule this winter. He also just got married. Simo the man, and SIMO the trio. Both are something special. I talked with him backstage during July’s AtwoodFest as his group closed out the first night, and found him to be kind, smart, and witty. Our recent phone conversation was very similar, and though on the road, he seemed to enjoy talking about returning to Madison, and what has shaped the way he commands the stage.


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SIMO on the cover of Maximum Ink music magazine


SIMO comes back to play AtwoodFest 2017
by Teri Barr
July 2017

The bluesy tunes of J.D. Simo have hit a new high. He has written hundreds of songs, traveled the world, and J.D. has even cut his trademark shoulder-length hair since the last time we talked with him for Maximum Ink just after a successful performance at AtwoodFest a few years ago. But his history in music remains the same; he grew up in Chicago, quit high school, and moved to Nashville. He became a young studio musician and played on more than 500 albums. He says many were popular names we may recognize which made him recognize he didn’t want to play sessions the rest of his life. He formed the SIMO trio, and this second chapter of his music history is still being written.

Here’s an update on some of the things we talked about during our first interview:

Maximum Ink: You’ll be back for a second AtwoodFest show in July, but you’ve played Madison a couple of times since your first AtwoodFest show. What is it about playing here that draws you back?
J.D. Simo: We try not to have expectations of a place when we play there, but Madison is beautiful, and I felt a creative contingent of people, similar to Boulder or Asheville. That’s a feeling that sustains you as you get on stage, and it helps you get into a rhythm. It’s what I did at the first AtwoodFest show, and after a few songs I looked out to see the place was packed. It’s something I want to remember! I’ve actually had people tell me, sometimes as a band is climbing, you forget to live in the moment, so you have to enjoy it. It really was a show we’ll never forget, and I’m looking forward to playing AtwoodFest again!

MI: SIMO is a three piece, but you have always sounded so much bigger. Not louder, but bigger. I saw you recently, and the sound is so consistent.
JD: I am so very proud of the three of us! We are so conscientious of our sound, and it’s why we use vintage gear, in the context of our heros like the James Gang or the Jeff Beck Group. We want to earn a stake in that lineage. Plus, as a trio, you have to give 100% of your talent, and energy. You have to be completely committed to the music, and we aim to do that every night, so we know not one of us can slack off on it.


971 ViewsPermalinkSIMO WebsiteSIMO Wiki

Sir! No Sir!

An Interview with Sir! NoSir! band members Nate Onsrud and Anthony Leskinen
by Larry Bush
October 2013

Sir! NoSir! is a Madison trio with a message, and Nate Onsrud, Anthony Leskinen, and Jeramaya Wunderlin certainly know how to get their point across.  In a time of immense social and political unrest in America, the band has raided local airwaves with a raucous and socially conscious crash course in rock and roll excellence.  On their new 5 song teaser “Combating The Carnival”, the group has mixed a sonic brew that encapsulates both the rock and roll acumen of early 70’s British metal and the aggression of the hardcore punk rock of the past quarter century.  Fresh off the release of the EP, guitarist Nate Onsrud and drummer Anthony Leskinen were kind enough to share some words with Max Ink on their music, their message, and what the future holds for Sir! NoSir!

Maximum Ink: You guys have all played in multiple bands around Madison over the years.  How did SNS come together?
Nate Onsrud: I worked with Joel Croyle, who was the original drummer.  He and I talked about getting together and just jamming.  I was kind of a beginning electric guitarist.  Joel had played in previous bands with J and asked him to join us.  We weren’t planning on being a band, but the more we played together, things began to form, and we just started writing songs.  Picked up Tony, and you couldn’t ask for a better drummer.


1565 ViewsPermalinkSir! No Sir! MySpace
Ogre of Skinny Puppy

Skinny Puppy

by Kimberly E. McDaniel
December 2009

Twenty-six years ago, Skinny Puppy released their first recording, Remission, on an unsuspecting public and redefined industrial music.  They had help from Ministry, as both bands would eventually become the godfathers of this heavy, strange and danceable sound that emerged in the early 80’s.  Twenty-five albums later, Skinny Puppy is still going strong which isn’t bad for a band that was apparently initially supposed to be a side project for cEvin Key (born Kevin Crompton).  When Nivek Ogre (born Kevin Ogilvie) joined soon after, the band became a full-time project.  Dwayne Goettel joined the band from 1986-1995, and the band has had various other members, including Bill Leeb of Frontline Assembly and Al Jourgensen, over the years as well.

In 1993, tensions between band members and rumors of drug abuse plagued Skinny Puppy, culminating in the death of Goettel and Ogre leaving in June of 1995.  Ogre and Key reunited in 2000 for a Skinny Puppy show in Germany and then finally reformed in 2003.  Currently, Justin Bennett (formerly of Professional Murder Music) is the drummer and had a key role in choosing the band’s set list for their recent “In Solvent See” tour, which ends December 10th, 2009 in Los Angeles.

Recently, Nivek Ogre chatted with Maximum Ink about the dangers of touring with no album to support, animal rights, politics and his burgeoning film career.


Skinny Puppy

Skinny Puppy

32 Years of Brap
by Hester Megan O'Donnell
January 2014

With the May 2013 release of ‘Weapon’ and the first North American tour in five years scheduled to launch January 24, Skinny Puppy fans across the globe have a lot to smile about. While there’s been much speculation in online Puppy forums as to which songs will don the set lists throughout the ‘Shapes for Arms’ tour, one thing is certain: these pioneers of the Industrial genre have persevered within the music industry for 32 amazing years.

Skinny Puppy, the brainchild of former Images in Vogue drummer and renowned synth guru cEvin Key, (aka Kevin Crompton) began as an experimental project in 1982 which seemingly took on a life of its own. Based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Key teamed up with vocalist Nivek Ogre (aka Kevin Ogilvie) and producer Dave (‘Rave’) Ogilvie. After a plentitude of ‘brap’ (a verb coined by the duo) sessions, they had enough material to self-release 1984’s EP cassette ‘Back and Forth,’ and signed on with the label Nettwerk later that year. Countless horror movies later, the year 1985 brought the ‘Remission’ EP and first studio album ‘Bites’ into fruition, but when a band called ‘Water’ opened for them in Edmonton, Alberta, there took place an encounter which forever changed the course of Puppy history.


The Skizzwhores

The Skizzwhores

An interview with Madison punks, Skizzwhores
by Mike Huberty
May 2015

With its classic-sounding punk rock, Madison’s Skizzwhores takes the energy of Fear, the aggression of The Melvins, and throws some Bikini Kill over the top. Vocalist/guitarist Ashle Quinn, Bassist Evan Christiansen, and Dave Bonson (the most drummer-sounding name ever) took some time to discuss the band, their upcoming album, and their upcoming shows.


1425 ViewsPermalinkSkizzwhores Website
Sky Road Fly Band Photo by Nick Berard - photo by Nick Berard

The Sky Road Fly

An Interview with Sky Road Fly
by Max Ink
June 2013

After a brief sample of the early mixes, I sat down with the guys to discuss the new album, their creative energy, and what the future holds.  Sky Road Fly has crafted an effort that establishes them as a musical force to be reckoned with in the Madison scene, and they were happy to share their thoughts and ambitions.

What has the recording process been like?  How was it different than “Pure Danger”?
RH: Its safe to say that we’re at the quality of Smart Studios, if not beating it.  At Smart, we had to work around somewhat of a schedule, so it took a long time because we had to hop in whenever it was available. 
BJ: Here there’s an opportunity everyday to work.  We can really look at things closer here.


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