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Christopher Paul Stelling Live

Christopher Paul Stelling

An interview with singer-songwriter, Christopher Paul Stelling
by Mike Huberty
June 2013

A fingerpicking folk troubadour from Florida, Christopher Paul Stelling has been touring the country on his latest album, False Cities, released in May. He appears as part of the Shitty Barn Sessions in Spring Green, Wisconsin, on July 17th.

MI: So, what inspired you to start playing in the first place?
CPS: Honestly, Kurt (Cobain). Before that, as a kid, guitar culture was already everywhere, obviously, The Beatles, Beach Boys, and 70s singer-songwriters, but they were all boring, and seemed inauthentic to a young me. So that started it, but then everything associated with that seemed an imitation as well…and so I got into old country blues, and folk music, not “folk music”, but ya know, old stuff. And not as something just to imitate, everyone in that world had their own style within the genre… I like things a little feral, with mange and teeth.


Clyde Stubblefield on stage at the High Noon Saloon 8/30/2015 - photo by Mary Sweeney Photography

Clyde Stubblefield

an in-depth interview with the future Hall of Famer!
by Teri Barr
September 2015

“I am a happy man.”

Talking with Clyde Stubblefield during the past couple of weeks, the one feeling he’s pointed out each time, is his happiness. “I am getting so much love, and being back on stage playing my drums is making me a happy, happy man,” the 72 year old says with a smile.

To understand this current focus on Stubblefield, the fundraising shows to establish a music scholarship and a push to get him nominated for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you have to dig back into his past. Born in Tennessee, he started playing drums after seeing musicians in a parade. But from the start, he created his own rhythm, without any formal training. ”I’d listen to the things happening around me. The train, traffic, work at the factory. And I’d then make up some beats to go along with it,” Stubblefield says. The unique style made him stand out when James Brown heard him play at a bar in Georgia. It was an unanticipated beginning in the music business, for a man who would go on to forever be known, as the funky drummer. “Just always put down whatever groove I wanted. No one ever told me what to do, and things just always sort of happened,” Stubblefield says. Brown asked him to play shows – first in New York at the Apollo Theater, then it was on to Europe. For more than 6 years, he kept that one-of-a-kind, funky, R & B beat going for Brown. Yet ask him about that time now, and Stubblefield seems surprised. “All of it. It all just sort of happened. I don’t plan anything, so everything we did was a surprise. Traveling to different states and countries to play music? I sure didn’t plan it,” Stubblefield says.


D.A. Sebasstian on the cover of Maximum Ink in February 2005

D.A. Sebasstian

by David A. Kulczyk
February 2005

It has been a long road for D.A. Sebasstian. Starting in the early 80’s with the Southern California punk band, XIJIX to the Latin tinged avant-garde Freaks Amor, to the wildly successful industrial band, Kill Switch…Klick, Sebasstian has never let up on his artistic vision, no matter how many times it bites him on the ass.

Sebasstian first tasted success when Kill Switch…Klick, was signed to Cleopatra Records, releasing the classics “Beat It To Fit, Paint It To Match,” and “Degenerate.” They also appeared on 19 compilation CD’s.

Two short years after becoming a cult rock star, Sebasstian found himself without a drummer and in debt. “I owed Cleopatra (records) all kinds of money,” explained Sebasstian. He decided to start a record company, first calling it “Irregular,” and then changing the name to “Go-Kustom” after hearing of another “Irregular” label. He then proceeded to release titles from artists Kill Switch…Klick, D.A. Sebasstian, The Penningtones, Circle Of Fifths, Bill Wolford’s Head, Exposure To Living and Drag Strip Riot.


Dan Solovitz

Dan Solovitz

An interview with programmer, engineer, percussionist, and composer Dan Solovitz
by Tina Hall
October 2010

Classically trained as a percussionist and composer, Dan Solovitz began his career as a programmer and engineer in Los Angeles cutting his teeth assisting on sessions for Sabrina The Teenage Witch, The Nutty Professor 2, and The Replacements.

By combining his formal training with a computer technology, Dan has created a unique skill set that has led him to an active career as a composer across the various fields of the entertainment business. He has produced hundreds of pieces for recording artists, television, and film. His ability to produce ‘stand-out’ sounds has landed him advertising work with corporations like Porsche, Converse, Merck, SONY, Corona, and Target. Dan has also produced award-winning remixes for artists like Tommy Lee and Chainsaws & Children.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about where you are from and what shaped you into who you are today?
Dan Solovitz: I grew up in Minneapolis so by definition, that makes me a nice guy. My parents encouraged me early with music lessons of various sorts, starting with piano at age 5. Then came violin, viola, and percussion. I was also lucky to be surrounded by computers from as early as I can remember, getting my very own computer in 6th grade (a laughable statement these days, but hey, this is the late 80’s we’re talking about). I started arranging little MIDI compositions about that time, played in various bands, and had a lot of fun learning how to do all things music. After getting my degree in music composition I moved to Los Angeles for continued training in engineering and production, and got to work in many different environments and see what I enjoyed the most.


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Duncan Sheik

Duncan Sheik

by John Noyd
February 2009

MAXIMUM INK recently caught up with singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik hoping to break away from the panel discussions at the Sundance Film Festival to take in some snowboarding. Eleven years earlier Sheik found himself navigating an entirely different slippery slope. The single, “Barely Breathing,” from his self-titled debut stayed a record-setting fifty-five weeks on the charts and made him a Grammy-nominated pop star. A role, he admits, he was ill-suited to play.  “Call me lazy,” Sheik says, “but at the end of the day I prefer to be sitting in the audience than performing on stage.” Not satisfied continuing with the personal love songs of his debut, Sheik moved to narrative songs packed with elusive introspection, subtle themes and smart literary devices. At the same time he was feeling he was having less and less of an effect on his audience. Being in the spotlight was just not a natural setting for Sheik and yet his desire to create remained strong.


Eric Sommer

by Brett Lemke
July 2007

Keeping up the frenetic pace of touring can wear down many a band, but for those who thrive on music to stay alive, it can be addictive. Eric Sommer is a one-man guitar-slinger from Washington, D.C., who plays constantly up-and-down the coast and has been venturing to the Midwest frequently in the last half-decade. His spirit burns as bright as a million-candlepower spotlight, and his street-level philosophy captivates the listener’s yearning ear. In preparation for his 15-date Midwest tour in July, he spoke with Maximum Ink about his journey, his songwriting, and his alchemical on-stage ethos. 

MAXIMUM INK: Tell me about how you became a traveling troubadour.
ERIC SOMMER: I toured for 15 years with a lot of big bands in the ‘80s and ‘90s. It all came to a head in Providence, RI, at a show opening for the Dead Kennedys. I was with The Atomics, which was the house band at Cantone’s. Everyone played with us; Mission of Burma, Gang Of Four, Dinosaur Jr., and one night it all fell apart, all over women. It was a true rock story, just ugly. The next morning, everyone’s girlfriend ended up at everyone else’s house. I quit, took everything I had, sold it, and tried to keep busy for the next ten years. It was very unsatisfying. It was easy to make money, but hard to make a difference. I was a cog in the wheel, in the machine. About five years ago, the Bayfront Blues Festival put me on to close out their acoustic stage. I did really well, there were standing ovations and I couldn’t get off the stage. It was really wonderful. On the drive out from some gigs in Virginia, I took notes and made it my regular route. Five years later I do 275 shows a year. I’m going to Texas in September and I’m in the studio right now with Ken Eddinger from Blondie. He’s producing five or six songs and getting me some radio interest.


Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2005

Jessie Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter

by David A. Kulczyk
April 2005

Ever since two cavemen started beating sticks on hollow logs it has apparently been the goal of musicians to be louder. Symphony orchestras, Celtic, Polka, bluegrass, country, rock and roll and sometimes-even jazz, strive to amp up the volume. Now I love nothing better than to have my eardrums blown out by great live music, but not long ago I found myself on a road, miles from any sign of human inhabitation. I stopped my car and stepped outside. The quietness was deafening. A rushing white noise, phase shifted through my ears, like the beginning of some bad rock song from the 1970’s, but after a few minutes I started picking out the chirping of birds and insects. A minute later I could hear the leaves of trees rustling in the slight breeze. I was amazed at the complex audio beauty of a seemingly silence place. The same thing happened to me the first time I saw Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. There are few bands in the world as quiet as Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. You can literally hear a beer glass fall on the floor while they are performing.

Fresh off a twenty-day tour of 2,000 seat theaters opening for Bright Eyes, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter is hitting the road again. Their latest CD, “Oh My Girl” on Barsuk Records has been selling steadily and has landed on the Best of 2004 lists by such notable publications as the New York Times, The L.A. Weekly, Harp and Maximum Ink.  The band isn’t resting on its laurels.  “When you get home from a tour,” said Jesse, “it’s like, what do I do?”


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