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Todd Rundgren's Utopia

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia

Kasim Sulton On The Road To Utopia
by Sal Serio
April 2018

In late February/early March, 2018, it was announced to the delight of music fans from coast-to-coast that Todd Rundgren’s Utopia would be reuniting for their first North American tour in 32 years! Originally the tour was slated to reunite all four Utopia members: Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Willie Wilcox, and Ralph Schuckett, but soon it was determined that Schuckett had to bow out due to health issues, and is replaced on this tour by Gil Assayas on keyboards. The Utopia tour began on April 18th, and is scheduled for presentation in Milwaukee, Saturday May 12 at the Pabst Theater, and in Chicago at the Chicago Theater, Tuesday May 22. In late March, Maximum Ink field reporter Sal Serio had the opportunity to speak with bassist Kasim Sulton via telephone.


Ultraspank on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 1998 - photo by Paul Gargano


by Paul Gargano
July 1998

If OZZfest is any indication, Santa Barbara, CA is the metal capitol of America, represented on the tour by Life of Agony frontman Whitfield Crane, Snot, and newcomers Ultraspank.

“It’s a weird scene,” says Ultraspank lead singer Pete Murray of his hometown. “There are like three colleges there, so you get people coming from all different parts of the country.” That’s the case with Ultraspank, as Murray, guitarist Jerry Oliviera and drummer Tyler Clark migrated to the coastal community for school. “It was either there or Maine,” Murray, a native New Yorker, muses of his choice. But even with a degree in Film, his interests were always aimed at music, as he and his future bandmates spent the better portion of the decade playing in local Santa Barbara outfits before coming together, as Spank, about two years ago.


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Relentlessly Rocking and Forever Ascending
by Sal Serio
June 2015

It’s an exciting time for the Madison-based rock band Ultrea. June 2015 marks the E.P. release of new music titled “Forever Ascending” as well as a video for the song “Through The Ashes”. The world premiere of the new E.P. was broadcast June 2 on as a part of The Jimmy K Show, and the release party will be Sat. June 20 at The Red Zone (Annex) with Minneapolis band Gabriel And The Apocalypse, Genotype, Growing, and more. Ultrea also is performing at some large Midwest festival dates. The band, or “family” as they say, is comprised of Jennifer Lecesse-vocals, Jason Wepking-bass, Kyle Rattner and Greg Dellmann-guitars, and Bryan Lawver-drums.


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Jenni of Ultrea - photo by M. Teubert Photography

Ultrea 2018

On the Hot Seat: Up Close and Personal with Madison Metal Heads Ultrea
by Theron Moore
October 2018

What’s happening with Madison Metaller’s Ultrea with this interview by Theron Moore


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Umphrey's McGee on the cover of Maximum Ink September 2007

Umphrey’s McGee

by Mike Huberty
September 2007

When first hearing the voice of Joel Cummins, the keyboard player from Chicago jam-band Umphrey’s McGee, one might expect a stoned-out, hippie wasteoid, not the articulate, self-deprecating and passionate music theory graduate that helped found the group in the mid-‘90s at Notre Dame University. But the man’s musicianship is no joke.

Teetering on the edge of the mainstream with their third album, “Safety in Numbers,” the band released a double album of tracks from the “Safety” recording sessions called “The Bottom Half” last April, performed on Lollapalooza, and started opening for the Dave Matthews Band on his latest tour (to which Cummins half-jokes, “One of the goals was to play more tunes for the ladies.”)


Uncle Eddie promo shot circa late 1990's

Uncle Eddie

A Conversation with Guitarist Darwin Sampson
by Teri Barr
April 2018

Sometimes, when history repeats itself, there’s a good reason behind it. So, when planning for the annual Maximum Ink Bomblastica Party for the People 2018 began, the conversation around who would play meant turning the clock back in time, and asking a hard-hitting early 1990’ish band, Uncle Eddie to make a reappearance.

Now, according to guitarist Darwin Sampson, who is also known as the venerable owner of The Frequency in Madison, Uncle Eddie never truly went away. On and off for the right reasons or the right parties the last twenty-years, original members including Sampson, Nate Arnold on bass, and Chad Ovshak on drums, would clean off the cobwebs, and make music as Uncle Eddie. All three have been, and are, in other bands since the days which Sampson tells me started for him in a house in the Fox Valley area, eventually brought him to jam in the laundry room of Ovshak’s Mom’s house, and led to big basement shows in a house on old University Avenue—one of the first which included a then brand-new band, Sunspot, now a solid regular on the Madison scene.  Those early basement shows turned into Uncle Eddie becoming a regular at The Inferno, Spooners, and O’Kayz Corral, three of the spots Sampson says he’d only wished he could play as a kid. “Madison, and some of the venues at that time, seemed like a dream,” Sampson says. “We met a lot of bands just before their time. Nirvana, Green Day, Husker Du. Some we’d play on a bill with, others found us not punk enough or too jammy, but we made so many friends. We just weren’t sure what we wanted to do with Uncle Eddie.”


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by Chris Fox
December 2009

East coast hardcore bands are a quickly growing force, and one of the heaviest, UNEARTH, makes their way through Wisconsin. Coming off their previous tour with thrash titans, TESTAMENT, Trevor Phipps (vocals) feels the band is only getting started on their contribution to the heavy metal world. Still out promoting their latest album, “The March,” this quintet thrives on the stylings of their local scene in Massachusetts and the metal influences of the 90’s.


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