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 - photo by McDaniel Photography

Mighty WheelHouse

An interview with the members of Mighty WheelHouse
by Teri Barr
December 2013

Start with some strong original music. Add in sponsored or self-labeled libations. And if the Madison-based band Mighty WheelHouse is any indication; it’s the beginning of a recipe for long-term success.

Mighty WheelHouse is on a roll. Though officially together just a few months, their success is being plotted, starting with the ingredients of the group. This project pairs up members from two of the areas most awarded, skilled, and popular bands:
Frank Busch (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Nic Adamany (vocals, guitar), and Joel Brantmeier (drums) from Mighty Short Bus; Kenny Leiser (vocals, fiddle, guitar) and Mark Noxon (vocals, bass guitar) from The Lucas Cates Band.

And Mighty WheelHouse has wasted no time. The group’s first CD, The Comeback, was released in November, 2013. It’s an all-original mix of a little bit folk, bluegrass, Americana, and country. But they’re already back in the studio working on a follow up album. 
There have also been shows. The former bands averaged 200+ a year. Mighty WheelHouse may easily break the number after kicking off its efforts over the summer, traveling throughout Wisconsin, the Midwest, Western, and Southern parts of the country. Spoetzl Brewery in Texas, and its ‘Shiner Bock’ brand of beer sponsored 35 dates.  Tours are in the works for 2014, along with an invitation to play the “Shiner Big One” at South by Southwest in Austin in the spring. Before that festival, the band recently learned they’ll be headed to Nashville to compete for a spot on a national TV show in the production called, “American Talent Hunters.” Mighty WheelHouse beat out thousands of others to make it into the top ten finales scheduled for January 25, 2014.
But why just market your music, if you can have your own whiskey? The band’s been working with a distiller, and “WheelHouse Whiskey” is expected by the end of the year. 

I recently had the opportunity to ask them, individually, a similar set of questions.  And it’s probably no surprise when I say their answers show that the success they are planning really is right in their “wheelhouse.”

Maximum Ink: What’s your musical background?
Frank Busch:
My brother, father, uncles, cousins, grandfathers were all musicians, bandleaders. My brother is now a high school band director in Northeast Wisconsin.  I played saxophone, but quit in 8th grade. I didn’t play guitar until college.
Kenny Leiser: My parents are music educators so there were many instruments around for me to experiment with and play. I started with 4th grade strings, and added guitar in 8th grade because I thought it was cool.
Nic Adamany: My dad has been involved in the music industry and is an excellent keyboard/piano player, so I started with piano when I was 5-years-old. But when I was 11, I got the surprise of a guitar for Christmas and instantly fell in love with it!
Mark Noxon: My dad was a band director, and I started on drums, then clarinet, saxophone, and finally the bass when I was 13. I’ve played in a big band and jazz band, but have had my own bands since middle school.
Joel Brantmeier: My parents loved music and luckily it wore off on me! I got a miniature smurf drum set when I was 4 or 5, but quickly upgraded after it.

MI: When did you decide music could be a career?
FB:
I made it my goal 8 years ago, but the first thing I did was save for an emergency fund. It has long since been depleted!
KL: I became a full-time musician in 2007 by playing enough gigs to leave my job at a music store.
NA: There’s been many twists and turns, but I knew when I learned to play guitar and started writing songs, this is all I wanted to do.
MN: As a bassist, I’ve been fortunate to fall into some really great projects, but never planned to be a full-time musician. I had a low-level management job when I was asked to join The Lucas Cates Band and realized I could make the same money by playing in a band and teaching bass, so I jumped on the opportunity.
JB: It’s always just seemed like the right thing for me.

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Il Sogno Del Marinaio

Mike Watt

Mike Watt Finds Bountiful Inspiration with Il Sogno Del Marinaio
by Joshua Miller
September 2014

Legendary spiel speaking bass guitar player Mike Watt has spent the last few decades tinkering with musical innovation.  His desire has been to keep learning, sailing the musical waterways from San Pedro, California, to spots around the world. Basically wherever his tour van would carry him. With singer D Boon, Watt helped usher in “Econo Punk” with The Minutemen and helped fuel their quick and direct songs that often dabbled in politics and social issues. After D Boon’s tragic death, he continued making his mark with bands like Firehose and Dos. He’s also spent much of the past decade playing with legendary band The Stooges, who reformed in 2003.

These days Watt keeps a busy schedule of music activities, including new band Il Sogno Del Marinaio. Joining him for that band are Italian musicians Stefano Pilia and Andrea Belfi.  The band is currently celebrating release last month of their second album, Canto Secondo, which follows their debut from 2013, La Busta Gialla. The band found its footing in 2009 after they were invited to be part of the Italy-based All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and found success in the resulting tour. Despite his past achievements, Watt remains humble, not one to hog all the credit all the time. Instead he’s always seeking to find new ways to make music.

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Scott Wilson at Bratfest 2018 - photo by Tricia Starr--TStarr Photography

Scott Wilson

Looking into the Future with Scott Wison
by Al Brzostowski
June 2018

Scott Wilson had left Tantric after a few years for many reasons. From recording deadline issues, to missed rehearsals, where a certain bandmate didn’t show, to complete chaos when the lead singer didn’t make shows they had scheduled. Scott, being the professional musician that he is, had to move on to keep forward progress. For the record, he has no negative feelings for Tantric leader Hugo Ferreira. He toured with Tantric on Make America Rock Again tour, and Saving Abel was on the bill.

Saving Abel reached out to him and asked him to join.  He describes Saving Abel as a southern rock band with a twist. The timing was perfect with the tour.
Before hitting the BratFest Main Stage last week, Scott had a moment to tell us what’s coming up for Saving Abel, and Scott himself.

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Todd Wolfe at Tobacco Road

The Todd Wolfe Band

An interview with singer and guitarist Todd Wolfe
by Tina Hall
September 2010

Todd Wolfe currently has a radio show at http://wlvr.org Mondays 12 noon - 3 p.m. Todd is probably best known from his previous work with Sheryl Crow. While working with her he has shared the stage with artists like Emmylou Harris, Steve Winwood, James Taylor, Jackob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Marty Stuart, and Sara McLaughlin.  Over the years he has opened for some of the biggest names in music including, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan,Peter Frampton, Johnny Winter, Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. He now works mainly with his solo project The Todd Wolfe band.

Maximum Ink: How is your radio show going? What can fans expect from that? Did you ever think you’d have your own show?
Todd Wolfe: I enjoy the radio show and it’s been going on for over ten years. When I first started, I did the “community” sessions meaning when school was out, but some years back I just stayed on through both schedules. I have taken a couple of “sessions” off as I was traveling with the band, but I’m still there. It’s very enjoyable playing music for other people and I guess I always kind of played as DJ growing up when friends would be hanging at my house, but never thought I’d have my own show! I did dream about if from time to time ‘cause after seeing “Play Misty For Me” an early Clint Eastwood flick, where he plays a jazz jock, I thought what a cool job that would be! As far as tuning in and what you would hear. Mostly roots rock but it can be anything from Howlin’ Wolf to Stone Temple Pilots, to John Coltrane to The Rolling Stones!

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Travis T. Warren

Travis T. Warren

An interview with Singer/Songwriter Travis T. Warren
by Max Ink Writer List
December 2012

Travis T. Warren, best known for this work as frontman of Blind Melon and in the hard rock duo The Lookout Kids recently released his debut solo album titled Beneath These Borrowed Skies. The album features guests Aja Volkman (Nico Vega), Christopher Thorn (Blind Melon), and Eva Gardner (from Pink’s backing band). All proceeds from the album (out now on Clarity Way Records) go to benefit MusiCares, which provides financial, medical, and, personal support to musicians in need.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your background? What was it like growing up in Texas?
Travis T. Warren: Well I grew up in Amarillo which is in the panhandle of Texas. It was and still is a very right leanin kicker town. Not a lot to do but get high, chase girls and play/listen to music. I left for California a month after I turned 17 and never looked back. Texas has great steaks if you’re into that sort of thing.Great Tex-Mex food as well

MI: What is your fondest memory from that time?
TTW: Friends. I had a lot of great friends from that time. I’m still very close to a few of them to this day. We were a brotherhood. Very tight. We did everything together. Skipped school. Got high. Stayed up through the night having long, philosophical conversations about what we were going to do when we got older. Beer runs. Ya know that sort of shit.

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W.A.S.P. - artwork by Ian Chalgren

W.A.S.P.


by Jeff Muendel
February 2010

Those who have encountered the band W.A.S.P. are not likely to forget the experience. Like them or hate them, their stage antics tend to be memorable. The group almost literally clawed their way out of the early eighties Los Angeles heavy metal scene the same fertile ground that produced the likes of Mötley Crüe, L.A. Guns, and Ratt. These groups paved the way for many more hair bands to come, but W.A.S.P. was a little bit different. While many of the other groups from that era focused on a cross-dressing, bad-boy image, W.A.S.P. was just plain twisted and scary; the group was more Alice Cooper than Rolling Stones. Band members had circular saws sewn into the crotch of their trousers. Raw meat was cut up and thrown into the audience. Blood was a common stage prop. All of this accompanied aggressively sexual lyrics, buzz saw guitar riffs, and pumping double-bass drums.

At the heart of the group, then and now, was Blackie Lawless. In fact, he is the only remaining original member, and for all intents and purposes, W.A.S.P. is his artistic vehicle. Lawless was born Steven Duren on Staten Island, New York. Famously, or perhaps infamously, he got his first break playing with the legendary New York Dolls. The group was in its final death throes, but it introduced Lawless to New York Doll’s guitarist Arthur Kane. After the New York Dolls finally split, Lawless followed Kane to Los Angeles.

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Wayland - photo by JR Wyatt

Wayland

An interview with lead guitarist Phillip Vilenski
by Michelle Harper
November 2015

One hundred and sixty four miles from Lincoln City, the birthplace of legendary rocker Bob Segar, is a town called Wayland, Michigan. With a population of around 4,000 people, it’s safe to say that unless you’re from the area, you probably have never heard of the place.

Enter Wayland, the band. Their hot, searing vocals, combined with a blues/rock fusion sound will make sure that, not only will you know about the town of Wayland, Michigan…

You’ll never forget it.

Their new single entitled “Bloody Sunrise” is taking the radio waves by storm. I had the privilege of speaking with lead guitarist Phil Vilenski, as he and the band were driving down the road in their tour bus somewhere between Memphis and Shreveport.

MI: I read that you and Mitch (Mitch Arnold, lead singer of Wayland) met in California around 10 years ago.
PV:
It’s funny because we’re all Midwestern guys, we’re all from Michigan, Mitch is from Indiana, and we met in Los Angeles.

MI: That is funny.  So how did you guys meet? Did you meet in a club? Were you auditioning for groups? What happened?

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