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


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.


Wayland - photo by JR Wyatt


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.
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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Guitarist Wayne Krantz - photo by Vikas Nambiar

Wayne Krantz

An interview with Guitarist Wayne Krantz
by Tina Hall
April 2012

Guitarist Wayne Krantz is best known for his work as a solo artist. He has also graced the stage with such artists as Steely Dan,  Billy Cobham, and Michael Brecker. His tenth album Howie 61 offers up
blues inspired rock riffs that appeal to fans of both genres. Joining him on the album are such iconic artists as Vinnie Colaiuta (Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa, Sting), Tal Wilkenfeld (Jeff Beck, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock), Pino Palladino (Jeff Beck, The Who, Eric Clapton), and Anton Fig of The Letterman Show’s “World’s Most Dangerous Band”, and many others (Keith Carlock, James Genus, Nate Wood, Henry Hey, Owen Biddle, Charley Drayton, John Patitucci, John Beasley, Jeremy Stacey, Paul Stacey, Yasushi Miura, David Binney, Kenny Wollesen and Gabriela Anders.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your background? What were you like as child?
Wayne Krantz: Young, mostly. I hear when I was brought home from the hospital my dad cranked Beethoven on the stereo all day long. That basically never stopped.

MI: Who were some of your earliest influences?
WK: Early on it was Beatles, Monkeese, Debussy, Herb Alpert, Dionne Warwick, James Bond themes. Then came Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Santana, Sons of Champlin. Then Miles Davis, John Mclaughlin, George Benson, Joe Pass, Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall. Then Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Prince. Finally, Hendrix. Then nobody. Well, this guy Yasushi Miura has been knocking me out lately. Not really an influence, but someone who confirms what I’m doing in some way.

MI: When did you first know that you wanted to be a musician?
WK: When I was 16. I was listening to a Sons record called “Follow Your Heart” and decided to take their advice.

MI: What was your very first guitar? Do you remember what was running through your head when you got it?
WK: I started on a Framus acoustic my Dad had in the attic. I was really intrigued by it for some reason, even though it only had two strings on it at the time.


Vocalist/Guitarist Wayne Static

Wayne Static

An Interview with Vocalist/Guitarist Wayne Static
by Aaron Manogue
October 2011

There have been very few voices and guitar riffs that have been as noticeable as Wayne Static’s signature metal howl and “evil disco” sound in the past few decades. He has mashed and molded a unique combination of hardcore metal with industrial sounds dashed with a side of disco to form a brand that has sold thousands worldwide. Now that Static-X is on an indefinite hiatus, Wayne is back at it, doing it solo but still bringing the signature sound to rape and pillage your ear drums. Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue sat down with Wayne Static to talk about his new solo album Pighammer, his favorite music he listens to and his pyshco dog Brutus that would protect his wife and himself, in case of a zombie apocalypse.

Maximum Ink: Talk to me a little bit about where the name Pighammer came from for your latest solo album?
Wayne Static: It’s kind of just a word that popped in my head years ago and I’ve wanted to use for something for a long time. I finally figured out we’d call the solo record Pighammer and me and my wife had a good time thinking of what Pighammer means. At first, we were going to say it was a sexual position, but we thought that might be too much for the kids. So we came up with this whole story about the mad plastic surgeon with this big hammer tool that he uses to change women into pigs. That kind of went along with the whole lyrical theme of the record too, which is transformation.


Well-Known Strangers LIVE - photo by paddy fineran


An interview with John Kulas, bassist of Racine's Well-Known Strangers
by Mike Huberty
January 2018

Racine’s WELL-KNOWN STRANGERS is the brainchild of guitarist Joe Adamek who envisioned creating a modern alt-pop sound that would be structured around the interplay of strong female vocals and the smooth sounds of the cello. He found those muses with vocalist Betsy Ade and cellist Sacia Jerome. They rounded out the band with southeastern Wisconsin music vets, drummer Roger Gower, guitarist Ted Koth and bassist John Kulas. We did a Q &A with Kulas to preview their upcoming performance at Madison’s High Noon Saloon on February 6th with BETH KILLE and THE RACING PULSES.


Wes Dolan from The Stone, No Soul Unturned

Wes Dolan

An interview with Singer/Songwriter Wes Dolan
by Tina Hall
August 2011

English singer/songwriter Wes Dolan has been performing his brand of mainly folk inspired tunes in pubs, clubs, and festivals for over a decade across the pond. His work has been featured in several films including the delightfully dark “The Stone, No Soul Unturned” and"Paranormal Haunting: The Curse of The Blue Moon Inn”, both directed by Philip Gardiner. Reason To Exist, his debut album is scheduled for release this summer by Reality Entertainment.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about yourself? What is it like Nottinghamshire? Do you think coming from there has somewhat influenced your musical tastes and styling?
Wes Dolan: I was born and live in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire which used to be a mining town.The coal mines are all closed down now which is what my song “Reason To Exist” is partly about.My father and uncle came over here from Ireland when they were kids and were both singers and song writers which inspired me to play music.When I finished studying and had gained a degree, there weren’t many jobs around here so I became a busker which did hone my skills and to an extent had some impact on my style of playing.It was whilst playing on the streets of Mansfield that I began to make contacts.Firstly for playing at pubs, clubs, festivals and private parties and more recently for writing and performing for film and television.

MI: Who are some of your influences?
WD: I was massively influenced by my dad and uncle, Liam and Joe Dolan.Other major influences are Bob Dylan, The Pogues, Donavon, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Bob Marley.These performers influenced me in a variety of ways, such as my style, lyrics, attitude towards life and general image.


2876 ViewsPermalinkWes Dolan Website
Luke Jorgensen of Lower 5th and Whiskeyonsin organizer

Whiskeyonsin Family Reunion 2016

an interview with organizer and musician Luke Jorgensen
by Teri Barr
May 2016

Success with a group of musicians is one thing.

But also being an accomplished producer and event organizer should elevate the clout for one of the founders of The Lower 5th, a Madison-based, Midwestern-soul band. Yet any communication with Luke Jorgensen reveals a kind-hearted man, who is simply proud to be able to play a style of music he loves with people he describes as “amazing.”

Ask him about his three-year-old event, the Whiskeyonsin Family Reunion, and it’s when you get the fierce passion of someone who considers this one of the top shows to bring some of the best area bands together, and all for us. I asked Luke about Whiskeyonsin, how it has turned into one of his favorite things to be part of, and why the show is moving to Madison this June.


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