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The Steepwater Band

The Steepwater Band


by Mike Huberty
July 2014

Chicago Roots-Rock veterans, THE STEEPWATER BAND, have been playing their hearts out all over the world for nearly two decades. Forming in 1998, their raw, gritty, and bluesy sound, which started as a trio and has expanded to a quartet, fits perfectly in the retro-world of THE BLACK KEYS and RIVAL SONS. A band with a hometown attitude but a national profile, you may have heard their songs on television shows like “NCIS”, “Dangerous Games”, “Vegas”, or “The Good Wife”. Or maybe in movies like “The Five-Year Engagement” or “One For The Money”. They’ve established themselves as a fantastic ambassador for the Chicago scene (they even do an event called Illicana, which features bands from the Land of Lincoln playing Americana tracks.) Real deal road warriors, their tour schedule in just July ranges from Milwaukee’s Summerfest to Blues Festivals in Italy, Australia, and Switzerland(!) We took a few minutes to talk with guitarist and vocalist Jeff Massey to preview their upcoming appearance at Atwood Summerfest on July 27th.

Maximum Ink: What’s the best song to listen to for someone who hasn’t heard Steepwater before?
Jeff Massey: Hmmmm. That’s tricky picking one. I’m going to say the song, “Dance Me A Number”. The reason I pick this particular tune is because we run into a lot of new faces coming out to see our show strictly because they heard this song. It’s been getting a ton of airplay, primarily on streaming radio like Pandora and Spotify.

MI: What was the inspiration behind it?
JM: It was an instrumental song I had been playing around with on acoustic guitar for a few months before I decided to add lyrics. Lyrically, it’s inspired by the concept of living in the moment, enjoying each and every day and not being hung up on what the future holds. The whole inspiration, musically, came from messing around with an odd guitar tuning and turning it into an electric number with the band involved sent it over the top.

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Stone Sour on the cover of Maximum Ink in August 2006

Stone Sour


by Paul Gargano
August 2006

Consider Stone Sour the yin to Slipknot’s yang. While frontman Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root raise hell on earth with the depraved metal anthems that have become Slipknot’s trademark, in Stone Sour they opt for a more level-headed approach to the sonic spectrum. They color that spectrum brilliantly on sophomore release “Come What(ever) May,” banging with the best of them on breakneck opener “30/30-150,” and closing the album with “Zzyzx Rd,” a piano-paced introspective meltdown that bellies Bob Seger’s epic “Turn the Page” up against Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” The album is one of the year’s standout efforts, and the band – Taylor, Root, guitarist Josh Rand, bassist Shawn Economaki and drummer Roy Mayorga – will be unveiling the material on this summer’s Family Values tour, sharing a stage with Korn, the Deftones, Flyleaf and Dir En Gray. The tour stops in East Troy at the Alpine Valley Music Theater Aug. 26 – Jim Root offered Maximum Ink this exclusive interview to help pass the time…

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Stone Temple Pilots on the cover of Maximum Ink October 2000

Stone Temple Pilots


by Paul Gargano
October 2000

an interview with Stone Temple Pilots’ vocalist Scott Weiland who talks about touring, Pearl Jam similarities from their early days, Bad-asses, porn stars, strippers, Limp Bizkit and the Doors

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Stuck Mojo on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 19998 - photo by Paul Gargano

Stuck Mojo


by Paul Gargano
April 1998

When zealots declared “The South will rise again!” the farthest thing from their minds was a black man leading the charge, fronting a band inspired by Twisted Sister and World Championship Wrestling. But obviously, the people that swooned over “Sic Semper Tyrannis” had never heard of heavy metal music, let alone Fender guitars, Pearl drums, and Marshall stacks that project a din loud enough to stifle any Civil War cannon blast.

Enter Stuck Mojo, Atlanta’s metal godfathers, the South’s reigning kings of musical fury and onstage chaos, and underdogs turned favorites to topple the loud rock hierarchy.

Selling a combined 75,000 copies of their first two releases on Century Media Records, Snappin’ Necks (1995) and Pigwalk (1996), Stuck Mojo are indie-metal’s marquee attraction, having chiseled a name for themselves through aggressive touring, explosive live shows, and an attitude that defines heavy metal as it was always meant to be.

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Subatomic - Cover design by Ian Chalgren - photo by Rökker

Subatomic

An interview with Subatomic
by Aaron Manogue
January 2011

We listen to music to feel something, to relate to something or to just plain have fun. And it’s becoming harder and harder to find a local band that you can listen to and just plain enjoy yourself. No corporate puppetry or influence laced through what could be and should be killer music. That’s why when we came across Subatomic it was something extremely refreshing. Their jam-oriented sound with catchy riffs and groovy basslines is just plain good music. Maximum Ink caught up with the hard rock groove trio to talk about their music and how they got their start.

Maximum Ink: Tell me about the history of the band. Where did you get started? When did you all start playing and writing music?
Bryan Moll (Guitarist/Vocals): Jim and I have been playing together since grade school and about 15 years ago, we got to know Sparko (Mark Dvorak-Drums).  So over the years the three of us have worked together on different projects, with different folks in a variety of bands, but the true version of subatomic came into being in 2006, when we began writing music together.

MI: Describe your music to someone who has never seen/hear it before.
Jim Roof (Bass): It’s our motto: Hard rock groove jams!

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Jim Wilbur of Superchunk

Superchunk

An Interview with Superchunk Guitarist Jim Wilbur
by John Noyd
January 2014

Formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1989, Superchunk has maintained the same line-up since 1991, releasing heartfelt high-velocity indie-rock over the course of eight albums before taking a hiatus in 2001. Returning from their various side-projects in 2010, the band currently finds itself promoting their tenth full-length, “I Hate Music,” without their original bassist Laura Ballance, whose hearing issues has made her participation in their volcanic live shows untenable. In anticipation of playing Madison’s 2014 FRZN Fest January 19th, Superchunk’s Jim Wilbur was kind enough to answer a few questions via email.

MAXIMUM INK: Superchunk’s guitar sound has been an influential force for years, what guitarists do you admire and are there any guitarists/bands playing today you find particularly interesting?

Jim Wilbur: Thanks for the compliment. Let me say first of all that I am a completely un-trained guitarist, never had a lesson. I bought my first guitar (a crappy off-brand acoustic) when I was a senior in high school after listening to the Minutemen’s “Double Nickels on the Dime”. I had a little pamphlet with some basic chord diagrams and that was that. I usually tell people I perform with a guitar - rather than say I play a guitar. So… basically I admire anyone who can ACTUALLY play the damn things, especially people who seem to play intuitively.

MI: After so many years together Superchunk seems more like a family than a band, how would you describe the group dynamics and what do you feel are your responsibilities in the band?

JW: You’re right. I think we are more like a family at this point, that, or maybe a gang. We all know how to deal with one another, where each other’s toes are and ways to avoid stepping on them. As far as my responsibilities go, hmmm… back in the 90’s I did most of the driving, but I don’t suppose that is what you mean. I think the most important thing for each of us is to be respectful of one another and allow each other the space to live inside the group. That may sound a little New Agey. When we are arranging/writing songs we all have to figure out how to complement one another and not step on each other’s parts. I’m talking musically here - but the same goes for the personal relationships we share with one another.

MI: The band seems happy to tour, I’ve always wondered, how does it get decided who gets to choose the music in the van?

JW: Back in the day the rule was “Driver picks the tape”. Since I drove about 90% of the time, that meant the band had to sit through my homemade mix-tapes of Def Leppard, Squeeze, The Verlaines and various hardcore punk bands. These days everyone is plugged into their own little worlds. Everyone but me, that is. I don’t really like listening to music in moving vehicles. Mostly I just sit there and ask questions of my band mates that go unanswered because they can’t hear me. Ha.

MI: Obviously there has to be a difference not having Laura touring with you on bass for this tour, what’s the band’s history with her stand-in Jason?

JW: We’ve know Jason for years. Jon has played with him in Bob Pollard’s band as well as Bob Mould’s trio. He’s a smashing fellow and a quick study. I’m reminded of our first practice with him. We ran through “Slack Motherfucker” and after the chorus we stopped because the bass sounded weird. Mac, Jon and I were sure he was playing the wrong notes. So we sent a quick email to Laura who was at her desk in the Merge office asking what she played at that point in the song. While waiting for a reply we listened to the song on YouTube and sure enough, Jason was right. I think we never heard the song properly since we usually play it at the end of a set when some of us might have had a little too much beer!


MI: The energy your guitar provides is enormous. Is there a warm-up routine you employ before a show or do you just plug and play?

JW: Mac and I just plug in and play.. Mac will do vocal warm-ups that sound like he’s making farting noises with his lips. Jon will warm up by playing paradiddles on sofa arms or chair-backs. If I’m sitting too close to him he’ll use my calves and feet

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Supersuckers on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2002

Supersuckers


by Sarah Klosterbuer
May 2002

There are two types of country music. There’s the whiney, poppy, overproduced dribble, and then there’s the kind produced by the Supersuckers - the good kind.

To say the least, the Supersuckers are a bit bipolar when it comes to musical styles. They’ve opened for White Zombie and Motorhead and also backed country legend Willie Nelson. Producing primarily rock albums, the band also delivered a country disc in 1997, providing the material for their latest live release, “Must’ve Been Live.”

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