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Butch Vig - Producer, Drummer, Studio Owner, Madison Native

Butch Vig


by Mike Huberty
June 2009

A Wisconsin native who made his name producing records for bands that would come to define the alternative movement in the 90’s with Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and then came to know rock success as the drummer and producer of multi-platinum artist, Garbage, Butch Vig is known as a sonic virtuoso who makes some of the best sounding rock music around. Playing in Madison bands through the 70’s and 80’s and founding Smart Studios, Butch has as of late relocated to the sunnier climes of California and started a family, but that hasn’t slowed him down. After recently producing records by The Subways and Against Me! his latest project is GREEN DAY’s newest album, 21st Century Breakdown.

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Steve Vai - photo by Larry DiMarzio

Steve Vai


by Mike Huberty
August 2009

Just as the guitarist in bands like Frank Zappa and David Lee Roth to his sideman work with bands like Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne, STEVE VAI has been the guitar hero’s guitar hero for three decades. He’s been leading his own band since the early 1990’s, creating one of that generation’s most influential instrumental guitar records, the epic Passion and Warfare. He’s releasing a new DVD in September called Where The Wild Things Are documenting a show on his last tour in Minneapolis. He’s just finished getting it ready and he took a few minutes to talk about the DVD with us.

MI: What compelled you to make the new DVD set?

SV: It’s what I do. Traveling musician, composer, and rock guitar player. It’s always nice to capture little moments in time. I put this band together, that’s sort of a unique band. My music is 80% instrumental, very compositional rock music. It’s a very different kind of a show. When I do a show together, I put together something I’d like to see when I go to a show. I want to see great musicianship, I wanna feel emotional dynamics, and see people that have an investment in what you’re doing.

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Vello Virkhaus

V-Squared Labs elevates concert experience with multimedia creations


by Andrew Frey
November 2011

A visual revolution has been brewing in the image rendering and video projection realms transforming musical events into an entirely new multi-level experience. On Oct. 19, I was fortunate enough to attend a sold out Amon Tobin show in Denver at the Ogden Theater during the highly acclaimed ISAM tour and witness one such multimedia experience.

Objects resembling giant, white Tetris blocks on the stage were suddenly transformed into living video art that throbbed and pulsed along with the music. Audience members visited outer space when we saw spaceships fly by and explode in amazing high definition imagery. We saw cyber machines chug and churn before morphing into green blocks of electric contemplation and much, much more.

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Madison's Vanishing Kids

Vanishing Kids


by Mike Huberty
June 2009

Keeping alive the torch of post-punk and new-wave, VANISHING KIDS started making noise when guitarist Jason Hartman and vocalist Nikki Nads met in Madison in 2000 and decided to form a band the following year where they could indulge in their love of artists like The Cure and Siouxsie and The Banshees. That path has since taken them to Seattle, back to Madison, and finally back to the West Coast to Portland, Oregon. They’ve achieved a good deal of success along the way, signing a distribution deal with Rykodisc and having industrial pioneer Martin Atkins take the producing reins on one of their albums.  This summer, they’ve released a brand new single, “Mother Earth”, and are hitting the road on a tour that will take them through the Western and Midwestern states.

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Vanishing Kids

Vanishing Kids

An interview with Nikki from Vanishing Kids
by Mike Huberty
September 2013

It’s been a long road for post-punk outfit VANISHING KIDS’ new album, “Spirit Visions”. Band founders and married partners, Nikki Drohomyreky (stage name: Nikki Nads) and Jason Hartman, have been recording and playing with different lineups since founding the band in 2000. Their 2005 album, “Selfish Mirror”, was a dark and brooding piece of New Millennium reflection on 80’s nostalgia produced by Invisible Records’ Martin Atkins and it gained the band some serious media attention on release. They moved from Madison to Portland in 2006, released a single in 2009, and have since returned to the Midwest. Their new album drops this month and we took some time to talk to them about the release.

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1878 ViewsPermalinkVanishing Kids Website
Vanishing Kids

Vanishing Kids

interview with Jason Hartman
by Theron Moore
December 2016

Vanishing Kid’s music is best described as heavy yet ethereal, complex and textured but always accessible, and more so than not—a massive, mountain of sound. A juggernaut in their own right.

I spoke with guitarist Jason Hartman to really dig into the story of Vanishing Kids, what makes up their overall sound, and what to expect from the band in the near future.

Maximum Ink: How did Vanishing Kids come together?
Jason Hartman:
Nikki Drohomyreky (Vocals, Organ, Synth, Percussion) and I started the band in 2000. Jerry Sofran (Bass, former Fluid Oz.) has been playing with us for 3 years now and was an idol of mine as a teenager. I would go to see his thrash metal bands Mirrored Image and For Christ Sake in the early 90’s. So intense! Drummer Hart Allen Miller has been with us for a year and a half. I played some shows with Hart in the past and was always impressed with his heavy, solid style. Nik and I were in the same scenes in the late 90’s in Madison and had similar musical tastes and passions. It was easy to put music together right away.

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Janesville's VERSUS ME - photo by Elizabeth Wadium

VERSUS ME

An interview with Janesville metal band, VERSUS ME
by Mike Huberty
September 2017

Janesville’s VERSUS ME is talented AF. If you like hard rock there’s lots to like. Singer James Milbrandt has a fantastic voice when he’s singing, usually on the chorus ‘cuz the verses are always gutteral, more percussive than melodic. Bassist Lee Milbrandt and guitarists Patrick Thompson and Clint Greendeer are super heavy (but maybe give the 6-stringers a solo a sometime, c’mon!) On recordings, drummer Dustin Helgestad sounds like triggers and MIDI, but that’s the way heavy rock sounds now, if he can even play half of it live, then he’s awesome.

Alright, this all makes me sound like an old man (back in my day, drummers had to do cardio to be able to double kick!) The fact is, these guys are on the upswing with cool videos, major label level production, and you just know that they’re going to be rock n’ roll heroes with the hometown Janesville crowd at WJJO Sonic Boom - and they’re better than half the stuff JJO plays most of the time. I watched all their videos and then talked to them about their upcoming performance, influences, and more. Sunday October 1st they’ll be performing early, so don’t get too drunk on Saturday and come down and see these guys!

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