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Rammstein on the cover of Maximum Ink in November 1998  - photo by Paul Gargano

Rammstein


by Paul Gargano
November 1998

Just how far should a band go to win over a crowd? Rammstein go further. Some musicians breathe flames, Till Lindemann sings while engulfed in them. And that’s just to open the show. With only a handful of American dates under their belts, the buzz surrounding German industrial metal giants Rammstein is spreading like wildfire, propelling their Sehnsucht debut to gold status only six months after its release, and earning them the second headliner’s position on Korn’s Family Values tour. That may seem a bit ironic for a band whose lyrics hammer from brazen metal imagery to treading a fine line between sweetly erotic and disturbing sexual extremes. Then again, when the song titles in question are smash single and MTV Buzz Clip “Du Hast”-which translates to English, “You Hate”-and the more provocatively penned “Küss Mich,” “Tier” and “Spiel Mit Mir”-“Kiss Me,” “Beast” and “Play With Me,” respectively-the risk of being too risqué is lost. Rammstein are from Germany, sing entirely in German, and according to guitarist Richard Kruspe, who joined me on the phone from his homeland with a translator, they write their music in German, as well. Whether listening to their pair of tracks on David Lynch’s Lost Highway soundtrack-edits of ``Rammstein” and ``Hierate Mich,” their American unveilings-or any of the tracks on Sehnsucht, they slam with all the eerie forboding of a militant strike, twisting American metal and industrial with their foreign flair for results that crash between hollow hauntings and throbbing mayhem. Then there’s the performance. Live, the six imports from the other side of the crumbled Iron Curtain detonate more explosions than an air raid, and spew enough sexual imagery to dement even the sickest set of Family Values. Behold, America, the wrath of Rammstein is upon us…

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Ratdog featuring Bob Weir on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2008

Ratdog

an interview with Bob Weir
by Sarah H. Grant
March 2008

Maggot infested skulls on bony blood-dried bodies, skulking graveyards in midnight mists is how people usually picture the rise of the dead. Bushy-beards and wonky wa-wa waves on a six-string, tie-dye twists and baby boomers lighting up, is however, the reality.

Far from the grave, ex-Grateful Dead frontman Bob Weir and his solo project RatDog, have scoured the sphere, playing over seven hundred shows since 2006. Along with a slew of brilliant musicians such as lead guitarist Mark Karan and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, RatDog has dug deep into the core of improvisational riffs and melodies, and is safely the most musically comprehensive jam band formed post-sixties. A chunky brew of blues, jazz fusion, progressive bluegrass, and folk, RatDog delivers with an equally diverse palette as the latter day Grateful Dead. Weir channels Garcia in numbers like “Black Muddy River” and “Scarlet Begonias.” Yet the spectacle lies in the audience. The peace-loving, daisy-smelling youth that once swarmed Dead shows have become the stock-broking, suit wearing, SUV-driving dads, moms, and grandparents who come see Bob Weir to remember the days of freedom and hope, if just for a couple songs.

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Ray Condo and his Ricochets on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2000 - photo by Dan Zubkoff

Ray Condo And His Ricochets


by Dave Leucinger
May 2000

He’s 46 - well past living the life of your typical traveling musician, complete with vans, hotels, late nights, and lots of driving. But Ray Condo isn’t your typical anything. So he’s able to fit in quite nicely - lead the pack, actually - when the usually independent rockabilly world unites at festivals, such as last month’s Viva Las Vegas. “They’re pretty special,” he said of VLV and its kin. “It’s a ‘meeting of the tribes’ where the culture comes together once or twice a year.”

Amongst those tribes, Condo certainly rates as chief - or at least elder medicine man. The potions he mixes are old recipes - first blended in the 1930s at dance halls between Tulsa and Austin. It’s a concoction known as western swing - a blend of instrumentation and rhythm uniting the Kansas City swing of the era and early electrified country, complete with singing pedal steel guitars. “The draw of western swing is that it has so many modern elements - like speeded-up guitar and a tough rhythm section. These were the elements that formed early rockabilly and rock & roll.” Through the 1940s, artists such as Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys and the Light Crust Doughboys sent many boot heels tapping. “By the late ‘40s, Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell stripped the music into smaller combos - they were the Louis Jordans of the western scene. They put an end to those bands.”

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Real Knives captured at High Noon Saloon - photo by Rise Up Lights

Real Knives

An interview with Madison riff-rockers, Real Knives
by Mike Huberty
March 2014

Headbangers with a sense of humor and some mean-ass riffs, Madison’s REAL KNIVES are dirty whiskey-soaked hard rock. Bassist/vocalist Wade Coisman, lead guitarist Shane Keck, drummer Kai Anderson, and guitarist/vocalist Mark Weber are four dudes dedicated to abusing their instruments and livers while dishing out face-melting guitar solos and fist-pumping beats. March 24th they’re opening for Buckcherry at The Red Zone (formerly The Annex at Regent Street Retreat), so we decided to take some time to talk to the band about the upcoming show and what they’re up to.

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Chicago's Rebels Without Applause on the cover of Maximum Ink in September 2000 - photo by Craig Gieck

Rebels Without Applause


by John Noyd
September 2000

“It doesn’t matter, we just do what we do.” Day after day, year after year, this has become the motto of guitarist Greg Fulton, singer and songwriter for the explosive metal outfit Rebels Without Applause.  Weathering a rotating line-up of musicians that made up the speed and thrash metal projects Znowhite and Cyclone Temple, Greg, along with bassist Scott Schafer, has seen metal firsthand since 1986.  From opening up for Vanilla Ice to experiencing record label runarounds, the Chicago natives have withstood the trials of regular commutes to play New York clubs and confronting the black man playing white music complex.  From holding down multiple part-time jobs to pretending to be the band’s manager only to hear how that guitarist has got a real attitude, Greg has seen more than his fair share of music’s peculiar brand of justice.

“A lot of people think when they join a band it’s a short trip from their day jobs to the tour bus.”  Having already gone through a string of lead singers Greg was not eager to deal with teaching someone else how he wanted them to sing his songs.  Greg would sing his songs into a tape machine to show how he wanted his songs to be sung, but he never thought his voice was up to snuff.  With friend and former Cyclone Temple guitar tech, Mark Alano, working alongside Greg’s blast furnace fretwork, RWA’s two-guitar assault allows Greg plenty of space to play front man.  A soul-inspired delivery smothered in machine tooled rhythms, Greg’s evangelical vocals are thunderbolts in a raging storm.

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The Red Elvises on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2001

The Red Elvises


by David A. Kulczyk
April 2001

Imagine growing up in the old Soviet Union and playing Rock and Roll music? But you have a bigger dream, to play Rock and Roll in the country where it all started, The United States of America.

That’s what the Red Elvises did and have been making America a better place to live. The “now” Venice Beach, California based band have been taking their Eastern Europe style of Rock and Roll to everywhere and anywhere they can plug in their amplifiers.  “We speak the language that people understand,” said Oleg, the former balalaika player.

Oleg Bernov, Igor Yuzoz and Zhenya Kolykhanov have throughout their Red Elvises career, played bass, guitar, and lead guitar respectively, but now because of the loss of their longtime American drummer Avi Sills, the Red Elvises all take turns playing bass, drums and guitar.  “Now it’s a 3 piece band,” said Oleg.  “Our American drummer is gone, spontaneously combusted like in Spinal Tap.”

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Anna Purnell of the Reptile Palace Orchestra on the cover of Maximum Ink in November 2003 - photo by Andrew Frey

The Reptile Palace Orchestra


by Adam Wrathkey
November 2003

The sign on the door read, “REPTILE PALACE ORCHESTRA appearing every weekend this month. Please come and enjoy their eclectic mix of traditional and original world music that rocks. Elvis + Armenia + Funkadelic + Bulgaria = RPO.”

I didn’t recognize the band name, but I decided to check it out anyway. They were already on-stage. Dancers grouped in front of the stage as the band launched into their next number, which the lovely lady singing, announced as “Kochari.” The dance floor came alive as body parts were swung to and fro. More numbers followed fusing world music and ethnic styles. One song was in Spanish, the next from Bulgaria, then another in Armenian. Then Turkish, Finnish, English, Italian, Greek, and occasionally a song in a gypsy dialect. As the band played on, I tracked down a bartender and asked him to tell me more about the band.

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