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Robert Randolph & the Family Band on the cover of Maxmum Ink in June 2003

Robert Randolph and the Family Band


by Brett Lemke
June 2003

With the entrancing sound of Robert Randolph’s 13 string Pedal Steel, a brutally tight rhythm section, and a dynamic Hammond organ, Robert Randolph & The Family Band have blasted through the jamband scene. Their combination of Gospel, Blues, and relentless passion explodes with a burning fury onstage. All in all, they justly deserved their recent W.C. Handy award for Best New Artist. “We know what to play when it comes to gospel, and how you’re supposed to play it,” said Robert Randolph during a recent interview with Maximum Ink.

Years spent growing up in church in Orange, New Jersey and staying active in the musical community of his congregation helped 24 year-old Robert develop his skill playing the lap steel guitar. His two cousins, Bassist Danyell Morgan and drummer Marcus Randolph, along with longtime friend/organist John Ginty make the Family Band. “We used to play Ted’s Jam in church all the time,” said Robert, “The music at our church is truly unique. Everybody gets involved. They call it ‘dancing under the holy spirit.’ “

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The Schwillbillies on the December 2002 cover of Maximum Ink - photo by Rokker

The Schwillbillies


by Brett Lemke
December 2002

An interview with Geeter of Madison’s punk-hillbilly outfit The Schwillbillies

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Seattle's Second Coming on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 1999

Second Coming


by Paul Gargano
May 1999

Few will argue the fact that rock music has fallen on bad times. Sure, the music’s out there, but by the time you’ve sorted through the bands whose pants are the only thing drooping lower than their guitar tunings, and ruled out the carefree world of men wearing mascara and lipliner, whose got the energy to look for it? For most, it’s just easier to stick to the classics, relying on Led Zeppelin for all-out rock virtuosity, counting on The Doors for a mature spin on the outlandish element, and looking to Jimi Hendrix for a guitar solo worth writing home about.

From the throbbing rock of the band’s classically-tinted sound, it’s obvious that they share that sentiment. And have targeted their efforts on doing something to fill that void. Clocking in at over seven minutes in length, “Confessional” might not be the most commercially viable cut on their self-titled, Capitol Records debut, but it’s definitely the most telling. The most telling of their sound, style, roots and direction.

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Second Soul

Second Soul

An interview with Troy Stetina of Second Soul
by Mike Huberty
September 2012

Shredder. While some cubicle drones might immediately think about office equipment and geeks might conjure up images of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ greatest foe, headbangers think of dudes that can play the guitar. No, not just rhythm, but real guitar. Lotsa sweaty dudes can power chord their way through a set. We think of leads. And not just octaved melody lines that pass for “solos”, but guitar histrionics that melt your goddamn face. Licks and runs that make long-haired high schoolers run back to their Mom’s basements to practice their scales. SECOND SOUL is the Wisconsin band that’s taking the kids back to school. It’s hard rock with a modern sound, as comfortable next to HINDER (And who the Hell named that band?) as they would be next to RANDY RHOADS-era OZZY OSBOURNE. This Milwaukee-Madison based group has an album that’s ready to hit. With a recording that’s ready for radio, a full-throated lead singer in Scott Yanke, and a shredder’s shredder in Troy Stetina, SECOND SOUL was a long-time coming. Dues paid. Songs written. Stetina has sold over a million copies of educational guitar materials. Now, it’s time for the teacher to become the artist.

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Sevendust on cover of Maximum Ink one month after changing their name from Crawlspace.... April 1997

Sevendust


by Paul Gargano
April 1997

They say hindsight is 20/20, but in the nonchalant manner Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose recalls the addition of vocalist Lajon to the Atlanta quintet’s mix, you’d never imagine this band was the latest focus of attention for indie juggernaut TVT - the same label that launched Nine Inch Nails into the national spotlight, turned Gravity Kills into one of the last years most amazing success stories, and is nurturing Sevendust’s ascent ot the top of the heavy metal market.

“We thought that if we could find a singer who could sing over the heavy music, it might sound original,” Rose explained at New York City’s Coney Island High, the site of Sevendust’s coming-out performance April 12 (only three days before the release of their self-titled debut), their first Big Apple show since singing with TVT less than a year ago.

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Sevendust's second time on the cover of Maximum Ink in August 1999 - photo by Paul Gargano

Sevendust 1999


by Paul Gargano
August 1999

Sevendust have performed 462 shows over a 21 month span, spending their first few months on the road in a van, graduating to an RV, and not relocating to their first tour bus until their second year of touring. Show No. 462 was followed by a much-deserved three week break, which immediately segued into three months of writing, two months of recording, two more weeks off, a week of rehearsal, then a return to the road for a recently completed run as a headliner of the Vans Warped Tour. Did we mention their prime billing at Woodstock ‘99? Now, with the August 24 release of sophomore effort Home and their current tour with support acts Powerman 5000, Staind and Skunk Anansie, they’re ready to start the cycle all over again.

Yes, the Atlanta quintet have come a long way since appearing on the cover of Maximum Ink back in April ‘97. It was then, little more than two years ago, that hard rock and heavy metal were struggling to regain a foothold in a scene ruled by alterna-rock radio. But times have changed. Case in point, Madison’s 94.1. WJJO made the conversion to a hard rock format just as Sevendust entered the scene. It’s clear that they’ve helped each other with the success both have achieved.

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Sevendust's third time on the cover of Maximum Ink in February 2006 - photo by Andrew Gargano

Sevendust 2006


by Paul Gargano
February 2006

Onstage, Sevendust frontman Lajon Witherspoon is widely acknowledged as one of hard rock’s most gripping performers and electrifying voices. Offstage, he’s seldom heard, mellow as a church mouse, and as mild-mannered as they come.

But something has changed.

Less than a week into his band’s first tour in more than six months, Witherspoon gets notably agitated when asked about the prospects of hitting the road in support of two albums - their first studio effort since joining forces with new label Winedark Records, and the recently issued greatest hits album issued by their former label.

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