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Whorrorcore from Madison's Tormentula featuring Cathy Detmers of the High Noon Saloon - photo by Rokker


by David A. Kulczyk
April 2000

“Whorrorcore,” was the reply that I got from Tormentula drummer / vocalist Alice Bludgeon when I asked her to describe Tormentula’s music. I’ve wanted to do a story on Tormentula ever since their CD, Submit You Unworthy Soul, came out last summer. Not a pretty record and occasionally not easy to listen to, but nonetheless a superior record of enraged estrogen recorded for all of the world to hear and one of the best hard rock CD’s to come out of Wisconsin. So impressive is Submit Your Unworthy Soul, that the CD was stolen from my office while I was setting up this article.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from these women with faces made up better than KISS, playing music to stomp gonads to. What I did find was an intelligent and articulate woman (drummer / vocalist Alice Bludgeon) whose love for rock and roll music is as passionate as Angus Young. “I think that music should be challenging to the musician and to the listener,” said Bludgeon.


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Trans Siberian Orchestra on cover of Maximum Ink in December 2005

Trans Siberian Orchestra

by Paul Gargano
December 2005

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and while the rest of us are worrying about what time we should start roasting our turkeys, Paul O’Neill has a different set of concerns: The 18 semis and 16 tour busses that are transporting his Trans-Siberian Orchestra spectacles across America.

Yes, spectacles.

In seven years, Trans-Siberian Orchestra has not only become the holiday season’s main concert attraction, but also one of the year’s top ticket-sellers. And they accomplish this in less than six weeks on the road, splitting their ensemble into two equally impressive and awe-inspiring bands, each of which is responsible for performing in front of a different half of America in the final weeks of each year. Sound confusing? Try spearheading the whole operation, which O’Neill has done since he conceived the idea that would become the band’s now multi-platinum debut, Christmas Eve And Other Stories, nearly a decade ago. 

Yet in the face of it all, he remains as calm and composed as a freshly fallen Christmas snow.


Ultraspank on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 1998 - photo by Paul Gargano


by Paul Gargano
July 1998

If OZZfest is any indication, Santa Barbara, CA is the metal capitol of America, represented on the tour by Life of Agony frontman Whitfield Crane, Snot, and newcomers Ultraspank.

“It’s a weird scene,” says Ultraspank lead singer Pete Murray of his hometown. “There are like three colleges there, so you get people coming from all different parts of the country.” That’s the case with Ultraspank, as Murray, guitarist Jerry Oliviera and drummer Tyler Clark migrated to the coastal community for school. “It was either there or Maine,” Murray, a native New Yorker, muses of his choice. But even with a degree in Film, his interests were always aimed at music, as he and his future bandmates spent the better portion of the decade playing in local Santa Barbara outfits before coming together, as Spank, about two years ago.


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Relentlessly Rocking and Forever Ascending
by Sal Serio
June 2015

It’s an exciting time for the Madison-based rock band Ultrea. June 2015 marks the E.P. release of new music titled “Forever Ascending” as well as a video for the song “Through The Ashes”. The world premiere of the new E.P. was broadcast June 2 on as a part of The Jimmy K Show, and the release party will be Sat. June 20 at The Red Zone (Annex) with Minneapolis band Gabriel And The Apocalypse, Genotype, Growing, and more. Ultrea also is performing at some large Midwest festival dates. The band, or “family” as they say, is comprised of Jennifer Lecesse-vocals, Jason Wepking-bass, Kyle Rattner and Greg Dellmann-guitars, and Bryan Lawver-drums.


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Umphrey's McGee on the cover of Maximum Ink September 2007

Umphrey’s McGee

by Mike Huberty
September 2007

When first hearing the voice of Joel Cummins, the keyboard player from Chicago jam-band Umphrey’s McGee, one might expect a stoned-out, hippie wasteoid, not the articulate, self-deprecating and passionate music theory graduate that helped found the group in the mid-‘90s at Notre Dame University. But the man’s musicianship is no joke.

Teetering on the edge of the mainstream with their third album, “Safety in Numbers,” the band released a double album of tracks from the “Safety” recording sessions called “The Bottom Half” last April, performed on Lollapalooza, and started opening for the Dave Matthews Band on his latest tour (to which Cummins half-jokes, “One of the goals was to play more tunes for the ladies.”)


The Union Underground on the cover of Maximum Ink June 2001

Union Underground

by Michelle Harper
June 2001

It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and Bryan Scott sounds like he’s been up for days. One of the handful of fortunate bands to participate in this year’s blockbuster “Ozzfest” tour, Union Underground’s lead singer is tired, but still going strong. “We’re leaving for Europe for three weeks, then back home for like a day, then we’re doing Ozzfest for like three months”.  Fatigued but eager to talk about his band, Scott begins recounting the life of a hard working musician on his way to the top, and his participation in the festival of the summer—Ozzfest.

For Scott, Union Underground began ten years ago when he met guitarist Patrick Kennison. Scott laughs, saying “Patrick and I have been teaching each other guitar since we were 14. I was the guy in school wearing the Guns-N-Roses T-shirt and he was the guy wearing the Metallica shirt.  We’ve basically been married for 10 years.”  Scott’s love of music began as soon as he purchased Motely Crue’s “Shout at the Devil”, and he’s been singing hard ever since.


Unity on the cover of the July 2011 Maximum Ink

Unity The Band

From Fiji to the Fox Valley
by Mike Huberty
July 2011

Bringing some of that tropical feeling to the Fox Valley, a region famously called “The Frozen Tundra”, UNITY THE BAND, plays their roots-rock reggae music for fans all over the state and they’re working on the world. Frontman Pita Kotobalavu (better known to fans by his nickname, Kai) formed UNITY in 2003 after moving to Oshkosh. But here’s the kicker, he moved from Hawaii, where he’d previously moved from his homeland of Fiji. What can make a man leave paradise?


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