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Milwaukee's Willy Porter

Willy Porter


by Mike Huberty
August 2009

Wisconsin folk artist WILLY PORTER has been touring around North America for the past two decades, seeing national success that began with the release of his 1995 album, Dog Eared Dream, which led to opening spots for Tori Amos, Jeff Beck, Toad The Wet Sprocket, and The Cranberries and catapulted his style of folk rock meets Dylan-esque wordplay to the top echelon of modern singer-songwriters.

His new album, How To Rob A Bank, just came out in June of this year and he produced it himself, a process that he says was more difficult in some ways and easier in others. “I think that it’s harder in some ways”, he says, “especially when you’re singing to know if you have the right inflection or you’re capturing the feel of what you want to convey. But I’m a big believer in the things that are a mistake today are the things that you love tomorrow. If the musicians played something and the musicians think that it’s cool and if you respect them and trust them, then it’s good. I tried not to use technology to edit or fix things into a state of unrealistic perfection and that was very liberating. I’ve worked with some people who let the machines get in the way and I’m not feeling that at all lately.”

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Erik Kjelland with Butch Vig

Wisconsin Vinyl Collective

Q & A with Erik Kjelland
by Teri Barr
April 2017

Erik Kjelland is a man with a plan. Actually, the Madison-based musician always seems to be in the middle of creating a new plan, while taking another to completion. Lucky for us, Erik’s plans typically revolve around music for the greater good.

Currently, he shares his own terrific talent in so many ways; as a soulful singer-songwriter, dynamic leader of the award-winning band, The Mascot Theory; and as one-part of the beautiful duo, Kerosene Kites. Also in recent years, Erik has been the frontman in forming some strong collaborations leading to music as a vehicle for raising funds and awareness. He’s done it for the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund with the wildly successful Flannel Fest, and next he’ll do it for the Wisconsin Vinyl Collective, a brand new project aimed at highlighting the many great musicians based in, or originally from, the Badgers State. One of the people Erik approached? Butch Vig of Smart Studios and Garbage fame. The Wisconsin native quickly said, “yes” to his request, and Erik just returned from a few days in L.A. where he met up with Butch, and they plotted the next steps to solidify the future of the Wisconsin Vinyl Collective.

Right now, Volume One is about to be released as a part of Record Store Day, and at shows on April 21 at Riverview Gardens in Appleton, and April 23 at High Noon Saloon in Madison. Artists on the album will be the featured performers. (More info at:  wivinyl.com )

Before this first of its kind event, I asked Erik about the partnership with Butch, the goals of the project, and why it already means so much to him.   

Maximum Ink: Where did you get the idea for a Wisconsin Vinyl Collective project?
Erik Kjelland:
Inside my brain is a mixed cluster of ideas and projects that skirt the line between creative and ridiculous. Wisconsin Vinyl Collective (WVC) is really a collection of a bunch of those nuggets. I was kicking around the idea of a local music compilation album released by my record label, Stone After Stone Records, and as a means to put on a fun charity event in Madison, like a spring edition of Flannel Fest, the annual fall Americana music showcase Beth Kille and I created to raise funds and awareness for Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund.

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Wishbone Ash

Wishbone Ash

Career Lessons, Deep Meaning, and Rock Around the Globe
by Sal Serio
September 2015

It’s always an immense pleasure to get perspective and insight from an intriguing musician who has been a trailblazer of innovation for decades, and who continues to stay relevant and proactive in the current musical universe. This was most definitely the case when Maximum Ink’s Sal Serio recently got to chat with Andy Powell, band leader of the iconic English rock band Wishbone Ash, who will perform at Turner Hall in Milwaukee, Thursday, September 10. The current Wishbone Ash line-up is comprised of Andy Powell and Muddy Manninen on guitars, Bob Skeat on bass, and Joe Crabtree on drums.

MAXIMUM INK: Often there is mention of the twin-lead-guitar-harmony sound in discussions about Wishbone Ash. However, it’s usually Thin Lizzy that get credit for “inventing” that technique. Yet, it occurs to me that Wishbone Ash should really get this honor, since, when you started doing it in 1970, Thin Lizzy only had one guitar player (Eric Bell)!

ANDY POWELL:; Oh, did they?! I think you’re the first person that’s ever picked up on that! <i>[laughing]</i> Well, that’s very nice of you, and it’s funny that you mentioned Thin Lizzy, because I was at a Steely Dan concert last week, and there’s one song of ours that I know had a big impact on those two bands, because there’s riffs in a song by each of them that could only be inspired by the song “Blowin’ Free”, one of our classics, which, back in the day, would have been played quite a bit on FM radio. I’ve spoken to Scott Gorham, from the later incarnation of Thin Lizzy, and I know that they were influenced by Wishbone because we were the first band that they saw when they came to London from Ireland. So, you know, some people admit the influence and some don’t, but it’s all good to me. Music is like that. We all channel other bands, and music we’ve grown up with, and so it’s a huge compliment.

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Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa

Keepin' it on the Level
by John Noyd
May 2011

Washed in champagne and sensimillia bravado, smooth-talking rapper, pop upstart and lifestyle compiler, Wiz Khalifa slings off-putting epithets, suave posse politics and pussyfooting bragging rights glamorizing a cushy life of sleeping in and going out.  As a son of two military parents Wiz is no stranger to discipline or duty but his allegiance to his fan base, the Taylor Gang, and his, success is the best revenge, work ethic are a far cry from dawn patrols and reveille.

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Wookiefoot

Wookiefoot


by Andrew Frey
November 2012

Master myth historian Joseph Campbell may be an unlikely roll model for a band, but Wookiefoot is no ordinary band. Cross-breading cosmic intellect with earthbound paradigms to create now age anthems of “Reggae-Jam-Rock-Funk with sitars, bag pipes, and a circus” is unthinkable for most groups, but Wookiefoot takes it all in stride. Their followers are even called “Bliss Junkies” a variant of Campbell’s famous saying, “Follow your Bliss.”

In fact, when talking about their new release, Mark Murphy, vocalist, visionary and guitarist for Wookiefoot admits that, ““‘Ready or Not…’ is mostly focused on ideas from Joseph Campbell

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Wookiefoot - 2013

An Interview with Wookiefoot Founding Band Member, Mark Murphy
by Andrew Frey
November 2013

Wookiefoot is a conduit of evolving consciousness. “When JoJo and I started WookieFoot fifteen years ago, we weren’t exactly sure what we were creating,” begins Mark Murphy, vocalist, visionary, and guitarist for Wookiefoot. “All we knew is that we wanted to be a large community of people doing ridiculous things and sharing our philosophy.”

However, as they lived their music, their philosophy and message evolved and escalated with each of their recordings. Starting by getting Domesticated (2000) they went on to Make Belief (2001). Then they got Out of the Jar (2003). After leaving the jar, they had to Activate (2006) before they could Be Fearless and Play (2009). Most recently, they challenged us with being Ready Or Not… (2012).

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Yakuza


by Andrew Frey
January 2003

An interview with Yakuza singer and saxophone player Bruce Lamont

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