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the back of Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society on cover of Maximum Ink

Black Label Society

by Paul Gargano
July 2000

There’s nothing subtle about Zakk Wylde. He’s the guitar demon that laid the sinister soundtrack to Ozzy Osbourne’s No Rest for the Wicked and No More Tears, breathing insanity into “Crazy Babies,” ripping through “Demon Alcohol” and raising hell on earth with “Tattooed Dancer.” He wore his Southern pride on his sleeve with Pride & Glory, enjoying fleeting success with the project, but not completely satisfying his hunger to rock with reckless abandonment. From there he split songwriting time between Osbourne’s Ozzmosis album and Guns N’ Roses, in the process, recording his solo-acoustic Book of Shadows, an album that made for an interesting sidebar for the shredding metal phenom, but only intensified his desire to raise Caine with six-string, Sabbath-inspired salutations.

When writing with GN’R seemed a dead-end road, Wylde had a revelation—he’d sing the songs himself, give them his own voice, and create a band that fulfilled his vision of rock’s most brutal attributes. He dubbed the band Black Label Society


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Clarence Gatemouth Brown on the cover of Maximum Ink July 2000

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown

by Dave Leucinger
July 2000

an historic interview of this legend of the blues and grammy winner, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. Brown passed away in 2006. RIP Gatemouth


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International artist Bernard Allison on the cover of Maximum Ink in June 2000

Bernard Allison

by Dave Leucinger
June 2000

“My dad told me to never be a copy cat,” emphasized guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Bernard Allison in a recent telephone interview. “He told me, ‘you’ll have influences and idols, but you’ll need to put yourself into what you play.’” Allison, son of late titan Luther Allison, has taken his father’s message to heart in a career that reaches back more than 15 years. “I’m doing what I’ve always done – mix a 12-bar blues tune with a couple of rock tunes, and a couple of funk tunes.”

Contrary to many perceptions, the senior Allison was not the foremost musical teacher in Bernard’s early career. “There wasn’t that much teaching at the musical level,” Allison said. “I taught myself how to play guitar and sing pretty much on my own, although he showed me how to play a few things. But Our relation was more like brothers than father/son.” Bernard did note that his father gave him sage advice on other aspects of the business, however. “He did teach me about the road – but I also learned a lot from my 3 years with Koko Taylor.” That apprenticeship with Taylor, and later with Willie Dixon’s Blues All-Stars, saw the teenage Allison emerge with more of his own voice, further developed through tutoring by Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. So zealots who expect – or hope – that Bernard will develop into a clone of his father will be disappointed. “A lot of our music is naturally the same,” Allison said.  “Early on, there was a lot more stuff where I sounded like him. But now, you can hear a song and tell if it’s Bernard or Luther.”


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Slipknot on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2000 - photo by Paul Gargano

Slipknot

by Paul Gargano
May 2000

Ten years ago, the Limelight was a landmark for bands who performed in New York City. Women danced in cages suspended from vaulted ceilings, stained glass surrounded a stage elevated on what used to be an altar, and men and women mingled in lines for unisex bathrooms. Built as a church decades earlier, the site had since been deconsecrated, converted to a nightclub, and angel-shaped disco balls hung where a crucifix was once suspended. It was the perfect not to mention haunting and eerie setting for the inspired debauchery of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll that made the late ‘80s and early ‘90s such revered times.

And almost a decade later, recently reopened, it was the perfect venue to host the live chaos that is Slipknot.


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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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A Perfect Circle on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2000

A Perfect Circle

by Paul Gargano
April 2000

When Billy Howerdel was writing the songs that would later become A Perfect Circle’s debut, he had a very specific vision. It involved a female singer, lending her soft caress to songs that would be ambient, ethereal, and heavy. “I wanted to do soundtracks,” recalls the guitarist, “I literally wanted to do a song, a 40 minute song that can be a score to a movie.” And he adjusted more than a decade of songwriting accordingly, padding out songs and stretching them from four-minute pop, to textured voyages ten times their original length.

Then, while doing production work during the recording of Tool’s Aenima epic, Howerdel met the band’s frontman, Maynard James Keenan. Keenan liked what he heard of the guitarist’s works in progress, and asked if he could contribute vocals. “I was thrilled,” Howerdel laughs, sitting in a Los Angeles rehearsal studio where A Perfect Circle were preparing for their current tour with Nine Inch Nails. “I quickly got over the female voice thing! From there, things changed.”


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

Tormentula

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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 - photo by Rökker

Plastic

by John Noyd
March 2000

Plastic - sturdy, modern, and ubiquitous.  When referring to the musical group Plastic, the same qualities come up - plus adaptable, durable and multi-faceted. With current influences ranging from Radiohead, Bowie and the Cure, the eight-year-old band has dabbled in everything from greaser rock to British pop soul without softening a thing.  The axis on which Plastic turns are original members Joe Price and Joe Williams, the bass and drums, the backbone to any great sound.  Besides sharing first names, Joe and Joe share a telepathic intuition that cut through the rainbow of musical rosaries to move the beast along.  They do so with swift Swiss movements, like a funky Missing Persons meets son of Primus; intricate and propulsive, precise and explosive.


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The Pimps (Goodyear Pimps)

by Jeff Muendel
March 2000

The Pimps from Rockford on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2000.

When rock music and Rockford, Illinois are mentioned in the same breath, the only thing that comes to mind is Cheap Trick . Rockford is not known as a musical mecca, but as in any city, there are always at least four or five punk kids who come together, form a band, and create something worthwhile. It is now Rockford’s turn again to offer a group that demands attention on a national level, and this time the entity is called The Pimps. Originally christened The Good Year Pimps , the band was forced to drop half their name because the mighty tire company that has become synonymous with blimps didn’t like the quintet’s little word play. While this was a disappointment to the group, they realized that good rock and roll is about the, not the name. Indeed, the Beatles were once the Silver Beatles, Grand Funk were once music Grand Funk Railroad, and Chicago were once Chicago Transit Authority. On top of the historical justification, “The Pimps” is easier to remember, shorter to type, and has a bit more of a sting to it.


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Kid Rock on the cover of Maximum Ink in December 1999 (oh no, the millenium bug!!) - photo by Paul Gargano

Kid Rock

by Paul Gargano
December 1999

If there’s a single artist that best signifies America as we bum-rush the millennium, it’s Kid Rock. He oozes white trash and he’s proud of it, blazing across the country and winning audiences over with a devilish charm and coy irreverence to anything that gets in the way of his pimpin’ ain’t easy persona. He’s as smooth as a frosty cold one, but kicks back with the sting of a warm malt liquor. He’s rock, he’s rap, he’s country, and he’s blues. He probably smokes bluegrass, and his stage show rolls with the rocking and rolling curves of female dancers and big-bottomed bootieful backdrops. He’s impishly sexy, yet slyly chauvinistic, something his female hordes of fans are ready to lap up with a tease me, please me grin and an enthusiastic baring of their chests to get backstage. Call it all what you will, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s something mainstream music has been without for too damn long-Kid Rock’s a superstar, the likes of which American audiences haven’t had since ‘80s hair bands left women wanting to be sexy, and made it fashionable for men to be sexist. It’s all about living in the U.S. of A., and Kid Rock is here to make it fun again. “I just call it true, red-boned, American music. That’s exactly what it is,” says Rock of the rock ‘n’ roll hybrid that has pushed his Atlantic Records debut, Devil Without A Cause, beyond quadruple platinum status. That’s more than four million records sold, and counting. “It’s just American music to the fullest, right here. People like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash did it in their day. My hang up was always with The Stones and The Who, and a lot of the bands like that who just mimic blues music and stuff, and are probably some of the greatest rock bands in the world-They are nothing compared to Lynyrd Skynyrd or Marshall Tucker. Those were the only bands that could get onstage and blow them off. So what I’m doing is just a hybrid of true American music, everything from blues to rock ‘n’ roll to metal to hip-hop to jazz. Anything that sounds good-rockabilly, country, anything-I put it in there.”

The results-while they can be confusing to fans of traditional, straight-forward styles that don’t span competing genres-are infectious in their musical energy and primal enthusiasm.


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