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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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System Of A Down on the cover of Maximum Ink in November 1999 - photo by Paul Gargano

System Of A Down

by Paul Gargano
November 1999

There’s no shortage of bands raising their pitchforks in the name of Lucifer, raping and pillaging in the spirit and disorder of chaos, and redefining battle lines with a flammable spray of piss and gasoline for the entertainment of their audiences. But when it comes time to walk the walk, too many are too busy fumbling over their own absurdity to matter for more than a sweaty night of mosh-pit mayhem. System Of A Down spare us the verbal diatribes, and when it comes time to lead by example, they aren’t satisfied with simply walking the walk. They power the pits, give the masses metal worth mulling over, and provide a rainbow of musical colors in a scene forever dominated by black.

It takes little more than a cursory listen to their self-titled American/Columbia Records debut to realize that there’s more to System Of A Down than your run-of-the-mill metal-thrashing-mad quartet. Building on the artistic foundation of their Armenian heritage with finger-flickin’ guitar licks, crunching bass riffs, and drums that punch, pop and pierce the unflinching darkness of their sound, frontman Serj Tankian snaps lyrics like a mad genius-calculated in their delivery and impact, yet presented in the manic and crazed ilk of a manifesto.


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Muzzy Luctin's Paul Schluter - photo by Craig Gieck

Muzzy Luctin

by John Noyd
October 1999

Even though they have only been together a short time, Muzzy Luctin already has enough history for a VH-1, “Behind the Music.” It’s been ten years since Muzzy Luctin’s guitar Paul Schluter kicked out the jams with Last Crack’s, Sinister Funkhouse #17, a wild rampage of hard rock boogie that brought the band legions of fans and a promising future. Promises being what they are, Last Crack disintegrated before national fame came calling, but the future arrived regardless and brought with it post-Crack bands White Chain , Spiritus, Mind Ox and ultimately Magic 7 a three quarters reforming of Last Crack halfway through the nineties. This new group took the original’s sonic squalor and added an element of eloquence, becoming steel plated shamans who moved beyond the thundering riffs into mature melodies and progressive six string slinging. Along with its members, Magic 7 brought Last Crack’s devoted following and again the future looked bright. Perhaps too bright, for before too long Schluter and vocalist and principal lyricist Buddo found themselves with a new rhythm section and the same old strains that brought Last Crack to its knees.


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Machine Head on the cover of Maximum Ink in September 1999

Machine Head

by Liz Ciavarella
September 1999

With their debut of Burn My Eyes, MACHINE HEAD has transcended the masses with a bludgeoning sound so consuming; so biting; so immensely pit worthy that listeners have been known to trash bedrooms, obliterate venues, stomp, kick, scream,  and sucka punch their friends. With a knee to the cranium, fist to the grill,  overheated speakers, angry mothers, MACHINE HEAD have reaped mayhem in only the most admirable ways from their very inception . The More Things Change saw the band in a more mature light: Still chock fulla aggression yet more refined and appealing to their less militant fans. 1999 sees the band offering up their most mature release yet. Coming this month on Roadrunner Records, The Burning Red is essentially a collection of the band’s most potent qualities; Heavy, emotional, gripping bombastic.

Ahrue Luster,  who replaces guitarist Logan Madder, is a more than natural progression. In fact, there’s something refreshing about the addition of Luster both in his sound and his overall personality. No attitudes, no image and no gimmicks. Just straight up MACHINE HEAD. Maximum Ink caught up with Ahrue Luster and spoke with him about the past and future .


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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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Green Bay's Other Hero's: Boris The Sprinkler, on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 1999

Boris The Sprinkler

by David A. Kulczyk
July 1999

When you think of Green Bay, there is only one thing that comes to mind, it’s the hometown of that zany punk rock band, Boris the Sprinkler. These Pop Culture abnormalities are so endeared in their hometown that the mayor has proposed to change the name of their obscure football team to “The Green Bay Sprinklers” and the name of the stadium to “Reverend Norb Field.”  Who the hell is Reverend Norb and Boris the Sprinkler, you may ask?  Well sit down, pop a beer, light a cigarette and read on, but I must warn you that after you’re done reading this article, you may know less about the Pride of Green Bay than before you picked up this paper. Formed by vocalist and former writer for Maximum Rock and Roll, (not to be confused with Maximum Ink – the paper in your hands) Reverend Norb, super guitarist Paul #1 and a revolving door rhythm section in 1992.  They were and still are influenced by the more zany side of punk rock music, The Dickies, Rezillos and The Ramones.  “Every talentless idiot like me,” confided Reverend Norb, “learned how to play music by listening to The Ramones.”

They released an uncountable number of 45’s, split 45’s, EP’s, LP’s and CD’s, [Although, research put the number at 6 full-length albums and 19 singles].  “For awhile there,” said Mike Sykes, former owner of Milwaukee’s Stinky Record Exchange, “it seemed like Boris the Sprinkler were releasing a record every week.  I couldn’t keep up and had to dedicate the entire store to them.  I went out of business one month later.”


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Big Sandy in the foreground with a Summerfest montage in the backround

Big Sandy And His Fly-Rite Boys

by Dave Leucinger
June 1999

Robert Williams, AKA Big Sandy, seemed to pick the right time to take a sabbatical from touring. Last year, at the height of the neo-swing movement, he was relishing in a solo west-coast doo-wop album, while his Fly-Rite Boys bandmates were soaring through a guitar pickin’ jamboree heavy on instrumentals. So instead of trying to lose the albatross that “swing” has become to some, Sandy and his band have picked right up where they left off - if not a few steps ahead for the rest. “I’ve been trying to be careful to not align myself too closely to any one scene,” he said in a recent telephone interview. “When I first started, I didn’t want to be part of any scene, but rather to create my own scene. Trends come and go, but we’ve continued to go along. I’m glad we’ve done it that way.”

That way has covered more than a decade as the Southern California-based group has criss-crossed the United States and Europe, building a following for up-tempo western swing and smooth hillbilly jump tunes. But while he edges away from typecasting in the retro mode, Sandy has built a growing group of followers in that camp – while also building awareness of the fruitful legacy of artists such as the Maddox Brothers, Boyd Bennett, and Merle Travis. “In general, the Europeans were ahead of Americans in knowledge of the music when I first started,” he said. “But having some of these trends has helped increase awareness in America of the traditional styles of music.”


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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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Drown on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 1999

Drown

by Paul Gargano
April 1999

Say what you will about America as it races towards the millennium, but the country is soft. Where else in the world does Matchbox 20 sell 10 million records? Where else have politically correctness and money-hungry lawyers made it hazardous to speak your mind? And politics being what they are, where else can a mockery of a sex scandal not cause a country to reassess their moral and ethical standards? Yes, America in the 20th century can’t boast the hardest of inhabitants. In fact, with hundreds of television stations, the Internet offering the world at our fingertips, and Domino’s promising a piping-hot pizza in “30-minutes-or-less,” we’ve got little reason to leave the house. In a world ruled by survival of the fittest, we could be doomed, but don’t tell that to Drown.

In a music industry seldom recognized for rational thinking, Drown—frontman Lauren, guitarist Patrick Sprawl, bassist Sean Demott and drummer Marco Forcone—have survived more adversity than any one band should have to face. They’ve proved they’re amongst the fittest, and Product of a Two Faced World is their double-fisted heart punch to an industry that’s stabbed them in the back a few too many times. With debut Hold on to the Hollow unveiled in 1994 by Elektra Records, and the following three years bogged down by bureaucracy, last year’s Product of a Two Faced World, the band’s sophomore release and first for Slipdisc/Mercury, provided vindication. “No more days putting faith where it doesn’t belong, I’ve been held down here for too goddamn long. Seen you all come and go and I’ve been led on. But I am still alive and I proved you wrong,” charges frontman Lauren in “1605 (for my suffering),” a crushing condemnation from a band that refuses to go away, let alone quietly.


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Rockford's Fluid Oz. on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 1999

Fluid Oz.

by John Noyd
March 1999

There is something downright slippery about the Rockford band, Fluid Oz.  Something this sharp shouldn’t bounce so hard. These restless roustabouts dance around the stage like disco maniacs but lay down a heavy groove that smashes the competition.  Their romp, stomp and release shoots past standard labels to combine punk, funk, jazz and jump for a free for all monster mojo that sets fire to the volcano and cooks up a killer beat delivered with an iron fist. Out with a CD that showcases their dual talents for electrifying showmanship and original songwriting, Fluid Oz.‘s Show Boatin’ Muthas is an accurate depiction of their earth shaking, roof rattling, booty shaking live shows. The current eight man line-up reaches deep into the pockets of James Brown, Sly Stone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to come up with their own unique brand of sass and pizzazz. Think of the Beastie Boys with a brass section or P-Funk married to Oingo Boingo.


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