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Joey Broyles - photo by Adeline Peck

Joey Broyles

Singer-Songwriter Joey Broyles leads a Future Pop Revolution
by John Noyd
December 2014

Raised in Sun Prairie, Madison musician Joey Broyles distinctly remembers playing all the parts of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves for his family as a young child. A born entertainer, Broyles also remembers making up songs all his life without ever thinking he could actually write a song. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that his artistic vision took root and he applied his skills as a self-taught pianist and young Garageband dabbler to create a stage persona and musical identity. Inspired by a performance from local scensters Sexy Ester and mentored by the sure-handed production skills of multi-instrumentalist Son Voyager, Broyles soon caught the attention of the Madison musical community, eventually going on to win RAW Madison Musician of the Year 2013, MAMA Breakthrough Artist 2014 as well as a recent semi-finalist in 105.5 Triple M’s Project M Songwriting competition before completing this fall his full-length debut, “Future Pop Revolution.”

A realist with vision, a futurist shaped by a difficult past, Broyles pairs an extravagant imagination with a crusader’s sense of integrity; a renegade individualist who collaborates with a large network of artists and performers. As a founding member of arts collective and on-line publication Project Famous, the whirlwind entrepreneur enlists film-makers, costume designers and visual artists to help manifest his ideas whether it’s a video shoot, album artwork or a club date. As a performance artist, image and presentation are integral to Broyles’ message which he insists gets communicated with substance and pizzazz. Citing the ADD generation filling the clubs, Joey knows people want to be entertained but he also wants to provide more; specifically a role model for acceptance, championing the LGBT community and putting ideas back into pop music.

Drawing from his experiences being bullied as a young teen and time spent in the Foster care system, Broyles is well equip to confront social injustice and societal pressures. His rainbow-strewn storm-trooper debut tackles mindless music, gender expectations, corporate hypocrisy and rampant consumerism; often assuming the identity of his targets to uproot their weakness and duplicity. Popping Big Brother’s bubble with a court-jester cackle wrapped in royal trappings, “Future Pop Revolution,” styles alien grooves in a satin pageantry, heralded by a flourish of synths, bold beats and rock-hard guitar. Unconcealed and extra-real, Joey tickles fancies as he liberates fallacies, slyly dividing sarcastic travesties by undermining labels and breaking free of preconceived notions.

A dystopian perfectionist whose subversive mirth and unlocked mockery carry a message of self-expression to everyone everywhere, Joey confronts modern reality with defiant flair; shining, not hiding, demanding to be heard through lush synthetic power chords and swooning cut-throat harmonies. After the success of, “Future Pop Revolution,” Broyles is even keener to maintain his domain, absorbing new music software with an almost Zen-like appetite and digging into his childhood influences of TLC and Salt-N-Pepa to supplement his freshman Prince and Madonna obsessions while mining the past year spent immersed in a gossip-fraught bureaucracy for new song ideas. A pervasive presence on the web, it is as a live performer where Broyles fulfills his potential, combining music, theater and dance into a fiery mirrorball of provocative thought. Watch out world, this quick-witted misfit has just started to spread his wings. Catch him December 13th at Madison’s Inferno.


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SHESHE

by Teri Barr
November 2014

SHESHE is one hard-working band, and quickly becoming popular due to the unique talents the three women-members bring to the group. Julia McConahay plays fiddle and sings, Dana Perry is on guitar and vocals, and Shannon Callaway covers the drums and also sings. They all have different styles and musical interests, and it’s what is getting SHESHE attention from around the Midwest. I recently had the chance to talk with them about the upcoming release of their first album together, and how they are already planning for the future: 

Maximum Ink: What is making SHESHE, and the band’s new music, work for you?
Julia McConahay:
Music is what makes sense to me. I’ve never known life without it, so it’s never really been a choice, more like a way of being. It’s how I’m identified most of the time. People have always asked me to come jam with them, or sit in for a set, record on their album, or join their tour. It’s an honor and a joy, all at the same time.
Dana Perry: I really can’t see myself doing anything else with my life other than making music. I love how SHESHE has come together to make such bitchin’ noises together! I’m proud of the gigs and festivals we’ve played (Steel Bridge Song Festival, Ragged Roots Festival, Atwood Fest, the Bubble Festival, to name a few), and I’m proud of how we consistently have fun, but especially proud of us for working together to get this album out.
Shannon Callaway: I feel as though music has been my back bone through everything. It’s more than a purpose, it’s just there. I pretty much consider my stylings to be hand in hand with my emotions. If I’m pissed off, I’ll drop that E string down and rage. If I feel light as a feather and have a smile on my face, I’ll tap dance on my drumset.

MI: How did SHESHE get started?
JM:
I started SHESHE as an acoustic duo with Leah Brooke Conway (now of Elk’s Teeth and Rabbit’s Feet) whom I love dearly! After a few months, Dana Perry and Amada Marquez (Inferno Nightclub) caught the SHESHE fever and we grew into a four-piece band. Life happened and both Leah and Amada moved out of town, so Dana and I pressed on with our bad selves as a duo. Soon after, we saw a little glimmer from behind a closet door and we learned her name was Shannon Callaway! She’d been writing music with Meghan Rose and was interested in developing her drumming skills, so we busted that door open and ka-pow! The SHESHE three-piece was born.


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White Empress cover art by Ian Chalgren

White Empress

An Interview with Paul Allender and Mary Zimmer
by Chris Fox
October 2014

If you’ve heard of CRADLE OF FILTH, COAL CHAMBER, or LUNA MORTIS, you’re already familiar with what the emerging WHITE EMPRESS brings to the table. With the guitar techniques of Paul Allender (formerly of CRADLE OF FILTH), this new six-piece brings some Madison-local flavor with vocals from Mary Zimmer (formerly of LUNA MORTIS) and fellow Madisonian on guitar, Jeremy Kohnmann (Ash Aria).

Allender proclaims that the band is truly one-of-a-kind, as they combine a menagerie of backgrounds and talents. “It sounds like WHITE EMPRESS. It doesn’t sound like anything else,” he explains. Allender says the formation of the band came after CRADLE OF FILTH took a bit of a hiatus. “The whole plan was to take off a couple of years and then come back full station, but that didn’t happen. Basically, that’s when I sort of turned White Empress into not just a project but a full-time band.”

Zimmer says that the band is truly a combination of several ideas melding into a unique sound. “Everybody contributed and wrote their own parts. Paul did the arranging and wrote the core of the music - it was almost done by the time I got it,” she explains. “But I got to write my own vocal parts, which was different for me, and he let me have the freedom to do what I wanted.”


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Meghan Rose and I Saw The Creature on the cover of Max Ink September 2014

I Saw The Creature

An Interview with Meghan Rose
by Teri Barr
September 2014

One woman. Five regular music projects.
Meghan Rose may be one of the busiest artists on the Madison scene right now, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Meghan writes, sings, plays, records, edits, and teaches all styles of music; and those talents are highlighted in her various bands. I had the chance to ask her how she keeps it all going, and learned which group is getting ready to hit the road soon. 

Maximum Ink: Do you remember when you started your musical journey?
Meghan Rose: My mom taught me piano when I was 4, and then I started classical lessons when I was 5. First thing I remember learning to play was “Beauty and the Beast”, of all things. My dad bought me a nylon string classical guitar from an antique shop when I was 14 and I taught myself some chords then learned the church songs for bible day camp, which was one of my summer jobs. I played piano for the early church service for years. I still love hymns and I use some of the ideas to write about God in my lyrics, though I certainly don’t write what anyone would call Christian music. But once that type of music is in you, you can’t shake it. My mom also had tapes of musicals, and Broadway is still an obsession for me. I was 8 when my parents divorced, and one of the coping methods I developed was to steal my dad’s C.D.‘s. He collected the newest “alternative” music—a lot of female-fronted 90’s stuff. Bjork, Sheryl Crow, Sleater-Kinney, Liz Phair, Fiona Apple. Fiona and Liz were really powerful to me.

MI: Your current projects are all led by women; some bands don’t like the reference to women or men in the band, but would rather just be called musicians, in a general sense. What about you?


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Gabe Burdulis performing live at the 2014 MAMA awards in Madison at the Overture Center - photo by Hedi Lamarr Photography

Gabe Burdulis

by Teri Barr
August 2014

Some recent messages via both Facebook and email with Gabe Burdulis are still making me laugh. There’s one in particular, where Burdulis says, “Ahhh. Just answering this now, at 5 am. It’s been a busy, but great weekend,” and is a pretty good indication of the life this young Madison musician is living.

Burdulis plays alone, or with any number of groups, because he just wants to make music. He describes his sound as “kinda indie, acoustic-y, poppy, rocky, alt. with a lot of mixed elements. And some blues thrown in for good measure.” His on-stage presence has been called amazing, commanding; a true show-man.

And did I mention, he is still a high school student? I grabbed this opportunity to ask Burdulis some questions about his music, the recognition, and his goals. It’s a chance to get to know him, before the rest of the world catches on to this break-out talent.

Maximum Ink: Where are you getting your influence, especially at such a young age?
Gabe Burdulis: The people I get to play with are a constant influence on me. Also relationships, nature, and of course people like John Mayer and Jack White.

MI: And you’ve been playing successfully for quite a few years?
GB: Yeah, I took a couple guitar lessons around the age of 12, and kinda took off on my own from there. Once I had what I needed, I was able to let my creativity take off.

MI: So, what kind of goals or dreams do you have right now?


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1623 ViewsPermalinkGabe Burdulis Website
The Steepwater Band

The Steepwater Band

by Mike Huberty
July 2014

Chicago Roots-Rock veterans, THE STEEPWATER BAND, have been playing their hearts out all over the world for nearly two decades. Forming in 1998, their raw, gritty, and bluesy sound, which started as a trio and has expanded to a quartet, fits perfectly in the retro-world of THE BLACK KEYS and RIVAL SONS. A band with a hometown attitude but a national profile, you may have heard their songs on television shows like “NCIS”, “Dangerous Games”, “Vegas”, or “The Good Wife”. Or maybe in movies like “The Five-Year Engagement” or “One For The Money”. They’ve established themselves as a fantastic ambassador for the Chicago scene (they even do an event called Illicana, which features bands from the Land of Lincoln playing Americana tracks.) Real deal road warriors, their tour schedule in just July ranges from Milwaukee’s Summerfest to Blues Festivals in Italy, Australia, and Switzerland(!) We took a few minutes to talk with guitarist and vocalist Jeff Massey to preview their upcoming appearance at Atwood Summerfest on July 27th.

Maximum Ink: What’s the best song to listen to for someone who hasn’t heard Steepwater before?
Jeff Massey: Hmmmm. That’s tricky picking one. I’m going to say the song, “Dance Me A Number”. The reason I pick this particular tune is because we run into a lot of new faces coming out to see our show strictly because they heard this song. It’s been getting a ton of airplay, primarily on streaming radio like Pandora and Spotify.

MI: What was the inspiration behind it?
JM: It was an instrumental song I had been playing around with on acoustic guitar for a few months before I decided to add lyrics. Lyrically, it’s inspired by the concept of living in the moment, enjoying each and every day and not being hung up on what the future holds. The whole inspiration, musically, came from messing around with an odd guitar tuning and turning it into an electric number with the band involved sent it over the top.


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Anvil

An Interview with Lead Singer/Guitar player Steve “Lips” Kudlow
by Teri Barr
May 2014

They’re referred to as one of the pioneers of heavy metal, yet many people only discovered the hard-driving music of Anvil through the documentary, “The Story of Anvil”, a few years ago. The Canadian-based band hit the scene in the late-1970’s with names like Dokken and Whitesnake, yet almost as quickly disappeared. Grit, determination, and their pure love of metal music kept them on the road and in the studio throughout the 80’s and 90’s. But the documentary created the cult-like following of fans, old and new, and the band released its 15th album to rave reviews last year.

Now Anvil, made up of lead singer and guitar player Steve “Lips” Kudlow, drummer Robb Reiner, and new bass player Sal Italiano, are on the road in support of their new music, including May shows in Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Chicago. Just before they hit the Midwest, Steve “Lips” Kudlow talked to me by phone, answering questions about the music business, the band’s “never say die” attitude, and why he still thinks the most important thing he can do is connect with fans, one-on-one.

Maximum Ink: You’re in the midst of a pretty aggressive tour; first across Europe, now the U.S. How’s it going?
Steve “Lips” Kudlow with Anvil: Well, this is our biggest tour of the U.S., ever! And it’s taking a lot of strength. I mean, we aren’t 20 years old anymore (laughs), but luckily for us there aren’t any vices, plus we’re all healthy. Still, even after 37 years of Anvil, we are a new band to some who come out to see us. So we consider this an incredible achievement. And there’s something to be said for still living the dream!

MI: So, you don’t have your regular job anymore? I recall seeing you in “The Story of Anvil” documentary trying a few different things, including delivering food for a school to support your family. 
Lips: Nope. We are a full-time band. And we are going to work hard to keep it that way. Anvil has a lot of self-belief and confidence and we feel the hoopla is just building all over again, so we need to keep creating opportunities for the band and our music. Plus, we still think we have something special to share with our fans.


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1577 ViewsPermalinkAnvil WebsiteAnvil MySpaceAnvil Wiki
Living Statues on the cover of Maximum Ink for April 2014 - photo by Adrienne D. Williams

The Living Statues

by Mike Huberty
April 2014

Melding a classic garage sound with British Invasion hooks and the straight-up timeless rock n’ roll fashion sense, Milwaukee’s THE LIVING STATUES have been blazing a trail through the Midwest like a hot rod since their formation in 2012. Their first EP, Knockin’, is released on Tuesday April 8th. We took a few minutes to talk to Tommy Shears (guitarist and lead vocals), Chris Morales (drums and vocals), and Alex Thornburg (bass and vocals) about how the group got together, excitement over their new release, and their near-future plans.


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Real Knives captured at High Noon Saloon - photo by Rise Up Lights

Real Knives

An interview with Madison riff-rockers, Real Knives
by Mike Huberty
March 2014

Headbangers with a sense of humor and some mean-ass riffs, Madison’s REAL KNIVES are dirty whiskey-soaked hard rock. Bassist/vocalist Wade Coisman, lead guitarist Shane Keck, drummer Kai Anderson, and guitarist/vocalist Mark Weber are four dudes dedicated to abusing their instruments and livers while dishing out face-melting guitar solos and fist-pumping beats. March 24th they’re opening for Buckcherry at The Red Zone (formerly The Annex at Regent Street Retreat), so we decided to take some time to talk to the band about the upcoming show and what they’re up to.


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2113 ViewsPermalinkReal Knives Website
Big Gigantic - photo by Ryan Patrick

Big Gigantic

by Andrew Frey
February 2014

Big Gigantic is an electronic dance party ready to happen at any moment. Their music is a relentless body gyrating, mood pulsing, can’t sit down, blast off of beats, drops and jazzy rhythms. Since they formed in 2008 the Boulder, Colorado based duo which consists of saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken, has banged it out at and left their mark at various sold-out headlining tours, including Red Rocks and played some of the biggest festivals, from Lollapalooza,  Bonnaroo, Ultra, and?Austin?City Limits to Hangout, Summer Set, Electric Forest, and Outside Lands, among many others.

It all began when Lalli…


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