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Jim Wilbur of Superchunk

Superchunk

An Interview with Superchunk Guitarist Jim Wilbur
by John Noyd
January 2014

Formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1989, Superchunk has maintained the same line-up since 1991, releasing heartfelt high-velocity indie-rock over the course of eight albums before taking a hiatus in 2001. Returning from their various side-projects in 2010, the band currently finds itself promoting their tenth full-length, “I Hate Music,” without their original bassist Laura Ballance, whose hearing issues has made her participation in their volcanic live shows untenable. In anticipation of playing Madison’s 2014 FRZN Fest January 19th, Superchunk’s Jim Wilbur was kind enough to answer a few questions via email.

MAXIMUM INK: Superchunk’s guitar sound has been an influential force for years, what guitarists do you admire and are there any guitarists/bands playing today you find particularly interesting?

Jim Wilbur: Thanks for the compliment. Let me say first of all that I am a completely un-trained guitarist, never had a lesson. I bought my first guitar (a crappy off-brand acoustic) when I was a senior in high school after listening to the Minutemen’s “Double Nickels on the Dime”. I had a little pamphlet with some basic chord diagrams and that was that. I usually tell people I perform with a guitar - rather than say I play a guitar. So… basically I admire anyone who can ACTUALLY play the damn things, especially people who seem to play intuitively.

MI: After so many years together Superchunk seems more like a family than a band, how would you describe the group dynamics and what do you feel are your responsibilities in the band?

JW: You’re right. I think we are more like a family at this point, that, or maybe a gang. We all know how to deal with one another, where each other’s toes are and ways to avoid stepping on them. As far as my responsibilities go, hmmm… back in the 90’s I did most of the driving, but I don’t suppose that is what you mean. I think the most important thing for each of us is to be respectful of one another and allow each other the space to live inside the group. That may sound a little New Agey. When we are arranging/writing songs we all have to figure out how to complement one another and not step on each other’s parts. I’m talking musically here - but the same goes for the personal relationships we share with one another.

MI: The band seems happy to tour, I’ve always wondered, how does it get decided who gets to choose the music in the van?

JW: Back in the day the rule was “Driver picks the tape”. Since I drove about 90% of the time, that meant the band had to sit through my homemade mix-tapes of Def Leppard, Squeeze, The Verlaines and various hardcore punk bands. These days everyone is plugged into their own little worlds. Everyone but me, that is. I don’t really like listening to music in moving vehicles. Mostly I just sit there and ask questions of my band mates that go unanswered because they can’t hear me. Ha.

MI: Obviously there has to be a difference not having Laura touring with you on bass for this tour, what’s the band’s history with her stand-in Jason?

JW: We’ve know Jason for years. Jon has played with him in Bob Pollard’s band as well as Bob Mould’s trio. He’s a smashing fellow and a quick study. I’m reminded of our first practice with him. We ran through “Slack Motherfucker” and after the chorus we stopped because the bass sounded weird. Mac, Jon and I were sure he was playing the wrong notes. So we sent a quick email to Laura who was at her desk in the Merge office asking what she played at that point in the song. While waiting for a reply we listened to the song on YouTube and sure enough, Jason was right. I think we never heard the song properly since we usually play it at the end of a set when some of us might have had a little too much beer!


MI: The energy your guitar provides is enormous. Is there a warm-up routine you employ before a show or do you just plug and play?

JW: Mac and I just plug in and play.. Mac will do vocal warm-ups that sound like he’s making farting noises with his lips. Jon will warm up by playing paradiddles on sofa arms or chair-backs. If I’m sitting too close to him he’ll use my calves and feet


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Aaron Williams & The Hoodoo

Aaron Williams and Beth Kille Join Forces on New Year’s Eve

An interview with Muscians Aaron Williams and Beth Kille
by Mike Huberty
December 2013

Madison music mainstays, AARON WILLIAMS AND THE HOODOO and the BETH KILLE BAND, have both been performing, releasing albums regularly, and winning multiple awards from the Madison Area Music Association for years now. Aaron brings a modern sensibility to the traditional blues and Beth underwent a metamorphosis from rock frontwoman (the magnificent CLEAR BLUE BETTY) to country-tinged singer-songwriter. They’re joining forces on New Year’s Eve with a special double bill on the big stage at The Brink Lounge in Madison. We took a few minutes to talk to them to catch up and get a sneak preview of the big night.


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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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Lords of the Trident on the Cover of Maximum Ink in Oct. 2013

Lords of the Trident 2013

An interview with Fang VonWrathenstein
by Chris Fox
October 2013

The LORDS OF THE TRIDENT have been bludgeoning the music scene for the last five years, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their new EP, Plan of Attack, they are hitting Madison venues. On October 19, they are playing The Inferno with Circleswitch, Sparklefuck, and Warnerbeast. Maximum Ink had the opportunity to catch up with Fang VonWrathenstein, the vocalist for LORDS OF THE TRIDENT, since they are also playing the Maximum Ink Halloween Weekend at the Frequency on October 25. This year they are going as Judas Priest, and have said that concert goers could expect to be run over by a bunch of motorcycles.

Maximum Ink: How would you define the sound of LORDS OF THE TRIDENT?
Fang VonWrathenstein: Lords of the Trident is the most metal band on earth. Imagine, if you will, taking the thunderous sounds of a thousand steeds rampaging into battle, and combine it with the clashing produced by the swords and spears of men ready to kill or be killed. Then add some guitars. That’s pretty close to the incredibly face-melting, soul-stealing sound of the pure metal, produced by the Lords.
MI: Obviously, a huge part of your band’s repertoire is based on your live show. What inspired the band’s on-stage persona?


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Jefferson native Paul Filipowicz on the cover of Maximum Ink September 2013 - photo by Nick Berard

Paul Filipowicz

Wisconsin Blues Legend
by Dave Leucinger
September 2013

For guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Paul Filipowicz, making music isn’t about the big theatric shows at stadiums or huge halls. Although his shows are no less intense, his venue of comfort and familiarity is the American roadhouse – a rough-and-tumble venue for a rough-and-tumble style of music. “There are still quite a few out there – even some new ones,” he said in a recent telephone interview. “A lot are still out in the middle of nowhere. We just played at one in the middle of nowhere – Lohrville – it’s between Oshkosh and Stevens Point, outside of Redgranite. We got there at three – just the bartender and one of his staff there. We were set up on a trailer – and two hours later, there’s a hundred people there – many riding in on cycles. That’s one of the interesting things I’ve found about Wisconsin – you can get there when nobody is there, and two hours later, you have a big show.”


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Nonpoint on the cover August 2013

Nonpoint

an interview with Elias Sorano
by Aaron Manogue
August 2013

It seems like every band I have the honor to talk to, can’t say enough about Madison. How the venues are unique and intimate, how the festivals are packed with energy like they’ve never seen before, but most of all, how the fans quickly become like family by the end of each performance. Every single person that reads this article should feel proud to be part of the Madison hard rock and metal scene, because there isn’t a single musician that wouldn’t admit, we’re just a little more intense, we’re just a little louder and we’re a hell of a lot more crazy than those other stops on tour.

There there isn’t a band around that transcends the list of Madison’s favorite quite like the boys in Nonpoint. They’ve thrived off of their second to the north for over a decade now and every chance they get, they turn their dials up just one more notch for their Madison brothers and sisters. If there’s a band that fans of hard rock bleed for, it’s Nonpoint, after all, the band calls Madison ‘Nonpoint Nation’. As a matter of fact, their vocalist loves the city so much, he wants it to be his final resting place. Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue had a chance to ask their vocalist Elias Soriano about their latest single ‘That Day’ and their return to WJJO’s Band Camp on August 17th.

Maximum Ink: Your latest single ‘That Day’ continues to climb the charts. Talk to me about what the song means to you and the band.
Elias Soriano: That song has a lot of meaning for me and the band. The 2 years leading up to the release of our self-titled record was a bit of a struggle. Attitude and execution are everything when it comes to this band. When we made the changes we did in our camp it just seemed like things all if a sudden came together overnight. Music was fun again and our path was clearer than it had ever been. With our changes, everything changed. With one phone call, all of a sudden, things felt that way. So I truly remember that day that everything changed.


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Mary Zimmer from classic Ottomon Empire days...  - photo by Laura Koeppel

Luna Mortis

Looking Back and Moving Forward, the Return of Luna Mortis
by Sal Serio
July 2013

So you wanna be a rock ‘n roll star? Well, listen now, to what I say. You shopped around your demo, attracted some major label interest, and – viola! – you got signed. Now it’s time to live the dream, right? Elaborate catering requests on riders, swanky tour busses, swimming pools, and groupies lined up down the hall of the Embassy Suites. You’re on easy street, right? I’m sorry to say, the trip may not be a rosy as a baby’s bottom, after all.


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Sky Road Fly Band Photo by Nick Berard - photo by Nick Berard

The Sky Road Fly

An Interview with Sky Road Fly
by Max Ink
June 2013

After a brief sample of the early mixes, I sat down with the guys to discuss the new album, their creative energy, and what the future holds.  Sky Road Fly has crafted an effort that establishes them as a musical force to be reckoned with in the Madison scene, and they were happy to share their thoughts and ambitions.

What has the recording process been like?  How was it different than “Pure Danger”?
RH: Its safe to say that we’re at the quality of Smart Studios, if not beating it.  At Smart, we had to work around somewhat of a schedule, so it took a long time because we had to hop in whenever it was available. 
BJ: Here there’s an opportunity everyday to work.  We can really look at things closer here.


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Colorphase

Madison Quartet Rides Grooves Hard, Fast, and Tight
by Dan Vierck
May 2013

If Colorphase is a bandwagon, it’s a party bus. And you better get on before the only seats you can find are the nosebleeds.


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Die Kreuzen

Die Kreuzen

“Gone Away” But Not Forgotten, Back For A Limited Time Only
by Sal Serio
May 2013

I turned 18 in 1981. Like many others who transformed from boys to young men in the early 80s, it was a time of confusion, but also one of excitement. America’s socio- political landscape had radically changed to one of conservatism and military intervention during the Reagan regime, and equally as turbulent was the beloved institution of rock and roll. Mainstays of arena rock were suddenly seen as antiquated… out of touch with a new look and attitude. Punk had taken over, and given the agitation of the times, it’s no wonder.

Much appreciated about the punk movement was how the barrier between musician and audience was broken down. In the 70s, chances were unlikely that a pimply-faced young dude would get to hang out with one of his heroes. This privilege was almost exclusively reserved for pretty girls. Likewise, to become a popular rocker seemed a nearly unobtainable quest. With punk, the fans all had their own bands, and many times the venues did not even have stages. We all stood on the same ground, and we all drank from the same keg when the show was over.

Which is not to say we didn’t have bands to look up to. When I joined my first punk band in 1983, we all brought a lot of influences to the table, but our commonality was that we wanted to be like Black Flag and Die Kreuzen.


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