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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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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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DJ Trichrome

by Andrew Frey
May 2013

I had to agree with Willy Wonka, AKA DJ Trichrome when, in a recent email interview, he noted, “There’s a lot of negativity in the world and Reggae Music is so positive. People need that in their lives now more than ever.”

With this in mind, he made a special dedication for 2013, “For this year, my motto is One Love.


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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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Vello Virkhaus

V-Squared Labs elevates concert experience with multimedia creations

by Andrew Frey
November 2011

A visual revolution has been brewing in the image rendering and video projection realms transforming musical events into an entirely new multi-level experience. On Oct. 19, I was fortunate enough to attend a sold out Amon Tobin show in Denver at the Ogden Theater during the highly acclaimed ISAM tour and witness one such multimedia experience.

Objects resembling giant, white Tetris blocks on the stage were suddenly transformed into living video art that throbbed and pulsed along with the music. Audience members visited outer space when we saw spaceships fly by and explode in amazing high definition imagery. We saw cyber machines chug and churn before morphing into green blocks of electric contemplation and much, much more.


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Lizard Skynard frontman Erik “Lizardman” Sprague

Lizard Skynard

an interview with Erik “Lizardman” Sprague
by Andrew Frey
May 2011

I totally agree with Erik “Lizardman” Sprague. “The world needs freaks,” he states in our recent e-mail exchange. “We explore the boundaries and show people that most limits are actually false. Freaks challenge society and provide a reflection for growth and exploration.”

The area for our reflection today will be the new band that he is fronting called ‘Lizard Skynard.’ It is sort of an underground supergroup made up of guitarist/songwriter Mossy Vaughn (The Heavils), bassist Russell Gillespie (Mothertrucker), drummer Johnny Baker (Waco Jesus) and Mossy’s brother, Eric Vaughn on keyboards.

Regardless of the others in the band, the focus of the group will always swing back to the renowned freak, comedian, author and vocalist for the band, Lizardman. If you somehow haven’t heard of him, he is easy to spot with his green tattooed scales, his bifurcated (split) tongue(“I have independent control of both tongues and can do some neat little manipulations with it.”), sharply filed teeth, and the teflon ridges implanted sub-dermally above his eyes. Plus he has worked with and been in several sideshow groups, appeared at many” Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” activities and has hosted many events.

After being involved in so many potentially dangerous endeavors I had to wonder if he had ever been permanently injured from a sideshow type performance. He filled me in, “I have some scars but nothing too serious.  One of my nipples is now noticeably different than the other due to a tear while lifting a car battery.


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Maynard James Keenan of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer

Maynard James Keenan

by Andrew Frey
April 2010

Part 2 of my conversation with Maynard James Keenan: Squeezing Life Into Arizona.

These days, when you see a picture of the infamous and enigmatic Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer), he is sporting and promoting something related to his wine making efforts. Often times it IS a bottle of wine. Look closely. The wine will say it is a Caduceus Cellars wine.[www.caduceus.org] (The Caduceus is the ancient symbol for commerce.)  Maynard and his business partner Eric Glomski have become vine pioneers for their wine making efforts in northern Arizona near Jerome.

Blood Into Wine: The Arizona Stronghold is a documentary that tells the story of these upstarts as they grow, squeeze and ferment in the Verde Valley. The land in this area is arid like a lot of Arizona, but it has more structure and certain characteristics that make it uniquely advantageous to the grape growing sector as Maynard explains. Mr. Keenan is very passionate about his wine and that really shines through.

Have you always been a wine enthusiast?
“Over time. In my mid 20s. That’s when I started getting into it.”


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Puscifer on the cover of Maximum Ink's 14 year anniversary issue!!

Puscifer

by Andrew Frey
March 2010

Recently I was fortunate enough to talk to Maynard James Keenan and get the down low on his most recent happenings. He may be your rock n’ roll hero from his past projects, Tool and A Perfect Circle, but he has a few new tricks up his sleeve. He would like to introduce you to some new adventures in his well of creativity: Puscifer, and Wine Making.

This is the first of a two-part article that will showcase the interview.

Maximum Ink: What is this Puscifer thing and why should you go see and experience it?
Maynard James Keenan: “Puscifer is a troupe, not a band,” he begins. “It’s a performance not a concert. It has more in common with the “Sonny and Cher Show” and “Hee Haw” than Tool or A Perfect Circle.”


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Baghdad Scuba Review on the cover of Dec. 2009 Maximum Ink - photo by Nick Berard

Baghdad Scuba Review

by Andrew Frey
December 2009

Since their inception Baghdad Scuba Review has been swimming through the sands of creativity and their existence has bloomed and flourished because of it. When their dynamic and thematically charged jam rock debut “Testing The Waters” flowed into our ears in 2007 it was critically acclaimed and nominated for a MAMA award. Since then the band has played numerous shows and events around Madison and the Midwest, highlighted by memorable sets on the Capital steps for the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival, in Black River Falls at the Grateful Garcia Gathering, and at Milwaukee’s incredible Summerfest.

Recently Chad Thompson (lead guitar/vox) and Justin Gerstner (drums) took a moment to update Maximum Ink about what’s percolating these days for BSR and what their next release (slated for an early 2010 release) holds in store. The rest of the band is composed of Erik Riedasch (bass), Rob Bloch (percussion), and Jason Krueger (keyboard).


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Lacuna Coil's Andrea Ferro - photo by Clayton Dewey

Lacuna Coil

by Andrew Frey
September 2009

I have easily listened to “Shallow Life,” the newest release from Milano, Italy born phenoms Lacuna Coil more times than any other release this year. With each play I am swept away by the dynamic interplay between the band’s two vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro and the bands infectious riffs n beats.  Whatever it took to capture the magic created on “Shadow Life” was well worth the effort.

Lacuna Coil has repeatedly been introduced to the US market over the past decade plus and while garnered increasing success, they have not yet attained what they are certainly capable of. “Shallow Life” may just contain the critical combination of elements needed to propel the band to substantial success. In 2006 their release Karmacode, peaked at number 28 on the Billboard 200, but the highly anticipated “Shallow Life” which was released on April 21, 2009 in the US, debuted at number 16 on the Billboard charts. While their early releases contained a heavier gothic rock element, the latest effort has softened some musical edges to produce a more accessible and straight forward hard rock release. Thanks to producer Don Gilmore, who has worked with pop artists like Avril Lavigne and Good Charlotte, their sound has never been more polished or vivid while maintaining the key elements that continue to set the band apart from others. Subtle bits of industrial and electronica can even be found infiltrating these infectious new metal anthems.  Outside of the vocalists, Lacuna Coil contains Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore (guitar) , Marco “Maus” Biazzi (guitar), Marco Coti Zelati (bass, keyboards) and Cristiano “Criz” Mozzati (drums, percussion)

In July of 2004 I interviewed Lacuna Coil for the first time. I recently was again fortunate enough to exchange a few questions with the band as they were gearing up for their next big gig, The HardDriveLive tour. Vocalist Andrea Ferro took the time to answer my questions.


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