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Italy's Lacuna Coil on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 2004

Lacuna Coil

by Andrew Frey
July 2004

I picked up on Lacuna Coil with their first self titled Century Media EP release. It introduced the sound that would be the guiding light of their musical career thus far. Lush, soothing gothic metal, with interesting riffs, keyboards and amazing vocal harmonies. In fact, an interesting point about Lacuna Coil is that they have two dedicated vocalists, Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia. Their vocal harmonies and interplay are what set the band apart from the pack. Andrea occasionally sings in a lower, gruff - yet powerful - style in addition to his clean complimentary harmonies. Cristina leads, prods, fluffs and adds dimension to each song and vocal extremity.

Back in 1997 when these talented Italians made their debut, few folks in the US were listening to this style of music. Most people were still caught up in the repulsive remnants of the ultra trendy and overdone “Seattle Sound” or feeding the pop punk explosion. The US market simply wasn’t ready. Various other bands came onto the international scene. Nightwish, My Dying Bride, The Gathering, Therion, Tristania, and Theatre of Tragedy were becoming recognized names in the growing gothic metal realm. Lacuna Coil was right there with them.


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Southern Culture On The Skids

Southern Culture On The Skids

by Andrew Frey
May 2004

From white trash and trailer homes to the toe sucking geek rockers touring the world and eating delicacies. Where did it all begin? Who came up with such a concept? “Me,” states Southern Culture on the Skids (SCOTS) founder, guitarist and singer Rick Miller in a recent phone interview. “When we started the band in the early to mid 80s in the Chapel Hill, NC area, every band was an REM cover band, and that pretty much sucked. We wanted to be more of a rockabilly, “Cramps” type band. So we were just looking for something. Some kind of name that would get us some attention, ya know? We were listening to the UNC radio (station) there and they were playing an REM song. I like REM fine, but at the end of it, the DJ says, “Ya that was REM, the sound of the new South.” I looked at my roommate and we said, “Gawd, if that’s the sound of the “new South,” I preferred it when it was on the skids.” That’s how we got the name.”

SCOTS’ new release is called “Mojo Box.” It was produced by Miller and recorded in his Kudzu Ranch recording studio. SCOTS lineup consists of Miller along with bass player and singer Mary Huff and percussionist Dave Hartman. What’s new on “Mojo Box?” Miller says “I think there are a few more surf sounds. Less of the white trash shtick. I think on this album we worked harder on our harmony vocals and that kinda countrified delivery. I think it’s kind of a transitional record for us. Our other records are a lot of concept type stuff. Like “Dirt Track Date,” and “Plastic Seat Sweat.”I know that sounds kinda funny for something that probably a lot of people consider kinda low-brow.


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Milwaukee's Decapitado featuring Dan Kubinski on cover of Maximum Ink in March 2004 - photo by Rokker

Decapitado

by Andrew Frey
March 2004

Most bands worry about making music to appease and please the masses. Not so with Decapitado. This Milwaukee trio is focusing on originality in an effort to maintain their sanity and produce high quality art. These guys are not newcomers to the music scene by any stretch. Each is currently in at least one other band outside Decapitado and each has been in several others before this as well. Bands like Fuck Face, Custom Grand, Boy Dirt Car, and Die Kruezen to mention a few.

Dan Kubinski (vocals/bass), Andy Keels (guitar) and Charles A. Mayer (drums) are Decapitado. Starting at the top, Andy fills us in about the band name. “The word decapitado appears in a newspaper clipping in the movie “Curdled.” I thought it was such a cool word. My wife said it would be a great band name. I was in three bands at that time, and this one fit the name best. The name symbolizes the world today; a lurching, twitching body, lumbering forward, unable to hear or think or see. It stands for the way too many of us live our lives.”


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Anna Purnell of the Reptile Palace Orchestra on the cover of Maximum Ink in November 2003 - photo by Andrew Frey

The Reptile Palace Orchestra

by Adam Wrathkey
November 2003

The sign on the door read, “REPTILE PALACE ORCHESTRA appearing every weekend this month. Please come and enjoy their eclectic mix of traditional and original world music that rocks. Elvis + Armenia + Funkadelic + Bulgaria = RPO.”

I didn’t recognize the band name, but I decided to check it out anyway. They were already on-stage. Dancers grouped in front of the stage as the band launched into their next number, which the lovely lady singing, announced as “Kochari.” The dance floor came alive as body parts were swung to and fro. More numbers followed fusing world music and ethnic styles. One song was in Spanish, the next from Bulgaria, then another in Armenian. Then Turkish, Finnish, English, Italian, Greek, and occasionally a song in a gypsy dialect. As the band played on, I tracked down a bartender and asked him to tell me more about the band.


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Blue Man Group on the cover of Maximum Ink in October 2003 - photo by Christopher McCollum

Blue Man Group

by Andrew Frey
October 2003

The official Blue Man Group website, Blueman.com, states, “Blue Man Group is a creative organization dedicated to creating exciting and innovative work in a wide variety of media.”

Sometimes musicians are creative. Other times they are original. Occasionally they smash thru the basic trapping of genre rules and create category defying experiences unlike any other. The critically acclaimed Blue Man Group is just such a performance experience.

Perhaps you first saw BMG on those unique Intel Pentium television commercials, or maybe you have seen them on one of their numerous “Tonight Show” appearances, (13 to date, see www.bluemanlibrary.com). Or maybe you were one of the lucky ones to see their crowd pleasing set on “Moby’s” AREA 2 tour in 2002. Perhaps you have visited one of their permanent locations and witnessed their great theatrical performance. Where ever you may know them from, their trademark cobalt grease paint faces, funky yet technical performances and PVC drums leave an indelible impression.

The founding three members of BMG, Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton started creating their own unique brand of multisensory experiences as early as 1988 on the streets of New York. Then, after a breakout run at LaMama (New York’s most prestigious experimental theatre) in 1990, they landed in the Astor Place Theatre in 1991 and have been there ever since. With this flagship venue in place, BMG kept expanding into more major market areas. To date BMG has permanent locations in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas, with plans for a new Berlin troupe set to open in 2004. The organization has grown into a franchise comprised of over 500 employees including nearly 100 performers and musicians.


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vocalist Neil Fallon of Clutch - photo by Andrew Frey

Clutch - Neil Fallon

by Andrew Frey
August 2003

“I suppose anything, whether you like it or not, is an influence,” begins Clutch front man and vocalist Neil Fallon when queried about where the band’s inspiration comes from. “We try to be wide open to many different types of music. I think we find non-rock music the most interesting. After all, one can only do so much with drums, bass, guitar, and vocals. Most music in the world doesn’t use that setup and for us, those are the most interesting musics.  But of course, Led Zeppelin never fails.”

So how about the style of music then? Why has Clutch chosen play the style of music that they play? “Because we are the products of our time and environment,” replies Fallon matter of factly.


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Voivod on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2003

Voivod

by Andrew Frey
April 2003

Voivod blasted thru the late 80’s and early 90’s with a unique and evolutionary stretch of conceptualized sci-fi progressive thrash metal albums. “Killing Technology,” “Dimension Hatross,” and “Nothingface” are all extremely influential and classic thrash-era albums.

Now after several years of difficult times, harsh realities and semi-obscurity, Voivod has returned, revamped and reenergized, sporting an impressive new band member, Jasonic (Jason Newsted formerly of Metallica). There is also an exciting spring tour with Sepultura and a summer tour with Ozzfest. In fact, it was Jason who performed much of the revamping. The incredible new album, “Voivod Voivod” was recorded at and released on Jason’s own Chophouse Records.


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Madison's Stoner Rock Shotdown

Shotdown

by Andrew Frey
March 2003

Madison’s Stoner Rock Shotdown, an interview with vocalist Kyle Peterson


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The Heavils on the cover of Maximum Ink for March 2003

The Heavils

by Andrew Frey
March 2003

Rockford’s The Heavils, and interview with Mossy after being signed to Metal Blade Records in 2003


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Huun Huur Tu

by Andrew Frey
February 2003

An interview with traditional Tuvan Throat Singers, Huun Huur Tu,  from Tuva, east of Moscow, north of Mongolia in central Asia


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