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Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave

by John Noyd
April 2010

Recovering from damaged nerves that made playing painfully impossible, guitarist/song-writer ZACH ROGUE’s ROGUE WAVE returned earlier this year with a brilliant, upbeat CD, “Permalight.” Catching Zach as the band embarked on a tour that takes them to Madison’s High Noon Saloon April 16th, he was kind enough to answer a few questions via email.

MAXIMUM INK: How did the idea of “Permalight,” come about?
ZACH ROGUE: It was the first song I wrote after I started writing music again in 2009. I was in an amazingly great mood and I felt like writing a sequel to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” and that is what came to mind. I wasn’t really concerned so much with a chord progression per se. I was really just interested in the rhythm and having my hand move up and down the guitar neck so the song would have a loose groove.


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G. Love & Special Sauce

G. Love & Special Sauce

by John Noyd
March 2010

Deconstructing preconceptions, Philadelphia’s G. LOVE set 1993 on fire as a “white boy” daring to integrate the blues into hip-hop. Seventeen years later he’s still tearing up the joint, jamming and jiving. Appearing March 5th at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall and March 6th at Madison’s Barrymore, G. was kind enough to sit down with MAXIMUM INK and answer a few questions.

Maximum Ink: According to Muddy Waters the blues had a child and called it rock and roll. Where does funk and hip-hop come in?
G. Love: I think funk was basically blues on the one. John Lee Hooker would do his blues on the one and then James Brown and that generation flipped the backbeat and it was a whole new sound. Hip Hop is basically musically simplified funk with the voice of the youth on top. Hip Hop became the voice of the next generation (for the past 3 generations).


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Tegan and Sara (Canada)

Tegan and Sara

by John Noyd
March 2010

Canadian twins Tegan and Sara Quinn went from their high school graduation to a summer tour opening for Neil Young. Since then, their songs have been performed by, among others, the White Stripes and Ryan Adams and prominently featured on movie and television soundtracks. 2010 finds them touring America to promote last fall’s strong, sixth album, “Sainthood.” In preparation for the band’s appearance at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater March 25th, Tegan Quinn talked to MAXIMUM INK about Sainthood, song-writing and happiness.

MAXIMUM INK: What separates “Sainthood,” from your previous efforts?
TEGAN QUINN: It was completely opposite from, “The Con.” For, “Sainthood,” there was a lot of pre-production where the five piece came into the studio and recorded live off the floor. We are all stronger players and writers since, “The Con,” and we wanted something that translated easily into a live setting. “The Con,” had lots of post-production with layers of overlapping tracks where, “Sainthood,” had very few overdubs.


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Cracker

Cracker

by John Noyd
August 2009

Formed in 1991 after David Lowery left cult icons Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker’s core consists of David and ace guitarist Johnny Hickman. The band’s relentless touring and sparkling wit have forged a guitar-driven style that incorporates blues and country with punk and rock -  most recently documented in the smart and invigorating, “Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey.” Playing the Wisconsin State Fair August 14th, Johnny was kind enough to answer a few queries via email.
 
MI: Sharp writing and solid guitar work have always been stock in trade for Cracker who are your six string idols and literary heroes?

JH:  Thank you. Being a songwriter as well, I have to say that I can’t stand most guitar players. Most seem more concerned with showing off than with what works for the song. The most enduring guitar riffs have 3 or 4 notes. I like guitarists who sound a little disturbed like Joey Santiago from The Pixies or Jeff Beck. As far as literary heroes go, I’m attracted to a little madness there as well. Kurt Vonnegut, Cormac McCarthy. David is fond of Thomas Pynchon and McCarthy.


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Tom Fuller Band live at the Triple M studio in Madison - photo by John McCally

Tom Fuller Band

by John Noyd
July 2009

To see Tom Fuller today one would never guess that little over ten years ago he was a solid cog in corporate America and had never written a song all the way through. From the streaked mod haircut to the purple granny glasses and matching sneakers Tom Fuller emanates rock and roll. Tamed danger prowling, the glam-punk poise echoing the bigger than life sound of his band a tight group both young and experienced, sharp and dedicated.

Ironically, after talking with Tom for over a half an hour the conversation was less about music than destiny and life’s spiritual journey. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that while Tom is the leader and songwriter for the Tom Fuller Band he is entirely self-taught beyond a few guitar lessons when he was nine. In fact, Tom says he’s a “song-crafter more than a writer.” “I write what I feel; my lyrics are always emotion-based.” His gut instinct guides him and serendipity has brought him an entourage of good fortune. “I know in the first twenty seconds if I’m going to like a song.” Immediate, intuitive and insistent, Tom also knows personalities and opportunities and has learned how to play them both with rock and roll nonchalance.


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I Fight Dragons

I Fight Dragons

by John Noyd
May 2009

Bratfest 2009, Saturday May 23rd - stage two, early afternoon; the six-headed monster that is I Fight Dragons grab their joysticks and commence to rock with old school video game samples, digitally modified vocals and fanboy fantasies of conquering worlds and getting all the girls. Smarmy and cynical, IFD’s boyish charms and killer riffs pick a part hearts and kick out the jams. “I just tried to keep the guiding principle that it had to be fun, joyous, and smart,” says lead vocalist Brian Mazzaferri. A glib, gleeful stew of polished geek-pop anthems, old school video gamer gambits and rockin’ smartass scholarship, IFD take their Super Mario soundbites, new wave power-ballad cravings and studio noodling to a whole other level.


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Birmingham, Alabama's Maria Taylor - photo by Autumn De Wilde

Maria Taylor

by John Noyd
April 2009

MARIA TAYLOR has had a full life. A multi-instrumentalist singer-song-writer born into a musical family Maria has been in bands and on the road for over half her life. Her third solo effort, “LadyLuck,” overflows with moving narratives and self-reflective stories. Performing April 21st at Madison’s High Noon Saloon, Maria was kind enough to answer some questions via email.


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Madison's classic 70's 10 Piece Disco Band VO5

VO5

by John Noyd
March 2009

To call VO5 a band may be slightly misleading; born four years ago, the nine-member collective is comprised of playwrights, engineers, film-makers, a firefighter and a doctor with musical resumes from Cherry Pop Burlesque to Swim Team and the Merkins. More than dance floor sequins and day-glo flares, VO5’s nostalgia is dipped in twenty-first century irony, their cheesy chic a release valve from reality. Strong with the power of the boogie, amateur ornithologist and band guitarist John Feith says, the band “simply aims to make people dance.”  Vocalist Kelly Murphy says, “Come down to a show and see for yourself.”

MAXIMUM INK: How did the band name come about?
Kelly : We are called VO5 because the world wasn’t quite ready for Nanopussy. 
John: We do still own www.nanopussy.us (try it, type it in…) if anybody is interested in renting that name for a high fee, along with www.boobatron.com
Kelly: The name also serves to call attention to our full, lustrous heads of hair.


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Bellydance Superstars - Petite Jamilla

by John Noyd
March 2009

Petite Jamilla has been belly dancing her entire life, bridging the generation gap between traditional folkloric style and modern belly dance fusion. Studying for over ten years, Jamilla toured the Southeast U.S. at fifteen, a seasoned instructor by seventeen, with two instructional DVDs before she turned twenty. A member of the BELLYDANCE SUPERSTARS for the past three years, Petite Jamilla was kind enough to answer a few questions in anticipation of her troupe’s arrival at Madison’s Union Theater on March 26th.

MAXIMUM INK: What are the biggest misconceptions about belly dance?

PETITE JAMILLA: Due to Hollywoods’ early depictions of ‘belly dancers’ I think the biggest misconception is that belly dance is done for exploitive and seductive reasons, but it really has become a self-exploratory and self-improvement tool for dancers in the U.S.


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Duncan Sheik

Duncan Sheik

by John Noyd
February 2009

MAXIMUM INK recently caught up with singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik hoping to break away from the panel discussions at the Sundance Film Festival to take in some snowboarding. Eleven years earlier Sheik found himself navigating an entirely different slippery slope. The single, “Barely Breathing,” from his self-titled debut stayed a record-setting fifty-five weeks on the charts and made him a Grammy-nominated pop star. A role, he admits, he was ill-suited to play.  “Call me lazy,” Sheik says, “but at the end of the day I prefer to be sitting in the audience than performing on stage.” Not satisfied continuing with the personal love songs of his debut, Sheik moved to narrative songs packed with elusive introspection, subtle themes and smart literary devices. At the same time he was feeling he was having less and less of an effect on his audience. Being in the spotlight was just not a natural setting for Sheik and yet his desire to create remained strong.


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