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The Von Ehrics

The Von Ehrics

by Mike Huberty
April 2009

Seemingly effortlessly mixing the speed and aggression of punk rock music with the structure and twang of country music, Dallas trio, THE VON EHRICS, (named after the infamous Texas professional wrestling clan) write and play memorable cowpunk that veers between the heavy and the heartfelt in equal measure without ever sounding an untrue note (as one of their songs mentions, when you see a VON EHRICS show, you have an equal chance of hearing Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Rancid, or Bauhaus.) The two founding members, lead vocalist and guitarist Robert Jason Vandergryff (is there a more regal rock name in existence?) and bassist Jeffery Wayne Mosley (name checked in a song for being known to cause trouble south of the border), have been playing together since 2000. After a string of drummers, finally solidified the lineup in 2005 with San Antonian Gabe Aguilar on the drums.


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Milwaukee's The Buggs, doing Beatles Punk Style!

The Buggs

by Mike Huberty
March 2009

A Milwaukee original, THE BUGGS have been punking up classic pop and rock songs since 1999. As lead singer and guitarist, Lane Klozier, describes, “We were all from original bands and we were just tired of playing shows for eight people in the audience. We got a couple sets together of music anywhere from The Beatles to Badfinger, played out and it went very, very well.” Similar in vein to Punk rock super cover group, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, Lane describes THE BUGGS as Milwaukee’s only “original cover band” taking classic songs and makes them their own with a hard rock/punk sensibility.


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Sue DaBaco & Wise Fools

Sue DaBaco & Wise Fools

by Mike Huberty
January 2009

An Illinois native whose star is on the rise in the Milwaukee blues scene, lead guitarist and frontwoman, Sue DaBaco came to southeastern Wisconsin a decade ago after playing in Chicago’s Buzz Kilman And The All Bubba Blues Band for years. She solidified the lineup of her band, WISE FOOLS, four years ago with Scott Walters on bass and Darrel Douglas on drums. A power trio that started off as primarily blues but has “morphed into a progressive rock-blues thing”, according to DaBaco.

Raised on the still-ubiquitous 70’s rock sound of bands like Fleetwood Mac, Rush, and Heart, DaBaco says Jimi Hendrix is still her favorite, but she also incorporates influences like Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Sonny Landreth. WISE FOOLS has been performing regularly throughout Wisconsin, being an annual Summerfest favorite, and even opening up for big classic rock names like Peter Frampton, Eddie Money, and Jefferson Starship, along with more straight-up blues musicians like Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.


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Madison's Blueheels

Blueheels

by Mike Huberty
December 2008

With an Americana sound that varies from alt-country to rock n’ roll to indie rock, Madison-based band Blueheels sound perfectly modern and vintage at the same time. The band has two recordings under their belt (2006’s Long Gone and Lessons in Sunday Driving released in April of 2008), a live album soon to come, and a third studio record in the works. They seem to be keeping themselves busy creatively, while also keeping a regular and extensive performing schedule.


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White Zombie

White Zombie

by Mike Huberty
December 2008

Formed in the mid-80’s in New York City, White Zombie would become one of the most popular metal acts through the 90’s. Their sound was heavy but with a groove and songs inspired from horror authors like Richard Matheson (I Am Legend) to classic muscle cars and cult films like Blade Runner and Night of the Living Dead. Their most visible member, Rob Zombie (Robert Cummings, Jr.), was not only a musician, but a filmmaker as well, who over the course of the past two decades would go from directing the band’s videos to being a sought-after horror movie director in Hollywood. Even though the band has been broken up for over a decade, Rob went through the entirety of their old recordings and came up with a new boxed set called Let Sleeping Corpses Lie which is a five-disc collection of everything the band recorded.

You can tell Rob Zombie gets asked about a White Zombie reunion all the time because the first thing he says is how the set has a perfect title, “it’s pretty self-explanatory because I didn’t want everybody to think the box set was the beginning of something. I wanted everyone to realize it was the end of something… I am not big on revisiting the past. I like to move forward all the time. So whenever anything else would come up, this would go in the backburner. I had a little bit of window, and just knocked it out. And I also figured that, if not now, when? By waiting longer, CDs aren’t even going to exist, so there will be no box sets.”


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Los Angeles' Buckcherry on the cover of Maximum Ink in November 2008

Buckcherry

by Mike Huberty
November 2008

Originally coming on strong at the end of the 90’s with their fists-in-the-air ode to cocaine addiction, “Lit Up”, SoCal hard rockers, BUCKCHERRY, experienced a sophomore slump with their second album, Time Bomb, and the original band broke up.  After flirting with what would eventually become Velvet Revolver, distinctive screamer, Josh Todd, and guitarist-songwriter Keith Nelson reformed the band in 2005 with new members and have led the group to even bigger success in this decade with their biggest single (the ubiquitous “Crazy Bitch”) and two new albums. The second of which, Black Butterfly, was just released in September and the band is hitting the road in November with Avenged Sevenfold to promote their new release.

Keith Nelson is excited when talking about BUCKCHERRY’s resurgence. “We just came home from Japan and before that we were on Cruefest [the Motley Crue summer festival] and it was a lot of fun, a summer camp for the criminally insane and a rolling circus,” Nelson says, “now we start the new tour on November 4th.” That’s Election Day in the United States, so I ask him if there’s any candidate they’re supporting. “Well, in Japan they call it Erection Day,” he jokes, to which all I can do is groan, but at least he’s got a lot of life in him. “I don’t think any candidate really wants BUCKCHERRY in their corner,” he laughs, “politics is something that we decidedly do not get involved in.”


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Madison's Axiom

Axiom

by Mike Huberty
October 2008

Alternately ridiculous and rocking, Madison rockers AXIOM have been bringing their own concoction of humor-laden grunge-metal for the past several years. Consisting of vocalist/guitarist, Jakob Wheeler, Justin Roettger on bass, and drummer Dan Stoffels, the band mixes influences from Primus to Nirvana to hints of GWAR (without the cartoonishness and fake bodily fluids) and just released their first full-length LP, Philly Phakeout, in June. Wheeler says the inspiration for the name came from “wanting to name the album after a move like ‘The Dirty Sanchez’ or ‘The Cleveland Steamer’ (grossout sex position jokes that became popular on the Internet and on MTV’s former late night sex show, Loveline) and Philly Phakeout seemed like a good name for one (”people will have to Google that one”, Roettger laughs.) As far as the reaction to the album title, Stoffels laughs, “Chicks have a mixed reaction, some are grossed out by it and some are slighty intrigued. Some only act like they’re disgusted so their friends don’t think they’re weird. And some grab you and pull you into the bathroom.”


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Chicago's Blackdog

Blackdog

by Mike Huberty
October 2008

Hailing from Chicago after forming in Madison from two musical soulmates, guitarists Anthony Alban and Sammy Reicher, BLACKDOG fuses influences of early 20th Century Delta Blues, 50’s rock n’ roll, and the Classic Rock Pantheon. Andrew Elbert, their drummer says, “ We all love roots music and have a foundation in blues and rock n’ roll. Our heroes are Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, BB King, and Buddy Guy.” After earning their undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin, they decided to take the band to the big city and almost the whole band moved to Chicago (they found a new bassplayer,  Jason Segal, when they got there.)


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Twin Citie's Down Lo on the cover of Maximum Ink September 2008 - Artwork by Cory Harrison

Down Lo

by Mike Huberty
September 2008

Funky, melodic, and heartfelt, DOWN LO from The Twin Cities is combining traditional (and not so traditional) jam band music with hip-hop and traveling all around the country with their latest record, In Our World. Guitarist and vocalist, Mark Grundhoefer, describes it as “a blend of a number of different genres. Passion’s the name of the game. Bluegrass to reggae, jazz, funk, we try to throw a little bit of everything that influences us in there. Plus, we do a lot of improvisation with jams where each musician steps up to take his role, so we try to keep it interesting that way.”


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hip hop reggaeton from Madison/Milwaukee, Lucha Libre

Lucha Libre

by Mike Huberty
July 2008

Madison hip-hop/reggaeton group, LUCHA LIBRE gives a nod to their home turf in their song, “Midwest Bang” on their new album, The Takeover. With a nod to Coolio’s “Sumpin’ New” (quickly followed by a Buffalo Springfield quote), they chant “There ain’t no party like a Midwest party ‘cuz a Midwest party don’t stop.” It’s an interesting statement. After all, this is Madison, where hip-hop is supposed to be controversial and problematic. Amid that, LUCHA LIBRE is creating their own success in a city where hip-hop and rap fans have complained for years that they haven’t gotten the same respect or opportunities. And with their new record, they’re confident and stepping up.


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