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Detroit's Von Bondies in Maximum Ink in May 2008

The Von Bondies

by Mike Huberty
May 2008

Hitting the mainstream with their single, “C’mon C’mon” in 2004 (used as the theme to Denis Leary’s popular TV show, Rescue Me.) They also appeared in the popular and controversial (due to the actors’ naughty and real sex scenes in a love story set between live-music performances) 9 Songs. THE VON BONDIES rode the Detroit garage rock wave (even getting their first record, Lack of Communication, produced by The White Stripes’ Jack White) to success in the early part of the century. On the way, they lost a few members (the only original ones being vocalist/guitarist Jason Stollsteimer and drummer Don Blum.)  Stollsteimer got in a highly-publicized fistfight with the aforementioned White, and the band went into hibernation. In 2008, with a sans record label they are getting back into touring. They’re self-releasing two EPs in preparation for a full album in the fall. The first, We Are Kamikazes, is only available from the band at their shows.


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Milwaukee's Big Dumb Dick in Maximum Ink in April 2008

Big Dumb Dick

by Mike Huberty
April 2008

Milwaukee hard rockers who’ve shared the stage with metal and heavy bands from Saliva to Disturbed to Motley Crue, BIG DUMB DICK was one of the Brew City’s most reliable rock acts through the late 90’s and early Aughts. They would perform regularly at events like Summerfest and Harley Fest as well as touring nationally. Their shows were known for body-passing, moshing, dancing girls, and pyrotechnics, making them one of the city’s best draws. This also garnered them representation from big players like Kid Rock’s management company and serious interest from major record labels. After being at the center of the maelstrom, lead singer and founding member, Travis Mantsch decided to take some time off from BIG DUMB DICK to clear his head and start a family. Three years later, the songs he had created in his home studio took on a familiar tone and now the band is back and releasing a new record, See You In Hell.


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The Mekons in Maximum Ink in March 2008 - photo by Derrick Santini

Mekons

by Mike Huberty
March 2008

From straightforward rock and loud punk to reggae and alt-country, UK band, The Mekons, have been kicking out the jams almost as long as this phrase has been around. Formed in Leeds by art students in 1977 (and named after a villain in the popular British comic, Dan Dare), they’ve existed as a loosely-knit group of musicians, almost a collective, for over thirty years. These years have included taking time off and reforming whenever the mood called. While they’ve been popular with critics and hipsters forever (including rock uber-critic, Lester Bangs, who wrote that they were “better than The Beatles” on the liner notes of their 1982 album, The Story of The Mekons), their sometimes awkwardly eclectic mix of music has brought them near to commercial success (as well as high profile releases on A&M Records in the 1990’s) but never brought them completely over into the pop world.


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Blind Melon in Maximum Ink in March 2008

Blind Melon

by Mike Huberty
March 2008

The two associations that Blind Melon will always have are with the girl in the yellow and black bee costume from the video for their 90’s alternative chestnut, “No Rain” (a tune which reached #20 on the Pop Charts and even earned a Weird Al parody), and the drug overdose of their original lead singer, Shannon Hoon, in 1995. Indeed, when I met him as a underager in 1993 after sneaking into Marquette University in Milwaukee to see them, drugs was a subject he mentioned almost immediately. Although an album of outtakes and live performances followed (named Nico after the newborn daughter Hoon left behind) and the band went on a search for a new singer, the public would not accept them and the band broke up before the end of the decade.


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Five Finger Death Punch

Five Finger Death Punch

by Mike Huberty
February 2008

Mike catches up with FFDP drummer Jeremy Spencer talks about meeting singer Ivan Moody and the recent pull out from a tour with Chimaira and All That Remains


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Beatallica on the cover of Maximum Ink January 2008

Beatallica

by Mike Huberty
January 2008

an interview with Beatallica singer Jaymz Lennfield as the band headed to Europe for their fifth Euro-tour.


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Madison's The Ottomon Empire on the cover of Maximum Ink December 2007

The Ottoman Empire

by Mike Huberty
December 2007

An interview with Madison shredders The Ottomon Empire‘s Mary Zimmer


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Umphrey's McGee on the cover of Maximum Ink September 2007

Umphrey’s McGee

by Mike Huberty
September 2007

When first hearing the voice of Joel Cummins, the keyboard player from Chicago jam-band Umphrey’s McGee, one might expect a stoned-out, hippie wasteoid, not the articulate, self-deprecating and passionate music theory graduate that helped found the group in the mid-‘90s at Notre Dame University. But the man’s musicianship is no joke.

Teetering on the edge of the mainstream with their third album, “Safety in Numbers,” the band released a double album of tracks from the “Safety” recording sessions called “The Bottom Half” last April, performed on Lollapalooza, and started opening for the Dave Matthews Band on his latest tour (to which Cummins half-jokes, “One of the goals was to play more tunes for the ladies.”)


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Madison's The Gomers on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2006

The Gomers

by Mike Huberty
April 2006

Very few bands can say that they have had the mayor name a day after them (Feb. 1, 2003), and when it comes to Madison area bands, very few (if any) have matched the longevity, durability, or diversity of The Gomers. As guitarist Biff Blumfumgagnge explains, when they formed in 1986, “the band was initially a goofy punk project to entertain bored Emerald Choir members after rehearsal. Well, I had a bunch of silly songs, and so did Gordon. The early shows were theme-heavy (meat and toys, have a nice day) affairs with sometimes just a three-piece of Gordon and I and a rotating drummer that established a base of goofy songs about fish, alien abduction, antennae, big ideas and such. That was Gomers part 1.”

The Gomers Part Two was established as a Comedy Sportz band around 1988, which prompted them to learn a gi-normous amount of cover tunes, as well as beginning their, according to Biff, “bizarre and creative” musical exploration, often being compared to Zappa. The period included shows with national acts like Mojo Nixon and Molly Hatchet, as well as Wisconsin greats like Poopshovel and Couch Flambeau.


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Bif Naked

by Mike Huberty
November 2005

Just the name, Bif Naked, conjures up pornstar imagery right off the bat and certainly the Canadian rocker and starlet (whose scene was the highlight of the otherwise cinematic bowel movement, House of the Dead) isn’t afraid to take advantage of her sex appeal, but that doesn’t mean she’s invulnerable.

“I’m a real gullible girl and I always believe anything a boy will ever tell me. I get suckered a lot, but always get back up on the love horse,” she explains when discussing the songs on her latest album, Superbeautifulmonster. “I just came off a big heartache and was enshrouded in despair when I wrote [album tracks] ‘Abandonment’ and ‘After A While’. I like to think that I better my efforts, my songwriting, and singing with every record and this one’s a little darker and sadder, it’s much more guitar-oriented. There’s something that everyone can relate to. I’m crazy about love, crazy about the whole process. I keep getting knocked down, but I keep getting back in the ring.”


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