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Sexy Ester on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2013 - photo by Nick Berard

Sexy Ester

An interview with Sexy Ester lead vocalist, Lyndsay Evans
by Mike Huberty
April 2013

Firmly establishing themselves in the Southern Wisconsin scene since forming in 2009, Sexy Ester is a Midwestern PoMo Blondie, mixing classic rock and New Wave into poppy melodies with synth hooks and a relentless beat. They cleaned up at last year’s Madison Area Music Awards, taking home eight trophies including Artist of the Year, Vocalist (Lyndsay Evans), and instrumentalist (Keyboardist Roscoe Evans). Their new release, “Monomania”, is came out last month. We took a few minutes to talk with Lyndsay about the new album,  .

MI: So, tell me a little bit about how you guys all met?
LE: We all knew each other in our town before we came to Madison. I’m from Gratiot, Wisconsin. A tiny town. Adam (Eder, guitarist) and Brad (Schubert on bass) are from a town right over the border in Illinois. We met while he was in a goth/electronica band in high school. We just started writing songs together for ten years after that. We moved to Madison in 2002. We did acoustic stuff together and decided to start playing out live. We originally had a harmonica player and it veered towards classic rock. We’d already been in Madison for 7 years when we started Sexy Ester. But when we added the keyboardist (Roscoe, Lyndsay’s brother) it really pushed us in a New Wave direction. A little over a year and a half ago, our original drummer left to run for office and is now a District Attorney in Northern Illinois. Our new drummer, Jenna (Joanis), well, Adam describes her as adding an element of danger

.

MI: What were the bands that you connected on?
LE: We were huge Beatles fans, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who. It was later that we started to love the New Wave bands and we started getting compared to them a lot. Roscoe listens to the unknown bands and Ween, Brad likes Metallica. Everyone brings in different sorts of styles. We never set out to be a New Wave band, it just sort’ve happened. People started comparing us to Siouxsie, but I hadn’t really known those bands beforehand, so it really evolved without me even knowing.

MI: How did you get involved with Girls Rock Camp, and what does it mean to you?
LE: Beth Kille contacted me about GRC and asked if I’d be willing to be a coach. The first camp I coached a was a Ladies’ Rock Camp, and it was a blast! I couldn’t believe that these fearless ladies formed a band, wrote a song, and performed it in three days! It was magical for me. And GRC is that times 10. These young girls do the same thing in a week. It is so inspirational and motivational for me. I love every minute of it.

MI: In what ways has providing that instruction through GRC influenced you personally and professionally?
LE:  I’ve met a lot of amazing women and girls. We’re sort of a community. I believe this is my third year with GRC and I had no idea how many great female musicians there were in Madison before that. That networking has opened doors for all of us, I’m sure.

MI: As an instructor for GRC, what advice do you have for aspiring young musicians?
LE: Don’t give up. Be yourself. Give it your all. And put on a show. Also, we are all here and willing to give advice. Anyone can contact me with questions. I’d be happy to share my knowledge and experience.

MI: What are the themes behind “Monomania”? Is there something that really connects the release together?
LE: A lot of the songs are about uniqueness and who you are and not being afraid of that. About finding yourself. One of the songs was inspired by a drag queen that I know. I did a call on Facebook asking people to message me about something that they always wanted to do, but never did. In the choruses, I list off all the different things that people wrote me. “Silver Shoes” is the name of it.

MI: What’s the title mean?
LE: It’s about being infatuated with one thing. One of the songs on the album is “Spotlight”, and the title comes from the lyrics of the song, which was inspired by the Local Sounds web story by Rick Tvedt from when we first started playing out. It’s about someone who’s quiet and unassuming in person, but transforms into a rock star onstage. And I hear that from people all the time, that I’m shy and introverted when I meet people, but when they see me onstage it’s a different person.

MI: What are you guys looking forward to over the next year?
LE: We’re going to play the WAMIs (Wisconsin Area Music Awards) at Turner Hall on April 14th. We’re really busy right now, which is awesome, playing every weekend and trying to get out of the city more. We played Chicago, Milwaukee, La Crosse, and trying to get into The Cities. This last year after our MAMA wins, people started to pay more attention to us and doors are opening up for us more.

Catch Sexy Ester on April 7th at the High Noon Saloon in Madison and find them in May at Bratfest.

 

 


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Circleswitch having fun in the studio

Circleswitch

An interview with Milwaukee hard rockers, CircleSwitch
by Mike Huberty
April 2013

Milwaukee is a hard rock town. Fueled for decades by album rock radio stations like Lazer 103 and 93QFM, as well as being a stomping ground for local bands who weren’t afraid of crunch like REALM, DOC HAMMER, or BAD BOY, there’s an entire generation of musicians who grew up loving whiskey-soaked party bar rock n’ roll that’s nasty and fun. CIRCLESWITCH carries on that proud tradition with Danny Rodic on guitars, Kenny James on vocals, Eddie Gunz on drums, and Johnny Wahlen on bass. We had a chance to talk to the band about their new album, Ritual, and their upcoming performance at The Blue Pig (formerly the mighty Cudahy live music mainstay, Vnuk’s Lounge.)


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The Mascot Theory live! - photo by Goeke Photography. All Rights Reserved. 2012.

The Mascot Theory

An interview with Erik Kjelland, lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist of The Mascot Theory
by Mike Huberty
February 2013

With an Americana acoustic folk-rock sound, The Mascot Theory is Madison’s answer to Ryan Adams and The Lumineers. Led by Erik Kjelland (former singer of rock outfit, Crimson Vim) and backed up by bassist Nick Fry, guitarist Adam White, and drummer Paul Metz, they released their first album, “Under The Borrowed Moon”, in 2012 and they’ve been touring regionally since. We spoke with Erik about the band, the record, and their upcoming show on March 30th.


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Hanging Out with Masked Intruder

Masked Intruder

An interview with Guitarist/Criminal Intruder Green from Masked Intruder
by Mike Huberty
February 2013

Upbeat pop-punk that’s fast, catchy, and clever, Madison’s MASKED INTRUDER has made a massive impact on the Midwestern punk scene in just a short time. Doo-wop harmonies meet beefy guitars meet memorable songs that you can sing and clap along to. These four alleged hoodlums’ real identities are kept secret to keep the fuzz off their backs and you can only tell them apart by the color of their face masks. With Orange on bass, Red on drums, Blue sings, and Green on guitar, they released their self-titled debut on Chicago’s Red Scare punk label just last August and were quickly picked up by Fat Wreck Chords (NOFX, DESCENDENTS, SCREECHING WEASEL), hitched on a tour with TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET, and are preparing for a huge 2013. The guard let us have 15 minutes through the glass with Intruder Green and we talked about what’s coming up for the band this year.


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I Am Dragon - photo by Kedar Joyner

I Am Dragon

An interview with Madison garage rockers, I Am Dragon
by Mike Huberty
January 2013

With influences firmly established from garage rock legends like THIN LIZZY and THE SONICS, Madison’s I AM DRAGON has been playing around the scene for the past two years. They’ve got a heavy, fast feel that gets a bit of DEEP PURPLE-ish feel with keys and organ to sweeten the sound. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the rockers are about to release their new EP, “The Lucky Ones”, on February 1st and we talked to their lead guitarist and vocalist, Jon Stover, about the upcoming recording. 


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Michael Alexander of Sand

SAND

An interview with SAND lead singer, Michael Alexander
by Mike Huberty
December 2012

Originally founded by vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Michael Alexander, and drummer, Paul Zander, Madison’s SAND has been kicking around in various forms since 2003. With a regular regional touring schedule and a consistent sound that’s a solid mix of the theatrics of arena rock, driving modern guitars, and the earnestness of the best of country music, they’ve solidified their lineup with bassist Wade Radtke and new guitarist Dain Di Mattia, and have become a fixture of the scene over the past decade. Their latest EP was released this year on Halloween. Entitled “Load Your Guns”, it’s three songs recorded and engineered by Jeff Tomei, whose resume includes everyone from MATCHBOX TWENTY to SMASHING PUMPKINS to JERRY CANTRELL.


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The Black Saints

The Black Saints

An interview with Mlwaukee's ode to classic hard rock, The Black Saints
by Mike Huberty
December 2012

Dirty, nasty, and incredibly fun, sometimes you just gotta go for that classic hard rock sound and Milwaukee’s THE BLACK SAINTS has been delivering the goods since 2009 in the vein of the genre’s 70’s and 80’s progenitors, GUNS N’ ROSES, MÖTLEY CRÜE, AC/DC, and AEROSMITH. Delivered without the smug irony and gimmicky attitudes that plague a lot of modern hard rock acts that callback to the Sunset Strip, THE BLACK SAINTS are coming out with their new record, “Hellbent & Heartless” on December 7th at Racine’s Route 20 Outhouse. We talked with vocalist, Drew Herdegen, and guitarist, Blackie Bishop, about the new record and their upcoming performances.


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4 Aspirin Morning

4 Aspirin Morning

An interview with Madison ska-punkers 4 Aspirin Morning
by Mike Huberty
November 2012

As one of the busiest bands in Madison, 4 ASPIRIN MORNING has been kicking around the scene since 2009 as a mobile party unit unloading their classic ska-punk for a rabid and expanding fanbase far beyond the rude boys and girls traditionally associated with the genre. They’ve shared the stage with Third Wave Ska stalwarts like MUSTARD PLUG and DEAL’S GONE BAD, all the while integrating elements of metal and hard rock to put their own spin on the genre into a head-banging, fist-pumping, skanking buck wild cocktail. Their new release, “Skanks 4: The Memories”, will be unleashed on November 24th at a special release party called “Skanksgiving” at The Brink Lounge in Madison. Max Ink took some time to talk to singer Chandon Vicarious, bassist Drew Ferguson, sax player Mooney Soho, trombonist Stranger D. Davenport, trumpet man Joey Underfuck, and guitarist LeX, in anticipation for the new collection of tracks.


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Moloko Shivers Live

Moloko Shivers

An interview with Milwaukee's Moloko Shivers
by Mike Huberty
October 2012

If you lived and breathed rock music in Southeastern Wisconsin in the early 1990’s, then you saw MOLOKO SHIVERS. Shirtless rock stars with cutoff jean shorts in the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS vein, they were the leading edge of The Dairy State’s little corner of the Alternative Nation. With a killer mix of grooves, heavy riffs, and good ol’ showmanship, they dominated the live rock scene for several years until disbanding in 1997. After taking over a decade off, they reformed with a new lead singer, Craig Baumann from Milwaukee jam-rockers, FAT MAWROONEY and have emerged back on the scene with a brand new self-titled album. We talked with drummer, Dave Schoepke, and vocalist Baumann about the new album and the direction of the band as they enter their third decade.


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Mr. Gnome on the cover of Oct. 2012 Maximum Ink

Mr. Gnome

An interview with Mr. Gnome's Nicole Barille
by Mike Huberty
October 2012

Atmospheric and beautiful, Cleveland’s psychedelic indie-rock duo, MR. GNOME has been touring the United States for the past few years delivering haunting art-rock. Drummer/keyboardist, Sam Meister, and singer/guitarist, Nicole Barille (think a voice like Florence + The Machine but moving between extra edge and ghostly melodies) are high-school friends who’ve gone the distance in creating intelligent and powerful post-rock songs over the course of three full albums, the latest of which is the charmingly alliteratively titled “Madness in Miniature”. Earnest and effortlessly likable, vocalist Barille took a few moments to talk with us in anticipation of their Madison show on October 26th.


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