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Diamond Head

First American Tour.... ever!
by Mike Huberty
August 2011

As the Seventies snorted on, the hard rock genre started bloating into the drug-fueled excesses of classic rock. Punk rock came in with its simple chords and snotty attitude to threaten metal into an early oblivion. Rockers that were into guitar solos and liked listening to men that scream like women needed a louder and faster reponse in order to save metal. Riding in like knights in leather armor, The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was that response. Bands like Iron Maiden, Mötorhead, and Judas Priest were at the forefront of the genre, eventually even gaining acceptance from the mainstream which had previously shunned the biker and fetish gear(for God’s sakes, you can buy Maiden t-shirts at Kohl’s!)

One of the most influential and important bands of the NWOBHM (as it is usually abbreviated as) was Diamond Head. Even casual metal fans have heard Metallica’s version of “Am I Evil?” (and if you haven’t, get thee to iTunes now!) and that’s probably their most famous song.


Unity on the cover of the July 2011 Maximum Ink

Unity The Band

From Fiji to the Fox Valley
by Mike Huberty
July 2011

Bringing some of that tropical feeling to the Fox Valley, a region famously called “The Frozen Tundra”, UNITY THE BAND, plays their roots-rock reggae music for fans all over the state and they’re working on the world. Frontman Pita Kotobalavu (better known to fans by his nickname, Kai) formed UNITY in 2003 after moving to Oshkosh. But here’s the kicker, he moved from Hawaii, where he’d previously moved from his homeland of Fiji. What can make a man leave paradise?


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Elicia Rocker

The Cervical Rock 2011

interview with Elicia Rocker
by Mike Huberty
June 2011

New Cervical cancer diagnoses occur in the United States over twelve thousand times a year and almost four thousand women die from the disease. Yet, it’s one of the most preventable cancers and death rates are declining due to ladies getting earlier and more regular testing. On Wednesday, August 3rd, the High Noon in Madison will host The Cervical Rock 2011, a benefit to make a difference someone personally affected by this disease. Featuring an all-star lineup of Madison hard rock, metal, punk, and indie bands, we talked to the benefit’s creator, Elicia Rocker of Extremely Rockin’ Photography about why she was inspired to get this thing going.

MI:What about your friends’ situation made you decide that you needed to help?

A: We have known each other our whole lives and she is one of the sweetest people I know and if it were me who ended up in this situation she would do the same thing. She is only 25 and works at a retail store where she does have insurance but it hasn’t covered much of her bills. She is very far in debt and scrapping by. When she came to me and told me about the bills in collections and needed some extra money to help get her car repaired, I decided enough is enough, you can’t heal when you are stressed about money or stressed at all. So I did what anyone in my position would do, I started putting together a benefit show.



Plain White T’s

An interview with Plain White T's frontman, Tom Higgenson
by Mike Huberty
May 2011

Plain White T’s started in the Chicago area in 1997 when vocalist and guitarist Tom Higgenson, who had been a drummer previously in local high school bands, decided to get out from behind the drum set and take the foreground as a front man and songwriter. After spending years developing their following in the underground scene, they exploded with their 2007 Grammy-nominated Number One single, “Hey There, Delilah.” This winter, they released their latest record, Wonders of the Younger, and have been touring on it since. They’re headlining a free music festival, The Journeys Backyard Barbecue, in Minneapolis over Memorial Day Weekend. We talked to Higgenson about the new record and the tour.


Thoughts For Food

Thoughts for Food

by Mike Huberty
February 2011

Easily the largest benefit concert in Wisconsin, Thoughts for Food gets all the music venues of Racine to party for a cause every year on the first Saturday of March. That cause is the Racine County Food Bank, an organization dedicated to helping the area’s people who are having trouble with the bottom and most basic rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Currently on its 19th year (its longevity a minor miracle in itself), the benefit spans nine Racine clubs as well as over 40 bands. That’s something that Racine County Food Bank Director Dan Taivalkoski doesn’t take for granted. He states, “Our budget is around a million dollars when you factor in the value of food. Our cash budget is about a third of that and Thoughts for Food is about a tenth of that, so it’s a very important fundraiser for us.”

While it’s essential for the Food Bank, it’s also a no-brainer for the venues involved. Taivalkoski states, “Most years you can guarantee a packed house the entire evening. And most of the bars give back their proceeds in the form of a donation to the food bank. It’s positive all the way around.”


Lyden Moon

Lyden Moon

An Interview with Instrumental Rock Guitarist, Lyden Moon
by Mike Huberty
January 2011

When it comes to his new CD, “It’s What’s Inside That Rocks”, guitarist LYDEN MOON, explains his process when it comes to creating music. “I’m always trying to write a better song,” he says, “a lot of instrumental guitar players go strictly for the technical showcase kind of record. And that’s not what I want to do.” The Wisconsin-based guitarist is letting me know that he doesn’t want to be perceived as what other musicians often unaffectionately call guitar soloists, a “wanker”. You don’t have to use much of an imagination to realize what that term refers to, or to imagine the big-haired guitar slingers with the magic fingers that it describes. “ I think it’s harder to play a slow meaningful passage,” he continues, “to milk a note correctly, as opposed to just tearing it up. Once you develop the speed, you’ve got it, but in terms of delivering the song, it’s a never-ending accomplishment because I always feel that I can play it better and express myself better. And technique is not just speed, it’s how to play the note correctly, it’s how to attack the note correctly. When I go into the studio I try to play as clean I can and just really make sure that the point is coming across.”


L-R: Louie, Jimmy K, E-Dub, Bachness Monster, SlamminAlvin

Infernal Rock Radio

An interview with the Madison deejays of Infernal Rock Radio
by Mike Huberty
December 2010

Internet radio has come a long way from the technological wasteland of the 1990’s when you were tied to a desktop machine with a wired Ethernet connection and then you could listen to a low-bitrate stream that sounded like an AM radio station from 200 miles away over tinny crapola speakers. At the time, just the idea of listening on the Internet untethered by the rules and corporate economics of terrestrial radio was invigorating. Everyone could be a pirate because it was radio without limits. Deejays that didn’t have to spin the same Top Forty songs that only your little sister likes or the same tired classic rock songs that haven’t left the airwaves since 1975. It was going to be the great equalizer, because everyone could listen to you. But an idea is all it was. It was usually more of a pain to figure out than it was an actual joy to listen to. Today, in the second decade of the new Millennium, it’s a completely different story. Everyone has Broadband and for many, it’s mobile. Computers are starting to become the foundation for home entertainment. Internet radio broadcasts in crystal-clear quality, sounding better than FM when you’re next to the antenna. People are listening to radio over the Internet in their cars, on their iPods, and wherever there’s a cell phone signal. One of this new breed of Internet radio stations that’s making waves in Madison is Infernal Rock Radio, a station devoted to hard rock and heavy music.

Started by Dread Pirate Vane, a veteran webcaster who takes the “pirate radio” symbolism all the way, even into his moniker, Infernal Rock Radio’s motto became “The station built by the bands, for the fans”.


M.A.Xmas Logo - photo by James Pederson


2010 Madison Area Christmas Compilation CD
by Mike Huberty
November 2010

Christmas albums can often be a fairly staid affair, usually a little too willing to play it safe and mostly too reverent to have much fun. The new “Madison Area Christmas Compilation” (nicknamed “M.A.XMas”), however, isn’t afraid to grab Santa by his jollies and roast his chestnuts on an open fire. With bands running the gamut from rap to punk to metal, they’re fully embracing a hard rock holiday where nothing is sacred.

Madison rockers Jeremy Gehler and Jon Kussow of Kuhler Music (whose title is a mashup of their names) were hanging out talking about the Ringo Starr Christmas Album Gehler had just obtained (a kitsch purchase that he’s brave to admit in the first place!) when they realized that the Madison needs one too and definitely in 2010.


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Batusis - Sylvain Sylvain and Cheetah Chrome - photo by Sandy Carson


An Interview with Dead Boys, Rocket From The Tombs, and Batusis Punk Legend, Cheetah Chrome
by Mike Huberty
November 2010

Two seminal members of two of the most influential New York City punk bands, THE NEW YORK DOLLS and DEAD BOYS, join forces in BATUSIS (Yes, named after Adam West’s ridiculous dance in the 1960’s Batman TV series), a straight up rock and roll band with an upbeat and catchy sound. With their image, sound, and attitudes, guitarists Cheetah Chrome (also a founding member of ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS) and Sylvain Sylvain were at the forefront of the underground rock and roll movement that would eventually lead to being able to buy CBGB shirts at the mall. But back then it was the most dangerous music around.

Their first concert was at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin and they were backed up with the rhythm section from Joan Jett’s BLACKHEARTS. Cheetah explains how they started, “Syl’s manager and my label guy got to talking” he says, “and they suggested that since we’d known each other for a long time that we should do something together. We said ‘Hell yeah’! It sounded like fun because we’ve always wanted to play together. Basically it started off as just the EP and it went so well, we went off to do some touring and now next week we’re going to do a full album.”


The Horrids in full facepaint

The Horrids

An interview with Chicago horror punks
by Mike Huberty
October 2010

Straight up Chicago-style punk rock with a penchant for horror movies and gruesome imagery, THE HORRIDS, come racing out of the cemetery out of Lombard, IL with all the ferocity of fast and ugly bands like THE MISFITS and AFI. While they’ve been together for seven years (a veritable eternity in punk years), forming the band in their early teens, they’ve already amassed an impressive resume, opening for the likes of major bands like GWAR, THE MISFITS, and THE DWARVES.Their first album, “Graveyard Anthems: Music Of The Dead” is nineteen lightning-paced songs that would fit perfectly in any horror fans coffin-shaped CD rack.

Their lead guitarist, Pat “Fink” Goray, describes a little about what The Horrids are about. “We were three friends that started out, played together and made music together,” he says, “I’ve always wanted to play rock music, my favorite band is AC/DC. Our drummer’s dad is THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL’s drummer. He wanted to play because there were always musical instruments around when he was growing up.”


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