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Jill Sobuile

Jill Sobule

by David A. Kulczyk
June 2006

After a series of near failures with the record industry, Jill Sobule scored with the heavily played tongue-in-cheek MTV hit “I Kissed a Girl,” and followed up with “Supermodel,” which appeared on the Clueless soundtrack. Her first album was produced by Todd Rundgren, and she recently played lead guitar in Lloyd Cole’s band. The Denver-born singer/songwriter/guitarist has penned songs about such diverse subjects as the death penalty, anorexia, shoplifting, reproduction, the French resistance movement, adolescence and the Christian right, but a lot of her songs are about love. Sobule’s music secretes an aura of love, so instead of asking my heartthrob a bunch of questions that she has probably been asked a hundred times before, I asked her to ask herself the five questions that she has never been asked in an interview, that she always wanted to be asked, then answer them…


Billy Idol on the cover of Maximum Ink

Billy Idol

by David A. Kulczyk
September 2005

What can you say about Billy Idol?  That the mold was broken after he arrived on the music scene with his pioneer punk band Generation X in 1976?  That he was music video pioneer?  That he lived the life of a rock star while retaining his punk rock beliefs?  After a serious motorcycle accident and some substance abuse problems, Billy Idol took a well-deserved twelve-year break from the music business.  His latest album, Devil’s Playground [Sanctuary Records] is pure unadulterated Billy Idol.  I interviewed Billy Idol via email while he was between tours in August 2005.


Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2005

Jessie Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter

by David A. Kulczyk
April 2005

Ever since two cavemen started beating sticks on hollow logs it has apparently been the goal of musicians to be louder. Symphony orchestras, Celtic, Polka, bluegrass, country, rock and roll and sometimes-even jazz, strive to amp up the volume. Now I love nothing better than to have my eardrums blown out by great live music, but not long ago I found myself on a road, miles from any sign of human inhabitation. I stopped my car and stepped outside. The quietness was deafening. A rushing white noise, phase shifted through my ears, like the beginning of some bad rock song from the 1970’s, but after a few minutes I started picking out the chirping of birds and insects. A minute later I could hear the leaves of trees rustling in the slight breeze. I was amazed at the complex audio beauty of a seemingly silence place. The same thing happened to me the first time I saw Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. There are few bands in the world as quiet as Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. You can literally hear a beer glass fall on the floor while they are performing.

Fresh off a twenty-day tour of 2,000 seat theaters opening for Bright Eyes, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter is hitting the road again. Their latest CD, “Oh My Girl” on Barsuk Records has been selling steadily and has landed on the Best of 2004 lists by such notable publications as the New York Times, The L.A. Weekly, Harp and Maximum Ink.  The band isn’t resting on its laurels.  “When you get home from a tour,” said Jesse, “it’s like, what do I do?”


D.A. Sebasstian on the cover of Maximum Ink in February 2005

D.A. Sebasstian

by David A. Kulczyk
February 2005

It has been a long road for D.A. Sebasstian. Starting in the early 80’s with the Southern California punk band, XIJIX to the Latin tinged avant-garde Freaks Amor, to the wildly successful industrial band, Kill Switch…Klick, Sebasstian has never let up on his artistic vision, no matter how many times it bites him on the ass.

Sebasstian first tasted success when Kill Switch…Klick, was signed to Cleopatra Records, releasing the classics “Beat It To Fit, Paint It To Match,” and “Degenerate.” They also appeared on 19 compilation CD’s.

Two short years after becoming a cult rock star, Sebasstian found himself without a drummer and in debt. “I owed Cleopatra (records) all kinds of money,” explained Sebasstian. He decided to start a record company, first calling it “Irregular,” and then changing the name to “Go-Kustom” after hearing of another “Irregular” label. He then proceeded to release titles from artists Kill Switch…Klick, D.A. Sebasstian, The Penningtones, Circle Of Fifths, Bill Wolford’s Head, Exposure To Living and Drag Strip Riot.


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the Donnas on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 2003

The Donnas

an interview with Allison Robertson
by David A. Kulczyk
December 2003

The Donna’s were formed in 1997 in Palo Alto, California when high school outcasts Brett Anderson (vocals), Torry Castellano (drums), Maya Ford (bass) and Allison Robertson (guitar) picked up their instruments and started rocking out in a raw, in-your-face, aggressive AC/DC Ramones style. They all used the first name Donna.  Since then they have released 5 full length CD’s and are now filling up the big halls with their devoted fans, but still the press has not taken them to their heart, dissing their songs, appearance and playing. I spoke to guitarist Allison Robertson via telephone when the Donna’s were on tour in Chicago.  She was smart, funny and talkative.


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The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players in Maximum Ink in October 2003

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

by David A. Kulczyk
October 2003

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are one of the oddest, yet enjoyable musical units to come down the pike in a long time. Jonathon Richman’s early work, like “Ice Cream Man,” “Hey There Little Insect” and “Rockin’ Rockin’ Leprechauns” is about the only music you can compare to the TFSP. 

Formed a couple of years ago in Seattle by Jason [guitar, piano and singer], his wife Tina [projector] and seven year old daughter, Rachel on drums after Tina found and bought some old slide photos at a yard sale. The box was marked “Mountain Trip to Japan 1959 and that was what was on the film, someone’s color slide photos of a trip to Japan in 1959. Jason , who was a mild mannered struggling singer/songwriter in a city filled with aggressive and thriving singer/songwriters, put his talent to work and wrote songs around the slideshow and The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players were born.


All Girl Summer Fun Band in Maximum Ink in September 2003 - photo by Michael Lavine

All Girl Summer Fun Band

by David A. Kulczyk
September 2003

This year, one of the best CDs of all time, “2” by Portland’s All Girl Summer Fun Band, was released on K Records and in a great feat of resolve, I drove 140 miles, first stopping in San Francisco to pick up my friend Gray Six and then to San Jose to my cousin Dan ‘s place.  Dan then drove to Los Gatos, where at an all ages club nestled in a lush park in the Santa Cruz Mountains to see “The All Girl Summer Fun Band” who by all accounts was the best live band in the world that day.


Jackie Green on the cover of Maximum Ink in August 2003

Jackie Greene

by David A. Kulczyk
August 2003

Jackie Greene has often been called an overnight sensation, but his overnight success took six years. “I don’t want to say that I’ve paid my dues, but I kind of have,” said Greene.  “I’ve played since I was 16 in stupid little clubs, just myself, and got paid shit to do it. I had to go outside on breaks because I wasn’t 21.”

Now 22, Jackie started playing piano when he was very young, took a few lessons, but eventually quit and taught himself. Then, after a Metallica-Guns and Roses-Nirvana preteen stage, he started listening to the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles .  Working his way backwards, he went through his parent’s record collection and discovered Ray Charles, Muddy Waters and Mississippi John Hurt. His life changed completely. He dove into American roots music and never looked back. Inspired by Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, Greene decided to start writing his own material.


The German Art Students, who aren't really German art students at all, hail from Madison, Wisconsin

The German Art Students

by David A. Kulczyk
March 2003

The German Art Students are in a time vortex and they are happy about it. Formed in the summer of 1997 by Kirk Wall and Andy Larson and joined by Annelies Howell and Randy Ballwahn the next year, GAS detained the 80’s sound of their college when every city had it’s own sound and you risked getting attacked by rednecks and frat boys for not looking like them.  People like The German Art Students fought for your look and so it is their prerogative to play like it’s still 1984.

Over the years they have gather much press and praise and in 2001 they were one of the top 50 finalists for the Coca-Cola New Music Award presented by the American Music Awards and sponsored by CMJ. Rock and Roll legend Dick Clark personally gave them a listen.  They’ve also gotten some great opening slots for Half Japanese, The Poster Children, Jonathon Richman, Gigolo Aunts, House of Large Sizes and The Returnables.  With the press drooling over their latest CD, “Kissing by the Superconductor,” and performing like the early The Who in just about every municipality, burb and metropolis between Chicago and Brainard, MN a lot has been written about the German Art Students but here are some things that you didn’t know.


early Droids Attack

Droids Attack - 2003

by David A. Kulczyk
March 2003

In five years of writing for Maximum Ink, it is rare that I receive a call from Rökker at 9pm asking me to check out a band’s website and write about them two hours before print time. You must remember that Rökker receives 4,000 CD’s a year and hundreds of phone calls a month from bands, publicists and managers. And while he’s easily amused, he’s not easily impressed. ‘What band could be so important?’ I thought. Tapping in, I immediately saw what Rökker was pining about.

The website crafts a dyamic, user-friendly interface that reflects Droids Attack founder Brad Van’s favorite hobby, and business - video games. Brad owns Aftershock Video, soon to be featured on State Steet in Madison above Ping Time. In his world, robots attack humans everyday.


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