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Static-X on the cover of Maximum Ink August 2007

Static-X

by Sarah H. Grant
August 2007

An interview with Static-X‘s Wayne Static covering their new album, Ozzfest and the departure of Tripp Eisen


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Def Leppard

Def Leppard

an interview with drummer Rick Allen
by Sarah H. Grant
July 2007

Of all the places you imagine rock stars go, the dog groomer is probably not one of them. Not so for Def Leppard’s thunder man Rick Allen, who woke up at seven o’clock to take his little cairn terrier, Ricky, to get his hair coiffed and paws manicured.

Then again, Rick Allen is no ordinary rock star. Joining the Leppards as a nineteen-year-old pup himself, Allen rode the effervescent wave of Britain’s heavy-metal renaissance on the brink of the eighties. With their trademark trickling vocals and opulent guitar riffs, the multiplatinum, Union-jack clad lads from Sheffield are one of the biggest-selling bands in the world. But their success did not come at a low price. On New Year’s Eve, 1984, Rick Allen walked away from a lethal auto accident with only one arm—a death knell for the career of a drummer. Two years later, Allen miraculously took the stage again, this time playing on a specially customized electronic drum kit which compensates for his handicap.

The resilient Rick Allen spoke to Maximum Ink, in his ever-cheery English accent, before Def Leppard churns the wheels of their unusually long three-year tour towards Summerfest 2007.


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Eric Sommer

by Brett Lemke
July 2007

Keeping up the frenetic pace of touring can wear down many a band, but for those who thrive on music to stay alive, it can be addictive. Eric Sommer is a one-man guitar-slinger from Washington, D.C., who plays constantly up-and-down the coast and has been venturing to the Midwest frequently in the last half-decade. His spirit burns as bright as a million-candlepower spotlight, and his street-level philosophy captivates the listener’s yearning ear. In preparation for his 15-date Midwest tour in July, he spoke with Maximum Ink about his journey, his songwriting, and his alchemical on-stage ethos. 

MAXIMUM INK: Tell me about how you became a traveling troubadour.
ERIC SOMMER: I toured for 15 years with a lot of big bands in the ‘80s and ‘90s. It all came to a head in Providence, RI, at a show opening for the Dead Kennedys. I was with The Atomics, which was the house band at Cantone’s. Everyone played with us; Mission of Burma, Gang Of Four, Dinosaur Jr., and one night it all fell apart, all over women. It was a true rock story, just ugly. The next morning, everyone’s girlfriend ended up at everyone else’s house. I quit, took everything I had, sold it, and tried to keep busy for the next ten years. It was very unsatisfying. It was easy to make money, but hard to make a difference. I was a cog in the wheel, in the machine. About five years ago, the Bayfront Blues Festival put me on to close out their acoustic stage. I did really well, there were standing ovations and I couldn’t get off the stage. It was really wonderful. On the drive out from some gigs in Virginia, I took notes and made it my regular route. Five years later I do 275 shows a year. I’m going to Texas in September and I’m in the studio right now with Ken Eddinger from Blondie. He’s producing five or six songs and getting me some radio interest.


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Tesla on the cover of Maximum Ink July 2007

Tesla

by Paul Gargano
July 2007

An interview with members of Sacramento’s legendary Tesla


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Former Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier from 1960-1988

Summerfest History - 35 Years

by Rachelle Blair
June 2007

Summerfest

: The world’s largest music festival and it’s right here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Started in 1972 and in it’s 35th year, here is a brief history of the event.


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Minnapolis' Gingerjake on the cover of Maximum Ink June 2007

Gingerjake

by Rachelle Blair
June 2007

An interview with guitarist Ian Severson of Minneapolis band Gingerjake


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Les Paul holding a copy of Maximum Ink backstage at the Iridium Jazz club in New York City - photo by Otto Schamberger

Les Paul

by Sarah H. Grant
May 2007

‘Upgrade’ is a fairly new term in today’s society, yet it has sparked an international obsession. We need our internet faster, our cars bigger, our celebrities skinnier, and our televisions more…defined? Well listen up, Generation Next, because the man responsible for the original upgrade worked for it… Without the cheat codes.

There is no doubt Les Paul is a living legend of the twenty-first century. He not only invented the first electric guitar, but revolutionized the music industry with countless recording breakthroughs. Les Paul has played for kings, queens and presidents, and is revered by musical titans throughout the world. But one Monday night, on the busiest and brightest street in New York City, this legend sat on a moth-eaten, dusty couch, alone in a cramped dressing room, just a door-swing away from his audience.

A chill ran up my spine. I tried to imagine all the influential people that had gazed into those misty blue eyes, as I was doing. Every inch of his face was brimming with eagerness to talk about the past, perhaps wondering which stories I would conjure. He gently twisted the top of his cane as his eyes darted around before settling on an object across the room, and then back at me.


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5561 ViewsPermalinkLes Paul WebsiteLes Paul Wiki
Otep - Amercian Metal from Los Angels

Otep

by Conor Kuzdas
May 2007

Lots of bands claim to have a cult following, but how many have fans who show up with severed pig heads and ready to propose marriage? How many bands are signed to a major label based on the strength of their live show, even before they release a single song? Hailing from Los Angeles, Otep is just that band.

A band since 2000, the two constants in Otep during that time have been classically-trained bassist “eViL j” and frontwoman, lyricist and band namesake Otep Shamaya. Of late, they’re backed by two new members, guitarist Karma Cheema and drummer Brian Wolff. The reasons for the lineup changes have varied, but Shamaya says that the center of the band remains the same: they are message driven, and center around art for art’s sake. Their latest album, “The Ascension,” has several songs co-written by Mudvayne guitarist Greg Tribbett, and the record is produced by Dave Fortman, who’s previously worked with both Evanescence and Mudvayne.  The band’s sound is familiar enough to anyone who’s heard any of the above bands, but also features flares of spoken word and a female perspective, rarities in heavy radio rock. The new albums is their third, and Shamaya says it’s best considered as a fusion between the two previous releases.

So what makes Otep so special that they have such a following?


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5780 ViewsPermalinkOtep WebsiteOtep MySpaceOtep Wiki
HELLYEAH on the cover of Maxmum Ink May 2007

Hellyeah

by Rick Florino
May 2007

An interview with former Pantera/Damageplan and current Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul covering his new band featuring Chad Gray and Greg Tribbet of Mudvayne and Tom Maxwell of Nothingface.


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Heaven and Hell - Black Sabbath with Dio on the cover of Maximum Ink April 2007 - photo by Mick Huston

Heaven And Hell

an interview with Geezer Butler
by Jeff Muendel
April 2007

Ah, the sordid and storied life of a rock and roll band; make it a heavy metal group, and the drama is always, for lack of a better term, amplified. Sometimes, it’s hard to even know where to begin. In this case, the beginning is somewhere in the middle…

When Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath in 1979 (or was asked to leave, depending upon who you ask), the group replaced him with veteran vocalist Ronnie James Dio. Having recently parted ways with Rainbow, Dio was not only available, but also a known commodity, and his addition to the Black Sabbath ranks made it a sort of metal supergroup. Dio and original members Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward went to work writing new material.

The resulting album was “Heaven and Hell,” both an instant classic and a return for Black Sabbath to the core of their musical style, a mode from which they had drifted significantly in their last years with Osbourne. Through heavy touring and the success of the album, Black Sabbath managed to avoid the drop in popularity that almost always follows the departure of a charismatic lead singer. If anything, their popularity grew.

Drummer Bill Ward left the band due to health problems after the “Heaven and Hell” tour, but Black Sabbath soldiered on and produced another amazing album, “Mob Rules.” The group toured again (with Vinny Appice behind the kit) and simultaneously recorded a live album on the tour. During the mixing of that recording, which would eventually be deemed “Live Evil,” problems began to grow amongst the band members. There were accusations between the new guys (Dio and Appice) and the remaining founding members (bassist Geezer Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi). Within months of the live album’s release, both Dio and Appice had left the group.

Ronnie James Dio went on to form his own band called, quite simply, Dio. Simultaneously, Geezer Butler left Black Sabbath to pursue other paths while Tony Iommi kept the Black Sabbath name alive with various and ever-changing lineups of musicians.

In 1992, Iommi moved to reunite the Dio lineup of Black Sabbath; Butler, Appice, and Dio joined the guitarist once again to record a new album called “Dehumanizer.” They hit the road again, finding themselves in front of huge audiences throughout the world, but it wouldn’t last long.

Toward the end of the “Dehumanizer” tour, Ozzy Osbourne – hugely successful as a solo artist –  announced that he was retiring from rock and roll (that didn’t last long, either) and asked Black Sabbath to join the bill for his last two solo concerts in California. Dio refused to participate because he felt Black Sabbath shouldn’t be reduced to an opening act for Ozzy. The others disagreed, however, and appeared without him, recruiting Rob Halford of Judas Priest to sing. Ozzy ended up joining his old Sabbath mates on stage, and the four original Black Sabbath members decided to reunite. Dio , head held high, regrouped his solo band.

So, it is from this rich history that the Dio-era Black Sabbath now returns, some 15 years later, with a new album and a new tour under the band name Heaven and Hell. Maximum Ink recently had the chance to speak to bassist Geezer Butler about this latest incarnation of the band and get his take on all things Black Sabbath:

MAXIMUM INK: Back in 1979, when Black Sabbath first auditioned Ronnie James Dio, is it true that “Children of the Sea” was written in the first rehearsal?
GEEZER BUTLER: I think so, what I can remember of it, at least. Tony Iommi met Dio at a party and they originally talked about doing something together, you know, another project. They might have jammed some, but then Ozzy left the band. So Dio started to jam with us [Black Sabbath], and I think in one of those early jams, perhaps the first one, “Children of the Sea” came together.


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