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Trans Siberian Orchestra on cover of Maximum Ink in December 2005

Trans Siberian Orchestra

by Paul Gargano
December 2005

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and while the rest of us are worrying about what time we should start roasting our turkeys, Paul O’Neill has a different set of concerns: The 18 semis and 16 tour busses that are transporting his Trans-Siberian Orchestra spectacles across America.

Yes, spectacles.

In seven years, Trans-Siberian Orchestra has not only become the holiday season’s main concert attraction, but also one of the year’s top ticket-sellers. And they accomplish this in less than six weeks on the road, splitting their ensemble into two equally impressive and awe-inspiring bands, each of which is responsible for performing in front of a different half of America in the final weeks of each year. Sound confusing? Try spearheading the whole operation, which O’Neill has done since he conceived the idea that would become the band’s now multi-platinum debut, Christmas Eve And Other Stories, nearly a decade ago. 

Yet in the face of it all, he remains as calm and composed as a freshly fallen Christmas snow.


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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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Nine Inch Nail's Trent Reznor - photo by Adam Bielawski

Nine Inch Nails

by Paul Gargano
October 2005

It’s been six years since Trent Reznor released The Fragile, and a lot has changed in Reznor’s world. Nowhere is that more present than in new release With Teeth. Less epic in its structure than The Fragile double-disc, With Teeth is Reznor refined to a songwriting sheen, rather than navigating a colossal musical landscape. The songs still radiate with the thrust and tenacity inherent in Nine Inch Nails, but they do so with a bounce and vibrancy that breathes new life into the band, now featuring former Marilyn Manson bassist Jeordie White, Icarus Line guitarist Aaron North, returning drummer Jerome Dillon, and keyboardist Alessandro Cortini. At their heaviest, they’re industrial-fueled with a metallic surge, but there’s also an adherence to structural simplicity that harkens back to Reznor’s Pretty Hate Machine. With Teeth isn’t as pissed-off and dark as The Downward Spiral, or as emotionally bogged-down and cumbersome as The Fragile . And rightfully so neither is Reznor.

Maximum Ink sat down with the Nine Inch Nails mastermind to discuss the changes in the new album, as well as the changes in his life… 

MAXIMUM INK: Was With Teeth approached with a different direction in mind than previous albums?

TRENT REZNOR: Well, I went about writing in a different way. The last couple records, Downward Spiral and The Fragile, I realized I had written in the studio. Being that I don’t have a band to rehearse songs with, the studio becomes my instrument, and I had finally gotten a really nice place with everything I needed in it. I was realizing that the writing process was starting to become the same as the arranging and production process. It was all happening at the same time, there weren’t any demos anymoreI’d just go in the studio and come out with the songs finished, pretty much. This time around, for whatever reason, I wanted to get back to doing demos and start from a different place. Instead of starting with sounds and textures and that sort of thing, I started with words and melodies. So I moved out to L.A. and set up a place that purposely didn’t have much in it, just a piano and a drum machine, and a computer to record into. I set an every-week-and-a-half kind of deadline that didn’t allow me any time to really go off on a tangent, and let me just focus on the core of the song, then go back later and flush things out. And I think working that way made the record turn out more song-based, and less soundscape. I don’t think that’s better or worse, it’s just a different way of working that seemed like the right thing to do.


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The Dirty Three on the cover of Maxmum Ink in October 2005

The Dirty Three

by Rökker
October 2005

I had no idea what to expect when I got to the door of the East End, the short-lived club on Madison’s east side in the mid-nineties. I was there for the Man… or Astro-Man show as they were on the cover that month. What I didn’t know was that the opening act, The Dirty Three, would be a band I would love for years to come. That was October of 1996.

Prior to the show, I hadn’t heard much about this Australian band, except that they traveled around the country, in an old, black Cadillac, going show to show without breaking. I’d heard stories about the band’s leader and violinist Warren Ellis, and his love for whiskey.

When I ran into him at the show, bottle in hand and wearing black, he was just as mysterious and foreboding a figure as I’d heard about. In fact, they were all very quiet.


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Milwaukee's Carbellion in Maximum Ink in September 2005

Carbellion

by Mike Huberty
September 2005

American Heavy Rock, it’s the title of southeastern Wisconsin band, Carbellion’s first EP and according to lead singer, Cameron Kellenberger, the most apt description of their music. “Thematically, a lot of the songs are pro-United States, American culture”, he says, “heavy rock is a tag we put that just kinda stuck.”

Formed from the ashes of Milwaukee metal stalwarts, the Carbon Parlor and Whiskey Rebellion, Carbellion is a mash-up of the two former band’s names. But Cameron likes to tell unsuspecting fans that it’s a Spanish ghost-ship, a matador-killing Mexican bull, or a Civil War soldier. Carbellion has already played many of the Midwest’s biggest cities in support of bands like Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch (who the band feels are musical brothers-in-arms), and Alabama Thunderpussy.


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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.


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Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson on the cover of Maximum Ink in June 2005 - photo by Paul Gargano

Iron Maiden

by Paul Gargano
August 2005

Simply put, Iron Maiden had to co-headline OZZfest 2005. From the band’s perspective, spending the summer on OZZfest would expose the legendary Maiden machine to a vast new, younger audience. And from OZZfest’s perspective, Iron Maiden were the only remaining band left to headline the summer caravan. It was the best of both worlds for both parties, and creates an even better world for fans of heavy metal, as the double-billing of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden creates one of the most potent top-heavy package tours in music history. Ironically, while neither band are boasting new material, there are three solo albums being released this summer from their cumulative forces, two from Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler, and one from Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson. We won’t be hearing any of the new material this summer, and there’s only a possibility that any of them will tour solo this fall, which makes their presence on the road this summer even more monumental. Especially in the case of Iron Maiden. While Black Sabbath tours have become an annual occurrence as of late, there’s no telling what the future holds for Maiden, especially in America. Their last album, Dance Of Death, was a chart success for the band, but it resulted in only two domestic tour stops in New York and Los Angeles. And with frontman Bruce Dickinson being a full-time airline pilot outside of Iron Maiden, we have to approach any opportunity he takes to tour as privileged circumstances…


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Madison's Awesome Car Funmaker on the Cover - photo by Rokker

Awesome Car Funmaker

by Mike Huberty
July 2005

Appealing and unpredictable, the high-energy rock n’ roll of Madison’s Awesome Car Funmaker is just plain infections. They recently celebrated their two-year anniversary, a feat in this modern age of bands.

ACF’s influences, which range from Queen and These Arms Are Snakes to 60’s soul music, are witnessed throughout their manic stage show that features the band dressed in quasi-Mod, loudly colored suits. Fueled by bassist Justin’s spastic pogoing and lead singer/guitarist Ryan’s over-the-top guitar hero posturing, Awesome Car Funmaker engage the audience with moments that range from the gorgeously saccharine sing-a-long tune, “Part Two,” one of the band’s current favorites to play, and the bombastic, metallic stomp of “Torture Chamber,” to the ridiculous cover of Journey’s epic “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).”


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Captured! By Robots on the cover of Maximum Ink in June 2005

Captured! By Robots

by Tom Butler
June 2005

Captured! By Robots, just home momentarily from a National two-month spring tour will be hitting the road again in June 2005 for a long over due tour of Canada with limited dates in the US. The “Greatest Hits” set will feature songs from both “The Ten Commandments and Get Fit with…” along with songs from Captured! Alive. These summer dates will be the only time in the foreseeable future to catch these songs again live.

Captured! By Robots recently recorded the follow up to the DVD/CD release “Captured! Alive.” This new release is a double CD entitled “The Ten Commandments / Get Fit with…” This release was recorded in the studio and contains two bonus 10 minute MPEGs – one clip from each of the past two tours, both filmed at the Green Door in Oklahoma City OK. “The Ten Commandments / Get Fit with…” chronicles the past two themed tours, The Ten Commandments CD was the set performed on the 2003 Fall Tour, and the Get Fit with…. CD is the set from the most recent 2004 Fall tour. Each CD will feature ten of Jbot’s favorite songs from each set. Due to acts of God, ie: manufacturing issues the release due out in April 2005, has not been available on tour or in stores but is now available.


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Buddo of Last Crack on stage at the Headway Festival in Amsterdam, The Netherlands - photo by Rökker

Last Crack: On the Road in Amsterdam

by Rökker
June 2005

I awoke that morning of April the third to stories of snoring, dragons, taxi rides, red lights, girls behind glass doors, Finlanders, The Grand Rokk, Kalli and Jon, the Blue Lagoon, lava, sheep’s head, shark, Black Death and many more than I can list. That sleep allowed us to process that insanity called “48 Hours in Iceland.”

The group is hungry and everyone wants to eat down by the canals and walk around a bit. The Damrak, Amsterdam’s main street, is busy with people of all nationalities buzzing every which way. Cars, taxicabs, trains, bikes, horses, and motorcycles are all out to get me, it seems, as I weave my way through the web once again… only this time, the spiders are asleep.

We end up at a Turkish restaurant in the Red Light District called Grillroom Donny. It’s a small place with a great waiter and everyone gets kabobs and shaorma. The food sets our mood with combinations of spice and relish.

I can’t miss an opportunity for a quick space cake for desert, so it’s back to the Bulldog to check the Internet before heading back to the hotel.

We take the train back to the Hotel Etap and stop at the Heineken machine on the way in to call Freek Kroesbergen, the promoter of the Headway festival (www.headwayfestival.com). He was relieved to hear from us, as bands have gotten lost in Amsterdam before (too many space cakes I guess). He told us to stay put and sent a bus and driver to pick us up.

As we pull up to the site of the festival, Club P60 (www.p60.nl), we can see the bustle of people around the entrance and feel the buzz as music pours out the backstage door to the venue.


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