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Tracii Guns of the L.A. Guns

Tracii Guns

by Mike Huberty
May 2005

Tracii Guns is most famous for his work with L.A. Guns and, prior to that, his involvement with Guns N’ Roses. He most recently put together Brides of Destruction with Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe fame, recording two albums before the group disbanded. With Sixx’s return to the Crüe camp, Tracii Guns has opted to tour and record as a solo act The Tracii Guns Band revisiting material from all the acts mentioned above. The group plays Milwaukee May 12 at Vnuk’s, Madison at The Annex May13, and in Minneapolis at Station4 May 14.

MAXIMUM INK: What material will you be playing as a solo artist?
TRACII GUNS: You know, I never wanted to be a solo artist guy, but my managers suggested that I use my own name and play whatever songs I want from whatever projects I’ve been involved with. It gives me musical freedom. So I’ll be playing stuff from the L.A. Guns, Brides of Destruction, and some rootsy, riff-oriented stuff of my own.


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Last Crack at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2005 - photo by Rökker

48 Hours in Iceland with Last Crack

by Rökker
May 2005

March 30 1800 Central Standard Time: Last Crack and crew await boarding an Icelandair 757 at Minneapolis International Airport. To settle nerves some of the boys have taken to the bar and shot glass. Happy flights, next stop Iceland!

0630 Atlantic Standard Time: That’s midnight for us Wisconsinites. Our day starts waking up at Iceland’s Keflavik airport in need of transportation for our crew of nine plus gear to Reykjavik, Iceland’s capitol forty-nine kilometers to the west. Reykjavik is about the size of Madison and harbors two thirds of the island nation’s population.

An attempt was made to find the difference in cost between the bus and a rental car at the Hertz window when along comes a cab driver with an idea. Olafsson, the world’s only Porsche taxi driver, tells us he’s going to Reykjavik anyway so he’ll give us a good deal. He also suggested we rent a one-way car for the rest of the gear and guys and just drop off the car in the city. Brilliant idea! He saved us some money right off the bat.

0800 AST: After an intense drive past kilometer after kilometer of moss covered lava, mountains and volcanoes, Olafsson drops us off at the club we’re playing that night, The Grand Rokk.

Kalli, the owner, and his associate Jon (pronounced like yan but with a little yone in it) meet us and dole out cups of espresso by the dozens to the weary set of travelers, trapped in their lair. They tell us of Vikings, celtic lore and Icelandic customs, then take us to the guest rooms at the hotel Adam to meet host Ragnar and get some rest.


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Milwaukee's 1956, the band..

1956 The Band

by Mario Martin
April 2005

All too often, too much emphasis is put on those who create music rather than the music itself. Jim Morrisson saw it and performed whole concerts with his back to the audience. Trent Reznor saw it and performed most of his last tours’ shows behind a curtain. Slipknot saw it and began only going by band numbers behind masks. 1956 is an interesting paradox: similar, yet different.

Placing all the importance on the music, 1956 has been able to alienate the atypical image of the rock band whose visibility and publicity outshines the mediocrity of the music. That is not so with 1956. An assemblage of three men, all dedicated to the creation of strong rock music since 2001, 1956 enter the venue prepared for an aural, yet visceral, onslaught of sounds, pushed to the limits of conventional musicianship.


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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?”


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Kodo Drummers

Kodo Drummers

by Andrew Frey
March 2005

The first drum beat each of us experience is our mother’s heartbeat. This drumming continues as our own heartbeat propels us through each day of our existence. On Sado Island near Japan, the group known as KODO express their own heartbeats through drums. Taiko drums to be exact.“

Historically, every culture has had their own kind of drum. It can be considered as “a tool shared by all mankind,” explained Jun Akimoto, KODO’s tour manager. “It definitely has the “power” and “possibility” to appeal to and connect the people all over the world.”

During their performances, the KODO performers are clad in sweatbands and loincloths and meticulously beat their drums to create rhythms and patterns as old as our collective human heartbeat, yet as new as the ears that hear them. Drums with names like “Hirado-daiko” (flat-barrel drum), “Chu-daiko” (middle-sized drum) and the giant 800 pound “O-daiko,” (a double headed drum made from the trunk of an African Bubinga tree and the hide of a large cow) all have been chosen and woven into tightly composed and choreographed rhythmic and musical tapestries. KODO have given over 2600 performances in 42 countries on all five continents since their debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981. When asked about a favorite among their live performances, Akimoto replied, “All the performances we’ve done are memorable in their own way but to name one, the outdoor concert that we did at Red Rocks, Colorado in 2002 as part of a music festival made a lasting impression as the venue was unique. Also our concert at The Acropolis (in Greece) was amazing.”


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Madison's MUST - Men Under Sexual Tension on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2005

Must

by Mike Huberty
March 2005

With Hendrix style lead guitars fueled by tongue-in-cheek boozy vocals that range from lilting to Gwar-esque, Madison rockers, MUST (Men Under Sexual Tension) are, in the words of their bassist, Matt Mueller, “moving to the next stage of the game.” Mueller, formerly of funk-rockers, Fungusamungus, is also owner of the fashionable Madison nightclub, The Cardinal Bar, home of the ever-popular and infamous Fetish Night. He speaks with a certifiable gusto for both the art and business side of music that’s rare in a band member. “We’re doing it to get our art, insights, and mission to the masses. We’re almost like mediums, channels for a higher purpose, not just a bunch of guys onstage to get laid.”


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Goldfinger

Goldfinger

by Lane Klozier
March 2005

Back in the mid 90’s, the illustrious Darrin Pheiffer of Goldfinger relocated from his beloved Canada to the balmy shores of southern California. While working at Starbucks in L.A., assistant manager status eluded him when he met guitarist John Feldmann. At first, Feldmann hated him. Irritated by Pheiffer’s nonchalant braggadocio concerning his percussive prowess, he dared him into an audition.

Pheiffer, influenced by hardcore (as well as reggae) based acts such as The Clash and The Police, is now recognized as one of the fastest, hardest hitting drummers to ever emerge out of California’s punk/ska scene.

The band gelled, and their self titled debut garnered airplay with hits “Here in Your Bedroom,” and “Mabel.” Not resting on their laurels, the boys became one of the hardest touring acts around, teaming up with bands such as No Doubt to packed houses. A hard core fan base was built, yet another hit never surfaced.


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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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bloodsimple

bloodsimple

by Paul Gargano
February 2005

It takes a special kind of band to attract the attention of Mudvayne frontman Chad Gray. That band is bloodsimple.

“People are going to be blindsided by this record, and I can say that with confidence. I think this is my greatest work,” says frontman Tim Williams, who along with guitarist Mike Kennedy, spawned bloodsimple from the ashes of their acclaimed metal-core outfit Vision Of Disorder. While VOD were visionaries on the heavy music front, bloodsimple offered the pair an opportunity to stretch their musical muscles, further expanding their hard-hitting dynamics from sheer aggression and amplified rage, to subtle soundscapes that stress their uninhibited extremes.


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