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Canned Heat circa 2003

Canned Heat

by Brett Lemke
August 2003

They were the Scotch-and-Marlboro Blues voice of the Summer Of Love. Canned Heat’s story endures with their cross-generational appeal as the dynamic blues band that played the theme song to Woodstock and backed up John Lee Hooker. From Woodstock and the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival to Hell’s Angels club tours to festivals and bike rallies, drummer and founding member Adolfo “Fito” De La Parra has re-formed Canned Heat a dozen times with reoccurring members, blues legends, and new faces. He has been touring constantly and releasing new records for 37 years, and is currently promoting the new album Friends In The Can. Fito spoke with Maximum Ink about the new line up, his autobiography Living The Blues, and pushing forward in the mission of delivering boogie music to people who will listen.

In 1969, Canned Heat manager Skip Taylor was booking the band nightly on opposite coasts. “We were [sleeping] in the cargo area of the planes between gigs,” said Fito, “I was sleeping on the floor of the airplane hangar while the helicopters were taking off.” They had to commandeer a helicopter from a news crew to get to the festival. “Fuck you, we’re going to MAKE the news!!” Bear was quoted in Living The Blues. He then hurled the reporter through the door, “We are The Canned Heat. It is more important that we get there than you, so we’re taking this helicopter!” When finally in the air, Taylor shot off a random photo of the crowd as they flew onto the grounds. Later, it became the cover of Ravi Shankar’s Woodstock album. The roadies made it through the sea of people and met the band with their gear as they landed. Later while on LSD, Taylor negotiated an on-site contract for royalties and film rights, and stole a limo for their gig in Atlantic City the next night. Going Up The Country was forever after the theme song for Woodstock. “We’re more infamous than famous,” said Fito, “But we really don’t care.”


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Kristin Hersh

Kristin Hersh

by John Noyd
July 2003

When songs come to Kristin Hersh she has found it best not to ignore them. Fronting rafter-cracking banshee rockers the Throwing Muses, she depended on her muse to provide the band songs. So, even though she made the band a “non-functioning entity” seven years ago, when some songs came to Kristin she couldn’t get a handle on, she packed off the solo demos along with a batch of homemade cookies affectionately known as the Devil’s Feedbag, to Muse bassist Bernard Georges. His solution was obvious. These were band tunes. Thus was born the temporarily reformed Throwing Muses. Uncannily, it came back as it always should have been.  The record was recorded quickly over three weekends while they were still learning their parts. Kristin says the nervous energy had them all on fire and new classics like, “Mercury,” and, “Pandora’s Box,” show her point.  The sessions were planned around the band member’s schedules instead of intruding on pre-existing routines.  Kristin says the main reason she broke up the band was because she couldn’t ask her friends to go through the rigors of holding it all together.  They were no longer teenagers and everyone was looking to settling down.


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Fingertight

Fingertight

by Conor Kuzdas
July 2003

When people tell Scott Rose that his band doesn’t sound enough like something else, he typically just nods and smiles. The topic comes up a lot because Fingertight’s sound tends to vary. At times they’ll be as crunchy and aggressive as any nu-metal band while at others they sound as melodic and contemplative as fellow Californians, Incubus. While some might see this as a fault, it’s always refreshing to find a band willing to take two different areas of metal and explore the soundscape in-between in the way that Fingertight does.


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Robert Randolph & the Family Band on the cover of Maxmum Ink in June 2003

Robert Randolph and the Family Band

by Brett Lemke
June 2003

With the entrancing sound of Robert Randolph’s 13 string Pedal Steel, a brutally tight rhythm section, and a dynamic Hammond organ, Robert Randolph & The Family Band have blasted through the jamband scene. Their combination of Gospel, Blues, and relentless passion explodes with a burning fury onstage. All in all, they justly deserved their recent W.C. Handy award for Best New Artist. “We know what to play when it comes to gospel, and how you’re supposed to play it,” said Robert Randolph during a recent interview with Maximum Ink.

Years spent growing up in church in Orange, New Jersey and staying active in the musical community of his congregation helped 24 year-old Robert develop his skill playing the lap steel guitar. His two cousins, Bassist Danyell Morgan and drummer Marcus Randolph, along with longtime friend/organist John Ginty make the Family Band. “We used to play Ted’s Jam in church all the time,” said Robert, “The music at our church is truly unique. Everybody gets involved. They call it ‘dancing under the holy spirit.’ “


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Nevada Backwards on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2003

Nevada Backwards

by Brett Lemke
May 2003

Nevada Backwards are the hellbillys from Sacramento, California. A quartet of acoustic musicians, their sound is an amalgam of alt-punk and jamband bluegrass. Acoustic to Nevada Backwards, however, does not mean quiet. Their tortured sandpaper vocals and driving mandolin/banjo overtones fill each room with primordial savagery.

Brian Ballantine takes care of the vocals and guitar, Keith Lionetti plays upright bass, Troy Kimura bangs a ¾ size drum set, and Mick Stevenson plays mandolin, banjo, and acoustic guitar. “We’re totally unplugged,” says guitar/singer Brian Ballantine, “That’s it. It’s the only way that it can be done.”

In their spare time the four operate Tortellinni in Sacramento, a printing press and studio where they lease practice space to bands and musicians in the area. They work with each other and they are in a band together. “We have some practice space, and we’re releasing a CD on our own label,” says Keith. If this is in any way reflective of their personalities, then that to me is an assurance is that they won’t break up due to an ego issue.


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Voivod on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2003

Voivod

by Andrew Frey
April 2003

Voivod blasted thru the late 80’s and early 90’s with a unique and evolutionary stretch of conceptualized sci-fi progressive thrash metal albums. “Killing Technology,” “Dimension Hatross,” and “Nothingface” are all extremely influential and classic thrash-era albums.

Now after several years of difficult times, harsh realities and semi-obscurity, Voivod has returned, revamped and reenergized, sporting an impressive new band member, Jasonic (Jason Newsted formerly of Metallica). There is also an exciting spring tour with Sepultura and a summer tour with Ozzfest. In fact, it was Jason who performed much of the revamping. The incredible new album, “Voivod Voivod” was recorded at and released on Jason’s own Chophouse Records.


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Bob Log III loves his

Bob Log III

by Brett Lemke
March 2003

He’s the bastard stepson of a Tucson, Arizona trailer park and the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. Bob Log III is Fat Possum Records’ veracious slide guitarist/one-man-band that will kick your adrenal gland into overdrive. He matches his de-tuned, f-hole guitars with the endless stomping of his rhythm section   left and right foot respectively on bass drum and kick cymbal. Bob Log is a one-man-band of international acclaim who’s raw hill country guitar and drums are only magnified my his ominous appearance. The sepia-tinted visor on his gray motorcycle helmet obscures his identity, and a microphone cord runs to a mouthpiece on the bottom of a mid-70’s black rotary phone receiver. It protrudes from the front, functioning as his vox.

Maximum Ink caught up with Bob during a tour stop in Rochester, New York for an interview.


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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.


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El Donk

by Brett Lemke
March 2003

This reporter was walking home from our offices at Maximum Ink, smoking a Lucky Strike and marching in tow to El Donk’s newest release “Here Comes Johnny Law.” I was approached on my left by an ominous black Dodge conversion van with headers accentuating the already domineering bass-line. The van stopped, and I was reminded of Primus’ “Frizzle Fry” as the side door cracked open.  I looked back and felt a sharp stinging pain at the base of my skull. As I pulled the pin from my neck, I felt myself collapsing under the increasingly cumbersome weight of my bookbags.

My mind raced with anticipation of the neurotoxin. The effect resembled a more mellow “Morphine,” replacing the bass clarinet with a tenor sax. As my mind was on the topic of lounge, I drifted to a Las Vegas track debt to a scraggly bookie that smelled of shoe polish and twitched constantly. That was 1996, and unpaid. My hearing and vision slowly fading, I try to escape down a back alley off of East Washington Avenue. All the while, wondering why the band is obsessed with Waco, Texas.


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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 www.droidsattack.com, 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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