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Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats

Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats

by Mike Huberty
September 2009

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer, Chad Smith, doesn’t take vacations, he makes records. With the funk-rockers on hiatus, Smith has not only recorded and released a record with supergroup, Chickenfoot (with Montrose vocalist, Sammy Hagar, Van Halen’s Michael Anthony and guitar maestro Joe Satriani) but is releasing an instrumental record this month with CHAD SMITH’S BOMBASTIC MEATBATS called appropriately Meet The Meatbats. While in Boston on tour with Chickenfoot, Chad took a few minutes to talk about the new release and their upcoming Japanese tour.

First of all, part of the reason Smith used his name as the title of the band wasn’t his idea. “It’s not in any way my band”, he laughs, “that’s in name only. We were doing a tour of Japan and only the promoter thought it would help sell tickets. I said I was okay with it if it helps out. If you’re a Chili Peppers fan or a Chickenfoot fan, I hope you like it.” The band started when Smith, Ed Roth and Jeff Kolman were playing as the backing musicians for Glenn Hughes, former vocalist of Deep Purple. Smith says, “We would just jam if Glenn was late for practice. One day I thought we should record some of the tracks and have fun.” That was in January of 2008 and they were joined by Kevin Chown on bass in the recording studio. The sessions went well, as Smith recalls, “We made this record and were really proud of it and we’ve already finished recording another record!”


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Madison's Steez

Steez

by Mike Huberty
September 2009

Combining elements of jam rock with electronica and improvisation, Madison band, STEEZ, has been slowly shaking their way through the Midwest since 2003 after forming as classmates at the University of Wisconsin bonding over luminaries of the genre like Phish and The Grateful Dead. Their first album, entitled Creepfunk Crusade, was just released in August on the Mason Jar records and STEEZ just finished an east coast tour to celebrate the new CD.

First of all, what’s the name all about? Guitarist and founding member, Steve Neary explains, “We used to be called Super Nintendo Entertainment System back in 2003. We were just sitting around night looking at a Super Nintendo and thought it would be a cool name. But then were worried about a year later that we’d be sued if we ever decided to take the band seriously“, he laughs. ”We couldn’t get our keyboard player to agree on anything that didn’t involve Star Wars or (keyboardist) Bob James, so we eventually settled on STEEZ, which is slang for style, so we thought it fit our M.O. a little bit.“


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NYC's Pronto

Pronto

by Joshua Miller
September 2009

Mikael Jorgensen is no stranger to success or the life of a busy musician in a big rock and roll band. In fact, he spends most of his time playing keyboards in Wilco, a critically acclaimed band whose recent days are filled supporting their much buzzed about new album.

But even with Wilco’s success and schedule, Jorgensen’s desire to further discover what he can do with music doesn’t end when his full time band takes a break.

Enter Pronto, an emerging rock band touring in support of their own critically acclaimed debut, “All Is Golden,” released this past spring.  The album, featuring Jorgensen and several friends, showcases a set of catchy pop melodies, rockers and ballads hinting of 70s soft rock while putting a modern spin on it. However, with the release of a new-old set of songs this month featuring a more experimental side of the band called “The Cheetah,” the band shows their sound is constantly on the move.

The band brings its multiple music personalities to Madison September 19th when they play the Forward Music Festival. Jorgensen managed to take some time out his busy schedule and talk with Maximum Ink through an e-mail interview about his band’s fascination with music exploration.


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Lacuna Coil's Andrea Ferro - photo by Clayton Dewey

Lacuna Coil

by Andrew Frey
September 2009

I have easily listened to “Shallow Life,” the newest release from Milano, Italy born phenoms Lacuna Coil more times than any other release this year. With each play I am swept away by the dynamic interplay between the band’s two vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro and the bands infectious riffs n beats.  Whatever it took to capture the magic created on “Shadow Life” was well worth the effort.

Lacuna Coil has repeatedly been introduced to the US market over the past decade plus and while garnered increasing success, they have not yet attained what they are certainly capable of. “Shallow Life” may just contain the critical combination of elements needed to propel the band to substantial success. In 2006 their release Karmacode, peaked at number 28 on the Billboard 200, but the highly anticipated “Shallow Life” which was released on April 21, 2009 in the US, debuted at number 16 on the Billboard charts. While their early releases contained a heavier gothic rock element, the latest effort has softened some musical edges to produce a more accessible and straight forward hard rock release. Thanks to producer Don Gilmore, who has worked with pop artists like Avril Lavigne and Good Charlotte, their sound has never been more polished or vivid while maintaining the key elements that continue to set the band apart from others. Subtle bits of industrial and electronica can even be found infiltrating these infectious new metal anthems.  Outside of the vocalists, Lacuna Coil contains Cristiano “Pizza” Migliore (guitar) , Marco “Maus” Biazzi (guitar), Marco Coti Zelati (bass, keyboards) and Cristiano “Criz” Mozzati (drums, percussion)

In July of 2004 I interviewed Lacuna Coil for the first time. I recently was again fortunate enough to exchange a few questions with the band as they were gearing up for their next big gig, The HardDriveLive tour. Vocalist Andrea Ferro took the time to answer my questions.


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Minneapolis' The Melismatics on the cover of Maximum Ink for August 2009

The Melismatics

by Joshua Miller
August 2009

With edgy and energetic shows heating up with undiluted charisma and passion, Minneapolis-based rock band The Melismatics pioneer their way ahead with a dynamic, ever-shifting sonic landscape. While the band’s latest and fourth album, “The Acid Test,” touches in 80s new wave and post punk-influenced power pop realms, their sound is constantly growing.

“As the band evolves so do our influences that we focus on,” says singer Ryan Smith, of the band’s four distinctly different albums. “Like the music’s gone over the years I think we go to different places and every song doesn’t sound the same.”

With this attitude, the band’s earned popularity around the Midwest and the country, with several songs being used on several television shows. This includes invitations to play several major festivals like South by Southwest, Lollapalooza and Summerfest. Milwaukee’s hosted a number of their shows and August 15 they add Mad Planet to their venues visited.


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Cracker

Cracker

by John Noyd
August 2009

Formed in 1991 after David Lowery left cult icons Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker’s core consists of David and ace guitarist Johnny Hickman. The band’s relentless touring and sparkling wit have forged a guitar-driven style that incorporates blues and country with punk and rock -  most recently documented in the smart and invigorating, “Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey.” Playing the Wisconsin State Fair August 14th, Johnny was kind enough to answer a few queries via email.
 
MI: Sharp writing and solid guitar work have always been stock in trade for Cracker who are your six string idols and literary heroes?

JH:  Thank you. Being a songwriter as well, I have to say that I can’t stand most guitar players. Most seem more concerned with showing off than with what works for the song. The most enduring guitar riffs have 3 or 4 notes. I like guitarists who sound a little disturbed like Joey Santiago from The Pixies or Jeff Beck. As far as literary heroes go, I’m attracted to a little madness there as well. Kurt Vonnegut, Cormac McCarthy. David is fond of Thomas Pynchon and McCarthy.


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Steve Vai - photo by Larry DiMarzio

Steve Vai

by Mike Huberty
August 2009

Just as the guitarist in bands like Frank Zappa and David Lee Roth to his sideman work with bands like Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne, STEVE VAI has been the guitar hero’s guitar hero for three decades. He’s been leading his own band since the early 1990’s, creating one of that generation’s most influential instrumental guitar records, the epic Passion and Warfare. He’s releasing a new DVD in September called Where The Wild Things Are documenting a show on his last tour in Minneapolis. He’s just finished getting it ready and he took a few minutes to talk about the DVD with us.

MI: What compelled you to make the new DVD set?

SV: It’s what I do. Traveling musician, composer, and rock guitar player. It’s always nice to capture little moments in time. I put this band together, that’s sort of a unique band. My music is 80% instrumental, very compositional rock music. It’s a very different kind of a show. When I do a show together, I put together something I’d like to see when I go to a show. I want to see great musicianship, I wanna feel emotional dynamics, and see people that have an investment in what you’re doing.


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Milwaukee's Willy Porter

Willy Porter

by Mike Huberty
August 2009

Wisconsin folk artist WILLY PORTER has been touring around North America for the past two decades, seeing national success that began with the release of his 1995 album, Dog Eared Dream, which led to opening spots for Tori Amos, Jeff Beck, Toad The Wet Sprocket, and The Cranberries and catapulted his style of folk rock meets Dylan-esque wordplay to the top echelon of modern singer-songwriters.

His new album, How To Rob A Bank, just came out in June of this year and he produced it himself, a process that he says was more difficult in some ways and easier in others. “I think that it’s harder in some ways”, he says, “especially when you’re singing to know if you have the right inflection or you’re capturing the feel of what you want to convey. But I’m a big believer in the things that are a mistake today are the things that you love tomorrow. If the musicians played something and the musicians think that it’s cool and if you respect them and trust them, then it’s good. I tried not to use technology to edit or fix things into a state of unrealistic perfection and that was very liberating. I’ve worked with some people who let the machines get in the way and I’m not feeling that at all lately.”


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Madison's Lords of Discipline

Lords Of Discipline

by Chris Fox
August 2009

Take the shredding of Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Satriani combined with the epic musings of bands like Nile and Behemoth and top it all of with beer soaked Wisconsin metal you have LORDS OF DISCIPLINE, a quintet that define their own take on metal. As bassist Nick Moreno explains, “we only have one gear, and that’s straight out metal, that’s it… we just play metal.”

Brutal and technical are the words these guys live by. Their name runs deeps through not only their musical ventures, but the LORDS OF DISCIPLINE are also regimented in their downtime. Whether it’s learning various forms of martial arts or constant guitar theory, discipline is the heart and soul seeking the level of mastery with a martial arts state-of-mind in music. Their recording techniques reflect the structure they require to create such a monsterous sound. Moreno explains, “it’s the most intimidating thing I have ever come across as a musician.”


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Mudvayne 2009

Mudvayne

by Chris Fox
August 2009

Madison welcomes MUDVAYNE for the second time this year, headlining the main stage at WJJO’s Bandcamp. After fourteen years of playing together this quartet find themselves enjoying every minute of music. With all the music they have produced “there is no pinnacle song that is MUDVAYNE, we are everything from Death Blooms to Scarlet Letters to Not Falling,” explains vocalist Chad Gray.

The consistent mentality of MUDVAYNE is to challenge everything with their music,  push the envelope and develop themselves. Their philosophy is “living to challenge people… break up the norm of what metal is supposed to be,” says Gray. Taking their music as an artist approaches a canvas they “don’t want to use the same colors every time,” and allowing fans to delve into the music so they “become a part of what we are.”


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