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Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo - Funky Blues from Madison, WI

Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo

by Josh Miller
March 2009

Prepare for the next wave of dizzying rattle of drums and intoxicating hum of blues guitars.

A mystical hoodoo spell drifts among Midwest bars and clubs; one of funk, blues and rock and roll. AARON WILLIAMS AND THE HOODOO, born of the Madison blues scene, plan to keep it that way with shows around Wisconsin (including a stop at Maximum Ink’s 13th anniversary party March 20) and the rest of the Midwest.

“We like to say that we lack subtleness,” says Williams, of the band’s blues-rock music.  “I think it’s the idea of just going balls to the wall. A lot of bands out there are a little more laid back, especially in our field of music, and we really go at it from start to end of our shows and we keep up that high energy.”


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Madison's Elf Lettuce (well, at least we got the logo)

Elf Lettuce

by Andrew Frey
March 2009

Some bands find their strength in Satan/Jesus and others in sexual escapades. However, for the Madison quartet Elf Lettuce they draw off another, more untraditional source of power and unmitigated majesty.

“We have a mascot - a lawn gnome named Ricardo Perfecto,” begins guitarist and vocalist Alex White in a recent e-mail exchange. “He’s actually the second mascot we’ve had, because our first mascot, Eugene, was tragically decapitated after an audience member ‘accidentally’ knocked him off the rather tall stage at The Frequency in Madison in September.”

The stalwart band, rounded out by Jacob Lison (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Joe Murray (drum kit) and Eli Reichenberger (bass, vocals), took their loss in stride and managed to recover nicely after finding a replacement.


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Madison's classic 70's 10 Piece Disco Band VO5

VO5

by John Noyd
March 2009

To call VO5 a band may be slightly misleading; born four years ago, the nine-member collective is comprised of playwrights, engineers, film-makers, a firefighter and a doctor with musical resumes from Cherry Pop Burlesque to Swim Team and the Merkins. More than dance floor sequins and day-glo flares, VO5’s nostalgia is dipped in twenty-first century irony, their cheesy chic a release valve from reality. Strong with the power of the boogie, amateur ornithologist and band guitarist John Feith says, the band “simply aims to make people dance.”  Vocalist Kelly Murphy says, “Come down to a show and see for yourself.”

MAXIMUM INK: How did the band name come about?
Kelly : We are called VO5 because the world wasn’t quite ready for Nanopussy. 
John: We do still own www.nanopussy.us (try it, type it in…) if anybody is interested in renting that name for a high fee, along with www.boobatron.com
Kelly: The name also serves to call attention to our full, lustrous heads of hair.


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Milwaukee's The Buggs, doing Beatles Punk Style!

The Buggs

by Mike Huberty
March 2009

A Milwaukee original, THE BUGGS have been punking up classic pop and rock songs since 1999. As lead singer and guitarist, Lane Klozier, describes, “We were all from original bands and we were just tired of playing shows for eight people in the audience. We got a couple sets together of music anywhere from The Beatles to Badfinger, played out and it went very, very well.” Similar in vein to Punk rock super cover group, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes, Lane describes THE BUGGS as Milwaukee’s only “original cover band” taking classic songs and makes them their own with a hard rock/punk sensibility.


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Joel Pingitore and the Playground of Sound on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2009 for MI's 13 Year Anniversary Issue

Joel Pingitore and the Playground of Sound

by Dan Vierck
March 2009

Joel Pingitore isn’t wasting any time. He has been performing with his most recent group, The Playground of Sound, for only six months and they’re already booked and/or played 150+ shows. Besides a weekly show at The Dam Bar in Belleville, WI and a once-a-month visit to Stella’s Speakeasy in Stoughton, WI the band is fresh of a stint of gigs at Bike Week in Daytona Beach. In an e-mail interview Pingitore admitted he wouldn’t mind a show every day.

“Naturally,” He also conceded, “it’d be fantastic to be ‘The Next Big Thing.’” With an energetic six month old band that’s already working on an album and playing outside the state, however fantastic the dream, they seem to be aiming for it. On a more realistic, and partially realized note, Pingitore also said “I’d like to see [the band] as a nationally touring act.”


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Bellydance Superstars - Petite Jamilla

by John Noyd
March 2009

Petite Jamilla has been belly dancing her entire life, bridging the generation gap between traditional folkloric style and modern belly dance fusion. Studying for over ten years, Jamilla toured the Southeast U.S. at fifteen, a seasoned instructor by seventeen, with two instructional DVDs before she turned twenty. A member of the BELLYDANCE SUPERSTARS for the past three years, Petite Jamilla was kind enough to answer a few questions in anticipation of her troupe’s arrival at Madison’s Union Theater on March 26th.

MAXIMUM INK: What are the biggest misconceptions about belly dance?

PETITE JAMILLA: Due to Hollywoods’ early depictions of ‘belly dancers’ I think the biggest misconception is that belly dance is done for exploitive and seductive reasons, but it really has become a self-exploratory and self-improvement tool for dancers in the U.S.


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Kodo Drummers

Kodo Drummers

by John Noyd
February 2009

In Japanese the word “Kodo” conveys two meanings: “heartbeat” the primal source of all rhythm and, “children of the drum,” a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play their drums simply, with the heart of a child. Bringing their One Earth tour to Madison’s Overture Center on February 21st Japan’s premiere taiko drumming ensemble continue their quest to unite the world through sound, transcending cultural barriers to remind us of our membership in that larger community—the world.  Taiko is not simply percussion,” long-time Kodo member Akimoto explains. “It’s a part of life, and part of communities. It unites people with people, and also people with nature and even with gods.” Community is a central theme in Kodo’s philosophy. More than a musical group, it is a village that harvests rice, runs a two-year apprentice program, and even crafts eco-friendly Earth Furniture. In concert, the thundering drums startle and mesmerize, racing in arresting rhythms that rumble in war-like marches and ripple in whimsical jigs, seismic salutations whose relentless beats collapse consciousness, altering moods and elevating the spirit in collective thought. A venerable tradition nearly thirty years old, Kodo is a sight to behold, a forceful reminder of individuals working together, united in a common goal.


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Red - photo by Caleb Kuhl

Red

by Chris Fox
February 2009

The self defined, modern rock band that favors the heavy stuff, RED, heads out on tour in support of their second major label record, “Innocence & Instinct.” This quintet has made their presence known by harnessing the heavy elements of their rock and metal roots while allowing organic elements to make appearances in their music. The use of keyboards and various orchestral instruments are commonly heard throughout their music. It is in the guitar progressions that the true elements of heaviness come out and their influences, ranging from Mozart to the Deftones, start to really surface. As Jasen Rauch (guitar) explains, the new album is congruent with their previous material, but the sound is maturing.


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Maria Brink in a sexy photo shoot

In This Moment

by Chris Fox
February 2009

Still rolling on the release of their newest album, The Dream, IN THIS MOMENT will be back in Wisconsin at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, and the Orpheum, with MUDVAYNE on February 9th and 18th respectively. Whether you are a veteran fan or a first time listener this quintet is bound to grab your attention both live and with their amazing studio talents.

Digressing from their first album, Beautiful Tragedy, the new record takes a lighter approach to heavy music. Showing true diversity and gusto, the new album is “more song oriented rather than focusing so heavily on riffs,” explains Maria Brink (vocals). Their influences span from, the riff masters, Pantera to Johnny Cash creating a very diverse sound in their music. Brink attributes the more melodic take on the new album to seeing Ozzy play when they were on the Ozzfest Tour. “Watching a massive crowd sing all his songs back to him really inspired us to twist our songs in a different direction,” explains Brink. Her highly recognizable screams are still present, but there is a whole new layering with melody and harsh sounds. Brink continues, “I was really angry on the first album, and I write about my passions and experiences,” and there is a whole new understanding with The Dream.

Brink explains that singing is, actually, much more challenging for her than the screaming. She digresses about Cash not being the greatest singer, but “you can feel what he is singing.” Music becomes about an escape from the reality that all of us are stuck in, and Brink feels the album keeps the heavy sound while being lighter because it still conveys “that specific attitude of not falling into what everybody else does… independence and power.” As a female lead, a somewhat unique position in hard rock and heavy metal, Brink feels that people often blow such an aspect out of proportion. “People sometimes don’t take our music as seriously, but that all disappears when the music starts,” explains Brink.

IN THIS MOMENT constantly challenges themselves to play better live. Being onstage is “where I feel most free and alive, everything stays away,” and Brink certainly displays this passion on stage with more enthusiasm that many of her peers. The most inspiring part is Brink’s battle with anxiety. She explains that she has only suffered on stage twice, and in reality the stage is what allows her to transgress above such complications. In fact, she continues, “fear is the greatest adversity I’ve had to overcome,” not from anxieties, but rather the fear and doubt while chasing a dream. She expressed her gratitude, the greatest thing as a musician is, “inspiring fans and being able to do what I love everyday.”

Whether it’s the older pit favorite, “Daddy’s Fallen Angel,” or the new crowd mover, “Mechanical Love,” these musicians deliver. Through her mother’s influence, Brink easily found metal and she uses those influences to develop an ever-changing genre of music with her bandmates. Heavy melodies and screeching overtones, as well as incredibly high energy and a true passion for music are what make them a band to watch. After their dates over the next couple months, IN THIS MOMENT plans to head for Europe as well as being scheduled to play the Warped Tour. Brink explains with the utmost excitement, “this is what I feel like I’m here to do… it makes me feel alive.”


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Motley Crue

Motley Crue

by Thom Hazaert
February 2009

In 1981 when an underdog LA Rock band released an independent LP called Too Fast For Love, no one could have predicted that they would follow up with a string of hit albums (Shout At The Devil, Theatre of Pain, Girls, Girls, Girls, and Dr. Feelgood), that would go on to sell over 80 million copies, and, almost singlehandedly, usher in a new era of American Hard Rock.

Nearly 3 decades (of decadence) later, Mötley Crüe is still going strong with their original line-up Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars- with their latest album The Saints of Los Angeles, debuting at #4 on the Billboard charts and a series of hugely successful “reunion” tours.


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