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Il Sogno Del Marinaio

Mike Watt

Mike Watt Finds Bountiful Inspiration with Il Sogno Del Marinaio
by Joshua Miller
September 2014

Legendary spiel speaking bass guitar player Mike Watt has spent the last few decades tinkering with musical innovation.  His desire has been to keep learning, sailing the musical waterways from San Pedro, California, to spots around the world. Basically wherever his tour van would carry him. With singer D Boon, Watt helped usher in “Econo Punk” with The Minutemen and helped fuel their quick and direct songs that often dabbled in politics and social issues. After D Boon’s tragic death, he continued making his mark with bands like Firehose and Dos. He’s also spent much of the past decade playing with legendary band The Stooges, who reformed in 2003.

These days Watt keeps a busy schedule of music activities, including new band Il Sogno Del Marinaio. Joining him for that band are Italian musicians Stefano Pilia and Andrea Belfi.  The band is currently celebrating release last month of their second album, Canto Secondo, which follows their debut from 2013, La Busta Gialla. The band found its footing in 2009 after they were invited to be part of the Italy-based All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and found success in the resulting tour. Despite his past achievements, Watt remains humble, not one to hog all the credit all the time. Instead he’s always seeking to find new ways to make music.


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Dropkick Murphys live at Summerfest 2013 - photo by Peter Murphy

The Dropkick Murphys

An interview with drummer Matt Kelly
by Joshua Miller
August 2013

“For Boston.” These are the words prominently displayed on the front of t-shirts created and sold by Irish-punk rockers the Dropkick Murphys as part of their efforts to help raise money for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Donations from these shirts went to Claddagh Fund, a charity started by founding band member Ken Casey. They also supplemented those donations through benefit shows at Boston’s House of Blues and Boston Garden, where they sold their new EP “Rose Tattoo: For Boston Charity.” On the EP, Bruce Springsteen joins the band for a re-recording of their song, “Rose Tattoo.” According to Rolling Stone, the band raised over $300,000 in total donations. Earlier this year the band released their eighth studio album “Signed and Sealed in Blood,” a title that could be applied to the band’s pride and loyalty towards their home city and staying true to its ideals. Prior to his band’s headlining slot at Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebration Thursday, Aug. 29,  drummer Matt Kelly took a few moments to answer some questions over e-mail about helping their city, finding plenty of inspiration for “Signed,” as well as his connection to Harleys and memories of playing Milwaukee.

Maximum Ink: On “Signed and Sealed in Blood” there are some atypical story songs like, “The Season’s Upon Us” (which describes a dysfunctional family at Christmas). How does the songwriting on it, in general, compare with past albums?

Matt Kelly: Well, it was a refreshing and relaxing change from the challenge of making “Going Out In Style”, which was a concept album. As fun as that was (and it was a blast, don’t get me wrong!!), “SSIB” was a bit more free-form and written more off-the-cuff, much like a lot of the songs on our first album, “Do Or Die”. Songs came together quickly, and in some instances, with less effort than on some past records. 

We’re psyched about it, and since debuting some of the songs live six months before it even came out, our supporters have really dug it, too. The response to the new stuff really blew us away, and the fact that people went out of their ways to familiarize themselves with new stuff via Youtube videos, etc., really surprised us. We’d come through a city and you’d see people singing along to the new stuff that wasn’t even officially released yet. Pretty damn cool!


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Tommy Stinson

Tommy Stinson

Interview with Tommy Stinson of the Replacements and Guns N' Roses
by Joshua Miller
May 2011

For Tommy Stinson, it it can safely be assumed that it’s often easy to get lost behind his history and reputation.  As the bass player for Minneapolis punk rock/alternative rock band the Replacements, Stinson helped craft a new style of rock and roll throughout the 80s.  From the early age of 13 to his early 20s, he joined the band on their furious onslaught of touring across the country and world.  Their live shows were wild, unpredictable and spontaneous, with the band making it up as they went.


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Thrice

Thrice

by Joshua Miller
April 2010

When California alternative rockers Thrice stepped in the confines of the Daytrotter studios (located in Rock Island, IL) to record a live session in January, it seemed to echo a continued exclamation from the band to the world that they had moved far from being simply a metal/hard rock band.

While they might not need an introduction to many as they’ve toured around the country many times since starting in 1998, the session for Daytrotter.com proved to a golden opportunity for the band nonetheless. Daytrotter is a premiere location for sessions of some of today’s up-and-coming acts (many from the indie music scene).

“We thought that was cool that Daytrotter invited us because they don’t usually have many punk rock/metal bands,” says bass player Eddie Breckenridge. “They realized we’re doing something different now and I think a lot of people that ended up listening to it too were surprise that this was something Thrice would do.”

“A lot of people who listen or know about the band know more about the beginnings of our band when were first recognized and signed by a label. Our music has been changing so much over the years that maybe someone had like what we did in the past and moved on doesn’t know that we moved on as well.”

The band, which also includes singer Dustin Kensrue, guitarist Teppei Teranishi and Eddie’s brother and drummer Riley Breckenridge, feed on music exploration. With each of their six albums, the band’s sound has changed in more ways than one. The quiet and mellow demeanor of each of the members might hint otherwise but once the band gets on the practice floor or live setting it becomes evident the creative explosion.

Prior to their spring tour with fellow nationally touring acts Manchester Orchestra and O’Brother, which includes a stop at The Rave in Milwaukee April 24, Breckenridge talked to Maximum Ink about Thrice’s evolving sound and introspective lyrics.

MAXIMUM INK: It might be tough to describe but if you had to describe the overall sound of Thrice how would you describe it?
EDDIE BRECKENRIDGE: It’s kind of always in the state of evolving. It’s hard to describe. We’ve always had a rock base to our entire sound but we’re very much into experimenting with different sounds and new instruments. So I guess it could be kind of experimental rock. But I think that might mislead people because a lot of experimental rock ends up being sometimes being tough to listen to and I think we really focus on songwriting and trying to make good songs; creative but also enjoyable, like to sing along to.


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Drummer, the band

Drummer

by Joshua Miller
October 2009

In this unsettled world, it’s important to treasure all your feel good moments.

That’s the mentality members of Akron, Ohio, band DRUMMER apply to their music and lives. As the frigid winter kept their state tightly in its grasp this past February, the five musicians of Drummer - including Patrick Carney, drummer for critically acclaimed band the Black Keys - set out in the settings of Carney’s basement to renew old friendships and have a good time making music.


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2931 ViewsPermalinkDrummer WebsiteDrummer MySpace
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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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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Faces For Radio featuring members of Rapscallion and Last Crack

Faces For Radio

by Joshua Miller
July 2009

With a sleek, venturesome and well worn presence in the Madison and national music scene, the members of the capital’s resident rock supergroup FACES FOR RADIO see every show as a chance to show off their skills. Skills they’ve picked up over the past decades in some of Madison’s most successfully produced bands, namely Rapscallion and Last Crack. 

“Any opportunity we are given to play we appreciate it 150 percent,” says Chris Havey, who handles drumming duties. Havey is joined by an experienced lineup of musicians including singer Tod Schwenn, guitarist Jayme Poster, and bass player Todd “Reno” Winger.

Even though they started in 2006, their friendships are decades long. Faces for Radio marks a crossroads of the paths each of the members of the bands have taken. Winger and Havey enjoyed success in the widely popular Last Crack, which was signed to Roadracer/Roadrunner Records a label that now touts names such as CKY, Nickelback, Dream Theater and more. Last Crack enjoyed critical success nationally and worldwide, playing on and off over the last two decades, with classic albums such as Burning Time and Sinister Funkhouse 17, MTV videos, and shows that attracted thousands of people.


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9672 ViewsPermalinkFaces For Radio MySpace
San Diego's Dirty Sweet

Dirty Sweet

by Joshua Miller
June 2009

A spaghetti rock and roll western shoot ‘em up is in store for anyone who wanders to the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage opening night of Milwaukee’s Summerfest. Just as they created high energy and tension in the western shootout themed music video for their tune “Marionette,” California rockers DIRTY SWEET come guitars blazing with their take on rock and roll.

“Expect to be blown away with our show,” says Ryan Koontz, who handles lead vocals.

And just like old western shoot out there’s the intense parts and the calm, collective parts. In music, that’s translates to hard rock and bittersweet acoustic songs. Hence the band’s name.


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Madison's Pale Young Gentleman

Pale Young Gentlemen

by Joshua Miller
June 2009

Adventuresome, theatrical, and a pouring out deeply human emotion in their music, Madison’s PALE YOUNG GENTLEMEN come to give audiences June 14 at the Marquette Waterfront Festival a detour from the usual rock and pop songs.

“I hope people can find some emotional truth in our songs which are trying to be as honest as possible,” says lead singer Mike Reisenauer. “These songs are for people who like being alive, and want to think about things and try to understand their emotions.”

To do this, the band throws convention out the window as far as the blueprint for a typical rock or pop band. Combining the guitar, bass, drum format (which they initially started off with) with instruments such as cellos and violas, the band members have created an original sound that’s their own.


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