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by Sal Serio
March 2010

Fort Lauderdale based Nonpoint are true survivors of today’s competitive hard rock scene, having recently parted with their original guitarist, and experienced label change trauma. Not a band to dwell on adversity, Nonpoint are emphatically BACK with a new digital download acoustic EP, Cut the Cord, and their new full length CD Miracle is due out April 27. The current line-up is vocalist Elias Soriano, drummer Robb Rivera, Ken “Bastard” MacMillan on bass, and new guitarist Zach Broderick. Catch Nonpoint on tour March 5 in Minneapolis, March 6 at The Rave in Milwaukee, and March 7 at Appleton’s new club Revolution. I had the pleasure of talking to Elias and Robb recently - here are the highlights of our conversation.

MAXIMUM INK:  When you chose the five songs to record unplugged for Cut The Cord, was it the popularity of those songs that made you want to put a new spin on them, or did (they) lend themselves to that kind of arrangement?
ELIAS SORIANO:  Both. We’re the type of band that doesn’t like to cover songs as they are. Other than “Five Minutes Alone”, that we just did for the Dimebag tribute, if it’s rock you kinda got to keep it as rockin’ as possible, but taking a song like “In The Air Tonight” that really wasn’t rock, we elevated it to that genre. We try to do the same thing to our acoustic stuff, take our songs and change (them).

MI:  Was “In The Air Tonight” the biggest single you’ve had?
ROBB RIVERA:  I think “Bullet With A Name On It” was.
ELIAS:  But “In The Air Tonight” was so many years prior to when everybody got an ear of it. We had done that in 2004, and “Miami Vice” didn’t come out until 2006 or ‘07, so it gained new respect and got a little bit of momentum later on.
ROBB:  “Bullet” live has been the most (popular), but as far as use in TV shows it’s been “In The Air Tonight”. It’s been in the Olympics, movie trailers, and stuff like that.
ELIAS:  It’s helped us stay in the eye of the industry.


Razor Fist

Razor Fist

by Sal Serio
February 2010

I interviewed singer TK Xanax of Oshkosh metal band Razor Fist, who formed in 2005. TK’s compatriots in metal mayhem are guitarist Nick Moyle, drummer Dave Patterson, and bassist TJ Lafever.

Maximum Ink:  What is the band member breakdown of the groups you guys were previously in?
TK Xanax:  Well, first off we’ll start with the Razor Fist line-up which consists of Nick Moyle-Guitar/Backing vocals, TJ Lafever-Bass guitar, Dave Patterson-Drums, and TK Xanax-Vocals. Over the years TJ and Xanax were in Hill Of The Dead, Nick and Dave in Hell On Earth, Nick, Dave, and TJ in Tower Of Babel, Dave and Xanax were in THC (Total Hardcore), and Dave is currently in Bag Of Gremlins (Xanax was also briefly in BOG). So basically Razor Fist has quite an incestuous past with all of us having played in various bands together since the mid-90’s. For this reason Razor Fist formed easily and extremely quickly in 2005 and we had our first album “Razor Fist Force” recorded less than a year later. From the first rehearsal we all knew that we had something special with Razor Fist.


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Ontario's Top Dead Centre

Top Dead Centre

by Sal Serio
January 2010

TDC is Top Dead Centre from Ontario. Far From Nowhere is the name of their CD. BUT - - all the way to somewhere, and somewhere big, is more like it. These guys have major potential if they can get heard by the right people.

Listen, I can tell right outta the gate that from time to time I’m going to bring up the names of other bands in this review. And I really don’t want to. BUT - - just know going in to this, that if I bring up the name of other bands it’s meant as a pretty big compliment - because I’d compare TDC with bands that I like A-L-O-T.

The interesting thing is, I didn’t immediately gravitate to their record. Rather, it was more like it creeped up on me. Probably at first the musical similarities got in the way. I guess that familiarity with ageless hard rock that I’ve liked from the 70s to the present was a little too safe for me. BUT - - like I say, that was just on the first listen.


Madison's Soul Shaker

Soul Shaker

by Sal Serio
December 2009

I often get asked what’s new and interesting in the Madison music scene, and these days usually the first couple words to roll off my tongue are “Soul Shaker”, a hot new ballsy bluesy rock band in town. Their calling card states “Dirty Blues Rock Fo’ Yo’ Dirty Minds” which sums it up pretty well, and somehow they already knew my mind was usually in the gutter.

The guys on the guitars and drums may look familiar if you were a fan of Trinity James And Big Bad. Guitarist Jason “JP” Peterson, bassist Scott Aumann, and drummer Brent King had backed up singer/songwriter Trinity James for a couple years before Trin moved on to the land of grueling competition Nashville. JP, Scott, and Brent kept writing on their own and eventually joined forces with singer and harmonica player Adam Zierten of Reason For Leaving and Jose And The Sumlimes fame.


Ace Frehley - photo by Kevin Britton

Ace Frehley

by Sal Serio
November 2009

Legendary lead guitarist Ace Frehley is no stranger to playing Madison, Wisconsin, having appeared here no less than seven times with his former group KISS, but November 7th’s Majestic Theatre show will mark the first time Frehley has played MadTown as a solo performer. In fact, the Majestic gig will be only the fifth live performance he’s made since the release of his long awaited CD Anomaly this past September. Wisconsin’s Frehley fanatics are also lucky enough to witness a November 6th appearance at Potawatomi’s Northern Lights Theater in Milwaukee. I asked Ace about his recently postponed Australian tour, which will be another first for Frehley as a solo performer.


vintage Blood, Sweat & Tears

Steve Katz of Blood Sweat And Tears

by Sal Serio
September 2009

Steve Katz’ initial guitar motivation came from folky blues great Dave Van Ronk and the Reverend Gary Davis. I asked Katz about his first guitar and his connection to Van Ronk. “(It) was a Gibson J200 acoustic. I never even played electric until I joined The Blues Project. I took lessons from Dave when I was just a beginner. Both Van Ronk and Rev. Davis will always be major influences on me.”

Inspired by the folk and jug band music that was popular in the early/mid 60s Greenwich Village scene, Katz found himself in a group of like-minded friends and musicians, including Stefan Grossman, Maria Muldaur, John Sebastian, and David Grisman, forming the Even Dozen Jug Band and recording a self-titled album in 1964 for Elektra Records. Steve commented to me on this early group of eventually high profile performers, “The great thing about the jug band was the diversity of styles of all the members. There was a blues, bluegrass, and a ragtime contingent. We were all friends and it was a great way to bring all our musical interests together. We performed at Carnegie Hall, on The Tonight Show, and a TV show called Hootenanny.”


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