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Nonpoint

Nonpoint

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.


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Harmony Bar - 20th Anniversary

by Mike Huberty
March 2010

As one of the area’s most carefree and nonchalant taverns, Madison’s Harmony Bar on Atwood Avenue has been delighting local residents with music, food, and drinks for the past two decades. Twenty years in business makes it one of the city’s longest-lasting live music venues in an industry that usually chews up clubs and spits them out. To celebrate the launch of their third decade, owner Keith Daniels is sponsoring an all-day anniversary party on March 14th at The Barrymore Theatre right down the road.

And the rationale behind it is simple. “I wanted to throw a party.”, Daniels says. “I wanted to throw a good party for all the good people that have been coming for twenty years. We’re having Bunky’s (a cafe also on Atwood and another near-east side of Madison tradition) do the catering because I want all our people to have the day off. And I still thought that we should do a little something for the neighborhood. So, we decided to put a five dollar cover on it and it all goes to the Goodman Community Center.” So, it’s not only a party but a benefit for one of the area’s most valuable programs for at-risk youth as well.


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W.A.S.P. - artwork by Ian Chalgren

W.A.S.P.

by Jeff Muendel
February 2010

Those who have encountered the band W.A.S.P. are not likely to forget the experience. Like them or hate them, their stage antics tend to be memorable. The group almost literally clawed their way out of the early eighties Los Angeles heavy metal scene the same fertile ground that produced the likes of Mötley Crüe, L.A. Guns, and Ratt. These groups paved the way for many more hair bands to come, but W.A.S.P. was a little bit different. While many of the other groups from that era focused on a cross-dressing, bad-boy image, W.A.S.P. was just plain twisted and scary; the group was more Alice Cooper than Rolling Stones. Band members had circular saws sewn into the crotch of their trousers. Raw meat was cut up and thrown into the audience. Blood was a common stage prop. All of this accompanied aggressively sexual lyrics, buzz saw guitar riffs, and pumping double-bass drums.

At the heart of the group, then and now, was Blackie Lawless. In fact, he is the only remaining original member, and for all intents and purposes, W.A.S.P. is his artistic vehicle. Lawless was born Steven Duren on Staten Island, New York. Famously, or perhaps infamously, he got his first break playing with the legendary New York Dolls. The group was in its final death throes, but it introduced Lawless to New York Doll’s guitarist Arthur Kane. After the New York Dolls finally split, Lawless followed Kane to Los Angeles.


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The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada

by Chris Fox
February 2010

They’ve never read the book or seen the movie, but THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA will show you what it means to stick to your guns and play heavy music. Still touring on their third release, “With Roots Above and Branches Below,” this sextet will be rolling through Wisconsin later in February, and they plan to bring their abrasive sound with them. As Mike Hranica (vocals) explains, “we are metalcore, but not in the traditional sense. That just happens to be the closest to what we sound like. We are not screamo, but rather a post hardcore mix.” There is a development over their three albums that progressively gets angrier. “Simply, it’s maturity,” over three albums, explains Hranica, “it was easy to get better cause we started out so bad.” As they come into their own with their music they are learning about their sound, “doing what we do there really isn’t much of a change. We are just getting stronger with what we do.”


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Cold

Cold

by Chris Fox
February 2010

COLD will be heading through Wisconsin in early March. After a five year break, COLD plans to release a new album in May under the name “Epic.” There have been numerous lineup changes, band personnel issues, and label dramas and Scooter Ward (vocals) explains that it was a needed vacation from the band. They plan to come out with guns blazing in promotion of the forthcoming album on tour with Nonpoint. “We are in the same place when recording and playing live,” so they really can’t wait to hit the road.

The quintet pride themselves on writing soulful rock music. “It is rock from the heart,” explains Ward. They digress on style and allow the music to flow into whatever form it chooses. “We really don’t play for any specific style. When writing heartfelt music like this it just pours out… it’s really easy coming.” This emotional drive to their music has shown through, with songs like “13 Ways to Bleed On Stage,” upon listening you really get an understanding of what COLD is all about. “It’s definitely not forced, if we have to force a song it doesn’t happen.” The development of the band has been a long process but they are happy with what they have come to. “It really is how long we’ve been playing together that affects our sound… we really have come a long way.”


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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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Uncle Eddie, Madison band from the 1990's

Uncle Eddie

by Mike Huberty
February 2010

Madison in the late 90’s had a plethora of clubs and a ton of live alternative rock music. There were plenty of touring bands coming through town with their overdistorted guitars. Lyrics were ironic and most of the time you didn’t know what the fuck bands were talking about. But it was fun, pierced, and dyed weird colors. UNCLE EDDIE was one of the mainstays of the mid to late-90’s scene in town and you could find them all over the scene, not only playing with the band but seeing all the other bands they could and hosting basement parties. Drummer Chad Ovshak, bassist Nate Arnold, and guitarist Darwin Sampson have gone on to play in many other bands since UNCLE EDDIE’s breakup at the beginning of the now-departed Aughts. Sampson now is the proprietor of The Frequency next to the capital and he’s bringing in local and touring rock acts every night of the week. Ovshak has gone on to play in an awesome Guns n’ Roses tribute band, millennial pioneers Echo-Static, and is currently shaking the walls down with horror-rockers, Helliphant. They’ve gotten back together a handful of times and are coming back this February 20th at The Crystal Corner in Madison.


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Plastic Ono Band

Yoko Ono

by Mike Huberty
February 2010

An artist resting comfortably at the fringes of every popular movement since the 1950’s (performance art, rock n’ roll, weird videos, peace activism), Yoko Ono has been freaking out the straights for over half a century, man. Universally reviled by millions for supposedly breaking up The Beatles and generally being an undeserving Mary Magdalene to John Lennon’s rock n’ roll Messiah, it’s refreshing to learn that at 76 years old (Yeah, Baby Boomers, I didn’t believe it either, but have you seen Paul lately?) Yoko Ono is the opposite of being the mad queen of batshit crazy band girlfriends and a sweet lady confident in herself and her creations. Her English is still broken and sometimes she’s a little too “aw-shucks, I’m just an artist that walked into this great fantastically wealthy luck and fame.” But she’s unfailingly nice and stubbornly prolific. She released her latest album in 2009 with THE PLASTIC ONO BAND spearheaded by her son, Sean Lennon, and the disc, Between My Head And The Sky, has garnered the best reviews in her career. She’s gearing up for a reunion performance in February with the band and there’s going to be appearances by people like Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Scissor Sisters, Bette Midler, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, and Mark Ronson. So she must have not pissed too many greats off. I guess there’s hope for Courtney Love yet.


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Theory of a DeadMan

Theory Of A DeadMan

by Chris Fox
January 2010

Interview with Tyler Connolly (vocals and guitars)

Canadian rockers THEORY OF A DEADMAN roll through Wisconsin in support of their special edition release of “Scars and Souvenirs.” After lots of success in the states both touring and through various compilation albums the band has developed as musicians, and find themselves “growing on all sides,” according to Tyler Connolly (vocals and guitars). Several video game appearances, work with the WWE, and showcases in movies, such as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, has launched THEORY OF A DEADMAN to chart topping success.

Their most recent album has presented a more mature writing style. Connolly explains, “it is now a more thought out process… before it was just whatever came out first.” The evidence is apparent as Connolly’s lyrics delve into broader terrain, and it exposes the musical talents of THEORY OF A DEADMAN. They effectively step away from angrier content and create songs that are very dark as well as songs that are just for fun. As the band matures they are devoted to “maturing without getting grey,” and they have learned the value of a great album with lots of promotion. “Simplicity is what we do,” explains Connolly, “we simply want to make playing (for us) and listening (for the crowd) a good night out.” They plan to break the cycle of their 3 years, one album trend, and hope to put out a new record within the next year.


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Door County native Eli Mattson

Eli Mattson

by Tina Hall
January 2010

Eli Mattson is probably best known as runner up on TV’s America’s Got Talent, on NBC, where he lost to Neal E. Boyd by only 0.5%. He has made several appearances in Vegas with AGT winner Terry Fator. Eli started playing the piano at 5 and has been performing as a vocalist/pianist since the age of fourteen.

MAXIMUM INK: You claim Door County, WI as your home. What it is like to get chances to play your home town?
ELI MATTSON: “Well I lived in Door County as a kid, went to Southern Door, and worked at the Pizza Hut in town. After that I moved around a lot but what Door County really gave me was a start with music. My first regular gig was at Java on Jefferson when it was there.  Now when I play there it’s great to see the people who supported me first.”


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