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Jann Klose - photo by Julie Marden

Jann Klose

An interview with musician Jann Klose
by Tina Hall
November 2010

Jann Klose was born in Germany, and raised in Kenya and South Africa, and then returned to Germany as a teenager. Then he went to Cleveland, Ohio as an exchange student (where he first learned to play piano and guitar). He has been cast in the touring company of Broadway’s Jekyll and Hyde, the European tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, and Tommy (where he played “The Pinball Wizard” in the NJPAC production). Jann has worked alongside artists like Les Paul, Roger McGuinn (The Byrds), Rosanne Cash, and Marty Stuart.

His musical stylings have led critics to compare him to Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Seal, Sting, and Kurt Weill to name a few. His most recent work Reverie has been said to be made largely with fan support. His latest digital EP Sacrifice is available for download now.  He also had a music video, “Doing Time,” which was made with fans and students at the New York Film Academy. 

Jann Klose will be performing in Chicago on Nov. 16 and 17 at the Uncommon Ground for the Jeff Buckley Tribute, and then in Winnetka on the 18th for the Valslist.com Living Room Session.

Maximum Ink: What was it like to grow up in Kenya and South Africa?
Jann Klose: I got to see a lot of Eastern and Southern Africa as a child. My parents loved to travel and took us with them, everywhere. It was a very good life.

MI: Was it very different in Germany?
JK: My parents got divorced in South Africa and my brother and I stayed with my Dad. My grandparents ended up moving to Johannesburg to help out since my dad worked full time. When we moved back to Germany my brother and I lived with our grandparents for a few years. A lot changed, not just culturally, but personally in our lives after leaving Africa.


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Rusty Anderson with Paul McCartney

Rusty Anderson

An interview with Paul McCartney guitarist, Rusty Anderson
by Tina Hall
November 2010

Rusty Anderson developed a love of music at an early age. He was given his first electric guitar when he was 8. His passion for music led him to form his first band, Eulogy, at the age of 13, where he also worked as the primary co-songwriter. The hard rock band was together for six years.During that time they opened for bands like The Police, Van Halen, Quiet Riot, and the Motels. Though they did earn an audition with Clive Davis at for Arista Records, the band was never signed. He later went on to form The Living Daylights, a progressive rock band that gave Anderson his first chance to work as the primary songwriter.

Later still he co-founded the band Ednaswap, which released four records on East West/Elektra Records. Natalie Imbruglia had a hit with her cover of their song “Torn”. After the band disbanded in 1999 Rusty went on to work in the studio for some rather impressive artists. Elton John, Willie Nelson, The Wallflowers, Jewel, Santana, Stevie Nicks, and Joe Cocker were just a few of the musicians he worked with. Rusty joined Paul McCartney on the album “Driving Rain”. The tour in support of the album found Anderson playing at venues like The Coliseum in Rome and Red Square in Russia. He is also a solo artist. His debut album, “Undressing Underwater”, has the track “Hurt Myself” which features Paul McCartney and the other members of The Paul McCartney Band.

His latest solo effort “Born on Earth” is available now. He also continues to work with artists like Regina Spektor, Gwen Stefani, Nelly Furtado, Corinne Bailey Rae, Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Diamond, and Matthew Sweet.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about where you are from, how that has made you who you are, and what makes you tick?
Rusty Anderson: I grew up in La Habra, CA. Which is north Orange County. Sort of an anywheresville kinda place. When I was 5 I heard my older sister playing Beatles records and I instantly knew that music was my passion. It was right around the time my older brother died of a kidney issue (he was 19 and I was 5). Looking back I think that the ethereal, ineffable, invincible fantasy aspect of music was a way to escape the sadness of real life. My dad gave me my first electric guitar at age 8. It was a Kent guitar and little amp. I wish I still had it. I started a band with my friends and have been in one pretty much ever since. I’ve always been more interested in music and art that is unique, colorful and inspired as opposed to most of the mainstream, ubiquitous and predictable stuff, and have been on a constant search for that ever since. Although sometimes the most simple seemingly generic chord progressions can make the most amazing songs…it’s an enigma!


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Emily Bear

Emily Bear

An interview with pianist/composer Emily Bear
by Tina Hall
November 2010

At the age of 9, Emily Bear has accomplished more than most of us could ever hope for! She began studying piano at the age of 5 at The Music Institute of Chicago. She also made her first professional debut performing solo at Ravinia Music Festival in July of 2007. Emily performed at the White House in 2008. That same year she was awarded the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Competition Award. She made her orchestral debut at age seven as well. She is the youngest person ever asked to study at The Aspen Music Festival. Emily has released four Cd’s, partial profits from each are donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities, Susan G. Komen for The Cure, and The Children’s Hospitals of Los Angeles and Chicago.She plays jazz, classical, or her own compositions with ease.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about where you are from? What would you say is your favorite childhood memory so far?
Emily Bear: My favorite memory was playing at the White House and also all the amazing places where I have performed. My favorite non-musical memory is apple picking with my family and family game night!

MI: What was it like to began your training at age 5?
EB: So much fun!! My teacher would always make the lessons fun and I loved to practice for the lessons. He would also draw funny things in my music notebook.


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Todd Sharpville

Todd Sharpville

An interview with the blue blooded bluesman Todd Sharpville
by Tina Hall
November 2010

It isn’t everyday you come across a Blues musician who comes from one of the UK’s oldest aristocrat families(with a history that spans a thousand years), but Todd Sharpville is just that. Nor is it everyday you find one that plays so well they have been asked to open for the likes of BB King and Joe Cocker.

No stranger to the blues himself after his marriage ended, Todd found himself being hospitalized for a nervous breakdown and spent 4 years fighting for his children. It was during this hospitalization he was asked by Leo Sayer to make guest appearances on 5 tracks (with Sayer driving 8 hours to negotiate face to face with the hospitals chief consultant to get Sharpville released a week early in order to be flown out to the studio in Denmark..whilst still wearing his pajamas,slippers and a dressing gown!)

With is whiskey soaked voice and music played from the soul he pours all of his past experience into the music in a most intriguing fashion. His latest offering the double album Porchlight(produced by the legendary Duke Robillard, featuring special guests: Joe Louis Walker, Duke Robillard, and Kim Wilson) is due to hit the US in November 2010.


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Virgin Steele

Virgin Steele

An interview with Virgin Steele creator David Defeis
by Tina Hall
November 2010

The heavy metal band Virgin Steele was formed in 1981. Since then they have evolved their style into what they call Barbaric Romantic Music (they added classical music with elements of mythology and fantasy). Made up of David DeFeis, Edward Pursino, Frank Gilchriest, and Josh Block they offer metal with a twist that is far from ordinary. Virgin Steele released albums from 1982-2010, the latest of which The Black Light Bacchanalia was released this year.

Maximum Ink: How does it feel to be part of a band that has been around since 1981? Did you ever think it would have lasted this long?
David DeFeis: It feels wonderful! It has been an amazing journey! I didn’t really think about things like that when we began. I had no great illusions when we started. I simply wanted to create and play music that I loved. Upon getting into the whole experience, I realized that what I was doing was not really crafting a “career”, but creating a “Way Of Life” that would sustain me, give shape and meaning to my existence, and be my guide through my time on the Earth. To make one’s Life a work of Art that was the point. That goal has been achieved. And that is still my plan for the future. To keep going, to try to always make Life worth living, to keep creative regardless of how successful or unsuccessful it all is business wise. That is meaningless. What is important is the Life, the creative process, the Work crafted. The lives touched along the way,the communication.


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Downspirit

Downspirit

an interview with guitarist Cede Dupont
by Tina Hall
November 2010

Downspirit was formed when Symphorce/ex Freedom Call guitarist Cede Dupont. With Steffen Lauth (vocals), Cédric “Cede” Dupont (lead guitar), Axel “Aki” Reissmann (rhythm guitar), Sven Rakowitz (bass), Sebastian Dunkel (drums) they combine blues and heavy metal in a way that is only fitting. Coming from Stuttgart/Germany, they recently released their debut album, Point of Origin and are determined to play as much as they possibly can.

Maximum Ink: What is it like there in Germany? How has your upbringing influenced you to pursue the music?
Cede Dupont Germany obviously has a lot of bands, so there’s a lot of competition going on. It’s the same more or less in Switzerland (where I live), but here you just a small amount of bands that really kick ass, cause it’s a much smaller country.

I think Downspirit stand out a little bit in both countries, because it’s almost daily business that people come to us and say that we sound like an American-Rock-influence band, and the production doesn’t sound like “Germany” in my opinion, which is something that we really wanted for the final result on “Point of Origin”

MI: Are you looking forward to bringing Downspirit to your fans in the US?
CD: It’s definitely one of our main goals. I’ve playing in the US before, and I just can hope that we will be able to grow our fan base over there, so that people and promoters want us to play there. I think Downspirit would be the perfect choice for a fun rock n roll tour through the States!


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(Hed)pe

Hed PE

An interview with vocalist Jared Gomes
by Max Ink Writer List
November 2010

Hed Pe (the Hed stands for higher thought and the PE added later meaning planet earth) is best known as a G - punk act. Hed was formed in 1994 in Huntington Beach,CA. They have nine albums to date(including one live album and one compilation).Current members include Jared Gomes, Jaxon, Mawk, DJ Project 1969, and Trauma. The music fuses styles like hip hop,reggae, punk rock, and heavy metal. I recently caught up with Jared for the latest on their work.

Maximum Ink: Where did the idea for the name Hed pe come from?
Jared Gomes: The word head comes from one of the first songs I wrote with the band that was called “heavy head”, which was about thinking too much and depression. For a while we were just called Hed. When we got signed, we had to change our name for legal reasons and we added the P.E., which stands for Planetary Evolution, and came from some books I was reading. Books like ET 101, and Earth: The living library by Barbara Marciniak.

MI: What were some of your earliest influences?
JG: The influences have definitely changed through the years. In the 90s, I was influenced by The Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails and Dr. Dre.


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Donald Braswell II

Donald Braswell II

An interview with Singer/Actor Donald Braswell
by Tina Hall
October 2010

Donald Braswell II is a classical crossover tenor/composer/actor who is best known for his appearance on America’s Got Talent (he was a Top 5 finalist). A feat which is rather impressive considering he suffered a car accident in 2005 and was left unable to speak for nearly two years. Braswell is a graduate of the Juilliard School. He performs in various genres including classical, soul, and mainstream pop. Donald sings in several languages aside from English, including Spanish,Italian, Neapolitan, French and Russian. His most recent album is titled We Fall and We Rise Again. He can be found working alongside other truly talented artists in the Tim Janis: An American Christmas Carol at Carnegie Hall on Dec. 2nd (which is also a benefit for Little Sisters of the Poor).

Maximum Ink: What was your childhood in Texas like?
Donald Braswell: I had a very good childhood. We grew up in the country just south of my hometown Boerne. It was a simple life full of country values. We were not poor but we were not wealthy either though many thought we were in a community where most had very little at that time.


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ILONA EUROPA

ILONA EUROPA

by Tina Hall
October 2010

Singer/Songwriter Ilona Europa?s unique sound of pop combined with rocktronica has landed her to features in Billboard Magazine, REMIX Magazine, Women Who Rock Magazine, EQ Magazine, and Best Magazine, to name a few. Her single “Live Forever” debuted at #66 on the Billboard Global Dance Traxx chart and her single, “Degree of Love” was licensed (along with numerous additional Europa tracks) for the blockbuster dance game HELIX which debuted on the NIintendo Wii system in the USA and is scheduled for International versions on Wii, Playstation and Xbox. Her single, “Because I Love You” remixed by Madonna and Seal favorite Josh Harris is enjoyed 10 weeks on the Soundworks Record Pool Chart. Ilona’s music is a mainstay feature in Abercrombie and Fitch and Adidas stores, and on CW TV and Playboy TV. Known for her singles, her latest full album release, “EURO-CIZE, By ILONA EUROPA,” is currently available world- wide on CD and is available for download globally through every digital music store. Ilona Europa also holds an agency position as talent agent for the prestigious VOX agency in Los Angeles, California, and is a music producer and corespondent for CWG Music Magazine. Ilona is the only named vocalist ever to provide a professional loop library for SONY?s Acid Loop libraries – ILONA: Universal Female Vocal Toolkit, and she was called on by Sony to support their CineScore Film Library with her vocals.

Maximum Ink: What was it like when you first knew you wanted to be a musician?
Ilona Europa: I remember this day very well. I was maybe 7 years old. It was a very cold winter early morning. My father woke me up for school and the radio played one song after another that I loved. I closed my eyes and saw myself on the stage singing with all the singers,  I was listening too. 15 years later I was singing with them professionally in many shows and tours. I believe in the power of visualization of your dreams and always say - what is important is not the goal but the journey to get there. Of course I was studying music ‘till I was 23 and finished the Music Academy with a Bachelor’s degree in vocals. I also won many talent festivals and toured the world singing with bands and orchestras.


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Tim Janis (seated right) with Paul McCartney

Tim Janis

An interview with musician, composer, arranger, and conductior Tim Janis
by Tina Hall
October 2010

Tim Janis has worked with some of music’s most talented minds like Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, and Ray Charles to name a few. He has composed ten Billboard charting albums over the course of his career. Janis has had his work featured on four public television specials to date and is currently working on the special Celebrate America, which focuses on music in public schools. Tim has worked to promote several charitable causes like the American Cancer Society and Church World Service.

On December 2nd he brings The American Christmas Carol to Carnegie Hall to benefit Little Sisters of the Poor. Featuring a cast of truly talented artists it is a show you simply have to see. The cast comprises of Tim Janis, Chandler Lutz, Donald Braswell, Jim Cole, Sarah Darling, Wendy McPike, Emily Bear, and the ever talented Wisconsin native Eli Mattson (who I am sure readers remember from the third season of America’s Got Talent). Jimmy Nichols is the Music Director and Andy Hire, Todd Sullivan, and Kevin Cooper conduct the symphony orchestra and chorus. Rolland Smith is the host for the event, one of those rare events that remind you of the joy and wonder of Christmas felt as a child from the true meaning of the season, that the entire family can enjoy together.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about where you are from and how your early beginnings helped shape you into who you are at this point in your life?
Tim Janis: I am from Maine. I thank God for my gift to write music. I was at a Military HS when I decided to do music so I had a lot of catching up to do. But it was all in the heart.


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