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Poc live - photo by Wac Division

Poc

An interview with singer Poc
by Tina Hall
February 2012

With her debut apptly titled Rise Above the mexican rocker Poc proves to the world that she can do just that. As a teen when her budding career as a professinal ballet dancer was cut short by an accident she focused in on the music that she had loved from the young age of 5.Her singing and songwriting skills showcased around Mexico City led to her opening for the iconic rock band Guns N Roses and to being discovered by their guitarist, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. Thal was so impressed with her unique talent and drive that he brought her to the U.S. to record the album. Finding herself far from home for the first time in her life the talented songstress set out to show the world what she is made of.

Dealing with a language barrier, acts of nature, Ron’s rehabilitation from an accident of his own, and even threats of murder and extortion the pair proved with enough determination, grit, and pure talent a truly solid rock album is inevitable. Joined by Guns N’ Roses drummer Frank Ferrer, the album is influened heavily by rock legends such as Janis Joplin, Aerosmith, and Led Zepplin. Featuring a mix of tracks heavily in Spanish as well as in English this debut has a global appeal that is hard to deny. The first single off the album, Rock N Roll Baby gave fans a chance to participate in the recording by submitting their own backing vocals via Skype.

Maximum Ink: What were you like as a child growing up? How do you think your earliest days have influenced you to be who you are now?
Poc: Well, I have always been walking trouble, I think the most difficult age for my mom to control me was between 15 to 18. I was completely out of control, I like taking things to the limit, and I never give up which can be something good or something really bad. I think the person who really made who I am today is certainly my mom, she taught me everything and she has been there for me everytime I needed her, in good and bad times.


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Ron

Guns n’ Roses

An interview with producer/Guns 'n Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal
by Tina Hall
January 2012

Guitarist, songwriter, producer Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is best known for his work as the guitarist of Guns n Roses since 2006. He has appeared on many various albums as a quest artist with nine albums credits of his own.  As writer his work can be found on various jingles, theme songs, and shows such as The Metal Show on Vh-1, Smallville, WWE Raw, Real World, Pimp My Ride, Hogan Knows Best, Osbournes, Made, Clone High, Road rules and countless others. With twenty years experience as a producer Ron has worked in a vast array of genres bring his unique musical vision to many projects. Thal is also a member of the MS Research Foundation Board of Directors.

Maximum Ink: Is it true that you could spell by the age of 2 before you could talk?
Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal: Yes, but with time it flipped around. Now I can talk but can no longer spell.

MI: What is your fondest early memory?
RBT: Hmmmm, the first thing that popped in my head…birthday party when I turned 1. Big cake, parents’ friends & their kids, and they put this pointy party hat on me, I hated the fucking thing. It had an elastic string that went under the chin, fastened to the hat by a staple on each side. My hair in those spots right in front of my ears kept getting caught and pulled by the staples, was pissing me off. And I couldn’t figure out how to get the hat off, that elastic string turned the hat into some kind of skull super-magnet. I’d lift, move, let go, smack back on my head. And if I was making progress some sadistic giant would reposition the hat and I’d have to start from scratch. I’ve kept my distance from such hats since. But yeah, other than that wardrobe malfunction it was a good night, earliest memory of some good partyin’.

MI: You have stated that from an early age you didn’t need most people. Do you think that is a good thing to learn considering the whole issues of trust and loyalty?
RBT: I’ve just never liked dependency. I’ve always been able to entertain myself just fine, stay busy, I usually flourish when I’m alone, undistracted, I’m more productive, body and mind both get stronger, my interests grow, get new skills. Only problem with that is in the end everybody is depending on you, you’re the ‘Go To’ Guy for everything, and if you’re not able to say NO for 99% of it you become nothing more than everyone’s life support system wherever you turn. And that’s when life becomes empty and questionable - when you slowly realize you’re just a fucking carcass getting picked at until there’s nothing left. I believe in being wanted, not needed. Being wanted is by choice. Being needed drains my batteries.


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Guitarist Richard Fortus

Guns n’ Roses

An interview with guitarist Richard Fortus
by Tina Hall
December 2011

Richard Fortus has graced the stage with artists like Rihanna,The Psychedelic Furs, Nena, Love Spit Love, Honky Toast, The Compulsions, Thin Lizzy, and most recently Guns N’ Roses, with a stage presence that is nothing short of amazing. His work with the music production company Compound has seen his work featured in various tv, film, advertising and videogame projects. Fans of the former television show Charmed have enjoyed his work on the theme song as well. His work ethic and drive led to his being one of the most sought after first call sessions artists in NYC.

Maximum Ink: Who were some of your earliest influences?
Richard Fortus: The Beach Boys, Beatles, Stones, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, T Rex, Neil Young.

MI: As someone who has studied music professionally do you recommend formal training to others? What advice would you offer the musicians of tomorrow?
RF: It really depends on what you want to do. It’s definitely not necessary, but I always wanted to gain all the skills possible to be as good of a musician as possible. I always wanted to learn everything I could about music. You never stop learning.

MI: You started playing the violin and drums as a child. What made you want to become a guitarist?
RF: There were always guitars around the house when I was growing up. I was always pretty intimidated by them because they had 6 strings and I had my hands full with 4! I always loved guitar though. Guitars are just so sexy! 

When I was about 12, I used to jam with other kids and they started showing me stuff. I became fairly adept very quickly. I always hung around older kids that were much more advanced. They hung out with me because at a very young age, I was a pretty solid drummer and they all played guitar.


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Malakai

Malakai

An interview with rapper Malakai
by Tina Hall
November 2011

Hip hop artist Malakai is the founder of the Substance Over Hype Movement. His latin influences can be heard on the tracks Fresh, Ghetto Blaster, and Concrete Rose. His career began as a freestyle battle MC. His latest album is titled MOVE.

Maximum Ink: What was it like growing up in Tucson? What were you like as a kid?
Malakai: To put it simply Tucson is a very real place. It’s very similar to New York in that people don’t hold much back. Tucson is near the border of Arizona and Mexico so it has a very large amount of drug and gang activity and I can’t say that I didn’t get pulled into those things. I was definitely a charismatic trouble-maker as a kid. I also had a lot of rough things go down in my youth and was independent at a very young age.

I loved a lot of the same things I still do (music, skating, dance, sports) but unfortunately my distraction to negative outlets took away from more time that I could’ve spent on those. What’s fresh though is that now I’m at a place where I’m still at it and out trying to hit certain moves and tricks for the first time—and I share that with all the kids still passionate about their movements.

MI: What advice would you offer people regardless of age who struggling to make the best of negative environments, etc?
M: I believe that you cannot control the things that happen to you…only how you respond to them. Without outlets and faith there’s not much hope, but with the right outlets and a conscious choice to change things, the outcome is always positive and always possible.

MI: Do you think you would have made it this far if not for music? Why do you think music is such a powerfully comforting thing in times of trouble? 
M: I can’t say where I would be without music because my love of it and dreams to do it go back as far as my first childhood memories.It’s always been what I wanted.


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Jason and Mark Sutton

Brother Trouble

An interview with Country Music's Jason and Mark Sutton
by Tina Hall
September 2011

Brother Trouble is made up of brothers Jason and Mark Sutton. The country music duo from South Carolina have been a staple at The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville since winning Kenny Chesney’s Next Big Star competition in 2009. Fans might also recognize the pair from their brief stint opening for Chesney for four of his shows on the Pirates & Poets tour. Their debut video Summer’s Little Angel recently premiered on GAC (Great American Country).

Maximum Ink: What was it like growing up in SC? Do you ever miss it since moving to Nashville?
Mark Sutton: I would describe growing up in SC as probably the best place in the world. It definitely didn’t suck. We came from a blue collar family. Our Dad owned a water well drilling company outside of Greenville so we spend a lot of time there helping around the shop and trying not to confuse your Pepsi can with purple power cleaner. It sat on about 6-7 acres so we learned how to drive a pickup truck through the field when we were like 12 or something. Learned how to shoot a handgun and a rifle out there. We lived in a middle class neighborhood in a town called Taylors (just outside of Greenville) and had about 20 other families with kids to grow up with. Needless to say, the late night spot light tag games were epic! It wasn’t too far of a drive to visit grandparents in AL and OH. The people in SC are the best. Our family relocated to Pawley’s Island, just about 15 minutes south of Myrtle Beach if you’re driving. Who doesn’t want to live at the beach? The town’s motto is Arrogantly Shabby and that saying has stuck with us throughout the years. I miss SC a lot, it’s cool though cause it’s not too far away and it lets you know how great of a place it is when you go back and visit. The people, the attitude there are contagious. They nailed it on the head when they put the slogan Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places on the license tags.

MI: How do you like living in Tennessee?
MS: Tennessee is a great place. After living the last 10 years here, I call it home. Being on the music side of it, the talent here is amazing and humbling. I’ll always have a home in Tenn.-See.


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Wes Dolan from The Stone, No Soul Unturned

Wes Dolan

An interview with Singer/Songwriter Wes Dolan
by Tina Hall
August 2011

English singer/songwriter Wes Dolan has been performing his brand of mainly folk inspired tunes in pubs, clubs, and festivals for over a decade across the pond. His work has been featured in several films including the delightfully dark “The Stone, No Soul Unturned” and"Paranormal Haunting: The Curse of The Blue Moon Inn”, both directed by Philip Gardiner. Reason To Exist, his debut album is scheduled for release this summer by Reality Entertainment.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about yourself? What is it like Nottinghamshire? Do you think coming from there has somewhat influenced your musical tastes and styling?
Wes Dolan: I was born and live in Mansfield in Nottinghamshire which used to be a mining town.The coal mines are all closed down now which is what my song “Reason To Exist” is partly about.My father and uncle came over here from Ireland when they were kids and were both singers and song writers which inspired me to play music.When I finished studying and had gained a degree, there weren’t many jobs around here so I became a busker which did hone my skills and to an extent had some impact on my style of playing.It was whilst playing on the streets of Mansfield that I began to make contacts.Firstly for playing at pubs, clubs, festivals and private parties and more recently for writing and performing for film and television.

MI: Who are some of your influences?
WD: I was massively influenced by my dad and uncle, Liam and Joe Dolan.Other major influences are Bob Dylan, The Pogues, Donavon, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Bob Marley.These performers influenced me in a variety of ways, such as my style, lyrics, attitude towards life and general image.


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Blind Boys of Alabama

Blind Boys of Alabama

An interview with singer Jimmy Carter
by Tina Hall
May 2011

It’s not every day that you find music which has earned as many awards as The Blind Boys of Alabama. They are, without a doubt, one of the most highly respected acts in Gospel music with five Grammy awards, and an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. They have also found respect in relation to The National Endowment for the Arts with their Lifetime Achievement Awards. They were formed in 1939 and have a history that is as rich as their sound. Currently members include Ben Moore (vocals), Bishop Billy Bowers (vocals), Jimmy Carter (vocals), Eric “Ricky” McKinnie (drums/percussion/vocals), Joey Williams (lead guitar/vocals), Tracy Pierce (bass), Peter Levin (organ), and Clarence Fountain. Their latest album, Take The High Road, features music that could have easily been as appealing to past generations as it is today. The album showcases the band at its best, debuting on the Americana Radio Chart at #27. With Jamey Johnson co-producing and offering guest vocals, along with the likes of Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Vince Gill, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Lee Ann Womack, the album offers music with soul. Maximum Ink caught up with Jimmy Carter and spoke with him about gospel music and their new album.

Maximum Ink: Do you consider yourself privileged to be working in an act that is so steeped in tradition?
Jimmy Carter: Indeed. I consider myself very lucky to be part of The Blind Boys.


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Athena Lee

Athena

Interview with Drummer Athena Lee
by Tina Hall
May 2011

Athena is, without a doubt, one of the best, and perhaps well renowned female drummers. While she’s known as Tommy Lee’s little sister, she is also a great drummer in her own right, being the first female drummer in history to be nominated for the L.A Music Awards. She recently signed on to Rockett Drums Works (owned by Rikki Rockett of Poison) and Regal Tip Drumsticks. Not one to be limited to music, she is also working on the upcoming television show, Ex-Wives Rock and penning her first book. Maximum Ink sat down with her recently to find out what her fans can look forward to next.

Maximum Ink: You have said that when growing up with Tommy, there was never a dull moment. Do you think his outlook on things left a lasting impression on you? What would you say is your fondest memory from your childhood?
Athena: Of course. We were just really weird, funny kids. I have a lot of fond memories. I can remember being in my crib and getting a Lucy (Peanuts) doll for my birthday. I loved that thing and a blue stuffed dog I had forever. He was so ugly and destroyed, but I loved him. I also loved the smell of Halloween, all of it pumpkins, masks, wax lips, candy, and I still do.


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Marla Maples

Marla Maples

An interview with Actress & Musician Marla Maples
by Tina Hall
May 2011

Marla Maples is a woman who certainly needs no introduction. Best known for her marriage to Donald Trump (and as the mother to their daughter Tiffany), she is also an actor, writer, radio show host, and musical artist. Her latest EP One World of Love is out now. The album will benefit organizations that strive to bring peace, unity, healing, and love to each other and our planet.

Each download of the title song “One World of Love” benefits Success For Kids (SFK.org). SFK works to help at risk children and teens improve their interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, problem solving skills and self-sufficiency. You can download the song and learn more about SFK at http://sfk.org/en/donate. Also on the EP is “The Touch,” which benefits Beauty through Cancer and can be downloaded at Beautythroughcancer.org.
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Maximum Ink: What was it like growing up in Georgia? What are your fondest memories from back then? Do you get back to Georgia very much?
Marla Maples: Life was simple in many ways but very full of adventure and friendships. I recall climbing trees, wading through streams, chasing cattle through the pastures and being bucked off a few old paint horses. It was a very healthy and earthy lifestyle. Sports, family, and church were the center of my life in Georgia. I had a musical father who had a band in high school. He went on to do Opera and musical theater in Atlanta. I recall going with my mom to see him perform as the lead in an opera of King Arthur, and I was awe struck. He then became musical director at our Baptist church and chose a different path so he wouldn’t have to be away from me and my beautiful mother. I still have a lot of the same friends I had in school. I just love to visit my 92 year old granddad, my little sister Danielle, my dad, aunts, uncles and a lot of cute cousins in Georgia.


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Dead Sara

Dead Sara

An interview with Singer/Songwriter Emily Armstrong
by Tina Hall
April 2011

Los Angeles based Dead Sara is made up of Emily Armstrong (Vocals, Guitar), Siouxsie Medley (Guitar, Vocals), Chris Null (Bass), and Sean Friday (Drums). The band offers rock done right: uncompromising, heavy, and soulful. Their self titled debut album, produced by Noah Shain is due out this summer. Maximum Ink recently caught up with them to talk about the latest happenings with band.

Maximum Ink: Since there isn’t that much out there about you yet, can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Emily Armstrong: Sioux and I met through a mutual friend when we were about 16 and with passion for music primarily in common, it didn’t take too long for us to start a band. We just loved hanging out, listening to music, and writing together. It wasn’t up until about a couple years ago that we decided to really do this the right way. Thus, we got our current drummer and bass player on board. It has been really solid and very fun.


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