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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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Tiger Clutch

Tiger Clutch

An interview with glam rock heroes, Tiger Clutch
by Mike Huberty
December 2011

Tiger Clutch might be the greatest glam rock band you’ve never heard. With influences based on Judas Priest, Nirvana, and Kick Axe, Tiger Clutch are five local musicians who play the part of grizzled hair metal veterans, having rocked, partied, and screwed their way through decades of music history. When it’s time to rock, they take the stage names of Thor (singer and local comedian David Leon), The Blast (guitarist Derek Reinfried), Brick Johnson (guitarist Joe Cushman), Shredderella (bassist Jennifer Reinfried), and Beatz “Off” McKenzie (drummer Riley Heninger). With a rock fist in the air and their tongue firmly in their cheek, they release their latest (in reality, first) album on Thursday December 1st. We took a few minutes to discuss the new record with them.


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Gabriel and the Apocalypse by Brandon Wu - photo by Brandon Wu

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

An interview with vocalist Lindy Gabriel
by Aaron Manogue
December 2011

“Longevity comes from doing something different and having artistic integrity.” These words, spoken by Lindy Gabriel, lead vocalist of Minneapolis’ own Gabriel and the Apocalypse Lindy Gabriel explain her life surrounded by music and doing what it takes to make it in a music industry oversaturated with bands. Her voice and sound transcend a lifetime of musical, personal and intellectual experiences, accompanied by guitar drum and bass work that flows like brush onto easel painting a hard rock masterpiece. There are so many bands out there today, sometimes it’s hard to find your way through all the clutter, but Gabriel and the Apocalypse are definitely a diamond in the rough. Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue sat down with the band’s talented vocalist Lindy Gabriel to discuss their music, her upbringing and their experience so far in the crazy music industry.

Maximum Ink: Tell me about when you first started singing. Where and how did you get your start? Did you always know you wanted to sing rock and metal?
Lindy Gabriel: I started singing when I was six years old. I always knew I wanted to sing and be a performer. I grew up with it. My parents have been playing in rock bands for many, many years, even before I was born. I started playing bass and guitar at the age of ten and started my first real band at eleven, playing gigs and all. This is what I have always done.


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Madison's Whisky Pig

Whisky Pig

An interview with hardcore groove metal punk band Whisky Pig
by Aaron Manogue
November 2011

Is it just me or does it seem like every single band that experiences any type of success always seems to sellout one way or another throughout their career. Now granted there are the Slipknots and Korns of the world that have really always done it their own way, but they’re so successful that they can do just about anything they’d like. When it comes to small or local bands, even the slightest smell of success can make the best bands sellout into mainstream lyrics, sounds and music. When it comes to the Madison band Whisky Pig, this is quite the contrary. In fact, just about everything this hardcore groove metal band does is out of the ordinary, and we love it. The self-proclaimed “sluttiest band on the block” plays music that makes you bang your head, then laugh your ass off when you truly listen to the dirty lyrics.


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M.A.Xmas Vol 2 CD Cover

Maxmas - Volume II

Madison Area Music Christmas Compilation Vol. 2
by Mike Huberty
November 2011

Christmas albums tend to be schmaltzy overblown affairs by aging artists looking to cash in on their demographically-changing audience as they move from the hipster stage to developing families. Scott Weiland’s latest bizarre big-band/lounge Holiday embarrassment is just another in a long line of overt money grabs by rockers as they struggle for relevance in the fluid and fickle morass of pop music popularity. Christmas albums are for guys like Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond, right? (Yes, he did release one and yes, I did see The Jazz Singer, thank you.)

Well, thank sweet Zombie Jesus that the Madison Area Christmas Compilation Vol. 2 (abbreviated M.A.Xmas) is the antidote to that kind of thing.


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M.A.X.-mas Volume II

M.A.X.-mas Volume II

M.A.X.-mas Volume II
by Aaron Manogue
November 2011

We’ve all heard the lousy Christmas songs that get beaten into our head over and over every single year since our conception. The one’s that make you go just a tad bit crazy and one more step closer to that breaking point. If you’re from the U.S., you know all about the corporate sponsored shopping spree we as Americans partake in, despite whether or not we have money. Now, I’m no Scrooge. But if I’m going to have to suffer through another year of thousands of meaningless dollars spent and seeing family half of us don’t like as it is, I want some kick ass music to dull the pain.


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Anthrax

Anthrax

An interview with Anthrax Guitarist Rob Caggiano
by Aaron Manogue
November 2011

Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeath. Imagine sharing the stage with these three metal icons for some of the most killer metal shows of all time. Amazing right? It’s all in a day’s work for guitarist Rob Caggiano and the boys in Anthrax. The legendary metal band was part of one of the most incredible lineups and concerts metal has ever seen. Out on the road in support of their latest album “Worship Music,” Anthrax is hotter than ever and is out to prove it to each and every metalhead. Rob was nice enough to talk to Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue about the new record, the Big Four show for the ages at Yankee Stadium, his experiences in producing and how Anthrax has transcended the ages to stay on top, where they belong.

Maximum Ink: You started tracking the record about four years ago in 2007and it was released in 2011. That’s quite a long time for a record to be built. How did the album change over the years from when it first started?
Rob Caggiano: Well, like you said, we started in 2007 and we got pretty far. We got all the way up to the mixing stage but unfortunately the lineup wasn’t exactly stable at the time and things got a little crazy. We basically had to put the record on ice for a while until we figured out what we were doing and who was going to be singing for the band. Fast forward a few years and Joey Belladonna comes back for these Big Four shows and one thing led to another and he finally felt comfortable enough to want to sing on the record. So we went and opened the books again, so to speak, worked on what we had and made the changes to what we needed to fix. One of the cool things that resulted in having this much time with the songs is we basically pushed these songs as far as we could push them. You know what I mean? It wasn’t trying to beat the gun or whatever or be on schedule. It was kind of like, let’s take these songs and make them as good as they can possible be and that’s what we did.


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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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1807 ViewsPermalinkMalakai Website
Big John Bates

Big John Bates to cure Madison music fans with hellfire remedies

by Emily Genco
November 2011

The doctor is in. Big John Bates will share his hellfire remedies for ho-hum music with audiences at The Frequency Nov. 10. When Big John Bates plays in Madison, audiences can expect to hear new material featured on the band’s upcoming release Battered Bones.


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Vello Virkhaus

V-Squared Labs elevates concert experience with multimedia creations

by Andrew Frey
November 2011

A visual revolution has been brewing in the image rendering and video projection realms transforming musical events into an entirely new multi-level experience. On Oct. 19, I was fortunate enough to attend a sold out Amon Tobin show in Denver at the Ogden Theater during the highly acclaimed ISAM tour and witness one such multimedia experience.

Objects resembling giant, white Tetris blocks on the stage were suddenly transformed into living video art that throbbed and pulsed along with the music. Audience members visited outer space when we saw spaceships fly by and explode in amazing high definition imagery. We saw cyber machines chug and churn before morphing into green blocks of electric contemplation and much, much more.


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