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An interview with drummer Ray Luzier of Korn
by Aaron Manogue
July 2012

There have been very few bands in the history of metal that have paved the way for other bands much like Korn did in the ’90s. The biggest thing that people don’t realize is that with their latest change toward dubstep is that change is Korn’s mode of operation. They came onto the scene with a new form of metal that would later be dubbed numetal and quickly became one of the world’s most recognizable sounds.


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Outnumbered and Outgunned Live Album Cover

Meantooth Grin

An interview with Meantooth Grin's Tom Jordan
by Mike Huberty
July 2012

While their roots are in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, the three guys that make up MEANTOOTH GRIN can more often be found on the road, constantly touring and performing, delivering blues-based rock to audiences across the Midwest. Fueled by frontman Tom Jordan’s low bellow and screaming guitar lines and backed by bassist Seth Heffner and drummer Mitch Ostrowski, MEANTOOTH GRIN is a tight blues-rock machine that is at their best during their well-honed live performances. Their brand new album, “Outnumbered and Outgunned”, showcases their stage chops to full effect as a live concert record just released on July 3rd.


Paul Scharlau & Brian Smith of God's Outlaw - photo by Richard Perez

God’s Outlaw

An interview with Brian Smith from God's Outlaw
by Mike Huberty
July 2012

With a sound ripped straight from Sun Studio circa 1954, Milwaukee’s GOD’S OUTLAW plays traditional country and rockabilly music with acoustic guitar, stripped down electric melody lines, and a big plucking standup bass. Since initially forming in 2004 as a duo that performed JOHNNY CASH B-sides as a tribute (and that’s an influence you can hear immediately), they’ve grabbed the attention of the music industry snagging opening slots for acts like HANK 3, BASTARD SONS OF JOHNNY CASH, and DAVID ALLAN COE as well as the band’s singer and acoustic player, Brian Smith, picking up the honor of Martin Guitar’s Player of the Month this past April. They’re quickly moving into the spot vacated by Milwaukee’s dearly departed .357 STRING BAND as the standard-bearers of Wisconsin’s underground country movement, and in June, they released their first EP, “Poetic Justice”.


Harmonious Wail

An Interview with Harmonious Wail bandleader Sims Delaney-Potthoff
by John Noyd
July 2012

Ambassadors of gypsy jazz, purveyors of grooves and jive-inspired swing, Harmonious Wail celebrates an incredible twenty-five years as a group this July. Currently clocked in as a trio with a half dozen records, constant tours and several generations of fans, the string-driven vocal locomotive confounds exact description, leaping from jazzy flapper flamencos to smoldering Norah Jones blues, kicking singular licks, wicked struts and tender melancholy, wrenching tears from grievous dreams and laughter from hard-won luxuries.

In a small unit responsibility falls heavily on everyone’s shoulders; while mandolinist, ukulele-man and tenor guitarist Sims Delaney-Potthoff speaks for the band, Maggie Delaney-Potthoff carves its soul’s identity as lead vocalist and frequent percussionist. Welded together by bassist Jeff Weiss, the Wail is an elastic time capsule, filtering ideas from Django Reinhardt to Joni Mitchell, movin’ and groovin’ with body and soul. A packed anniversary month, the trio plays thirteen in-state shows in a month and half including the festival they spearheaded, the Midwest Gypsy Jazz Festival, held this year on July 14th in Fitchburg. Prepping for the marathon, Sims kindly answered a few questions about the band.

MAXIMUM INK: What would you consider to be the band’s significant events in the past 25 years?
SIMS DELANEY-POTTHOFF: Playing for Stephane Grappelli sure ranks right up there on top.  We were at The Zelt Music Festival in Frieburg Germany.  Getting to know and play with Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, touring in Taiwan, being able to travel to Europe and all over the US playing music for great music lovers.  One night in Taiwan after a gig a woman approached us, kept gently tapping her heart and saying, “I am so very, very…”  ‘nuff said.  I think the most significant is that we are able to continue to tour, record and perform for music lovers and Wail fans, really it almost brings us to tears, the support and love.  And then there is The Midwest Gypsy Swing Fest - bringing such incredible talent to the best music fans in the world - and it is still going on and on.

MI: How did the name Harmonious Wail originate?

SD-P: We had a note book with pages of ideas and suggestions.  We really liked the 30’s hep-jive jargon of guys like Lester Young and thought that Harmonious Wail was just vociferous enough and that the sentiment was right on target - it’s almost a mission statement.  Actually after all the back and forth’s Maggie just said, hey how about Harmonious Wail.

MI: How deep do the band’s Wisconsin roots go?

SD-P: cheese-deep—Maggie is a Heartford girl from the heart of the Kettle Morraine and I am a Racine guy - Jeffo is an original native Madisonian.  Mg and I lived in Boston (Berklee School of Music) and had planned on Copenhagen or Amsterdam or Nashville but after all was said and done it felt best to simply come home and we have never ever thought twice about it - we totally love Madison.
MI: Your eclectic sets span decades of music and beg the question what do you look for in a song?
SD-P: This is a toughie—it’s like asking why you love something - cuz I love it, that’s why.  Top of the list has to be either a groove or flow…  the chord progression needs to be cool and not forced or artificial - maybe natural is a good word here.  When the chords, groove and melody and lyrics all work together in a natural flowing way it feels like the music plays itself or better yet it feels like the music plays you.  That’s what we are seeking is to have the music move and play us
MI: Twenty-five years is several life-times for bands – what’s the secret to your longevity?
SD-P: We just had a band chat about that this morning—we have always felt that more than being musicians we are travel agents (Thanks Mickey Hart).  That our job is to move people and transport them to a better place thru the music.  In order for that to happen the music has to move and transport us and then we simply relay that to an audience.


Kuba Ka

Kuba Ka

An interview with international singer, dancer, actor Kuba Ka
by Tina Hall
July 2012

Kuba Ka first gained noticed as one of the greatest men of 2001 in the Polish version of Elle magazine while only a teenager. He is a singer, dancer, and actor. Kuba is likely best known for his work at Las Vegas’  Kuba project with renowned architect Tom Wright(Atkins Global) who also created the seven star hotel, Burj Al Arab in Abu Dubai. A mainstay in radio, television, and stage in Europe for over a decade Ka is also the first artist after Michael Jackson to be represented by Frank Dileo. Most recently he released the video to In the Streets.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your background? Where are you from and how do you think coming from where you have has influenced you to be who you are today?
Kuba Ka: I was born in Poland, where I started my entertainment career as child and then teenage performer. It felt amazing when I was doing in that country American styled shows, what audience of all ages really enjoyed. I became the voice for United Nations and UNICEF, what allowed me to do KUBA & Friends charity show, with 30 major stars including Oscar winning actress - Vanessa Redgrave. I was then 15 years old. This all journey made me sure that dreams are possible, and that I want to use my entertainer’s power to shine the light of entertainment in darkest places of the World, like Africa. My performance truly reflects all me, and all my life. I don’t separate stage from my private life. It’s one,  and I guess that’s why I am blessed to share this great for me adventure, with top industry people, like it was with Michael Jackson’s manager Frank Dileo.

MI: Who are some of your earliest influences?
KK: Ha, well I always loved legends, from Charlie Chaplin, to Elvis, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Eminem. I love entertainers, people with big time experience. I like to listen to singers, but I follow people with this “more” of the spectacle.


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Jett Williams at the age of 2.

Jett Williams

An interview with songstress Jett Williams
by Tina Hall
July 2012

Jett Williams came into the world five days after the passing of her father the legendary Hank Williams. Adopted by his mother Lillian who went on to die two weeks later Jett was left a ward of the state of Alabama until she was later adopted. Jett herself made her singing debut in 1989 and was later backed by her father’s old band The Drifting Cowboys. She has since appeared in numerous shows in the U.S, Japan, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Canada. Her autobiography Ain’t Nothing As Sweet As My Baby sheds light on a life that is hard to imagine. She has undertaken the role of continuing the legacy left by her father with a passion that is highly admirable. Jett can be heard on the soundtrack for the film The Last Ride, which details the last hours of her father’s life. It was an honor to sit down with her and catch up on what had made her who she is today.

Maximum Ink: For those who haven’t read your book and might not be familiar with your story, can you tell us a little about that?
Jett Williams: On October 15, 1952 Hank Williams signed a notarized document admitting paternity and taking custody of his unborn child, boy or girl, healthy or unhealthy. It also provided that his mother, my grandmother, would raise me for the first two years of my life.  Additionally, my mother, who lived with my dad in his mother’s boarding house in Montgomery, AL during the 5 or so months of her pregnancy, got and took a one way ticket to the place of her choice in California.

My father, who prepaid all the expenses for my birth before leaving on his last ride to the concerts he never gave, just didn’t count on dying at 29. He was pronounced dead January 1, 1953; his funeral was on the 4th and I was born before the sun came up on the 6th.

My grandmother insisted on taking and raising me. My mother did not object. A compromised lawyer suggested to her that she should adopt me. She did for the right reasons. He made the recommendation for the wrong ones, because under Alabama law at the time an adopted child could not inherit.

It took my grandmother 2 years to complete the adoption and she died two weeks later. The family no longer wanted me and while she lay in state in the parlor Hank’s sister and his ex-wife Audrey decided to make me a ward of the state and the next day I was an orphan going to foster homes and then later adopted again.

I grew up not knowing who I was, until I met an attorney, Keith Adkinson, whom I later married. He got his hands on the October 15th agreement. I was satisfied at having my questions answered with the bonus of knowing I was wanted and provided for. He was not satisfied and we ultimately sued those motivated by keeping my inheritance from me and for themselves. We prevailed, after 9 years of litigation.


MaryBeth Zamer and Mike T. Lewis

Twangtown Paramours

An interview with musicians MaryBeth Zamer and Mike T. Lewis
by Tina Hall
July 2012

Comprised of MaryBeth Zamer and Mike T. Lewis, The Twangtown Paramours offer up music from the soul that is hard to put into any one genre. Their self-titled debut album reached #11 on the Folk DJ chart, Cashbox County Roots chart (remaining in the top 40 all summer in 2010),and was named one of the top 100 folk albums for 2010. Their latest release hits radio this very week.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? How have your early days influenced you to become who you are now?
Mike Lewis: I’m from the Northeast – NY, NJ, and VT. My mom was a concert pianist and taught piano during my entire childhood. I heard a lot of kids, who didn’t bother to practice, banging on the piano every afternoon, but I also drank in a lot of great music – Mozart, Bach, and other composers you hear when you’re on hold with the phone company. I studied classical and jazz guitar from some of the best New York City had to offer, starting at age 8. I was around great music and great musicians and that influenced the bejesus outta me.
MaryBeth Zamer: I was born and raised in the DC area. I’ve been singing since I was a kid. Ella Fitzgerald’s singing has been the single most influence on me.I play several instruments (guitar, piano) badly and have been instructed to “step away from the tambourine” on more than one occasion.

MI: How did The Twangtown Paramours come to be?
ML: MaryBeth and I had been together for about a year. I had this one song called “Nowhere to Go” that I was preparing for a demo singer to perform in the studio in Nashville that I run. MaryBeth was working on her own jazz vocal project. She heard the song and insisted that she be the demo singer on it. Her voice and her ideas influenced the way I approached the production. Then we did two more songs in a similar way. After three songs, I realized we had a distinctive sound and that it was time to make a record and venture out into the world with it. That all started in 2009.
MZ:  I didn’t “insist” on singing anything. I just told him I thought I could sing it and changed the groove on it a little.  He wanted to go out to dinner because it was Valentine’s Day.

MI: How did you first come to sing professionally? What led you to move to Nashville from DC? 
MZ: By professionally, if you mean getting paid for it-that happened in college when I first started singing in bands. I started out singing background vocals for a few bands and then started auditioning and working as a female vocalist. I moved from DC to Nashville because my first husband was going to school in Nashville, and I was able to find a job here, so the re-location had nothing to do with music.


Brittany Shane

An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Brttany Shane
by John Noyd
June 2012

Eighteen year old Baraboo native Brittany Safranek moved to San Francisco with plans to stay a year before hitting L.A. She established herself as a folk-singer, recording three well-received CDs and rubbing elbows with celebrities from Peter Frampton to Chris Isaak, but ten years, a name change and a half a dozen day jobs later Brittany Shane decided to pull up stakes again and make Austin her new home. Part of her reason was how much it reminded her of Madison. Two years and already an established fixture with weekly gigs, Brittany revisits Wisconsin this July with a sparkling new CD, “Loud Nights on a Short String,” and many warm memories. 

“I miss so many things about Madison, “ Brittany recently wrote, “going to the Terrace and watching music by the lake during a warm summer night or grabbing a coffee at Michelangelo’s in the morning and walking down State Street.” “I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the U.S. four times on tour, and I’ve gotta say, Madison is still one of my favorite cities.”

When asked about her experiences forging a musical career and what she learned from integrating herself into three cities’ scenes Brittany confessed she has five big lessons she learned along the way

1. Never turn down an invitation. If someone invites you to a show or a party, go.. You never know who you might meet or what might happen from there. Things happen and start to move when you meet new people.
2.  Just ask, you never know, that person might just say…yes! I have been told many times that a producer or well-known guitar player might be too busy for me, but I went up and asked anyway. The majority of the time, they actually said yes or it led to a project later.
3. Its ok to put the guitar down. It’s very important to know when to take a break. The world won’t pass you up if stop playing because you are tired. Try another creative project for a bit, relax or better yet, go out and see some great live music. Be the audience for awhile and get inspired again. Then get back out there with the energy to put on a good show. 
4. Be nice, talk to everyone from the person doing your lights to the next band. The music world is actually quite small and you’ll probably bump into them again.
5. Don’t take things too seriously. Have fun, be yourself and most importantly, laugh!

Co-produced by Austin’s talented George Reiff (Court Yard Hounds) and Scrappy Jud Newcomb (Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan & The Bump Band), “Short String,” also enlists Dony Wynn (Robert Palmer) and Johnny Goudie (Skyrocket) to support Brittany’s rockin’ and boppin’ Southwestern alt-pop potions. Showcasing her batter-dipped ballads at Madison’s Frequency July 13th along with The Deadbeat Club, the prodigal daughter will surely shine. A candid sample of impromptu Brittany can be heard when she visits WORT’s, “In Her Infinite Variety,” noon, July 8th.


Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne

An interview with Singer Joan Osborne
by Tina Hall
June 2012

Joan Osborne is best known for the single One of Us of her debut album Relish. The Kentucky native has been making music from the soul since 1995. She appeared in the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown in 2002 and did her version of Spoonful on Vivian Campbell’s(Def Leppard)album Two Sides of If. With seven studio albums under her belt her latest release Bring It On Home is out now.

Maximum Ink: What was it like growing up in Kentucky?
Joan Osborne: It was wonderful, a lot of freedom for myself and my brothers and sisters(I’m one of six). We lived in a place where everyone knew everyone else, where we went out in morning and ran in the woods all day and no one would worry about us. We were able to develop a real connection with the natural world, which I value now that I live in New York City. As for the music of the region, well, although we weren’t big country music fans it was always there and we loved John Denver and Elvis Presley, who also had a thread of rock n roll, rockabilly in his music. Country music and bluegrass was all around us. It was there that the seed of this amazing roots music was planted when I was younger, but it wasn’t until I got older that I really began to become a big fan of other kinds of country music, learn about bluegrass, and become a huge fan of artists like Bill Monroe, Emmylou Harris and Hank Williams.

MI: What was your first day in New York like? Did you experience culture shock? 
JO: I did experience culture shock! I got out of a Trailways bus at the Port
Authority bus station and walked to my lodgings at the 8th and 34th Street YMCA and it was intense. That particular stretch of NYC is really grimy and crowded and noisy and I kind of loved it immediately. I loved walking down the street and feeling so much energy and seeing people of all different types and I was very excited by that. In a way I felt like I had walked into the right movie. 


Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever

An interview with Ethan Holtzman from Dengue Fever
by Mike Huberty
June 2012

As an American band inspired by equally by Cambodian pop music as well as American 60’s bands (you can hear the Credence dripping out of each song), DENGUE FEVER, occupies a fascinating niche. While most of the band hails from LA, their songs didn’t even have any English until their third record. Formed by brothers Ethan and Zac Holtzman in 2001, they met up with Cambodian immigrant (and already a famous karaoke singer in her native country), Chhom Nimol, to fill out the sound of the band. Their latest full length is called Cannibal Courtship is their fifth and they’re touring to support it. We took some time to talk to DENGUE FEVER’s Ethan Holtzman about their upcoming Madison show.


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