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An interview with Muscians Aaron Williams and Beth Kille
by Mike Huberty
Madison music mainstays, AARON WILLIAMS AND THE HOODOO and the BETH KILLE BAND, have both been performing, releasing albums regularly, and winning multiple awards from the Madison Area Music Association for years now. Aaron brings a modern sensibility to the traditional blues and Beth underwent a metamorphosis from rock frontwoman (the magnificent CLEAR BLUE BETTY) to country-tinged singer-songwriter. They’re joining forces on New Year’s Eve with a special double bill on the big stage at The Brink Lounge in Madison. We took a few minutes to talk to them to catch up and get a sneak preview of the big night. Read More...
An Interview with Medavon DeRaj'e of Lockjaw
by Chris Fox
The southern Wisconsin music scene breeds a lot of unique music, but when it comes to hard rock and metal, we have a vivid array of diverse musicians. LOCKJAW, out of Milwaukee, brings an industrial approach, which is often lost on the smaller scene, to bluesy metal.
With influences ranging from Fleetwood Mac and Elton John to NIN and Type O Negative and several years on the local scene, Medavon DeRaj’e (vocals and guitar) brands their music as “Hell Rock,” which explains their attraction to darker tones and intense dynamics. He explains, “[I have always] loved how early industrial bands combined synths and electronics in their music. I’m a huge fan of old school metal, thrash, and 80’s stuff. I find it very hard to digest most of the newer metal bands these days. If I can’t understand the lyrics, then I usually can’t relate. I love heavy but it also needs a groove.” Read More...
An interview with the members of Mighty WheelHouse
by Teri Barr
Start with some strong original music. Add in sponsored or self-labeled libations. And if the Madison-based band Mighty WheelHouse is any indication; it’s the beginning of a recipe for long-term success.
Mighty WheelHouse is on a roll. Though officially together just a few months, their success is being plotted, starting with the ingredients of the group. This project pairs up members from two of the areas most awarded, skilled, and popular bands:
Frank Busch (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Nic Adamany (vocals, guitar), and Joel Brantmeier (drums) from Mighty Short Bus; Kenny Leiser (vocals, fiddle, guitar) and Mark Noxon (vocals, bass guitar) from The Lucas Cates Band.
And Mighty WheelHouse has wasted no time. The group’s first CD, The Comeback, was released in November, 2013. It’s an all-original mix of a little bit folk, bluegrass, Americana, and country. But they’re already back in the studio working on a follow up album.
There have also been shows. The former bands averaged 200+ a year. Mighty WheelHouse may easily break the number after kicking off its efforts over the summer, traveling throughout Wisconsin, the Midwest, Western, and Southern parts of the country. Spoetzl Brewery in Texas, and its ‘Shiner Bock’ brand of beer sponsored 35 dates. Tours are in the works for 2014, along with an invitation to play the “Shiner Big One” at South by Southwest in Austin in the spring. Before that festival, the band recently learned they’ll be headed to Nashville to compete for a spot on a national TV show in the production called, “American Talent Hunters.” Mighty WheelHouse beat out thousands of others to make it into the top ten finales scheduled for January 25, 2014.
But why just market your music, if you can have your own whiskey? The band’s been working with a distiller, and “WheelHouse Whiskey” is expected by the end of the year.
I recently had the opportunity to ask them, individually, a similar set of questions. And it’s probably no surprise when I say their answers show that the success they are planning really is right in their “wheelhouse.”
Maximum Ink: What’s your musical background?
Frank Busch: My brother, father, uncles, cousins, grandfathers were all musicians, bandleaders. My brother is now a high school band director in Northeast Wisconsin. I played saxophone, but quit in 8th grade. I didn’t play guitar until college.
Kenny Leiser: My parents are music educators so there were many instruments around for me to experiment with and play. I started with 4th grade strings, and added guitar in 8th grade because I thought it was cool.
Nic Adamany: My dad has been involved in the music industry and is an excellent keyboard/piano player, so I started with piano when I was 5-years-old. But when I was 11, I got the surprise of a guitar for Christmas and instantly fell in love with it!
Mark Noxon: My dad was a band director, and I started on drums, then clarinet, saxophone, and finally the bass when I was 13. I’ve played in a big band and jazz band, but have had my own bands since middle school.
Joel Brantmeier: My parents loved music and luckily it wore off on me! I got a miniature smurf drum set when I was 4 or 5, but quickly upgraded after it.
MI: When did you decide music could be a career? Read More...
FB: I made it my goal 8 years ago, but the first thing I did was save for an emergency fund. It has long since been depleted!
KL: I became a full-time musician in 2007 by playing enough gigs to leave my job at a music store.
NA: There’s been many twists and turns, but I knew when I learned to play guitar and started writing songs, this is all I wanted to do.
MN: As a bassist, I’ve been fortunate to fall into some really great projects, but never planned to be a full-time musician. I had a low-level management job when I was asked to join The Lucas Cates Band and realized I could make the same money by playing in a band and teaching bass, so I jumped on the opportunity.
JB: It’s always just seemed like the right thing for me.
An Interview with Wookiefoot Founding Band Member, Mark Murphy
by Andrew Frey
Wookiefoot is a conduit of evolving consciousness. “When JoJo and I started WookieFoot fifteen years ago, we weren’t exactly sure what we were creating,” begins Mark Murphy, vocalist, visionary, and guitarist for Wookiefoot. “All we knew is that we wanted to be a large community of people doing ridiculous things and sharing our philosophy.”
However, as they lived their music, their philosophy and message evolved and escalated with each of their recordings. Starting by getting Domesticated (2000) they went on to Make Belief (2001). Then they got Out of the Jar (2003). After leaving the jar, they had to Activate (2006) before they could Be Fearless and Play (2009). Most recently, they challenged us with being Ready Or Not… (2012). Read More...
An Interview with Biff Byford of Saxon
by Jeff Muendel
Maximum Ink: I want to introduce you to Maximum Ink and Max Ink Radio and let everyone know about the band. I’d like to briefly touch on the history of the band. Obviously, you guys are considered to be a part of the new wave of heavy metal that included not only Saxon, but Iron Maiden and Def Leppard as the biggest bands… How do you feel about having that label?
Biff Byford: Yeah, it’s ok, it’s not a bad label, really, I mean, it probably means more in Europe than it does in America. It’s a good label, I don’t mind it, I think Def Leppard doesn’t like to use it. But I think Maiden are okay with it, y’know. But yeah, it just appeared in time from 1980 until about 1986, ’86 when all that music was coming out of England.
MI: It’s interesting, probably because Def Leppard’s the band that moved away from heavy metal altogether and maybe became a little bit more of a pop band. Read More...
BB: I suppose they’re a little more rock n’ roll like we were in the early days and somebody coined the phrase, “new wave of British heavy metal”, which meant we weren’t really Sabbath or Zeppelin, or Purple. We were a new generation of bands. Obviously, we were heavily influenced by these bands but I just think some journalist picked a point that we were the newer generation.
An interview with Elephant Stone frontman Rishi Dhir
by Mike Huberty
In THE HIGH DIALS, Canadian bassist and sitarist, Rishi Dhir, created a modern version of 60s British Invasion music. Now fronting a new band, ELEPHANT STONE, Dhir is bringing an exciting Indian sensibility to the music, combining traditional instrumentation like the sitar, tabla, and dilruba. It’s perfect for fans of alt-pop like BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE and they’ve just released a new EP called “Acid Killed My Rock’N’Roll” available for free download on Noisetrade. ELEPHANT STONE is performing at The Frequency in Madison on Thursday November 7th with fellow Maple Leaf indie rockers, THE BESNARD LAKES. We took a few minutes to talk to Rishi about the band’s latest EP and upcoming Madison show.
Dolby Illuminates Wisconsin with The Invisible Lighthouse Tour
by John Noyd
For someone who is likes being on the cusp of things, Thomas Dolby certainly has a strong passion for the past; particularly when it comes to his current tour, a multimedia event that incorporates both the latest in music technology and an old-fashioned Foley artist providing sound effects. “It’s a film with a live soundtrack, which is very different from a concert,” Dolby says, “We do everything live onstage. It’s a very dreamy, atmospheric piece.” Focused on his personal efforts to preserve coastal lighthouses long since outdated by radar and suborbital satellites, but a cherished part of growing up on the north coast of England, Dolby’s Invisible Lighthouse tour is cutting-edge nostalgia. Ever the Renaissance man, Dolby shot the short film himself using remote control drones and high-tech spy cameras when the British government refused to give him permission to document these maritime relics; turning the film from a documentary into a clandestine adventure. “It’s a little bit tongue in cheek,” he explains. “It’s really an exploration of my childhood memories and how they adapted over time. The underlying theme of the film is an examination of our memories and how unreliable they are.”
Beyond his own memories, Dolby also sees his preservationist campaign as a cultural crusade. Citing a Doomsday list that details 46 American lighthouses threatened by erosion or lack of upkeep; Dolby felt obliged to carry his message to America. “Some of these marvelous lighthouses have stood watch over our coasts for centuries, through devastating hurricanes, epic sea battles, daring rescues and thwarted invasions,” Dolby explains. “The U.S. public has a perpetual love affair with the lighthouse, but is probably unaware that many are on the verge of being lost forever. It is so sad to see them crumble. America is still a young country and we should be doing all we can to preserve our historic landmarks for future generations to enjoy.”
Long an advocate of imaginative applications of technology, it should come as no surprise that the man who built a recording studio inside a 1930’s lifeboat that is powered entirely by renewable energy should employ advanced media tools to celebrate abandoned maritime icons. “I think as you get into middle age you tend to look back on your achievements and try and make sense out of all of them,” says Dolby, who at age 55 has achievements ranging from radio hits to videogame designs and Silicone Valley patents. A visionary whose insatiable curiosity creates alternative worlds, Thomas Dolby brings his transmedia event to Madison’s Majestic on November 6th and Milwaukee’s Shank Hall November 7th. For more information check out his website www.thomasdolby.com or find The Invisible Lighthouse Tour trailer on YouTube. Seeing is believing.
An Interview with Sir! NoSir! band members Nate Onsrud and Anthony Leskinen
by Larry Bush
Sir! NoSir! is a Madison trio with a message, and Nate Onsrud, Anthony Leskinen, and Jeramaya Wunderlin certainly know how to get their point across. In a time of immense social and political unrest in America, the band has raided local airwaves with a raucous and socially conscious crash course in rock and roll excellence. On their new 5 song teaser “Combating The Carnival”, the group has mixed a sonic brew that encapsulates both the rock and roll acumen of early 70’s British metal and the aggression of the hardcore punk rock of the past quarter century. Fresh off the release of the EP, guitarist Nate Onsrud and drummer Anthony Leskinen were kind enough to share some words with Max Ink on their music, their message, and what the future holds for Sir! NoSir!
Maximum Ink: You guys have all played in multiple bands around Madison over the years. How did SNS come together? Read More...
Nate Onsrud: I worked with Joel Croyle, who was the original drummer. He and I talked about getting together and just jamming. I was kind of a beginning electric guitarist. Joel had played in previous bands with J and asked him to join us. We weren’t planning on being a band, but the more we played together, things began to form, and we just started writing songs. Picked up Tony, and you couldn’t ask for a better drummer.
An interview with Fang VonWrathenstein
by Chris Fox
The LORDS OF THE TRIDENT have been bludgeoning the music scene for the last five years, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their new EP, Plan of Attack, they are hitting Madison venues. On October 19, they are playing The Inferno with Circleswitch, Sparklefuck, and Warnerbeast. Maximum Ink had the opportunity to catch up with Fang VonWrathenstein, the vocalist for LORDS OF THE TRIDENT, since they are also playing the Maximum Ink Halloween Weekend at the Frequency on October 25. This year they are going as Judas Priest, and have said that concert goers could expect to be run over by a bunch of motorcycles.
Maximum Ink: How would you define the sound of LORDS OF THE TRIDENT? Read More...
Fang VonWrathenstein: Lords of the Trident is the most metal band on earth. Imagine, if you will, taking the thunderous sounds of a thousand steeds rampaging into battle, and combine it with the clashing produced by the swords and spears of men ready to kill or be killed. Then add some guitars. That’s pretty close to the incredibly face-melting, soul-stealing sound of the pure metal, produced by the Lords.
MI: Obviously, a huge part of your band’s repertoire is based on your live show. What inspired the band’s on-stage persona?
An Interview with Hank 3
by Chris Fox
Whether he’s working leather, writing a country tune, or screaming into a microphone, HANK III wears many hats. The voice of a dedicated fanbase, HANK III is a self-proclaimed renaissance man that is comfortable singing doom tunes on an acoustic guitar while wearing his Slayer cutoff t-shirt, and he is playing Madison on October 30.
His sound delves into the far-digressing reaches of musical genres, from Virginia back-mountain country to brutal speed metal. “I’ve been able to work in both worlds; whether it’s singing on stage with George Jones or playing drums with Phil Anselmo. I’ve gotten to work with a lot of different musicians - that goes back to being a drummer and being into multiple genres and having an open mind,” HANK III explains. He claims that his music is like Jekyll and Hyde. “It’s like two different worlds. It’s definitely not the best, not the worst, but it is unique.” Read More...
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