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An interview with American Blues songstress Alice Stuart
by Tina Ayres
American Blues and folksinger/guitarist Alice Stuart has toured with Van Morrison, Mississippi John Hurt, and many others. During the 1970’s she first gained notice as one of the only women in rock n roll to write her own music, front a male band, and play lead guitar. She can currently be found performing alongside Marc Willett (The Kingsmen) and Steven Flynn (Chuck Berry,Jr. Cadillac) in the band The Formerlys.
Maximumink: What was your childhood like? What are some of your most fond memories from those days? Read More...
Alice Stuart: My childhood was pretty miserable. My mom parked me at 2 years old with my aunt (her sister) and went off to work at Bechtel (of all places). She came home a couple times a year. Very sad for me. My aunt and I (although I learned a lot of practical things from her) were pretty much like oil and water trying to mix together. I was a nervous wreck, allergic to practically everything. All I cared about was music.
MI: Do you happen to remember what your very first favorite song was?
AS: Beethoven when I was playing piano, then Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis.
MI: What was it that first led you to discover your love of music?
AS: Always loved music. First piano, then drums, baritone ukulele, and then graduated to guitar.
MI: Why do you think music has always had such a strong appeal throughout time? Why do you the Delta style has always struck such a chord in the hearts of listeners?
AS: People need a connection to their soul and the Delta style really connects you. It’s the real deal. I still prefer it.
Singer-Songwriter Joey Broyles leads a Future Pop Revolution
by John Noyd
Raised in Sun Prairie, Madison musician Joey Broyles distinctly remembers playing all the parts of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves for his family as a young child. A born entertainer, Broyles also remembers making up songs all his life without ever thinking he could actually write a song. In fact, it wasn’t until a few years ago that his artistic vision took root and he applied his skills as a self-taught pianist and young Garageband dabbler to create a stage persona and musical identity. Inspired by a performance from local scensters Sexy Ester and mentored by the sure-handed production skills of multi-instrumentalist Son Voyager, Broyles soon caught the attention of the Madison musical community, eventually going on to win RAW Madison Musician of the Year 2013, MAMA Breakthrough Artist 2014 as well as a recent semi-finalist in 105.5 Triple M’s Project M Songwriting competition before completing this fall his full-length debut, “Future Pop Revolution.”
A realist with vision, a futurist shaped by a difficult past, Broyles pairs an extravagant imagination with a crusader’s sense of integrity; a renegade individualist who collaborates with a large network of artists and performers. As a founding member of arts collective and on-line publication Project Famous, the whirlwind entrepreneur enlists film-makers, costume designers and visual artists to help manifest his ideas whether it’s a video shoot, album artwork or a club date. As a performance artist, image and presentation are integral to Broyles’ message which he insists gets communicated with substance and pizzazz. Citing the ADD generation filling the clubs, Joey knows people want to be entertained but he also wants to provide more; specifically a role model for acceptance, championing the LGBT community and putting ideas back into pop music.
Drawing from his experiences being bullied as a young teen and time spent in the Foster care system, Broyles is well equip to confront social injustice and societal pressures. His rainbow-strewn storm-trooper debut tackles mindless music, gender expectations, corporate hypocrisy and rampant consumerism; often assuming the identity of his targets to uproot their weakness and duplicity. Popping Big Brother’s bubble with a court-jester cackle wrapped in royal trappings, “Future Pop Revolution,” styles alien grooves in a satin pageantry, heralded by a flourish of synths, bold beats and rock-hard guitar. Unconcealed and extra-real, Joey tickles fancies as he liberates fallacies, slyly dividing sarcastic travesties by undermining labels and breaking free of preconceived notions.
A dystopian perfectionist whose subversive mirth and unlocked mockery carry a message of self-expression to everyone everywhere, Joey confronts modern reality with defiant flair; shining, not hiding, demanding to be heard through lush synthetic power chords and swooning cut-throat harmonies. After the success of, “Future Pop Revolution,” Broyles is even keener to maintain his domain, absorbing new music software with an almost Zen-like appetite and digging into his childhood influences of TLC and Salt-N-Pepa to supplement his freshman Prince and Madonna obsessions while mining the past year spent immersed in a gossip-fraught bureaucracy for new song ideas. A pervasive presence on the web, it is as a live performer where Broyles fulfills his potential, combining music, theater and dance into a fiery mirrorball of provocative thought. Watch out world, this quick-witted misfit has just started to spread his wings. Catch him December 13th at Madison’s Inferno.
An interview with the team behind MAXMas, the Madison Area Christmas Compilation
by Mike Huberty
The “Madison Area Christmas Compilation” or MAXMas as it’s abbreviated, is irreverent, non-traditional, ridiculously vulgar, often offensive, and completely awesome. It’s a Madison music scene spin on Christmas and a total artistic triumph that they’ve pulled together an album four out of the past five years. Herding a group of Madison bands together to write, record, and produce an album in a span of two months and then holding a big release party with almost all of those bands participating is a recording engineer and stage manager’s worst nightmare. Somehow, though, the guys who lead Kuhler Music and producer Dan-o Stoffels have pulled off a memorable album and ridiculous party every time. It’s a goddamn Christmas miracle. They’re even putting out a sexy MAXMas 2015 Calendar this year. We talked to Jon Kussow and Jeremy Gehler (who’s helping commandeer the operation from his new home in southern California) from Kuhler, along with Dan-o and calendar coordinator Audrey Martinovich, about what inspired them to bring back the Holiday hijinks for this year’s “Maxmas V: The Search for MAXMas IV”, to be released at the Frequency with a pair of wild parties. Read More...
by Teri Barr
It’s been a great couple of weeks for the members of Altered Five. The Southern Wisconsin Blues Band’s new C.D. is just out, and already trending high on a few notable radio and on-line charts. Lead singer Jeff Taylor, guitar player Jeff Schroedl, bassist Mark Solveson, Raymond Tevich on keys, and Scott Schroedl on drums worked with a Grammy-winning producer on their latest effort, after taking home a few awards of their own this year. Somehow, in the middle of it all—- they took time to answer some questions from me about their history together, and with their music hitting a high note—what’s next for this groovy group.
MAXIMUM INK: What is the key to Altered Five’s success right now?
JEFF SCHROEDL: We all bring different musical influences and experiences to the band, and our music is really the result of that melting pot of sounds. The five of us have been able to blend our ideas and styles really well. There’s no formula; everyone is just able to create interesting parts that gel and support JT’s voice, the lyrics, and overall song.
MI: How did the five of you connect? Read More...
MARK SOLVESON: Well, Jeff Taylor is our frontman and lead singer, Jeff Schroedl on guitar, Scott Schroedl on drums, Raymond Tevich plays keys and I’m the bassist. We formed in 2002 and have performed and recorded steadily ever since. We’ve logged quite a few shows and have a pretty large repertoire of songs. We’ve always been blues-based, of course, but we’ve evolved to play many more original tunes over the past four years or so. Our music is best described as “contemporary blues.” It’s groove-based, edgy, soulful and at times really rockin’, but it’s all grounded in the blues.
by Teri Barr
SHESHE is one hard-working band, and quickly becoming popular due to the unique talents the three women-members bring to the group. Julia McConahay plays fiddle and sings, Dana Perry is on guitar and vocals, and Shannon Callaway covers the drums and also sings. They all have different styles and musical interests, and it’s what is getting SHESHE attention from around the Midwest. I recently had the chance to talk with them about the upcoming release of their first album together, and how they are already planning for the future:
Maximum Ink: What is making SHESHE, and the band’s new music, work for you?
Julia McConahay: Music is what makes sense to me. I’ve never known life without it, so it’s never really been a choice, more like a way of being. It’s how I’m identified most of the time. People have always asked me to come jam with them, or sit in for a set, record on their album, or join their tour. It’s an honor and a joy, all at the same time.
Dana Perry: I really can’t see myself doing anything else with my life other than making music. I love how SHESHE has come together to make such bitchin’ noises together! I’m proud of the gigs and festivals we’ve played (Steel Bridge Song Festival, Ragged Roots Festival, Atwood Fest, the Bubble Festival, to name a few), and I’m proud of how we consistently have fun, but especially proud of us for working together to get this album out.
Shannon Callaway: I feel as though music has been my back bone through everything. It’s more than a purpose, it’s just there. I pretty much consider my stylings to be hand in hand with my emotions. If I’m pissed off, I’ll drop that E string down and rage. If I feel light as a feather and have a smile on my face, I’ll tap dance on my drumset.
MI: How did SHESHE get started? Read More...
JM: I started SHESHE as an acoustic duo with Leah Brooke Conway (now of Elk’s Teeth and Rabbit’s Feet) whom I love dearly! After a few months, Dana Perry and Amada Marquez (Inferno Nightclub) caught the SHESHE fever and we grew into a four-piece band. Life happened and both Leah and Amada moved out of town, so Dana and I pressed on with our bad selves as a duo. Soon after, we saw a little glimmer from behind a closet door and we learned her name was Shannon Callaway! She’d been writing music with Meghan Rose and was interested in developing her drumming skills, so we busted that door open and ka-pow! The SHESHE three-piece was born.
An interview with Tom Dixon
by Mike Huberty
Sometimes silly, sometimes sexy, always sassy and never sober, TWANG DRAGONS are a Roadhouse Rockabilly band based in Milwaukee that has been touring, recording, and performing for a decade now. Led since the beginning by the team of guitarist/ songwriter, Tom Dixon, and vocalist, Lisa Hannon, they picked up a new rhythm section in 2010 in the form of bassist Kevin Farnsworth, and drummer, Don Keller. After several years of playing out, they released a full album with this lineup, their fourth release called “3 Chords and a Lie”. They’ll be bringing their songs from their new record to The Frequency in Madison on Friday November 21st with Sunspot and Sex Ester. We talked with Tom Dixon about the band and the new recording to preview the show. Read More...
An Interview with guitarist CJ Pierce
by Karli Norton
The superstitious better say their prayers, because Drowning Pool is bringing the “unlucky” full force. After 13 years, the band is re-releasing their 2001 album ‘Sinner.’ The expanded reissue is a two-disc set with remastered originals as well as 13 demo tracks including “Soul” and “Hero Sleeping”, the last song to be recorded with the band’s first singer Dave Williams, whose untimely death in 2002 at the age of 30 marked an unlucky end to a rising star. The current tour is a chance for new fans to see some of these classic songs live. Max Ink caught up with guitarist CJ Pierce out on the road.
by Tina Ayres
Peter Cornell has worked in the music industry in such bands as Inflatable Soule and Black Market Radio and as a solo artist. His latest release Champion features former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese on drums.
Maximum Ink: What were you like as a child? What are some of your most fond memories from that time?
Peter Cornell: I was a little hyper. Consequently I got in a bit of mischief. I was also fairly bright and did well in school when I could stay out of the head master’s office. I love being outside. I love playing football and basketball and when I got to be a teenager I learned how to sail and raced sailboats for years. Sailing, the sea, the water, boats of all kinds are still a huge love of mine.
MI: What was it like growing up with Chris? What has been like getting to watch him succeed at doing something he loves? Do you ever get tired of people mentioning the connection there?
PC: As adults, we have always been close. As kids we were kids and pulled each other’s hair and pinched each other’s arm. But I would crush anyone who ever threatened to lay a hand on him. Then and now I love the man dearly and have always taken a paternal pride in his success. Somewhere along the way I took an interest in music and honestly Chris has mentored me every step of the way and still does. If I hated him it would probably bother me that I get a lot of questions about him. But I love him so I don’t mind if people talk to me about him. But family is very private for us so my answers are limited. Read More...
An interview with Singer/Guitarist Brandon Gibbs
by Tina Ayres
Brandon Gibbs has been in love with music since an early age. By the age of 8 he had discovered guitar and by 14 he was performing at a national level. From his first band, The Gibbs Brothers Blues Band, to Cheap Thrill Brandon has worked tirelessly to pour his soul into the music he loves so well. Currently he can be found as the frontman for Devil City Angels alongside Rikki Rockett (Poison), Tracii Guns (L.A Guns), and Eric Brittingham (Cinderella).
Maximum Ink: Do you remember what it was like to start singing as a toddler? Was it more fun to have your brother at your side then? What is it like to be a twin?
Brandon Gibbs: Being a twin is such an amazing feeling! My brother and I were obsessed with music at such an early age…It’s all we wanted to do and we did at all together. Another part of being a twin was when we would play together, you could always tell what the other one was thinking. For instance, we could come out of a “mistake” and it would have sounded like we meant to do it. Although we don’t play music together anymore, in general I can usually tell what he is going to do with whatever circumstance we face. Usually it’s all in humor, at 29 we still laugh like we did when we were 10!
MI: Aside from your love of music what were you like as a child? What are some of your most fond memories from that time?
BG: As a child and even to our early 20’s we had a Grandpa who was active in our lives. We had so much fun with him and spent a lot of time learning from him. My brother and I would pull pranks on him all of the time and he would do the same with us! It was such a fun/funny environment to be around. He also taught us when it was time to be serious and have goals. Most kids on Friday nights were hanging out with their schoolmates which is perfectly normal, my brother and I wanted to see what he was doing first and then go from there!(laughs) I personally spent a ton of time on the golf course with him learning the game. Early into our teens we took a lot of road trips with him and our family because we were starting our career. There are lots of great memories with that man. The names and numbers tattooed on my hands are a memorial to him. I think Brent (my bro) would say the same thing. (smiles)
MI: What was your very first favorite song?
BG: My first song that I fell in love with was The Thrill Is Gone by B.B. King. My parents bought me B.B. King Live At The Ole Miss and I burned that CD into my head! Every time that track came up I always got goose bumps!
MI: How did it feel to be performing at a national level by the age of 14?
BG: Everything was sort of a test…For instance, promoters liked the concept of the Gibbs Brothers, but since we were so young we had to prove to them night after night that we could handle the job!! We gave up sports and other activities and learned how to perform and entertain…When show time came around we did exactly that! There was always a hug and a high five waiting for us as we walked down the ramp. Also how we handled mishaps, wireless units cutting out, amps breaking on stage, snare drums splitting…We had backup plans for these real problems and didn’t panic, they seen that and knew we weren’t as young mentally. After we would do these shows, much like American Idol, we advanced to the next level. Once again a test…“Dear Gibbs Bros, here’s your next assignment, don’t let me down.” (smiles)
An interview with musician/author Becket
by Tina Ayres
Becket is perhaps best known for his work as Anne Rice’s assistant and for his own tales in The Blood Vivicanti and the Children’s book Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl. Long before all of that he was a Benedictine monk with a master’s degree in theology. His love for music began around the age of 11 when he formed a band with Sam Rivers who is now the bassist for Limp Bizkit. With his first self-titled album now available, it is an honor to sit down with him and learn more about what led to its creation.
Maximumink: What was your very first favorite song?
Becket: Michael Jackson’s Beat It. My dad gave me a 45 record player, and his dad owned a jukebox. They were always giving me records. But that one I played over and over and over again. That and Phil Collins’ Sussudio.
MI: Do you remember what it was like to meet Sam when you were 11?
B: I remember he transferred to my school. He and I started playing musical instruments together, he on guitar and I on bass. But then we switched one day, and now he’s a brilliant bass player. Read More...
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