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Hed PE

Hed PE

An interview with guitarist Jackson Benge
by Tina Ayres
July 2014

Hed PE is back with their ninth studio album to the delight of American Rapcore fans everywhere. Their latest offering, Evolution, is slated for release this July on Pavement Entertainment. Comprised of Jared Gomes(vocals), Mawk(bass), Jackson Benge(guitar) , and Trauma(drums) the band is back with sounds heavier than ever.

Maximum Ink: What were you like as a child growing up? What would you say are your fondest memories of that time?
Jackson Benge: I was a hyper kid. My grade school teachers would always write the same types of comments on my report cards; “He has a lot of energy,” or, “Distracts other kids.” I couldn’t keep still and couldn’t stop staring at the clouds. My imagination was my best friend and I used to love to draw. One of my fondest memories growing up was the first time I rode a bicycle without training wheels. As long as my memory is still intact, that will remain among the fondest.

MI: How old were you when you wrote your first song? Do you remember what it was about?
JB: I was about 15 or 16 years old when I wrote one of my first actual songs. Believe it or not, I wrote the lyrics as well. It was called, “Hold On,” and it was a cross between “Earth Angel” by the Penguins and “Don’t Cry” by Guns ‘n’ Roses. It was a simple love song about wanting to be with a girl you can’t have. At the time, many girls around me seemed to like that song, so I guess it was a relative success.

MI: Are you excited to be releasing your ninth studio album on Pavement Entertainment?
JB: “Evolution” is our 9th studio release and it’s always exciting to put out a new record, especially with a label like Pavement, which clearly has a solid grasp on how to treat their artists. The team we now have working with us is incredible. When I talk to others who have worked with Pavement, they have nothing but great things to say about them as well.


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The Delta Routine

The Delta Routine

by Mike Huberty
July 2014

Maybe it’s all the pretense of producer teams and their made-for-TMZ Pop divas and the “just press play” live shows of Electronic Dance Music that’s forced Rock music to go back to its very beginnings. In an era where people can make a record on their laptop and viral YouTube videos are routinely made with a mobile phone, the natural sounds of a band that can really play their instruments to an audience that just wants to get down seems almost quaint. If a musician can just straight up play guitar or sing their guts out in a band onstage on a Friday night somewhere, it seems old-fashioned in a world of “everyone’s a star” karaoke and televised singing contests where melismatic teenagers fight over who’s prettiest. So when you hear THE DELTA ROUTINE, a straight up rock band from Milwaukee that takes the best elements from the founding fathers of the genre, it’s a genuine delight to hear a genuine mix of rock n’ roll mayhem that combines the swagger of THE ROLLING STONES, the energy of THE BLACK CROWES, and the modern sounds of THE STROKES. Consisting of Nick Amadeus on lead vocals and guitar, Al Kraemer on keyboards, Victor Buell IV on guitar, Evan Paydon on bass, and Kyle Ciske on drums, they’ve released three full albums, the latest being “Cigarettes & Caffeine Nightmares”. In 2011 the band won Milwaukee radio 88.9’s Milwaukee Band of the Year award as well as Alternative Band of the Year at the Wisconsin Area Music Industry awards. Also, in true Wisconsin beer-drinking spirit, THE DELTA ROUTINE has also been featured in an ad for Chippewa Falls-brewed (and Miller-owned) Leinenkugel’s. After making an appearance at Milwaukee’s Summerfest on Thursday, July 3rd, they’ll be performing in Madison at Atwood Summerfest on Saturday July 26th. With a voice that sounds a little like Noel Gallagher got in a drunken fistfight with Satisfaction-era Mick Jagger, we talked to Nick Amadeus about the band and their upcoming Atwood performance.

Maximum Ink: What’s the single? What track would you want people to hear that hasn’t heard THE DELTA ROUTINE before?
Nick Amadeus: There are probably a few, but I guess one of my favorite songs would be ‘I Wait Alone’ off our 2012 release ‘Cigarettes and Caffeine Nightmares’.


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The Steepwater Band

The Steepwater Band

by Mike Huberty
July 2014

Chicago Roots-Rock veterans, THE STEEPWATER BAND, have been playing their hearts out all over the world for nearly two decades. Forming in 1998, their raw, gritty, and bluesy sound, which started as a trio and has expanded to a quartet, fits perfectly in the retro-world of THE BLACK KEYS and RIVAL SONS. A band with a hometown attitude but a national profile, you may have heard their songs on television shows like “NCIS”, “Dangerous Games”, “Vegas”, or “The Good Wife”. Or maybe in movies like “The Five-Year Engagement” or “One For The Money”. They’ve established themselves as a fantastic ambassador for the Chicago scene (they even do an event called Illicana, which features bands from the Land of Lincoln playing Americana tracks.) Real deal road warriors, their tour schedule in just July ranges from Milwaukee’s Summerfest to Blues Festivals in Italy, Australia, and Switzerland(!) We took a few minutes to talk with guitarist and vocalist Jeff Massey to preview their upcoming appearance at Atwood Summerfest on July 27th.

Maximum Ink: What’s the best song to listen to for someone who hasn’t heard Steepwater before?
Jeff Massey: Hmmmm. That’s tricky picking one. I’m going to say the song, “Dance Me A Number”. The reason I pick this particular tune is because we run into a lot of new faces coming out to see our show strictly because they heard this song. It’s been getting a ton of airplay, primarily on streaming radio like Pandora and Spotify.

MI: What was the inspiration behind it?
JM: It was an instrumental song I had been playing around with on acoustic guitar for a few months before I decided to add lyrics. Lyrically, it’s inspired by the concept of living in the moment, enjoying each and every day and not being hung up on what the future holds. The whole inspiration, musically, came from messing around with an odd guitar tuning and turning it into an electric number with the band involved sent it over the top.


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Barrelhouse Chuck

Barrelhouse Chuck

by Dave Leucinger
July 2014

In any conversation with blues piano master Barrelhouse Chuck, finding a topic to discuss is remarkably easy – as long as it relates in some way to blues piano or organ. Fueled by an unmatched zeal and boldness, he has crafted his career through repeatedly seeking out his idols –and then asking for their mentoring.

The keyboard instruments have been a part of his life from the start. “As a young kid, my mother had a piano. She played church hymns,” Chuck said. “At age 3, 4, 5 – there was always a piano around. And we had an old pump organ in the basement.” But his mother’s sacred music didn’t form Chuck’s direction. “I just made up songs; I never really had any gospel influence in my music,” he said. “It was just the instrument. When you have an instrument in the house – you just sit around and doodle. I don’t read a note and never had any lessons.”


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Sonny Knight & the Lakers

Sonny Knight & the Lakers

An interview with Sonny Knight
by Teri Barr
July 2014

Wow. It’s all I can say following my conversation with Sonny Knight. The Twin Cities-based musician will be playing AtwoodFest 2014 in Madison on Sunday, July 27th, and I have more than just circled the date. It’s not just the incredible talent of Knight and his band, but his enthusiasm won me over. And here’s what makes you want to support what’s happening with Knight—who tells ms he wakes up every morning, grateful for another day. Though agile, and young looking, Knight is 66 years old. Yup, 66 and just getting his first taste of what it’s like to find success in the music business. He took time to tell me more about what kept him connected to music all these years, and why he’s looking forward to playing his first Madison-area show. And it will be one you won’t want to miss.

Maximum Ink: You are getting a lot of attention for this current project, how does it feel to be recognized for your music?
Sonny: It feels great! I am hanging out, jammin’ with cats half my age, and I love it. I’m finally getting this chance to pursue my lifetime dream.

MI: So music has always been your goal?
Sonny: As a kid growing up in the South, it was always about Gospel. I was little but already on a big stage at church. And as I grew up I played with different bands; but was most interested in funk and soul. There was some success here and there, but nothing like this!


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Corey Hart

Corey Hart

An interview with Corey Hart
by Hannah Becker
July 2014

With a mixture of folk, bluegrass, rock, and R&B, Corey Hart has a musical talent that is unique and memorable. Hart now lives in Madison with his family, but is originally from Milwaukee. At a young age, Hart knew music would be a big part in his life. After attending University of Wisconsin-Madison, Hart went on to Berklee School of Music for a short period of time but became too eager to pursue his music and left. Hart traveled, and with his experiences, he was able to write songs with vivid details and stories. 

Hart’s music is filled with energy, yet his vocals and use of banjos and fiddles give off a melodious vibe. His unique style won him Madison, WI Songwriter of the Year in 2007, which gave him recording time. Hart has so far recorded two albums: “Words Like Wildfire” released in May 2007 and a five-song EP “Winter Bones” released March 2011. He also lived in North Carolina and recorded “Wooden Houses” in July 2009 with musician Danny Johnson. His album “Winter Bones” earned him best male vocalist and best Folk/American album awards at 2012’s MAMAs. He was also nominated for best vocalist that year. Hart is still writing songs and performing across Wisconsin.

Maximum Ink: Who were some of your earliest influences?
Hart: Growing up in Milwaukee, I was a huge Willy Porter fan. I still am. I can’t wait to catch his show at the Shitty Barn this season. When I was really young, I remember my family listening to a lot of Paul Simon and James Taylor. The first concert that I ever attended was Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints tour. That made a strong impression on me.

MI: What is your favorite part about recording an album?
Hart: I love the sense of focus and intensity it brings to the material. I enjoy figuring out arrangements and instrumentation. It’s also a lot of fun to make music in a space that is designed to make music sound good.

MI: With two MAMAs for “Winter Bones”, what do you think made this album so special?
Hart: I’m not sure that it was any more special than any of the other albums that came out that year, but I had a lot of fun making it. It was recorded very quickly, with most of the tracking done live. I think that gives the recordings a unique kind of energy. I was also lucky enough to have some really great players on that record.


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Kwame Bediako

Kwame Bediako

An interview with Kwame Bediako
by Max Ink Writer List
July 2014

Kwame Bediako will fill the air with the sound of roots reggae music at Madison’s Atwood Fest on Saturday, July 26th.

Kwame has been performing “retro” roots reggae in America for over 20 years. His music holds true to a vintage style—something that’s becoming rare in the modern reggae world, where reggae-rock and dancehall tunes dominate the charts. Born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, Kwame has a global conscience and has seen different ways of life. “When I turned 21, I left,” he said, with a chuckle. Kwame came to the states for school, a common reason why young people from around the globe come here. Soon after, he found himself in the right place at the right time, surrounded by musical opportunities. “The next thing I know, I started gravitating more towards music,” said Kwame. “I’ve been doing it ever since, for about 20 or 30 years.”


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Chicago Pitchfork Festival 2014

Pitchfork Festival 2014

A Reader's Guide to Chicago's 2014 Pitchfork Festival
by John Noyd
June 2014

A classic salad of new and established acts covering hip-hop, ambient-trance and indie-rock, this year’s Pitchfork Festival hosts rising stars, electronic giants and first generation legends reuniting over blue lakeside skies in a green oasis of metropolitan proportions. As in years past each day of the three day event brings a slew of possible you can’t go wrong strategies as well as the unavoidable conflicts inherent in festival logistics. While three color-coded stages offer an incredible spectacle of diversified styles that allows the participants to chill in one area for a reasonable length, those with eclectic tastes will be scurrying to stitch together the perfect string of musical trophies. Day by day let’s look at the highlights and pitfalls that is Chicago’s 2014 Pitchfork Festival.


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Rodeo Bums Live

The Rodeo Bums

An interview with Madison cowpunk band, The Rodeo Bums
by Mike Huberty
June 2014

Deeply felt and raw vocals with dirty guitars, THE RODEO BUMS are heartfelt cowpunk kicking around the alt-country scene comprised of singer-songwriter Kurt Klinger, bassist Kurt Johnson and drummer Dave Dorst (of Wisconsin surf-metal legends Knuckel Drager) and former Blue Herons guitarist Charles Scott Carome. Their new release is an open wound that reveals a life lived hard. We talked to the whole band about the the new record and how they got together.


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The boys of Heavy Glow - photo by Bo Cross

Heavy Glow

An interview with Heavy Glow frontman, Jared Mullins
by Mike Huberty
June 2014

Bluesy rock with emotional vocals, HEAVY GLOW first gives off whiffs of Hendrix guitar with Dave Grohl fronting; it’s a modern sound that will be music to the ears for fans of THE WHITE STRIPES and THE BLACK KEYS. Their music was recently featured on the Stephen King show “Under The Dome” and you can see why it fit perfectly: it’s dark and moody melodic hard rock that sounds like it was meant for listening to driving on a summer night. We took a few minutes to talk to HEAVY GLOW’s lead singer and guitarist Jared Mullins about their upcoming Madison show at the Willy Street Pub and Grill, the Wisco.


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