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Willy Street Fair 2018 - photo by David Michael Miller

Madcity Nights - September 2018

Previews of shows around Madison and surrounding areas
by Max Ink
September 2018

Madcity Nights for September features show picks and previews by Maximum Ink staff writers. This month: Willy Street Fair and many more!


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Madcity's Mackenzie Moore

Mackenzie Moore

Girl’s Rock Camper Steps Out
by Teri Barr
September 2018

It’s hard to believe she’s just starting her senior year of high school. But Mackenzie Moore has an old soul, and it comes out in her music. The Roxbury/Sauk City native has been writing her own songs for a while, and recently released her first album, “Veins,” with the support of some local musicians she met when she attended Girls Rock Camp Madison. But Mackenzie is just getting started, and she talked with me about her inspiration, what to expect when you go to one of her shows, and why her goal really isn’t that far out of reach.

Maximum Ink: You started playing guitar more than 10 years ago. What inspired you to pick up a guitar? 
Mackenzie Moore:
I initially got into music by listening to classic rock radio, and my parents’ C.D.’s. My mom played guitar for a while when she was in elementary and middle school, so when I started at 7, I used her same classical guitar from the early 70’s.


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The Mascot Theory

The Mascot Theory

An Interview with Band Founder Erik Kjelland
by Teri Barr
August 2018

We are sitting at Erik Kjelland’s kitchen table in Madison, and it is pretty obvious; there is an album release show just around the corner. Boxes of re-branded merchandise for his band, The Mascot Theory (TMT), along with specially roasted coffee, cups, and posters featuring the band’s new, official line-up are piled in any used-to-be empty spots around the house. But most important, so are copies of the band’s new, freshly pressed CD.

As Erik and I talk, we are also listening to some songs off the disc he just-picked-up


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Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

From The Voice to AtwoodFest
by Teri Barr
July 2018

“If James Brown and Otis Redding had a love child, it would be Josh Hoyer.” This magical quote is part of a bio on the official website for Josh Hoyer and his band Soul Colossal. It puts quite a picture in your head. But, it all make sense, when you listen to the music and learn about the goal behind it, Josh just wants you to dance.

Josh is an old soul, and you can hear it in his songs. His blues-rich vocals could be compared to some of the artists his group has opened for recently, including Booker T Jones, and George Clinton. But, Josh didn’t plan on putting together a long-haul touring band when this all started a half-dozen years ago. In fact, he claims, the music was meant to be something cool to do on the weekends in Nebraska, where he is from. “It was all for fun,” Josh says. “People enjoyed the songs and the band, and it grew naturally from there. I really didn’t expect to ever be touring the country, or the world. I just wanted to find five or six music-minded cities within 1,000 miles of Lincoln, and build those areas up with repeat performances.” Yet now, an average 150 shows across 32 states, and a second tour of Europe starting at the end of this summer, is now considered a typical year for Josh and Soul Colossal.


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Luke Jorgensen and Roy Elkins - photo by Teri Barr

Between The Waves 2018

by Teri Barr
June 2018

It started as a dream, and one I recall talking with Roy Elkins about over a sandwich at the Avenue Bar on East Washington Avenue in Madison a few years ago. Roy wanted to highlight the music scene in this area, and decided a weekend gathering of industry experts from across the world, along with showcases featuring the multitude of talent in and around the city, could be good for everyone involved.

Quickly jump forward to June 2018, and the planning for the 2nd Annual Between the Waves Madison Music Conference and Festival is all but complete.


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Kirstie Kraus on the cover of Maximum Ink for May 2018

Kirstie Kraus

Madison to Nashville and Back
by Teri Barr
May 2018

She was singing before she could talk. And Kirstie Kraus is still singing,  but now, it is more than she talks. Music has become her passion, her love, and her life.

Kirstie threw herself into her career, full-time, two years ago. Two years before that, she started her own band, Thirsty Jones. The Madison-based group quickly gained a following, and earned accolades. Kirstie wants to replicate, and increase the success she’s already had as a musician here. So I asked, is taking her efforts to Nashville, where she has to work even harder to create her music-magic, worth it? We also discussed why her upcoming single release is going to be one we’ll all want to be a part of, and when we can see her in our area this summer…


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Uncle Eddie promo shot circa late 1990's

Uncle Eddie

A Conversation with Guitarist Darwin Sampson
by Teri Barr
April 2018

Sometimes, when history repeats itself, there’s a good reason behind it. So, when planning for the annual Maximum Ink Bomblastica Party for the People 2018 began, the conversation around who would play meant turning the clock back in time, and asking a hard-hitting early 1990’ish band, Uncle Eddie to make a reappearance.

Now, according to guitarist Darwin Sampson, who is also known as the venerable owner of The Frequency in Madison, Uncle Eddie never truly went away. On and off for the right reasons or the right parties the last twenty-years, original members including Sampson, Nate Arnold on bass, and Chad Ovshak on drums, would clean off the cobwebs, and make music as Uncle Eddie. All three have been, and are, in other bands since the days which Sampson tells me started for him in a house in the Fox Valley area, eventually brought him to jam in the laundry room of Ovshak’s Mom’s house, and led to big basement shows in a house on old University Avenue—one of the first which included a then brand-new band, Sunspot, now a solid regular on the Madison scene.  Those early basement shows turned into Uncle Eddie becoming a regular at The Inferno, Spooners, and O’Kayz Corral, three of the spots Sampson says he’d only wished he could play as a kid. “Madison, and some of the venues at that time, seemed like a dream,” Sampson says. “We met a lot of bands just before their time. Nirvana, Green Day, Husker Du. Some we’d play on a bill with, others found us not punk enough or too jammy, but we made so many friends. We just weren’t sure what we wanted to do with Uncle Eddie.”


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Pat Furgeson on the Cover of Maximum Ink for April 2018 - photo by Ty Halbech

Pat Ferguson

by Teri Barr
April 2018

He isn’t new to the music scene, but Pat Ferguson has a new feeling about it. “There are exciting things happening right now for the groups coming out of Madison. Really exciting times around here,” Ferguson says.

And his own timing may be contributing to the excitement, as he is on the road promoting his first solo album, “Light of Day / Dark of Night,” after touring with a band for years. Pat also has a regular Wednesday night residency at HotelRED in Madison, which he says has helped fuel much of the material on the new album. Pat will be releasing the album for the first time at a show on April 27, 2018 at the Stoughton Opera House in Stoughton, and took time to answer our questions about this new stage of his career, and how he’s always been connected to music.


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Madcity's own Anna Wang - photo by Anna Wang

Anna Wang

an interview with Madison songwriter Anna Wang
by Teri Barr
March 2018

Anna Wang is no stranger to the area music scene. She made a big impression as lead singer and main songwriter for Anna Wang and The Oh Boys!, and in a 2012 Maximum Ink interview talked about sharing the power of songs, mixed with the joy of pop music, while taking on the world with her band. Some scheduling issues and line-up changes meant the eventual end of one project, some time off, and the creation of Tortoise and the Finch. Her talent helped take this duo to the top of the Project M Singer-Songwriter Competition in 2017. But even this success was short-lived. Anna is now a solo artist, but if you think it means she is quietly playing in a corner all alone, you don’t know Anna. She just released a new album of electronic-pop, and commands your attention—whether you are listening to her CD or watching her live—Anna is playing an entire band of instruments and every note of her songs. She’ll be joining with several other musicians, and sharing what she’s learned as part of a multi-part workshop, “The Six Questions of Songwriting,” starting Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 6:30-8:30 pm at 702 East Johnson Street in Madison, as well as solo shows including one she is really looking forward to at ArtIn on East Washington Avenue in Madison on May 17th. Keep reading to learn how Anna feels about being in this current place where she is in control of her music, and her life.


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Sam Ness - photo by JC Dunst

Sam Ness

A Musical Journeyman
by Teri Barr
February 2018

“Music is a release for me when life gets hard. It’s a friend I can always count on. It’s a connection to so many amazing people around the world. It’s a second language, a hobby, a business, a friend, an enemy, sometimes it feels like the air that I breathe. I don’t know what the moment was I realized it, but I’ll never live without being close to music. It’s just as ingrained in me as my own heartbeat.”
Sam Ness

He found his voice, while wandering the streets of Europe. But Sam Ness brought his songs home, to record in places he loves, in Wisconsin. His album is a magical musical journey, and not only features his thoughts about where he’s been; but as one of the youngest and exciting new voices on the scene here, it’s a reflection on where he still wants to go. So, just before he leaves in search of some new inspiration, Sam took time to talk about his reason for traveling, why he loves busking while he’s on the road, and how some bad busking experiences in Madison have pushed him to try and change the law here.


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