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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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Jimmy K

Top 41 of 2017

an interview with Jimmy K
by Teri Barr
December 2017

Katie Scullin, Imaginary Watermelon, and so many other amazing area artists have released new music the past year. Do you have a favorite?

This may be one of the most fun ways to show your support.

Yes, it’s time again for Maximum Ink Radio’s Top 41! If your favorite band or solo artist is from Wisconsin, and released a song, EP, or album this year, the requirements indicate, it or they are eligible for this outstanding recognition.

But, the Top 41 doesn’t happen without you—so your nominations, followed by your votes, are important in the process.

And I was able to grab some time with the long-time host of the Top 41 Show, the Jimmy K Show on Max Ink Radio, Jimmy K, to get the scoop.

Maximum Ink: What’s the deal on the nomination and voting process?
Jimmy K:
There are two rounds of voting every year. Any artist or band can enter, they just have to be from Wisconsin and have released a song in 2017. We attempt to get any eligible artist or band involved in the process. The first round relies on write-in nominations until Monday, December 4th.


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Teddy Davenport and the Cushions

Teddy Davenport & the Cushions

interview with Madison based songwriter
by Teri Barr
December 2017

“Music is my first love, it’s my best friend. Music has literally saved my life.”

Teddy Davenport’s past is the kind of story you often hear about in songs. But for his first full-length album, Teddy took control of his life, and decided to share large parts of it through some of the best music being released in late 2017. Teddy’s also lost and gained during the writing process, and as you’ll learn from our Q and A, he isn’t shy sharing it. Luckily, he’s also talking about the future, and a time when we’ll be able to say, “We knew him when…”

So, for now, enjoy Teddy and his new album which is being released with his band, Teddy Davenport and The Cushions at Harmony Bar in Madison on Friday, December 8, 2017. There’s also a Toys for Tots Fundraiser show at the VFW in Monona on Sunday, December 10, 2017, at 1:30 pm.

You’ll also find him on Facebook, Instagram, twitter, and his website: teddydavenport.com


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Mackay signs a poster backstage at Girl’s Rock Camp - photo by Teri Barr

Take the Stage:  A Girls Rock-umentary

First official screening on Thursday, November 16, 2017 High Noon Saloon at 5pm
by Teri Barr
November 2017

The line of fans waiting for the doors to open, wraps through the building, and out the door. But this isn’t just a normal show the crowd is waiting to see—this is the showcase for Girls Rock Camp Madison.

Two area women recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary which “follows the journey of determined, female rockin’ youngsters, ages 8-18 at a music intensive day camp.” Darla Courtney & Portia Danis are the producers and directors behind the roller coaster into rock and roll, “Take the Stage, A Girls Rock-umentary.” And while there have been some tease videos of the film released, the full documentary remains a surprise, though the ending can be considered a sure thing. It will probably feature the community, collaboration, and sense of accomplishment every girl who participates in a week at Girls Rock Camp Madison takes home after the final note is played.


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Sassy Come Home

Sassy Come Home

Interview with drummer Dave Bonson
by Teri Barr
September 2017

As a kid, Dave Bonson created a heavy, punk music scene in a place better known for its Hodag Country Festival. Today, he continues to create a scene, though now in the Madison area, and more grunge-influenced. Bonson took time to answer a few questions about the 5th Annual Grrrls Kick Ass Fest, happening at The Frequency on September 23rd. He also shared a peek into his latest project, the Sassy Come Home Band.
 
Maximum Ink: You got involved in music while growing up in Rhinelander, in Northern Wisconsin. What influenced you there? 
Dave Bonson:
Yeah, it started in the small town of Rhinelander, home of the Hodag. I got really into Nirvana when I was young and picked up bass. Then I moved on to guitar. However, there were few drummers in the area, and none of them really clicked with what I wanted to do. So, I picked up drumming, and fell in love with it, then eventually found some awesome people to play with in a band.


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Gear & Beer Fest II

Gear & Beer Fest II

an interview with founder Wendy Schneider
by Teri Barr
September 2017

Musical gear, and craft beer. It doesn’t get much more Wisconsin than this event. The must-attend gathering is Gear and Beer Fest, and it’s happening at the East Side Club in Madison, starting at noon on Sunday, September 24, 2017.

And the brains behind it?

The fearless leader of Coney Island Studios in Madison, Wendy Schneider, best known recently for her work on the Smart Studios documentary. “Coney Island recorded bands for a long time, around 20 years ago,” Schneider says. “I’ve resurrected the idea of Coney Island as a brand for local music, but instead it’s now focused on presenting events, and producing films that include local or midwest-based music at the core.”


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Theresa Marie of The People Brothers Band on stage at AtwoodFest 2017 only days before appearing on the Cover of Maximum Ink - photo by Jason Tish

People Brothers Band

an interview with singer Theresa Marie
by Teri Barr
August 2017

Have you been touched—truly touched—by The People Brothers Band brand of love, peace, and harmony?
It’s a feeling. It’s a sound. It’s an energy.

And it’s something you can’t describe. It has to be experienced.

My own The People Brothers Band experience happened just a few years ago, though the band itself has been together since 2009. (I know, where have I been?)

I’ve been fortunate in more recent years, to really enjoy the band’s joy. Prior to one show, to also have the opportunity to spend time backstage with them before introducing the group to a big crowd—I was left beyond impressed.

Teresa Marie is the only woman in The People Brothers Band, but don’t think she gets any special treatment. She sings, writes, and performs her heart out, just like everyone else in the “family.” Teresa knows she is part of something special, and took time to share her thoughts about it, just before the popular People Fest, August 10-12, 2017, at their own Driftless Gardens music venue.


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SIMO on the cover of Maximum Ink music magazine

SIMO

SIMO comes back to play AtwoodFest 2017
by Teri Barr
July 2017

The bluesy tunes of J.D. Simo have hit a new high. He has written hundreds of songs, traveled the world, and J.D. has even cut his trademark shoulder-length hair since the last time we talked with him for Maximum Ink just after a successful performance at AtwoodFest a few years ago. But his history in music remains the same; he grew up in Chicago, quit high school, and moved to Nashville. He became a young studio musician and played on more than 500 albums. He says many were popular names we may recognize which made him recognize he didn’t want to play sessions the rest of his life. He formed the SIMO trio, and this second chapter of his music history is still being written.

Here’s an update on some of the things we talked about during our first interview:

Maximum Ink: You’ll be back for a second AtwoodFest show in July, but you’ve played Madison a couple of times since your first AtwoodFest show. What is it about playing here that draws you back?
J.D. Simo: We try not to have expectations of a place when we play there, but Madison is beautiful, and I felt a creative contingent of people, similar to Boulder or Asheville. That’s a feeling that sustains you as you get on stage, and it helps you get into a rhythm. It’s what I did at the first AtwoodFest show, and after a few songs I looked out to see the place was packed. It’s something I want to remember! I’ve actually had people tell me, sometimes as a band is climbing, you forget to live in the moment, so you have to enjoy it. It really was a show we’ll never forget, and I’m looking forward to playing AtwoodFest again!

MI: SIMO is a three piece, but you have always sounded so much bigger. Not louder, but bigger. I saw you recently, and the sound is so consistent.
JD: I am so very proud of the three of us! We are so conscientious of our sound, and it’s why we use vintage gear, in the context of our heros like the James Gang or the Jeff Beck Group. We want to earn a stake in that lineage. Plus, as a trio, you have to give 100% of your talent, and energy. You have to be completely committed to the music, and we aim to do that every night, so we know not one of us can slack off on it.


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BTW founder Roy Elkins

Between The Waves Madsion Music Festival and Conference

and interview with founder Roy Elkins
by Teri Barr
June 2017

Many years ago, Roy Elkins left his hometown in Michigan, drawn to the music scene of Memphis, Tennessee. His father and brothers were musicians, and Roy believed he could create his own fame along Beale Street. But his fascination with the artists instead revealed a skill Roy hadn’t quite considered before—the technology-side of music.

Fast-forward to an opportunity with Sonic Foundry in Madison. It was 1997 and Roy was based in Philadelphia. He was still working in technology, and in a quickly-changing business, helped launch dozens of new products meant to make a musician’s job easier. But there was something about Madison. Shortly after settling in here, Roy realized he was smitten with the city. And as it turns out, it was not a short-term sort of love.


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