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Katie Scullin on the cover of Maximum Ink for February 2017 - photo by John Hart

Katie Scullin

by Teri Barr
February 2017

What is a hurdle when you relate it to a music career? The definition indicates an obstacle or difficulty to overcome. If you ask Madison-based musician Katie Scullin, she now smiles and shares the stories of many unexpected hurdles during the process of writing and creating her first full album of original music.

Some hurdles would knock out a weaker person. It’s just the way it is. But Katie, who has won countless competitions and accolades including an Emerging Artist Award, the Triple-M Singer-Songwriter Competition, and numerous Madison Area Music Association Awards, refused to fall. Now the finish line is at hand as her new album drops on February 7, followed by an album release celebration on February 17th at Funk’s Pub, and a tour in support of it.

Katie took time to answer some questions about her music at a time when her career is also getting a big boost from those who believe she can take on any hurdle, and win.

Maximum Ink: Everyone has a different story about the way they discovered music. What’s yours?
Katie Scullin:
I just remember sitting in the back of the car singing along to the radio while listening for the differences in every voice, and trying to match the tone and timbre with my own voice, even the guys. Experimenting with my voice just made me feel good. When my parents brought home an old used piano I was immediately drawn to it. I took some lessons in elementary school and used to write songs with my girlfriends. Then, I picked up guitar after high school, and it opened up a whole new avenue for me. It’s also when I started writing “real” songs.


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Madison's folk singer/songwriter Dana Perry - photo by Jenna Joanis

Dana Perry

by Teri Barr
January 2017

“When we really stop to take a deeper look… many musicians like myself realize we’ve actually already gotten ourselves right where we want to be - and we’re going exactly where we want to go.”
Dana Perry, musician

A multi-talented musician, Dana Perry is doing it all these days. She plays solo and with several bands, supports other artists, and teaches new musicians the craft she loves. And Perry gives every ounce of her energy and her heart to each effort. But starting this month, she is behind an even bigger endeavor to get more songwriters heard in an intimate, exclusive setting. The first Thursday of each month, beginning on January 5th, Perry is hosting a “Listening Room” at SOSONIC. She took time to answer some of our questions about it, including why she knows she is in the right place at the right time.


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Madison based singer/songwriter Shawndell Marks - photo by Nissa Brehmer

Shawndell Marks

Q&A with Madison based singer/songwriter Shawndell Marks
by Teri Barr
December 2016

Inspiration—good and bad—can run deep.

Shawndell Marks makes no excuses and uses both to her advantage. She can turn pride or pain into an outstanding song. And as I quickly learned, she would rather do that than an interview, any day!

Marks has been on the area scene for a long time, though you may only recognize her outstanding skills as part of an ensemble or tribute band. She’s solo now, and this tiny but mighty woman’s new album is just out. Look for it, along with December show dates on her website and keep reading for more on her surprising music roots, and why it would be ok if she didn’t like Elvis.

Maximum Ink:  Let’s start with one of my favorite questions—when did music become an interest? Every person I’ve talked with has a very different story. What’s yours?
Shawndell Marks:
  I was in 2nd grade, and my family moved into an apartment that had an old, out-of-tune upright piano stashed in the back of it. I would sit with an open hymnal in front of me and pretend to play. I had no idea what I was doing, but felt confident it sounded STELLAR. It was instant love for those black & white keys. My grandmother eventually bought me my own piano after our family moved out of the apartment. I played organ and piano in church through middle school, and in high school auditioned for “The Wisconsin Opry,” a music theater in the Dells offering nightly country-western shows to tourists. I worked there for three summers (performing Patsy Cline’s Crazy), and at the age of 18, I met my future husband who asked me to join his cover band, Thunder Road. We opened for George Jones, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and also played clubs and festivals.


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The Racing Pulses

The Racing Pulses

by Teri Barr
November 2016

Every band has a unique story about its members, and what originally brought them together. But The Racing Pulses, which prides itself on being a rock band built on swift melodies and big rhythms, may have one of the most interesting of all. Kristian Iliev, a Madison guitar player originally from Racine, placed an ad on Craigslist. Both Mike Newby, a drummer from the East Coast, and Brian Blanchette of rural Mineral Point, responded. But both also told family members, if they weren’t in touch within an hour, call police. Luckily, their differences have helped form a solid foundation, and some great goals. I talked with all of them recently about hitting the road, while creating their first full-length album.

Maximum Ink: Everyone decides to play music for a different reason. What was your inspiration?
Kristian Iliev:
Ever since I can remember, I have enjoyed singing. In middle school, my dad bought me a drum kit and we started talking a lot more about music. During high school, I was a jazz band drummer. But, rock was always my first love and it was during that time I learned to play guitar. My family inspired me, too. I have memories of watching my father play guitar, seeing my sister sing in musicals, and going to concerts throughout those years.


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Lords of the Trident: The most METAL band on earth! - photo by Mary Sweeney Photography

Lords of the Trident

an interview with vocalist Fang Von Wrathenstein
by Teri Barr
October 2016

My assignment? A pre-Halloween show Q & A with Ty Christian, better known as Fang VonWrathenstein, lead singer of the Madison-based band Lords of the Trident.

What I learned? The band has been in Max Ink twice before, and has only had to endure two line-up changes.

But, the goal has never changed:  world domination.
Too serious?

Consider, it is October, and this is not a group taking itself too seriously.
Still, this band is no joke. Made up of talented musicians, Lords of the Trident has also been signed to a label in Europe, and is creating a monthly column for Guitar World Magazine called, “Music of the Arcane.”

It’s just a few of the steps on the way to world domination.
Hope you enjoy reading about the rest.


Maximum Ink:  You were a young barbarian when your parents urged you to learn the war cries of your people. Was this your first foray into music?
Fang Von Wrathenstein:
We also trained on various instruments - the bone xylophone, the skull trumpet. My mother even had an accordion made from flexible bison hide that she would play from time to time. But they always knew my true passion was in the vocalizations of our various war calls. That’s how I began to train my voice in the power of true META. Later, when the time came to record our first album, I started to get into the production-side of music, learning all I could about the various microphone techniques and equalization strategies. Thankfully, a number of strong mortal warriors helped, otherwise our albums would’ve sounded much worse than they do.


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Madison Malone - photo by Scotify

Madison Malone

Madison Singer/Songwriter makes move to Los Angeles
by Teri Barr
August 2016

“I have no idea what’s about to happen,” Madison Malone reveals to me as we hug in greeting, and sit down to chat. “But I don’t want a predictable life or music career, so it’s the right time for a new challenge in a new city.” Malone’s days in Madison are now officially numbered. By the end of August, Wisconsin will be a blip in her rearview mirror, and her career will be off and running in Los Angeles. It’s true. The young songstress already has close to a dozen shows booked in California, and a few will include musicians from this area on the bill starting with singer-songwriter Teddy Davenport. It is something she has strategically built into her business plan. “I want to be a funnel for helping Madison musicians get on stage in the L.A. area,” Malone says. “My goal really is to collaborate with the connections I have and put together a back-and-forth opportunity for artists in both cities.”


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Sonny Knight & the Lakers at the Majestic in Madison, WI 6/11/2016 - photo by David Luciano

Sonny Knight and the Lakers

an interview with Sonny Knight
by Teri Barr
July 2016

If you haven’t heard about the highly acclaimed Midwestern funk and soul group, Sonny Knight and The Lakers, you are in luck. The Twin Cities-based band is making a much-wanted return to AtwoodFest 2016, a huge follow up to its Madison area debut, during AtwoodFest 2014.

Since that July, the group has been back in the area four times—playing to both sold out venues and packed streets, including a “Live on King Street” show during the summer of 2015.

Knight, who is now closing in on 68 years old, maintains his agile, ageless-ness on stage; surrounded by a talented, young group of musicians who support his every word, note, and move. Watching this band perform together, this is one well-oiled machine.


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Luke Jorgensen of Lower 5th and Whiskeyonsin organizer

Whiskeyonsin Family Reunion 2016

an interview with organizer and musician Luke Jorgensen
by Teri Barr
May 2016

Success with a group of musicians is one thing.

But also being an accomplished producer and event organizer should elevate the clout for one of the founders of The Lower 5th, a Madison-based, Midwestern-soul band. Yet any communication with Luke Jorgensen reveals a kind-hearted man, who is simply proud to be able to play a style of music he loves with people he describes as “amazing.”

Ask him about his three-year-old event, the Whiskeyonsin Family Reunion, and it’s when you get the fierce passion of someone who considers this one of the top shows to bring some of the best area bands together, and all for us. I asked Luke about Whiskeyonsin, how it has turned into one of his favorite things to be part of, and why the show is moving to Madison this June.


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Rockonsin  - photo by Jerod Gibson

Rockonsin

an interview with creator Dennis Graham
by Teri Barr
April 2016

“Music means everything to me. And it’s great to see ROCKONSIN encourage and recognize young Wisconsin garage bands,” Butch Vig says. Vig, drummer for the internationally-acclaimed band Garbage and a Grammy Award winning producer, understands the importance of supporting up-and-coming musicians. As he told me when I interviewed him one year ago, and just before receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Madison Area Music Association, he’d started volunteering to help improve his own child’s school music program. But his current effort to speak out on behalf of ROCKONSIN may feel a little different; as the idea behind it takes Vig back to his own roots, which includes playing with friends in bands where he grew up in Viroqua, Wisconsin, and later in Madison. ROCKONSIN is getting the star treatment, because it’s deserving – Dennis Graham Associates started producing this state-wide competition back in 2005, and while it’s grown in popularity, ROCKONSIN remains the only one of its type in the country. Graham says it’s helped launched a lot of young talent, with the most recent being former Madison musician Gabe Burdulis.


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Madison's Damsel Trash featuring Meghan Rose and Emily Mills

Damsel Trash

an interview with Meghan Rose and Emily Mills
by Teri Barr
April 2016

Do you ever hear (and in this case, see) a band, and wonder where the group may be headed? The first story I wrote about Meghan Rose came out in February, 2014, after meeting her at Ladies Rock Camp in Madison, where she helped coach and encourage a group of women wanna-be rock stars. A few people at the time asked, “Who?” But, I had the feeling any obliviousness wouldn’t last long, especially when she partnered with Emily Mills to form Damsel Trash, a self-described two-women, trash punk rock your face band.

Fast-forward a little more than two years, and we now know where Damsel Trash is going:  Meghan is moving to New York City in May, and though Emily will remain in the Madison area, there is a pact between the two. We haven’t heard the last from Damsel Trash. I had the chance to ask them more about the band’s past, and get some great details about their plans for the future.   

Maximum Ink: How did Damsel Trash get started?
Emily Mills:
Meg and I were in Little Red Wolf (alt-country) together. But it wasn’t until we did a Hole tribute band for Halloween, 2012, that I think things started to really click in terms of both of us wanting an outlet for our shoutier, angrier, more theatrical sides. Meg learning so much about Courtney Love for that Hole tribute, and sort of embodying that rowdy, take-no-shit persona really fucking opened a door for her, I think. It was a beautiful thing to witness, because she hadn’t really embraced that punk side of herself, not fully, prior to that.


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