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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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Holland Zander and Dana Buck

The Sensations

A conversation with Holland Zander and Dana Buck
by Teri Barr
March 2016

Every musician must have thoughts about their dream line-up. But for The Sensations – a couple of 70’s rockers with some success, partnered with the daughter of a 70’s rocker with a lot of success – their own group is a dream come true. “We have saved the best for now,” bass player Dana Buck says, while laughing. “52 years in this business, and I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had on stage. But I credit so much of it to Holland, our lead singer.”

Holland—is Holland Zander – daugher of Cheap Trick’s lead singer, Robin Zander. But the ties between the two bands, who are all family or friends, have been forged over many years. “Rick Pemberton is our lead guitarist, but played in a band years ago with my Dad, Brian Beebe, and Bun E. Carlos in Wisconsin Dells,” Holland Zander says. “Dad and Brian then locked it in as a duo for three summers. And our drummer, Kurt Wiesend, was Bun E.‘s (Cheap Trick’s drummer) drum tech for a few tours. Crazy small world, and even crazier stories!”


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Once Around - photo by Mat Teubert

Once Around

intro by Teri Bar, interview by Laura Sorensen
by Laura Sorensen
January 2016

If you only live once—the members of Once Around are finding a way to make every moment count. But before you assume this Madison-based band is a bunch of road-hardened veterans, you may be surprised to learn this group is made up of driven, talented… teenagers.

So what’s really making their young lust for life stand out in a big way? Once Around creatively combines its own style of original old school rock and glam, with some new age metal and punk. Sebastian Sikk is the 17-year-old lead vocalist; Wrath Starz is 16, and plays lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and contributes to backing vocals. 19-year-old Bam joins on bass, and backing vocals; then there’s Chase, who is 16, on drums.

But don’t let their ages fool you.  Laura talked with Once Around as the band gets ready to release some new music during its February 5th show at The Red Zone in Madison.

Maximum Ink:  Once Around is a clever name. How did you come up with it, and are you using it as (almost) a motto for the band?
Sebastian Sikk:
  The significance behind it, and a lot of our song lyrics is that you only live once, and a band like this only comes around once. The music is our message, and it just feels like it has been all the same old radio rock for awhile. I feel like there hasn’t been a new band to come out and skyrocket in popularity since Black Veil Brides. So we are trying to do something different, combining new age with older music we grew up on like Skid Row, Poison, and KISS. But we are mixing it up, and creating something new, along with a unique look. And not many people are doing a look anymore.


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2650 ViewsPermalinkOnce Around Website
Haliwel

Haliwel

by Teri Barr
December 2015

New band. New music. New business. But for three friends – also the founding members of Haliwel—the original mindset is the same: be the best, and have fun doing it together. The group is kicking off a new tour by releasing a new album with two shows scheduled in this area in December:  12/12 at The Red Zone with Left of Reason, Daphni, and Fall II Rise; and 12/30 at Hijynx in Fort Atkinson with Super Bob. I asked two of Haliwel’s original members to tell me about the current line-up; along with any special things to watch or listen for when the group is back on stage after a short hiatus. And you may be surprised by what a few of the guys started, during the time they took to reorganize.

Maximum Ink: How do you describe the new version of Haliwel?
Shawn Streeter:
We are still a Madison-based hard rock band with three of the original members including Max Neal on drums, Ryan Seney on bass, and myself on guitar. There’s also Jake Smith on guitar, and Dax Roberts is our new/old singer.
Max Neal: We are the Alter Bridge, Tool, and Shinedown kind of rock; not the Coldplay or Black Keys kind of rock…just to make sure no one is confused.


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