Rock ‘n’ Roll Warriors Out To Have Guaranteed Fun
by Sal Serio
When I got on the phone with Rival Sons drummer Michael Miley (he just goes by “Miley”) I mentioned that I’d “heard about” Rival Sons long before I actually heard them, since many friends knew I’d appreciate their heavy 70s influenced ballsy attitude and soulful swagger. He thought that was cool, but then started giving me a hard time about being a Green Bay Packer fan. The interview was almost over right there! Heh, just kidding. I was happy to get some insight in to the band who scored the honorable and enviable position of getting to open for Black Sabbath on their upcoming “The End” tour. Rival Sons will actually headline a free show here in Madison at The Sett in Union South, Saturday, January 23. Other regional dates, with Black Sabbath, include Chicago on January 22 and September 4, also Minneapolis on January 25. The rest of Rivals Sons are: Jay Buchanan (vocals), Scott Holiday (guitar), and Dave Beste (bass). Read More...
by Teri Barr
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? Read More...
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.
An interview with Madison folk singer/songwriter Teddy Davenport
by Mike Huberty
With a spirit and sound recalling the halcyon days of BOB DYLAN and ARLO GUTHRIE, Madison guitarist and vocalist TEDDY DAVENPORT is playing earnest honest-to-goodness classic acoustic American Folk music. His new EP is called *Middle of A Miracle* and he’ll be releasing it at Door Creek Church on December 12th supported by Krause Family Band, Madison Malone, and Tyler Preston. We took a minute to talk to him about his new release, his inspirations and the upcoming show. Read More...
An interview with The Mad Mad Ones drummer, Nick Bretl
by Mike Huberty
Straight outta Wausau, THE MAD MAD ONES are alternative-style hard rock that will make you think of the big rock anthems of STONE TEMPLE PILOTS’ first record (still their best) and the wails and screams of JANE’S ADDICTION’s groove-metal head bangers. Guitarist/vocalist Ted Fox, drummer Nick Bretl, guitarist Jeff Sandbom, and bassist Ryan Anderson have delivered a monster in the form of Down The Rabbit Hole, their debut album. It’s all belching guitars, piercing vocals, and relentless drums that evoke equal parts ALICE IN CHAINS and WOLFMOTHER. I went down the rabbit hole with Nick to talk about their album and their upcoming Madison show at the Willy Street Pub and Grill (AKA The Wisco) on Friday December 11th.
A story of the band Fall II Rise based on an interview with band members Betty Rise / Tyler Williams
by Laura Sorensen
The Madison based band Fall II Rise have come a long way, both in distance and in music. Relocated from their native homeland of Puerto Rico, other than the bass player who is from Oklahoma, the five member female fronted rock band is ready to release a brand new EP. “The Demise of the Empire” consists of six new tracks, including the first release “We Are.” Along with being the first single released from the EP, the band has also produced a music video for “We Are” which should be available prior to their dual release party with Haliwel on December 12 at The Red Zone. Following is a recap of my recent meeting with the lead singer Betty Rise and bass guitarist Tyler Williams. Read More...
An interview with lead guitarist Phillip Vilenski
by Michelle Harper
One hundred and sixty four miles from Lincoln City, the birthplace of legendary rocker Bob Segar, is a town called Wayland, Michigan. With a population of around 4,000 people, it’s safe to say that unless you’re from the area, you probably have never heard of the place.
Enter Wayland, the band. Their hot, searing vocals, combined with a blues/rock fusion sound will make sure that, not only will you know about the town of Wayland, Michigan…
You’ll never forget it.
Their new single entitled “Bloody Sunrise” is taking the radio waves by storm. I had the privilege of speaking with lead guitarist Phil Vilenski, as he and the band were driving down the road in their tour bus somewhere between Memphis and Shreveport.
MI: I read that you and Mitch (Mitch Arnold, lead singer of Wayland) met in California around 10 years ago.
PV: It’s funny because we’re all Midwestern guys, we’re all from Michigan, Mitch is from Indiana, and we met in Los Angeles.
MI: That is funny. So how did you guys meet? Did you meet in a club? Were you auditioning for groups? What happened? Read More...
A candid conversation with singer Jeff Pezzati
by Sal Serio
Fans of the regional Upper-Midwest punk rock scene, whether young and still stage-diving in to the mosh pit, or the “senior scenesters” who had been there the first time around and are content to enjoy concerts from the bar stool in the back of the hall, are all quite familiar with the name Naked Raygun. The tuneful but edgy punk rock legends have been at it since 1980, and since reforming in recent years to play Chicago’s premier event Riot Fest, are proving that they haven’t lost any of that energy and electricity. With a new album in the works, singer Jeff Pezzati spoke with Maximum Ink’s Sal Serio about their upcoming December 4th appearance at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall. Read More...
An interview with Madison hard rockers, Go Play God
by Mike Huberty
Sludgy and aggressive, GO PLAY GOD, is vintage hard rock that borrows a little from grunge like ALICE IN CHAINS, a little from classic heavy metal like BLACK SABBATH, and sounds a lot like a more modern version of GODSMACK. Read More...
an interview with Erik Kjelland
by Teri Barr
If you’re trying to pin-point who’s currently a fast rising male star on the music scene, look no further than Erik Kjelland. The Madison-based, Mineral Point-born musician is part of an award-winning band with a new CD on the way; plus, he’s about to partner with another successful area artist for a special winter tour. This is all happening after a well-received Summerfest performance with his band The Mascot Theory, a featured performance with the Madison Youth Choir and Black Star Drum line at the Madison Area Music Association Awards (where The Mascot Theory took home 4 awards), and a sold-out Barrymore show with Vance Joy, just to name a few of the highlights.
But Kjelland isn’t taking any of it for granted. He’s open about a recent health issue, which may be making him even more determined to reach his goals. He took time to answer my questions about his plans moving forward, and as one of the local bands hosting the Flannel Fest show at the High Noon Saloon on Saturday, November 7th. It’s only in its second year, but Kjelland is proud that it’s already one of the hottest tickets in town due to the quality of musicians taking part in the fundraising show in support of the Keep Wisconsin Warm Fund. Just one more thing to add to his list of rewards this year. Read More...
An Interview with songwriter Ellen Kempner of Palehound
by John Noyd
Outspoken and perceptive with a razor-sharp wit, Boston songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ellen Kempner is the creative captain of the gale-force musical cruiser, PALEHOUND. Boundless disregard for tradition turns her recent, “Dry Food,” into a cornucopia of rock and roll riches mixed in a refreshing blend of cut-throat poetry, elliptical guitar and storm-trooper grooves. Out on the road, Ms. Kempner drops into Madison’s The Frequency November 18th along with indie renegade MITSKI and punk-rockers PWR BTTM. We caught Ellen just before her tour and asked her a few questions to prepare for her visit.
MAXIMUM INK: As a female songwriter who plays a mean rock guitar who can I compare you to that would make you blush and who would make you scowl?
ELLEN KEMPNER: Well there are plenty of people you could compare me to that would make me blush, like Albert King, Annie Clark, Matt Sweeney etc.. Honestly, I feel that anyone who plays a “mean rock guitar” has qualities that I don’t feel fit enough to judge to the point of scowling!
MI: Your new album, “Dry Food,” is full of shifting rhythms and unpredictable dynamics. Do songs come to you with these ideas from the start, get worked out in the writing process, in the studio or the stage?
EK: I never perform anything in the studio or on stage until I’m completely confident in what I’ve written, partially because I’m an anxious perfectionist. As far as dynamics go, that’s usually something that comes to me from the start of a song, whereas shifting rhythms tends to be part of the editing/writing process.
MI: Having started out as a solo artist who played most of her instruments what is it like to relinquish control to three other people? What prompted you to make that leap?
EK: I still for the most part consider myself a solo artist actually, because through lineup changes I have retained the majority of creative control. I usually write a song and then demo out all the instruments myself and then leave it to my bandmates to play them better than I can (i.e. Drums haha)
MI: “Dry Food,” seems to speak from the heart, have you ever started a song based on a feeling you since felt was misplaced or trite?
EK: I’ve definitely started plenty of songs that way but those are the ones I tend to discard. Total, I wrote probably at least 40 songs leading up to Dry Food but picked those eight because they seemed the most genuine and expressed what I wanted to express most clearly.
MI: Your lyrics show an appreciation for language’s playful nature, are there any specific books from your childhood still informing your current aesthetic?
EK: Really funny you would ask that because I was just looking over some books in my childhood bedroom last week. I can’t say that I’m directly inspired by those books today but looking back on them I was actually surprised to see how much of the language and strange weirdo plot lines seemed to have stuck with me through the years. The ones that stood out in particular were Caps For Sale, A Bad Case of the Stripes, and The Giant Jam Sandwich.