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Held: A Musical Fantasy

Held: A Musical Fantasy

an interview with Kelly Maxwell
by Teri Barr
June 2015

VO5. Little Red Wolf. Held. You may recognize one or more from the Madison arts scene, but did you know the same person has played a part in all three?  Kelly Maxwell made her initial mark locally as a musician, but is now sharing her talents on a different stage. “Held: A Musical Fantasy,” is playing weekends through June at Broom Street Theater. It’s Kelly’s directorial debut, and first full-length work. “Held” is on the dark side of fairytales, with the consequences of power driven by the music, and weaved between the characters – one, demonstrating charm and a gift for the supernatural – the other, a determined realist. Let’s just say it leads to a powerful end. 

I recently asked Kelly about using her own power to move between music, and theater. And why this may be the start of a real-life fairytale, come true.


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Ultrea

Ultrea

Relentlessly Rocking and Forever Ascending
by Sal Serio
June 2015

It’s an exciting time for the Madison-based rock band Ultrea. June 2015 marks the E.P. release of new music titled “Forever Ascending” as well as a video for the song “Through The Ashes”. The world premiere of the new E.P. was broadcast June 2 on maxinkradio.com as a part of The Jimmy K Show, and the release party will be Sat. June 20 at The Red Zone (Annex) with Minneapolis band Gabriel And The Apocalypse, Genotype, Growing, and more. Ultrea also is performing at some large Midwest festival dates. The band, or “family” as they say, is comprised of Jennifer Lecesse-vocals, Jason Wepking-bass, Kyle Rattner and Greg Dellmann-guitars, and Bryan Lawver-drums.


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The Blasters

The Blasters

Phil Alvin - A New Lease On Life and a Lifelong Commitment To Rock ‘n Roll
by Sal Serio
June 2015

There are few active bands with as strong a claim to both the inception of a purely American musical movement, and the inspirational (and perspirational) performances with a wildly enthusiastic dedication to their craft, as Southern California’s The Blasters. Almost from their very first days as a group in 1979, The Blasters have proven to be a force to be reckoned with, both on recordings and on stage. The current Blasters line-up is comprised of powerful lead vocalist Phil Alvin, drummer Bill Bateman, bassist John Bazz, and guitarist Keith Wyatt. Prior to a 4-night run of June concert dates in the Upper Midwest, Maximum Ink’s veteran journalist Sal Serio got the great Phil Alvin to reflect on his career, life, death, and the definition of “rockabilly”.


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Boxmasters

The Boxmasters

An interview with Billy Bob Thornton and the gang
by Tina Ayres
May 2015

The Boxmasters is an Americana Rock and Roll band currently made up of Billy Bob Thornton, J.D Andrew, Brad Davis, and Ted Andreadis. Their fourth album, Somewhere Down the Road was released on 101 Ranch Records, April 7, 2015. It was an honor to sit down with the band for a glimpse at the men behind the music.

What were you like as a child growing up? What is your most fond memory from that time in your life? Did your love of music develop at an early age?
Billy Bob Thornton: My love of music developed when I was 3 or 4 because we used to listen to music around my Grandma’s house. It was mostly what was on the radio at the time, especially Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis. A lot of Sun records. My mom loved Jim Reeves and Ray Price and people like that, so that was my earliest influences. I was a kid who loved baseball and music. And then I saw the Beatles in 1964 on Ed Sullivan and started playing drums because I wanted to be like Ringo.
J.D. Andrew: My family constantly listened to music. We always had the radio on and we loved listening to a radio show on the “oldies” station called “Solid Gold Saturday Night” and I would make cassettes of the songs and listen to them all week. I started singing in a church group when I was 6 or 7 and from then on was always in a singing group of some sort.
Ted Andreadis: There was always music in my house growing up. My Father played the mandolin. I started on the accordion when I was around 10 years, then picked up guitar.
Brad Davis: I was a loner and one that enjoyed being around older folks. I loved playing music with my family. I was a music student at the age of 5 learning bluegrass by ear.

Do you happen to remember your very first favorite song?
BBT: My very first favorite song was probably He’ll Have to Go by Jim Reeves.
J.D.: Mine was probably Surf City or Dead Man’s Curve by Jan and Dean or Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys.
Ted: That’s a tough one.
Brad: Trailers for Sale or Rent by Roger Miller

When did you first know you wanted to seriously pursue a life of music? Does a little determination go a long way when dealing with the various rejections you encounter along the way, etc?
BBT: Well, I knew that I wanted to be in music right away when I saw the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five on Ed Sullivan. I had little bands that would play 3 or 4 songs like House of the Rising Sun and Hanky Panky. I played in bands later that played VFW clubs, high school proms, and college fraternity parties all the way up to opening for huge acts at coliseums and festivals by the time I was in my early 20’s. Then I went to California to seek my fame and fortune. But I never looked back. I always just thought tomorrow’s the day and rejection never deterred me.
J.D.: I had sort of an epiphany that I wanted to make records in college. I was always fascinated with equipment and loved setting up equipment for high school dances and parties starting in junior high. I had a band in college, but it was not my intention to be an artist. I was quite happy striving to be the most famous recording engineer in the world. And while I’ve had minor rejections, I’ve always believed that this is what I do, so I’m not going to be doing anything else.
Ted: I knew what I wanted to do [like most kids] when I saw the Beatles. As far as making it last you have to believe in yourself and know when it’s working and when it’s not. And when it’s not working and you’ve tried that’s probably the time to say Eh I gave it a good shot.
Brad: At the age of 10 I knew that I wanted to have a career in music. And I have had many failures but most all of those failures have led to amazing opportunities.


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Bumblefoot

Bumblefoot

An interview with guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal
by Tina Ayres
May 2015

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is a guitar virtuoso, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. He is likely best known for his stint as lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses. His tenth album Little Brother Is Watching features Dennis Leeflang on drums. With over 20 years of experience in the music industry Ron has collaborated with some of the most iconic musicians of our time. Most recently he has collaborations with DMC (Run DMC) and Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, Art of Anarchy). Bumblefoot also has music appearing in TV, film, and videogames. He works with U.S Embassies around the world on cross-cultural music programs and works with dozens of international charities visiting orphanages and children’s hospitals.

Maximum Ink: Do you happen to remember what you very first favorite song was?
Bumblefoot: Probably the theme to Sesame Street. (laughs) I started listening to music very young.
MI: What was it that first sparked your interest in music?
B: I heard a lot of classic ‘60s and ‘70s rock as a child, but it was hearing the KISS Alive! album for the first time that made me want to play music and follow that path. By age 6 I had a band together, we were writing songs and playing shows.
MI: What is it like to work with the US Embassy to encourage musicians from all cultures? How did you first become involved in that?
B: I was doing workshops and charity work a lot on my own, working with musicians from all around the world. Two years ago I was approached by an organization that thought I’d be the right guy to do these things with US Embassies around the world. I met with delegates from around the world, we chatted, told stories about my travels, and we hit the road. I’m writing this on a plane heading home from Southeast Asia after weeks of concerts, workshops, playing at children’s hospitals in Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia with super-talented local musicians and singers. I’m coming home with wonderful memories! (smiles)


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Morgan Rae - photo by Cocao Malamiravicht

Devil To Drag

An interview with singer Morgan Rae
by Teri Barr
May 2015

Sometimes, starting in reverse, can throw you into full forward.
It’s what the members of Devil to Drag may be learning right now. This Madison-based group began simply—as an acoustic duo—but expanded to a trio, and eventually a full power alt rock band. And though Devil to Drag is still young on the scene at less than a year together, the musicians involved bring experience, and an aggressive attitude for forging ahead. I recently talked with lead singer and guitar player Morgan Rae for Maximum Ink, just as the band gets ready to release a new video and album on May 15th: 


Maximum Ink:  Introduce us to your band, and why it’s pretty unique in the way you got together?
Morgan Rae:  Cocoa Malamiravict plays guitar and sings with me. It’s actually how Devil to Drag got its start. The two of us played and wrote together acoustically. It was his idea to then add Wade Coisman from Real Knives on bass. They’d played together in Underground Day 1 too, and have always worked together really well. It’s almost creepy sometimes to watch them communicate in rehearsal, because a lot of it is done through looks and vocal cues that aren’t actually words, but they still somehow understand each other.
Kai Anderson, also from Real Knives, was the last member to join, but in my opinion is the most influential addition when it comes to creating the sound we have today. We had asked him to play with us for a bigger show, then realized none of us wanted to go back to the more stripped down sound.
I feel really honored to be able to write and play with these three, and aside from all their musical talents, they each bring something different and important to the table, which I think is really going to set us up for success. Cocoa knows everyone and his brother, because he travels the country building greenhouses. He gets us a lot of great opportunities like playing Steelbridge Song Festival in Sturgeon Bay. Wade works at a print shop, so he knows all the ins and outs of navigating merchandise. And Kai not only works at WJJO Radio as a D.J., but also teaches at Madison Music Foundry, so he really helps make sure our practices to run smoothly when we’re tightening up material. Oh, and I have a full-time job too, at Peak Performance Massage.

MI:  Alot going on between the four of you! Where do you find your energy, and even your spirit for working on the new music?


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DJ Trichrome spinning tracks on a concert cruise ship opening for 311

Madcity Nights - May 2015

a monthly look around Madison's Live Music Scene
by Max Ink
May 2015

Madcity Nights is a monthly look around Madison’s Live Music Scene


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The Skizzwhores

The Skizzwhores

An interview with Madison punks, Skizzwhores
by Mike Huberty
May 2015

With its classic-sounding punk rock, Madison’s Skizzwhores takes the energy of Fear, the aggression of The Melvins, and throws some Bikini Kill over the top. Vocalist/guitarist Ashle Quinn, Bassist Evan Christiansen, and Dave Bonson (the most drummer-sounding name ever) took some time to discuss the band, their upcoming album, and their upcoming shows.


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Royal Blood

Royal Blood

An Interview with bassist Mike Kerr
by John Noyd
May 2015

Brighton, England’s two-piece blues-rock monster ROYAL BLOOD have been making waves ever since their self-titled debut came out last August. As perpetrators of rafter-rattling grooves whose ferocious approach to tight-knitted riffs trip in head-banging bliss, bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher have spread their particularly heavy brand of cosmic gospel around the world, including a jaw-dropping stop in Madison last fall. Circling back around with a headline gig at Madison’s High Noon Saloon May 31st, MAXIMUM INK was fortunate enough to ask hard-wired squire Mike Kerr a few questions before their arrival.

MAXIMUM INK: A lot of accolades came your way since you were last here opening up for the Pixies. Has it been great, a distraction, weird or no big deal?
ROYAL BLOOD:
It’s been great, it’s always nice to have people saying complimentary things, especially peers and people that have influenced you and inspired you. At the same time, you don’t dwell on it, you just carry on doing what you’re doing.

MI: You’ve covered The Police’s, “Roxanne,” and Pharrell’s, “Happy.” Is there any song that Royal Blood cannot take on?
RB:
Haha – I’ll let you in on a secret, it was a kind of backs against the wall scenario with those covers. But they came off well(just about!), not necessarily our number one choice of covers. It’s difficult to choose songs to cover, you’re programmed to create new music so it’s testing to deviate and then to cover someone else’s music!

MI: Have you ever refused a musical challenge?
RB:
Never. As I said above, doing the covers were a musical challenge, but they allowed us to bring our own musical style to it, so it all worked out in the end.


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The Fine Constant from Madison, Wisconsin - photo by Chris Lotten

The Fine Constant

An Interview with Sarah Longfield
by Teri Barr
April 2015

What would individual artists—influenced by jazz, EDM, and a little mix of metal—sound like playing together as a group? No reason to wonder, as this band already exists. The Fine Constant has been making its unique style of music for less than a year, and is set to embark on a several month cross country tour in support of a new, original album being officially released at its Madison show on April 9th. But who is this group, and why is the leader a bit of a beautiful surprise? Sarah Longfield recently took time out of her busy, getting-ready-for the-road preparations, to answer these questions and more, for Maximum Ink: 

Maximum Ink:  Your technique on guitar is pretty incredible. It’s unique, and really difficult. How long have you been playing?
Sarah Longfield:  I’ve been playing guitar for about 10 years now. I started off playing piano when I was about 8 and have taken up various instruments since then, but guitar is what comes most naturally!
As for my playing, I don’t know much about theory or proper technique, but I like to think having to work around that is what has helped me to develop my own style.

MI:  Who’s in the band, and with your different interests in music, how’d you get together?
SL:  My two band mates are Steve Meyer on drums, and Steve-O Wilkes on guitar. Steve has been playing drums for 18 years and Steve-O has been playing guitar for 14 years. We ended up together because Steve was seeking a guitar player for a jazz band while I was looking for a band to play the solo material I had written and recorded in my basement. After jamming a couple of times, it all sort of fell into place. Steve-O then came into the picture a short time later, after our original guitar player left the band.


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