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Randy Bachman live! - photo by Callianne Bachman

Randy Bachman

Bachman: Reinventing Heavy Blues
by Sal Serio
February 2015

When the concept truly sunk in that I was going to be talking to the king of Canadian rock, Randy Bachman, the man behind the music of such incredible songs such as ‘American Woman’, ‘No Sugar Tonight’, ‘These Eyes’, ‘Undun’, ‘Let It Ride’, ‘Rock Is My Life And This Is My Song’, ‘Hey You’, and the FM radio behemoths ‘Takin’ Care Of Business’ and ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet’, well, I was a little anxious, to say the least. As it turned out, Randy is an extremely eloquent speaker with a warm personality, and I immediately felt at ease with our conversation. Bachman’s new album, “Heavy Blues”, comes out April 14, and the very first date of his tour is right here in Wisconsin, Wednesday April 1, at Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee.


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The Joykiller

The Joykiller

An interview with Ronnie King and Jack Grisham
by Tina Ayres
February 2015

The Joykiller is a punk rock supergroup founded by Jack Grisham(vocals), Ron Emory(quitar)Billy Persons(bass), Chris Lagerborg(drums),and Ronnie King(keyboard) in 1995. Their latest offering is Music for Break-Ups.

Maximum Ink: Do you happen to remember the moment when you first discovered the power of music?
Ronnie King: Well For me at 11 yrs I was recording a record in a real Studio. I was singing my part. Guess what I cried (laughs)
Jack Grisham: It was probably when I was a kid. There was trouble at home—alcoholism, strife, and detachment. I felt alone, uneasy, unloved, and then I heard Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay and it gave me a warmth, a love, and a connection that I’d never felt. The song let me know that it would be okay. I remember copying the lyrics and pretending that I wrote them about she who would one day be in my life.

MI: What was it like to start playing music at the age of 5? Do you think coming from a musical family offered you more encouragement to pursue your interests in the field?
RK: They weren’t in the Music Business at all. They all play with an unconditioned freedom.I sold out a long time ago…I’m having a wonderful time in this time of my life. I’m enjoying music ( It’s all about the music.)

MI: What were you like as a child? Did you develop your love of music early on as well?
JG: I was trouble, too smart for my own good and too sensitive to be comforted. I loved music but I wasn’t gifted as a singer and I had no discipline or desire to learn an instrument.

MI: Who are some of your earliest influences?
RK: I loved listing to Barry Manalow, and McCoy Jazz Great Piano Dude Chick Corea, and the music at the Catholic Church.
JG: Frank Zappa and the Mothers, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones.


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guitarist Mike Adkins (Uncle Kracker) - photo by Chris Levitan

Mike Adkins

An interview with guitarist Mike Adkins (Uncle Kracker)
by Tina Ayres
February 2015

Best known as the guitarist for Uncle Kracker, Mike Adkins has shared the stage with such iconic musicians as B.B King, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton. He has also played numerous shows with Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Train, and others.

Maximum Ink: What did you love most about growing up in Detroit?
Mike Adkins: I guess one of the best things about growing up in Michigan, is that you get to experience all the seasons, in a proper fashion. Fall has to be my favorite, it’s hard to beat the beauty of Northern MI in Fall. On the other hand, there is over a foot of snow on the ground here right now, as I look out my window. Which, I’ll be honest, the older I get definitely makes me question why I haven’t left yet (laughs). But, I just love it here, not just because of the change of seasons, but because Detroit has soul…it has personality, and it has heart! The Detroit music scene molded me into the person/player that I am today, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ll leave it at that.

MI: What was it like to train in classical piano at the age of 8?
MA: It was interesting…I definitely wasn’t that great at first. And, I despised reading the music, which I still do today(smiles). Actually, most of the piano recitals that I remember doing, you would be sat at the piano with the sheet music displayed in front of you, and you were supposed to read the music as you played. Looking back at it now, I’m nearly positive that I just memorized all the songs and looked at the sheet music to appease my teacher. But, in the end piano helped me learn music theory, and eventually led me to guitar. So, I’m definitely thankful my Mom pushed me in that direction.

MI: What music did you first love? Do you happen to remember what your favorite first song was?
MA: Gosh, that’s a really tough one. I guess one of the first songs I can really remember loving was I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye. The reason for that is, I was super into the California Raisins at the time, and that was their theme song. I remember I had the cassette and I would walk around my house singing and blaring it outta my mini boombox! Funny enough, I just started performing that song in my acoustic duo…so things have really just came full-circle so to speak(laughs).


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Erick Thomas

An interview with guitarist Erick Thomas
by Tina Ayres
February 2015

Erick Thomas is the founder of and lead guitarist for Harlen Simple. The four piece band out of Virginia also features Travis Williams (vocals), Kenny Morrow (bass), and Ricky Coleman (drums). Their album Pay Up Charlie from Potomac Records mixes rock, funk, blues, and soul in delightfully eclectic fashion.

Maximum Ink: Since there isn’t a lot known of you yet, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Erick Thomas: I’m a pretty laid back guy, or at least I think so. I’m a big music junkie so my nights off from playing are spent checking out friends of mine who play and sitting in if they’ll have me. When I’m not doing that, I’m in my backyard with friends smoking racks of ribs, arguing about sports and talking about music while my dogs run around.

I’m also pretty sure I’ve got the world’s most patient wife, Aimee, who puts up with all of the craziness that comes with being married to a guy in a band. It’s late nights, crazy schedules and the general drama that comes with the music business. It’s not the go to Ikea and the farmers market on Saturday’s kind of lifestyle. It’s the “let’s go get tattoos and go run with bulls or something” kind of life.

I’ve also got an amazingly smart and beautiful daughter who has the music bug already. Her name is Jasmine and she’s playing drums now. I told her to pick an instrument where she doesn’t have to lug so much gear around but her heart was set, kind of like mine. Aimee is also pregnant with our son. The little butterball will be out in the world in a few months.

MI: What did you enjoy most about growing up in Virginia?
ET: I’m actually a Maryland boy. I was born in Takoma Park and lived in Langley Park and Silver Spring before moving to Virginia when I was a teenager. At first I wasn’t a big fan, Manassas was one of those towns where you took the bus to school and your mom drove you to the mall. It was WAY different from hopping on the bus or taking the metro somewhere with your friends. Those teenage years are tough for anybody. Throw in moving away from everything you know and you get a kid that can be a little “rambunctious.” My mom was a saint! Eventually, I made a couple friends. One of the first ones was Travis (Williams). Now Virginia is home though. I can’t see myself leaving. I’ve got my little family and home life Aimee and I are building here. It’s somewhere you absolutely have to get back to no matter where you are in the world. That’s home to me.


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La Bomba Waters and Les Cougars - photo by Chad Sutherland - Rise Up Lights

Les Cougars

La Bomba from Les Cougars
by Teri Barr
February 2015

The Valentine invite intrigued me. Live musicians, comedy, dancing, burlesque—an all in one, all-woman show (unless you count Cupid, a young man wearing a diaper, as the only contributing factor to the male side of the cast). But once the lights went down on a packed house at the Cardinal Bar in Madison, a full complement of creative energy was on display, and did not disappoint. Tulin Waters takes her opportunity to entertain very seriously. Her group is known as Les Cougars, and her on-stage persona, “La Bomba,” is brash, but brilliant. Yet her whole goal of this good time revolves around supporting other entertaining women of a certain age—- meaning, not your 20-somethings. There were shapes, colors, styles of all types showing off their talents. And if it left the performers feeling good, it also left almost everyone in the audience with a certain kinship, and sense of power. As Les Cougars prepares for another show, they’ll be part of the CD Release Party for Meghan Rose at the Inferno on February 13th at 9 pm, Tulin took time to talk with me about the importance of making a difference, and how she’s finding the stage a perfect place to do it.

Maximum Ink: You are funny, but in a real, relatable sense. Your show includes humor, but still revolves around music, why?
Tulin Waters: I am a music scout, not a musician, which allows me to create a different type of show. My ear for talent came from living in 6 different countries growing up. It gave me a sense of respect and admiration for all types of music. The more you learn about other music from around the world, the more you grasp who has a real passion and understanding of it.

MI: Music is mixed with the unexpected for your group, Les Cougars. Why did you focus on this approach for a show?
TW: I started Les Cougars because this town is full of talented women over the age of 35. In the entertainment business, “maturing” women face ageism and get overlooked unfairly way too often. To me this is a travesty because talent only gets better with experience, and it is at this age when women are in their prime and absolute best up on stage. We should be glorified for what we have accomplished, not replaced, and I am proud to bring to the table a show where there are so many diverse and talented women coming together to preach age empowerment.


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Lisa Wenger

Wild Women of the Blues

Madison Blues Society
by Dave Leucinger
February 2015

It’s an unimpeachable fact: the history of recorded blues music started with women.  From Mamie Smith to Ida Cox, Bessie Smith, and the bawdy Lucille Bogan, women’s voices were the mainstay of recorded blues in the 1920’s. It was in that tradition that the Madison Blues Society began its annual “Wild Women of the Blues” seven years ago. Since then, the event has become a showcase for local and regional artists, and one of the largest fundraisers for the organization.


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Charles Mack

Charles Mack

An interview with bassist Charles Mack
by Tina Ayres
January 2015

Charles Mack is the former bassist for Grammy Award winner James Cotton and Lucky Peterson. His work has spanned a wide array for genres. He has shared the stage with such acts as Inflatable Soule, Cypress Hill, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Jimmy Johnson, and Kenny Neal, just to name a few. The can currently be found performing with Charles Mack Band featuring Eric Robert (Keyboard), Joel Tipke (Guitar), and Jarvis Oliver (drums)

Guitar Digest: At what age did you first discover your love of music? Can you remember what the exact moment was like when you first realized how powerful music can be?
Charles Mack: As a child, I would listen to my family play blues, I had no idea what they were doing, I just knew the notes, along with their singing relaxed me. I was around 5 years old when I first noticed it, even though I heard it when I was younger, I just didn’t know what it was until age 5. Music has a way of making changes in the spirit. I used to cry a lot, but my mother would play jazz and I would immediately stop crying and fall asleep. The feeling I had when I was 5, from what I remember, music was like a warm blanket on a cold night, wrapped tightly, embracing every element of your being. I had a feeling of pure happiness, enjoyment, and fulfillment.

GD: What are some of your very first memories pertaining to music?
CM: The very first memories pertaining to music were of being around family, a room filled with guitarists and singers. When I was younger, my father, aunt and uncle would get together and play music, playing blues. I was amazed at how happy it made them feel. I had never seen my dad smile so much. My aunt played slide guitar, my dad and uncle were straight blues, finger pickin’ (rhythm and solo). The happiness that would come out of my family from playing music was incredible! The feeling that they were getting, I wanted to feel. This is by far, the best experience I have had as a child regarding an incredible feeling/experience pertaining to music.

GD: Who were some of your earliest influences? Do you happen to remember what your very first favorite song was?
CM: My earliest influences were, Bach, Miles Davis, Coltrane, BB King, Muddy Waters, The Supremes, The Dells, Earth Wind and Fire, Ron Carter, Charlie Parker, R Vaughn Williams, Copeland and Big Momma Thorton. I was a weird kid and I listened to everything. My first song I ever heard was a Luis Jordan song, my mother would play his music quite often around the house. Run Joe, 5 Guys named Moe ; the list goes on and on.


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Bluegrass legend  Ralph Stanly

Ralph Stanley

An interview with the Bluegrass legend
by Tina Ayres
January 2015

Ralph Stanley has been entertaining the masses with his distinctive voice and banjo playing since 1946. Influenced by the traditional music of rural Appalachia he formed the Clinch Mountain Boys, and later The Stanley Brothers, with his brother Carter. The rest became history. As a banjo player he developed the unique “Stanley Style” recognized fast, continuous forward rolls followed by the index finger. In 2002 Stanley won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of O Death, produced by T-Bone Burnett for the for the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

Maximum Ink: What was it like growing up in Southwest Virginia? How were times most different back then? Do you ever miss those days?
Ralph Stanley: Growing up in the hills of southwest, Virginia was a wonderful place to be born and raised. Of course we faced hard times, but the good outweighed the bad.
MI: What do you love most about living in such rural places as Dickenson County? Do people ever ask you why you decided to stay in the area you were raised?
RS: I always wanted to stay home in Southwest, VA. A lot of folks ask me why I never moved to Nashville. I love the hills and I wouldn’t live anywhere else.
MI: What did it feel like when you got your very first banjo from your aunt all those years ago? Do you remember was running through you mind when you first got it?
RS: I was very excited. My mother gave me a choice to pick from a hog or a banjo. A lot of folks don’t know this but I always dreamed of being a veterinarian in my younger days. I Was interested in animals very much. But my mother could only afford one. Both were $5.00. So I picked the banjo. I’m glad I did.


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The Reverend Eddie Danger

Five Favorites: Eddie Danger

One-man band Reverend Eddie Danger tackles the Five Favorites challenge
by John Noyd
January 2015

Carefree and upbeat, the chipper singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, live looper and ordained minister Eddie Danger is a constant beacon of entertaining goodwill on the Midwest folk circuit. A grade-school sax player who got kicked out of his high school jazz band, the Reverend reintroduced himself to music when he attended a Grateful Dead concert at eighteen and started participating in drum circles. Decades into his journey, the sunshine shaman has amassed an eclectic collection of international instruments and a lifetime’s worth of tall tales. A creative dynamo, Danger’s eleventh studio effort, last year’s naturally affable, “If and When,” showcases his versatility at various strings, keyboards, percussion and woodwinds; peppering his casual folk-blues ballads with colorful characters and true-life experiences to conjure a friendly intimacy that bolsters the spirit and warms the soul. We caught up with the mellow minstrel and asked him about a few of his favorite things.

MAXIMUM INK: Do you have a favorite album from your childhood?
EDDIE DANGER: The first cassette tape I owned was the Ghostbusters soundtrack. I was really into They Might Be Giants in my younger days. I grew up in the birthplace of emo music and never really fit in there.

MI: What’s your favorite local venue that no longer exists?
ED: Feel Good Music & Art Festival in Amherst, WI from 2004-2010.

MI: What’s your favorite cookie and why?
ED: Gluten free pot cookies… but only one. Too much pot food makes me freak out!

MI: Do you have a favorite author whose voice has informed your songs?
ED: Reading is one of my biggest sources for lyrical content. I’m currently reading Occult Science by Rudolf Steiner (the father of Waldorf Education & Biodynamic Farming). I just wrote a song that was inspired by my evolutionary astrology report from Ryan Evans. My song “Shipwrecked” was written after I read the book Life of Pi.

MI: Where’s your favorite place to get away from it all?
ED: I practice Kriya Yoga and Meditation twice a day. The best escape is to still your mind and stretch your spine. Meditation allows me to dial into the creative energy flowing everywhere.

Catch Eddie in February where he wraps up dates with the Steel City Jug Slammer Tour, plays The Root Note in LaCrosse on the 11th, a Mardi Gras show at Madison’s Up North Pub on the 17th and finishes up the month at the Historic Trempealeau Hotel on the 28th. For more information click onto www.eddiedanger.com


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Bart Harris

The Bart Harris

An interview with bassist/guitarist/singer Bart Harris of Bret Michaels Band
by Tina Ayres
January 2015

Bart Harris is the singer/guitarist for the band JunkFood which features Dan Anderson (Lead Guitar) and Van Swanson (Bass). He can also be found providing the bass for the Bret Michaels Band alongside Pete Evick (Lead Guitar), Mike Bailey (Drums), and Rob Jozwiak (Keyboard). Bart endorses Aurora strings. It was a pleasure to sit down with him and find out a little more about the man who helps bring the music.

Maximum Ink: Where are you from? What was it like growing up there?
Bart Harris: I was born and raised in Northern Virginia. I have a lot of family here and my family owns a business as well (Shannon Auto Sales). It used to be a small town where pretty much everybody knew everyone. It’s a little different now but it’s still home to me.

MI: Do you remember what the moment was like when you first discovered the power of music?
BH: I’m not sure if this is the single moment but my parents took me to see the Bee Gees live when I was about 6 or 7. I’d never been inside of an arena and I was overwhelmed by the energy. Then they had pyro which just completely sent me over the top. From that moment live music has had an effect on me.

MI: What was your very first favorite song?
BH: I’m not sure I can accurately answer that but I’m sure it was Elvis or the Beatles. In my house you either loved them or you found a new place to live. I also remember I Love Rock n Roll having a pretty big impact on me.


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