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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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Vanishing Kids

Vanishing Kids

interview with Jason Hartman
by Theron Moore
December 2016

Vanishing Kid’s music is best described as heavy yet ethereal, complex and textured but always accessible, and more so than not—a massive, mountain of sound. A juggernaut in their own right.

I spoke with guitarist Jason Hartman to really dig into the story of Vanishing Kids, what makes up their overall sound, and what to expect from the band in the near future.

Maximum Ink: How did Vanishing Kids come together?
Jason Hartman:
Nikki Drohomyreky (Vocals, Organ, Synth, Percussion) and I started the band in 2000. Jerry Sofran (Bass, former Fluid Oz.) has been playing with us for 3 years now and was an idol of mine as a teenager. I would go to see his thrash metal bands Mirrored Image and For Christ Sake in the early 90’s. So intense! Drummer Hart Allen Miller has been with us for a year and a half. I played some shows with Hart in the past and was always impressed with his heavy, solid style. Nik and I were in the same scenes in the late 90’s in Madison and had similar musical tastes and passions. It was easy to put music together right away.


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Cold Black River, Sons of Kong, Rogue Rat at Mr. Roberts poster

Madcity Nights - December 2016

upcoming shows in the Madcity area
by Max Ink
December 2016

Madcity Nights is a show preview column highlighting live music coming to the Madison area


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Beasto Blanco - photo by Natalia Britt

Beasto Blanco

Alice Cooper band members feed their Frankenstein on their 2nd album
by Sal Serio
December 2016

Theatrics, flesh, muscles, tattoos, volume, riffs, grind, and thrust… this is Beasto Blanco, the project of longtime Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garric. Enhancing the mix is Alice and Sheryl Cooper’s daughter Calico on vocals and mayhem, providing a Tarantino type of gritty and gruesome rock experience. Beasto Blanco’s self-titled second album has just been released on Rat Pak Records. Rounding out the band is outstanding guitarist Brother Chris Latham, drummer Tim Husung, and bass player Jan LeGrow. The following interview is with Chuck Garric, conducted on November 16th by Sal Serio.


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the Poster Children

The Poster Children

an interview with Matt, Rick, and Rose of the Poster Children
by Ted Offensive
November 2016

The Poster Children are back!

By this, I mean they have re-released their iconic, “Daisy Chain Reaction” album In October on vinyl, and are touring in support of it.  Additionally they are back in the studio with that record’s producer, the legendary Steve Albini to record new material.

The brief tour included four cities on the east coast, and five out west.  Following this, they will play in Cincinnati on the 19th and Columbus, OH on the 20th, before 2 gigs in Chicago on the 23rd of November at Schuba’s.  Then they go back into the studio to write and record more music.

This is good news to many who have been enjoying their music over the last two plus decades.  They actually formed in 1987 in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.  At their core have always been Rick and Rose, with Rick’s brother Jim joining the band after the Daisy Chain Reaction record.  They have enjoyed the services of seven different drummers before gaining Matt in 2001, but have maintained a remarkably steady, catchy rock sound across all of them.

I caught up with them across the information super driveway between and after their swings through both the east and west coasts.  I asked them about music, and not music, perspective and the moment.  What follows is a view into a very friendly, unpretentious rock band, and quite possibly, why they have been able to keep giving great music for so long.

Maximum Ink: So are you guys back in the old familiar van from the tour video you did years ago?  If so, is it kind of like putting on a pair of old comfortable shoes? 
Rick:
We don’t have the old van anymore but


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The Big Payback on the cover of Maximum Ink music magazine

The Big Payback

"An Interview with Guitarist Kyle Rightley"
by Michelle Harper
November 2016

The Big Payback is about to unleash a brand new bag of jazz-rock brass-laced funk on Madison’s music scene.

Five years after their debut album “Overture” took audiences by storm, The Big Payback is releasing a new album entitled “Animal Brain” on November 18th. And, with the talent and projects compiled in the 9-piece musical powerhouse, recording it was no small feat. Fronted by the spicy soulful vocals of Leah Isabel Tirado, TBP is compromised of highly experienced and profoundly innovative artists whose collective sound has earned them award after award after award. Guitarist Kyle Rightley took time out this week to talk with me about “Animal Brain” and how the theme of musically unifying the duality of the human mind came to fruition.


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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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House band at Yahara Bay Distillery - Hickory Road

Hickory Road

interview with guitarist Herb Charlan
by Mike Huberty
November 2016

With traditional rock n’ roll licks, bluesy vocals, and even a little bit of twang for good measure, Madison’s HICKORY ROAD is grown-up Hipster-Beard-free heartfelt Americana music. You can hear the years spent listening to the classic rock of LYNYRD SKYNYRD to NEIL YOUNG in their music and they’ve got a laid back 70s vibe. Forming in 2014, the band the band is Mike Pindilli on vocals and guitar, drummer Lars Forde, Herb Charlan on guitar, Derrick Henrickson on bass, and Merle Bailey keys and the saxophone. We took a little time to talk to the band about their upcoming performance at Yahara Bay Distillery on November 18th.

MI: What was the big inspiration for you guys to get into music in the first place?
HERB CHARLAN:
Like Hank Williams Jr said…“It’s a family tradition.” Something we individually have always done in some capacity.

MI: Who were your favorite artists growing up?
HC:
Stevie Wonder, Hendrix, Jessie Johnson, The Doors, Tim Alexander, really…too many to list… life.


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558 ViewsPermalinkHickory Road Website
Madison's Instead We Smile

Instead We Smile

An interview with Madison rock band, Instead We Smile
by Mike Huberty
October 2016

Female-fronted rock with a Pat Benatar-vibe, Madison’s INSTEAD WE SMILE is vocalist Amanda Ikens, bassist Ed Feeny, guitarist Jeff Muendel, and drummer Tom Pier. They are debuting their first release, Earthly Stew at Chief’s Tavern on October 22nd. It’s a free show and people will be able to pick up vinyl copies of the new music.


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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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