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Conniption of Milwaukee, WI


An Interview with Bill House and Andy Martin
by Michelle Braun
April 2016

Conniption is an American Heavy Metal band hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Band members Michael Brigham (lead vocals/guitar), Cody Dziuk (bass guitar), Bill House (lead guitar/vocals), and Andy Martin (drums) are known for high energy, heavy shredding and a fondness for clean, fast tunes. Maximum Ink met up with these kings of metal to discuss WAMIs, music videos, and their upcoming CD release show on April 29th.


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Rockonsin  - photo by Jerod Gibson


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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Growing from Madison, WI


An interview with band members Brandon, Jesse, Paul, and Gage
by Michelle Braun
April 2016

Formerly known as Look I’m Burning, Growing is a metal band from Madison, Wisconsin featuring members Brandon Connor (vocals), Apostolos Holevas aka the boss (guitar), Jesse Chieffo (guitar), Paul Swift III (drums), and Gage Woodman (bass/vocals.) Between their hard work, unparalleled live performances, and brand new EP, Growing is easily becoming one of Madison’s finest, rising bands. Maximum Ink met with a few of the members in the basement of Frequency to discuss challenges they face as a band. They give us the hard facts of “growing” a band and the rundown on their show in Madison at The RedZone with Scale the Summit on Sunday, April 17th.


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Motherhive of Madison, Wisconsin


An interview with singer Michael Kerwin
by Mike Huberty
April 2016

With a performance coming up at Maximum Ink’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, Bomblastica, Madison’s MOTHERHIVE is bringing classic heavy metal thunder and aggression magnified through a funky lens to the party.  If you get down to FAITH NO MORE, TOOL, or LED ZEPPELIN, then your head will bang to MOTHERHIVE. After several years of blasting their way around the Madison area in the first decade of this century as THE MOTHERHIVE SYNDICATE, guitarist Sven Hansen and singer Michael Kerwin found a new rhythm section in drummer Scott Chazan and bassist Matt Acker. With the new lineup, they re-christened themselves to simply MOTHERHIVE.  We talked with Kerwin about what their music is all about and what they’ve got planned for the big show at the Frequency on April 16th.


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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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Cold Black River

Cold Black River

The Soundtrack To The Journey Across The River Styx
by Sal Serio
April 2016

When I reviewed the Cold Black River CD E.P. ‘Hillbilly Zeus’ this past October, I coaxed descriptive associations using words like dark, disturbing, apocalyptic, and demonic. Upon further contemplation, that was quite accurate! It’s the soundtrack to the journey across the River Styx to the Land of the Dead. Your own journey will be far less perilous, as Cold Black River perform at The Frequency in Madison twice in April. Saturday, April 16, is Bomblastica 2016 (Maximum Ink’s 20th anniversary party) with Cold Black River, Motherhive, Subatomic, and Droids Attack. Saturday, April 30 features Cold Black River with The Garza and The Gran Fury.


1250 ViewsPermalinkCold Black River Website
Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean

Q & A with New York's Sunflower Bean
by John Noyd
March 2016

New York City’s vibrant SUNFLOWER BEAN channels an almost psychic musical tightness into colorful, combustible chemistry to design serpentine Valentines that seduce in lubricated grooviness while courting fiery desires with a heady mix of acid-etched textures drawn from haunting lyrics, shaman beats and liquid licks. Fresh from a stellar SXSW appearance and riding high from a critically acclaimed debut, the power-trio heads to Madison’s The Frequency, headlining a can’t miss show on April 6th with WEAVES and PILES. Bassist JULIA CUMMINGS and guitarist NICK KIVLEN were kind enough to answer some questions via email about the band’s sound, influences and life on the indie-rock bandwagon.

MAXIMUM INK: Psychedelic seems to be the go to label for rock bands these days, do you think of Sunflower Bean as psychedelic?
NICK KIVLEN: To me psychedelic rock means creative rock. Things that we think of as weird or trippy are things that haven’t been done before or seem strange and new. New experiences make the brain feel confused and “psychedelic”. So new sounds and music people haven’t heard before has the same effect. We don’t take drugs but we want to make something new and fresh. Psych isn’t retro, it’s the future.

MI: Why do you think psychedelic music is trending these days?
JULIA CUMMINGS: Trends kind of happen in cycles, and bands like Thee Oh Sees who are so great, kind of re-ignite some of that passion for guitar music. I’m not sure how “trendy” psych rock is in comparison to other genres like electronic music or rap, but bands like Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra (who are some of our favorites) really push the genre forward by making really innovative and ambitious music.

MI: Your debut, “Human Ceremony,” had you laying down songs you’ve played live for quite some time; are there songs you left off the album or will you have to start from scratch for the follow-up?
JC: We are currently writing new music for the second album, when we have off time or during sound checks. There is one fully done song and a few that are close. We didn’t really leave anything off the album, we were basically able to fit everything we wanted to make it cohesive in our minds.

MI: Do your songs come from jamming together or does someone have a song they bring to the group to work on?
JC: Usually Nick brings in riffs or ideas or songs in various degrees of doneness to the basement and we all jam on them and figure out where the song is going to go. Sometimes a song becomes a pet project of one of us, whoever has the most vision for it.

MI: Seems like the band spends a lot of time together, was there an immediate clicking when the three of you first connected?
JC: We were definitely all friends before we started making music together. We got along well and had similar influences and ideas about what we wanted out of a band.

MI: Is there an band or artist that you all agree on?
JC: We love Lou Reed. We are trying to talk about him less in interviews but he is probably the biggest point where we all agree.

MI: You’ve worked the most in New York City where you also live, what’s the oddest thing you’ve confronted on tour outside the city?
JC: Playing the college shows can be a little weird because anything can happen. One time we all slept in a room with an escaped snake

MI: What do you miss the most when you’re away?
JC: Probably our beds!

MI: The buzz on the band skyrocketed rather quickly, have you experienced any perks in all this sudden media attention
JC: We’ve all been playing in bands and making music since we were 13 and 14, so it doesn’t feel as sudden as it may seem on the outside! But it’s definitely an exciting time. We are getting to travel to Japan this summer, which is amazing and we’ve always wanted to do that.

MI: Do you have a strategy for surviving the flash and establishing long-term credentials?
JC: We are going to keep making music!


Eskimeaux's Gabrielle Smitth


Chillin' with Eskimeaux's Gabrielle Smith
by John Noyd
March 2016

Wrapped around unstoppable rock and unraveled in homespun dream-pop, lo-fi hospitality greets intimate whimsy in GABRIELLE SMITH’s approachable folk poetry. Her solo project ESKIMEAUX gently mesmerizes in coy joyrides whose occasionally dark detours shake one awake to face forked roads, close calls and near misses. Joining FRANKIE COSMO and YOWLER at Madison’s High Noon Saloon April 26th, the refreshingly perceptive chronicler took time from a busy SXSW schedule to answer a few questions about her songwriting process and her latest release, “Year of the Rabbit.”

MAXIMUM INK: What made you decide on an EP rather than hold off and release a full-length?

GABRIELLE SMITH: All of the songs on “Year of the Rabbit” were written during the recording process of our previous album “O.K.” So we (Double Double Whammy and I) figured by the time I had enough songs to broaden the collection into a full-length album and went through a whole album cycle (plus, at the time vinyl records were taking 8-12 months to get back from pressing plants), these songs, which felt really nice and fresh, would be pretty old! Instead, we thought it would be nice to make a short record, or an EP with no filler material. Plus, it gave us a chance to try a new release medium - a CD inside of a full-color photograph, hardcover book. So, that’s what went into the decision to make this specific EP.

MI: Did last year’s O.K.‘s critical acclaim shape the Year of the Rabbit at all?

GS: Not really! I mean, maybe it gave us the confidence to try out a new kind of release format.

MI: When you write a song, how much comes from the gut and how much from the head?

GS: I’m not really sure…I mean, it all comes from the head, maybe, and then the gut gets put into the performance of each song!

MI: I really like that. What part of the creative process is the most challenging for you?

GS: Having time to record. Most of my time is dedicated to having band practices, traveling to and playing shows, and writing emails. Lately, as well, I’ve added making a few music videos, making show posters, and being on the hunt for a new amp to the mix. So having time to record is definitely the most challenging part.

MI: Is there any artist or musical hero by which you judge your own writing?

GS: No way, that’s a terrible way to go about being an artist. My own art is the standard by which I judge my writing and that’s the way it should be!

MI: Will this be your first time playing Madison WI?

GS: Nope! One time, in 2013, we played at Bright Red Studios.

MI: What’s usually the first thing you do when you get a chance to take in a city you’re playing?

GS: Find tasty donuts grin

There you have it, tweet, Facebook and Instagram Eskimeaux your favorite place for tasty donuts in Madison.


Slayer on the cover of Max Ink's 20 year anniversary issue


an interview with drummer Paul Bostaph
by Chris Fox
March 2016

SLAYER is a name that is synonymous with metal music, and their latest album, Repentless, stays true to the band’s reputation. The new album is the first release since legendary guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed away unexpectedly in 2013, and also marks the return of Paul Bostaph, who last drummed on one of the band’s staple albums, God Hates Us All.

“I would describe SLAYER’s sound as uncompromising, dark, energetic,” Bostaph explains. “I think Slayer spans the realm heavy metal from punk to death metal to even Black Sabbath-style stuff.”

It could be argued that Bostaph’s presence is felt on the new album, as Repentless calls back to some of the older SLAYER stylings. “This album has elements of stuff that you might hear on the older records, but for me I hear a lot of things that are really new on this record as well.” SLAYER has been around since 1981, so they’ve had a lot of time to evolve and develop with time. “It’s new in terms of an evolution of time,” he says. “Personally, I’m too close to it, but with flavors of old, it’s very much in the now of what the band is.”


891 ViewsPermalinkSlayer WebsiteSlayer Wiki
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!”


1473 ViewsPermalinkSensations Website
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