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Luke Jorgensen of Lower 5th and Whiskeyonsin organizer

Whiskeyonsin Family Reunion 2016

an interview with organizer and musician Luke Jorgensen
by Teri Barr
May 2016

Success with a group of musicians is one thing.

But also being an accomplished producer and event organizer should elevate the clout for one of the founders of The Lower 5th, a Madison-based, Midwestern-soul band. Yet any communication with Luke Jorgensen reveals a kind-hearted man, who is simply proud to be able to play a style of music he loves with people he describes as “amazing.”

Ask him about his three-year-old event, the Whiskeyonsin Family Reunion, and it’s when you get the fierce passion of someone who considers this one of the top shows to bring some of the best area bands together, and all for us. I asked Luke about Whiskeyonsin, how it has turned into one of his favorite things to be part of, and why the show is moving to Madison this June.


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Tin Can Diamonds - photo by Mary Sweeney of www.sweeneysphotography.com/

Tin Can Diamonds

by Mike Huberty
May 2016

With a joyous and bluesy sound, TIN CAN DIAMONDS are a young Madison band that mixes elements of folk and rock. The folk ingredients are the way vocalist Aarushi Agni powerful and confident voice mixes with Mitch Johnson’s guitars and harmony vocals. The rock foundation is the rhythm section of bassist Ben Strohbeen and drummer Dave Janus. They’ll be releasing their first album at Bright Red Studios on May 21st and we talked with Aarushi, Dave, and Ben about the band and their new album.


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2883 ViewsPermalinkTin Can Diamonds Website
Thirsty Jones on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2016 - photo by David Luciano

Thirsty Jones

An interview with Mark Fairchild
by Laura Sorensen
May 2016

Thirsty Jones is a four piece contemporary country / rock / blues / funk band from Madison, Wisconsin. Following a change of two of the band members last fall, the group has wasted no time performing live. Their first performance with the new lineup left them with less than a month to prepare. They rose to the occasion and have been busy performing and recording since December 2015. Members include Kirstie Kraus (Lead Vocals), Jacob Vance (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Jeff Root (Bass) and Mark Fairchild (Drums). I recently had an opportunity to talk with Mark about the band and what they are currently up to.

MAXIMUM INK: Tell me about the name of the band
MARK FAIRCHILD:
That goes back to before I joined the band. The first part comes from our lead singer’s name, which is Kirstie, i before the r. Everyone would call her Kristie. Apparently she had a nickname at some point “Thirsty Kirstie.” It rhymed and it helped to remember her name. The Jones just sounded good. Together it sounds like a good country band name. So half of it’s a story and half of it just sounds good.


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Conniption of Milwaukee, WI

Conniption

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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1477 ViewsPermalinkConniption Website
Rockonsin  - photo by Jerod Gibson

Rockonsin

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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1195 ViewsPermalinkRockonsin Website
Growing from Madison, WI

Growing

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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1262 ViewsPermalinkGrowing Website
Motherhive of Madison, Wisconsin

Motherhive

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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1011 ViewsPermalinkMotherhive Website
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.


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1390 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!


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