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Ultraspank on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 1998 - photo by Paul Gargano

Ultraspank

by Paul Gargano
July 1998

If OZZfest is any indication, Santa Barbara, CA is the metal capitol of America, represented on the tour by Life of Agony frontman Whitfield Crane, Snot, and newcomers Ultraspank.

“It’s a weird scene,” says Ultraspank lead singer Pete Murray of his hometown. “There are like three colleges there, so you get people coming from all different parts of the country.” That’s the case with Ultraspank, as Murray, guitarist Jerry Oliviera and drummer Tyler Clark migrated to the coastal community for school. “It was either there or Maine,” Murray, a native New Yorker, muses of his choice. But even with a degree in Film, his interests were always aimed at music, as he and his future bandmates spent the better portion of the decade playing in local Santa Barbara outfits before coming together, as Spank, about two years ago.


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The Dirty Three in Maximum Ink in June 1998

The Dirty Three

an interview with Warren Ellis
by John Noyd
June 1998

The fluid ease with which Dirty Three create the romance of tidal pulls and the despair of lonesome oceans in their new CD, Ocean Songs, is both tranquilizing and electric. Drums, guitar and violin serve a common purpose, swirling with deliberate ingenuity that lulls and soothes while cutting against the grain. Billowing sails and creaking timbers have room to stretch out. Gurgling mysteries lay simmering beneath the trio’s simple nuances and subtle twists.

Formed in a bar on the rough side of Melbourne, Australia, Dirty Three sound both weathered and full of life, deliberate, yet lazy. Warren Ellis’ winding gypsy fiddle skims and plummets while the cavernous drums of Jim White sound like sharp splashes and plodding depth charges. Their spacious longing can turn romantic and does so several times, stunningly in, “Sea Above, Sky Below,” while the sullen, barren slogging of “Authentic Celestial Music” forms a musical mechanical contraption that starts out of breath then steps up the pace. The ambling ambiance is both hypnotic and ambient, gracefully stumbling in slow motion then turning dangerously monomaniacal. No better example of this appears than Mick Turner’s breezy guitar playing on the whispery “Distant Shores,” a three-hundred-and-sixty degree turn from his crashing, savage churning in “Deep Waters.”


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Life Of Agony on the cover of Maximum Ink May 1998 - photo by Paul Gargano

Life Of Agony

by Paul Gargano
May 1998

an interview with Alan Robert of Life Of Agony during the Whitfield Crane era


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Stuck Mojo on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 19998 - photo by Paul Gargano

Stuck Mojo

by Paul Gargano
April 1998

When zealots declared “The South will rise again!” the farthest thing from their minds was a black man leading the charge, fronting a band inspired by Twisted Sister and World Championship Wrestling. But obviously, the people that swooned over “Sic Semper Tyrannis” had never heard of heavy metal music, let alone Fender guitars, Pearl drums, and Marshall stacks that project a din loud enough to stifle any Civil War cannon blast.

Enter Stuck Mojo, Atlanta’s metal godfathers, the South’s reigning kings of musical fury and onstage chaos, and underdogs turned favorites to topple the loud rock hierarchy.

Selling a combined 75,000 copies of their first two releases on Century Media Records, Snappin’ Necks (1995) and Pigwalk (1996), Stuck Mojo are indie-metal’s marquee attraction, having chiseled a name for themselves through aggressive touring, explosive live shows, and an attitude that defines heavy metal as it was always meant to be.


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Lorenzon Music on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 1998 - photo by Rokker

Lorenzo Music

by Jeff Muendel
March 1998

Despite grumblings about the supposedly long lost Madison music scene, new and talented bands keep rising up as if nothing had ever burned or closed down. The better ones, like anywhere else, are those that seem to defy easy categorization. You hear a hint of this and a reference to that, but you can’t pin the group down. Such is the case with Lorenzo Music.

At the core are two musicians who have experienced the changing musical tides here between the lakes. Tod Schwenn spent a good amount of time in Rapscallion during the late-80s and early-90s, around the same time Tom Ray was in Fallacy. After those bands broke up, the two decided to start jamming and writing together. The songs came together so well that they decided to form a permanent band and, after finding the right musicians, did their first gig in March of 1996.

Lorenzo Music explores many areas of sound, going from keyboard- driven, Doors-like jams to lounge swings to power guitars in a single song. The key is that they do it gracefully, at times almost unnoticeably. Most of the keyboards are done on a vintage Rhodes electric piano that Ray bought for $150 when such instruments were out of style. Schwenn supplies the guitar and the two share the vocal work. Every musician in this band has experience: second guitarist Brandon Krueger was in Peep Show, bassist Mark Whitcomb played in Insanity A.D., Carl and Swiggo, and drummer Scott Beardsley also gigged with Swiggo as well as Mindox (which also featured Buddo of Magic 7 & Last Crack).


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Coal Chamber on the cover of Maximum Ink in February 1998

Coal Chamber

by Paul Gargano
February 1998

A decade ago, glam bands ruled Los Angeles. As big hair poked the ozone, the Sunset Strip resembled a drag show, and talent was judged by the quality of your groupies, not the integrity of your music.

No one was really surprised when the scene became a parody of itself, but they might be surprised if they took a look at the new breed of bands forging a path through the spoils of outdated leather and spandex. Say hello to Korn, the Deftones, and the latest heavyweights to take up prominence on the downtuned metal scene: Coal Chamber.

Frontman Dez, guitarist Meegs, bassist Rayna, and drummer Mike are a truly motley crew that have spent the better part of the last year on the road with OzzFest, Megadeth and Pantera. Along with fellow newcomers Sevendust


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Milwaukee's Pyschedelicasi on the cover of Maximum Ink September 1997

Psychedelicasi

by Kevin John
September 1997

An interview with Paris Ortiz, then guitarist for the now-defunct Milwaukee band, Psychedelicasi


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Madison's Bugattitype 35 on the Cover of Maximum Ink August 1997

Bugattitype 35

by Mike Bumm
August 1997

Bugattitype 35, long since defunct, featured film director and owner of Coney Island Studio Wendy Schneider, former Wheelie King bassist/vocalist Per Farney and drumme Rice Christensen.


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Sweden's Drain S.T.H. on the cover of Maximum Ink - photo by Paul Gargano

Drain S.T.H.

by Paul Gargano
June 1997

Looking for the foolproof way to ruin a perfectly conversation? Drop the phrase “girl band” while talking to the members of Drain (they write the name Drain S.T.H. to specify they’re from Stockholm, not the Butthole Surfers side-project). The Swedish quartet got the break of a lifetime when Type O Negative asked them to be a support act on their recently completed tour, and they took full advantage of the situation, winning over crowds with metallic grind, heavy crunch, and a foreboding presence. As a result, they earned a spot on the second stage on this summer’s Ozz Fest tour. When they settle into a groove, vocalist Maria Sjoholm, guitarist Flavia Canel, Bassist Anna Kjellberg and drummer Martina Axen can channel their energies just as powerfully as any of their testosterone-driven peers, carving their won little niche in a heavy genre dominated by men.


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Sevendust on cover of Maximum Ink one month after changing their name from Crawlspace.... April 1997

Sevendust

by Paul Gargano
April 1997

They say hindsight is 20/20, but in the nonchalant manner Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose recalls the addition of vocalist Lajon to the Atlanta quintet’s mix, you’d never imagine this band was the latest focus of attention for indie juggernaut TVT - the same label that launched Nine Inch Nails into the national spotlight, turned Gravity Kills into one of the last years most amazing success stories, and is nurturing Sevendust’s ascent ot the top of the heavy metal market.

“We thought that if we could find a singer who could sing over the heavy music, it might sound original,” Rose explained at New York City’s Coney Island High, the site of Sevendust’s coming-out performance April 12 (only three days before the release of their self-titled debut), their first Big Apple show since singing with TVT less than a year ago.


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