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Driver 13

by John Noyd
September 2001

When Shawn Anthony Brown returned to Wisconsin last fall, he had a long drive to contemplate his future.  His first time to Wisconsin was nearly ten years ago when Last Crack recruited him as their new lead singer. That road led to a European record deal, playing before tens of thousands of people and munching on sandwiches back stage with Ozzy and Sepultura. Splitting from Last Crack to form Spiritus, Shawn eventually grew tired of low wages and indifferent response from local radio. Returning to his native North Carolina, he dabbled in bands and jams that honed his awesome voice and brought him in contact with the woman who eventually became his wife. Still, something was missing. So, encouraged by his Madison friends who spun tales of Spiritus getting airplay and a renewed interest from radio for the local scene, Shawn packed his bags, kissed his wife goodbye and came back to seek his musical destiny. Thirteen hours later he got out of the car with his dreams intact and a name for his new band Driver (now Driver 13).

Hooking up with some of his old bandmates, Shawn actually came back to form two bands, Grip and Driver. While Grip fell to the wayside, Driver flourished, fronted by Shawn and piloted by Kerry Koppen, Mike Hagen and John Stone (Smolak). Pooling their experience in countless local bands and a profound love for Tool and Led Zeppelin, Driver creates a swampy, low end mix of industrial strength rock and spooked-out metal with traces of Middle Eastern warbling and iron-fisted rap. Shawn describes it as a chunkier, more evolved Spiritus .

Settled into the area with his wife, dog Tyler and steady employment, Shawn sees Driver’s future not as a breakout act to be courted by the industry, but rather a solid live band looking for local notoriety.  While they are cutting a single at Sleepless Nights later this year, there are no plans for CDs and national exposure. It doesn’t matter, Shawn says, how talented you are, the music industry is only interested in a look, a gimmick, the latest trend. Following their own muse, Driver shows samurai grace under extreme pressure, screaming when the spirit moves them, and shaking out the demons at the drop of a hat. Appearing at Bomblastica 2001 on September 22nd, they are sure to seize the night with their particular brand of feverish metal.


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bassist Kasim Sulton

Kasim Sulton

by David A. Kulczyk
August 2001

Kasim Sulton has had quite a career.  He’s played bass with Todd Rundgren (both solo and with Utopia) for over a decade, recorded on Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” and on the critically acclaimed 1976 album release by Steve Hillage “L”, which is a favorite with English ravers 25 years after it’s release. A multi-instrumentalist, Sulton has also recorded or performed with The Tom Robinson Band, Rick Derringer, Frankie Eldorado, Shaun Cassidy, Joan Jett, Patti Smith, Akiko Yano, The Ricky Byrd Trio,  Blue Oyster Cult, Jackie DeShannon, Eileen Ivers, Celine Dion, The Indigo Girls, Steve Stevens, Mick Jagger, Jim Steinman and Daryl Hall and John Oates. To make a long discography short, Sulton has played on 102 albums. 

Kasim also has 3 Solo albums, “Kasim,” “The Bassment Tapes” and “Lights On” with Thommy Price. I interviewed Kasim on July 30th, 2001.

Maximum Ink: How did you start playing music?
Kasim Sulton: Staten Island, NY…. first band was Kastle. My fate was decided when I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan in 1964.


Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd on the cover of Maximum Ink in August 2001 - photo by Christopher McCollum

Puddle Of Mudd

by Paul Gargano
August 2001

It all started with a fake backstage pass that got Wes Scantlin backstage at a concert he really didn’t even want to go to. There he was, wandering around Family Values, and he starts talking to one of Fred Durst ‘s security guards. He recalls that Fred Durst just started a record label, and decides to pass his only remaining copy of his demos on to the security guard, hoping they may reach the Limp Bizkit frontman. Scantlin couldn’t write music that sounded any less like rap-rock, but he knows Durst’s a businessman above all, and decides that if there’s an off-chance the phenom would hear his tape, he’d take it… A few weeks later, the phone rings, and it’s Durst. He not only got the tape, but he was impressed by it, and not only agrees to help the guitar-slinging singer/songwriter find a band, but offers to sign the soon-to-be quartet on his Flawless Records, as well.

The results are the brilliant debut Come Clean, an infectious blast of rock ‘n’ roll that swirls high-strung melodies around a punk rock raciness, serving up an inspired sound that stands head and shoulders above today’s murky musical depths. Album opener and lead single “Control” squirms in it’s own sexual energy, an anthem for anyone that’s been in a relationship for far too long. With the catch phrase lyric, “I love the way you smack my ass,” the track offers the perfect introduction to Puddle of Mudd, diving to bogged-down lyrical depths, kicking around the bottom, then exploding back up to break the surface, the whole experience defining why Puddle of Mudd aren’t your typical turn-of-the-millennium band.


Fear Factory on the cover of Maximum Ink in July 2001

Fear Factory

by Michelle Harper
July 2001

When a friend told me last month that she heard of some band called “Fear Factory” playing the House Of Blues in Chicago, I thought to myself, “That sounds odd.  A metal band playing the House of Blues?”  Then, when I heard that Fear Factory was to be one of the only non-Country bands to headline the Wisconsin Dane County Junior Fair since I was in Middle School, I became intrigued.  I called my publisher almost the same day requesting to do a piece on the popular hard core, leather-wearing band performing in such unusual venues. 

Fear Factory’s fourth LP entitled “Digimortal” is a blend of cyber-metal screams describing in detail the unification of man and machine.  Burton C. Bell sings of an apocalyptic vision in which cloning and memory implants hold the potential of sustaining human life forever, while guitarist Dino Cazares, bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and drummer Raymond Herrera fuel the raging and powerful nightmare.  This latest project exemplifies a progressive effort for the band that originated back in 1992. 

Some facts about the fearless foursome—ten years on the road, four LPs and an EP, a gold record for their third LP “Obsolete”, a black T-shirt, long-haired appearance reminiscent of early Sepultura or Slayer and live shows that are said to radiate phenomenal energy and emotion.  Success of such a band is no small feat, especially given the growing popularity of generically formatted Slipknot/Limp Bizkit imitations.


The Union Underground on the cover of Maximum Ink June 2001

Union Underground

by Michelle Harper
June 2001

It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and Bryan Scott sounds like he’s been up for days. One of the handful of fortunate bands to participate in this year’s blockbuster “Ozzfest” tour, Union Underground’s lead singer is tired, but still going strong. “We’re leaving for Europe for three weeks, then back home for like a day, then we’re doing Ozzfest for like three months”.  Fatigued but eager to talk about his band, Scott begins recounting the life of a hard working musician on his way to the top, and his participation in the festival of the summer—Ozzfest.

For Scott, Union Underground began ten years ago when he met guitarist Patrick Kennison. Scott laughs, saying “Patrick and I have been teaching each other guitar since we were 14. I was the guy in school wearing the Guns-N-Roses T-shirt and he was the guy wearing the Metallica shirt.  We’ve basically been married for 10 years.”  Scott’s love of music began as soon as he purchased Motely Crue’s “Shout at the Devil”, and he’s been singing hard ever since.


Japan's Cibo Matto on the cover of Maximum Ink in May 2001

Cibo Matto

by David A. Kulczyk
May 2001

Very few bands have had such an incredible debut album like Cibo Matto’s Viva L.A. Woman. Like an inexpensive sushi bar, Viva L.A. Woman was a Smorgasbord of contradictions.  Light, but heavy, simple yet complicated, joyful with a hint of homesickness in an electronic mix that never sounds the same way twice.

Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, expatriates from Japan have fused Trip-Hop, rap, rock, jazz, Asian and Brazilian music into a sound of their own that has been described by music journalists as fun, precious, teasing, joyful, cheerful, good-natured, quirky, silly, carefree, ironic and wry.  Multi-instrumentalist Honda is a longtime member of the Manhattan art scene and was once in the Brooklyn Funk Essentials.  Hatori, a former member of the Tokyo rap unit Kimidori and a former club DJ, came to the States in 1993. After meeting in 1994, they started the short-lived band, Leitoh Lychee.  Honda and Hatori formed Cibo Matto, (Italian for “food madness”) shortly afterwards.

Cibo Matto take their time in the studio, their latest release Stereo Type A appeared in the stores in 1999.  Although less edgy than Viva L.A. Woman, Stereo Type A shows signs of maturity and the affects of love and all the good and bad things that go with it.  I had a chance to interview Miho Hatori.


The Red Elvises on the cover of Maximum Ink in April 2001

The Red Elvises

by David A. Kulczyk
April 2001

Imagine growing up in the old Soviet Union and playing Rock and Roll music? But you have a bigger dream, to play Rock and Roll in the country where it all started, The United States of America.

That’s what the Red Elvises did and have been making America a better place to live. The “now” Venice Beach, California based band have been taking their Eastern Europe style of Rock and Roll to everywhere and anywhere they can plug in their amplifiers.  “We speak the language that people understand,” said Oleg, the former balalaika player.

Oleg Bernov, Igor Yuzoz and Zhenya Kolykhanov have throughout their Red Elvises career, played bass, guitar, and lead guitar respectively, but now because of the loss of their longtime American drummer Avi Sills, the Red Elvises all take turns playing bass, drums and guitar.  “Now it’s a 3 piece band,” said Oleg.  “Our American drummer is gone, spontaneously combusted like in Spinal Tap.”


Rockford's now defunct 420 on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2001

Four Twenty

by Michelle Harper
March 2001

420 is not a band with a story of California glitz and glamour. 420 is not a band recounting brutal management dramas or record label feuds. 420 is not about image. According to vocalist Mike Kerry, 420 is about limitless musical boundaries, finding truth in life, and following a dream out of the Midwest into the great beyond.

Formed in early 1998, Mike Kerry, Tom Parrott, John Pond and Mike “Bunj” Bunjan have been causing quite a stir in their hometown of Rockford, Illinois.  In 1999, the group won the Rockford Area Music Industry’s Critic’s Choice for “Composer of the Year” for their debut EP “In Four Twenty”. Another RAMI followed the same year for the song “Hands or Time”. Although the band is fairly new to the music scene, Mike and Tom Parrott have been expressing their passion for innovation for over a decade.  “The thing about the members of the band”, Mike explains, “is that we all either own businesses or have huge responsibilities to them. We want to succeed, but we have lives too.”  This has kept 420 fairly localized for 3 years.


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Soulfly on the cover of Maximum Ink in February 2001


by Michelle Harper
February 2001

Out of the screaming vocals, grinding guitars and angry, emotionally churning beat of Soulfly emerges Max Cavalera . “Most people think our type of music is negative because it sounds negative. We’re trying to show it can be positive”.

Max Cavalera , former member of Brazilian metal band Sepultura, is keeping it amazingly positive. In less than a decade, he has left a band he was with for almost 15 years, buried his stepson and friend Dana, and suffered the loss of musical brothers such as Lynn Straight of Snot and Tunday from the underground Arizona rap band Cutthroat Logic. Yet in the face of despair and tragedy, Soulfly has released an incredible follow-up to their self-titled debut CD called “Primitive”, a polished, hard core effort with a message of spirituality and optimism.

Soulfly’s second project emphasizes Cavalera’s style of multiculturalism, partially attributed to recording “Primitive” near his home at Phoenix, Arizona’s Salt Mine Studios (not to mention his mother is a priestess of the Candomble religiona mix of Catholicism and African religions). Combining metal riffs with traditional Brazilian music and tribal rhythms, Cavalera pours passion for his heritage into every track. “I used the barumbau (a Brazilian instrument consisting of one string and a coconut) on the track “Catch-A-Spirit” off the “Straight Up” compilation (a multi-artist tribute CD to former Snot member Lynn Straight). It was a great experience. Mike (former member of Snot and current guitarist of Soulfly) did a great job putting it together, and it was like a presence was still here. A spirit.”


The Residents on the cover of Maximum Ink in February 2001

The Residents

by David A. Kulczyk
February 2001

The Residents have kept their identity secret for twenty-eight years.  They have no faces, no gender, no race and no personality.  This decision was reached because they wanted a separation between their personal and professional lives.  Anonymity was and is their only rule.  These faceless anti-stars have stood on the fringes of the music world happily releasing their often-disturbing music to critical acclaim.  They are supposedly originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, and one is the father of Siamese Twins.  Maybe one is a former Protestant Minister and another has one of the largest model railroad collections in the world. 

Regarded by many to be the original pioneers of the music video, The Residents produced their first video in 1972 (Vileness Fats), but really came into their own when they released Third Reich ‘n Roll in 1977.  In this video, the band is dressed entirely in newspapers, as well as the instruments and set.  There is crude stop action animation filmed in black and white color that makes the hair on your neck stand up.


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