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Rockford's Fluid Oz. on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 1999

Fluid Oz.

by John Noyd
March 1999

There is something downright slippery about the Rockford band, Fluid Oz.  Something this sharp shouldn’t bounce so hard. These restless roustabouts dance around the stage like disco maniacs but lay down a heavy groove that smashes the competition.  Their romp, stomp and release shoots past standard labels to combine punk, funk, jazz and jump for a free for all monster mojo that sets fire to the volcano and cooks up a killer beat delivered with an iron fist. Out with a CD that showcases their dual talents for electrifying showmanship and original songwriting, Fluid Oz.‘s Show Boatin’ Muthas is an accurate depiction of their earth shaking, roof rattling, booty shaking live shows. The current eight man line-up reaches deep into the pockets of James Brown, Sly Stone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to come up with their own unique brand of sass and pizzazz. Think of the Beastie Boys with a brass section or P-Funk married to Oingo Boingo.


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Every show might be their last! She Might Have A Gun on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 1999

She Might Have A Gun

by David A. Kulczyk
March 1999

My dog Zeus always sits in the same room as me when I write.  He is my barometer to gauge the intensity of music.  Although my Michigan Shepherd didn’t run out of the room like his ass was on fire like he did when I wrote about “Kill Switch…Klick,” he did become highly agitated and restless when I put on the She Might Have a Gun CD, Live Drugs. In fact, I haven’t seen him this distraught since I fed him leftover Sloppy Joes last summer.

Rising out of the debris like bum in Tenny Park on a Sunday afternoon, She Might Have a Gun is the end product of too many Madison bands [Magic Seven, Horizon 90, Last Crack, Autumn’s Dance, One Day War, Breath of Life, The Lotus Band, Krash Holiday].  Curiously, much like Green River/Mother Love Bone/Pearl Jam a decade before them.

Formed in the summer of 98, by Trinity James Mellon and Jamison Downing after they both found themselves without a band. Scraping together other musicians to fill the hole, She Might Have a Gun was born. Dispensing with all regards to the current trends, She Might Have a Gun blazes it’s own way, distributing its sonic barrage with tribal abandonment.  She Might Have a Gun’s music bites you in the ass like a beer soaked squirrel in your sleeping bag. The band consists of Jamison Downing and Noah Rickun on guitars, Trinity Mellon on vocals, Chin on bass, Hooch on congas and poetry and the multi-talented and infamous Buddo on drums. I spoke with the band while they were trying to decide what limo company to hire for their next show.


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Godsmack on the cover of Maximum Ink in early 1998

Godsmack

by Paul Gargano
February 1999

Every so often, a band comes along whose impact on the music scene is a can’t miss proposition. Godsmack is one of those bands. They slam with an intensity that never misses a beat, grind in a groove as thick and syrupy as Jane’s Addiction, and deliver their crushing musical blows with a callous irreverence reminiscent of early Alice in Chains. The proof is in their self-titled debut (Republic/Universal Records), a blast of aggravated fury that shreds with tribal tones and barbed-wire hooks that burrow under the skin. With lead single “Whatever” taking command at rock radio, sales well in excess of 100,000, a trial-by-fire opening run for Sevendust to close ‘98 (their first departure from the friendly confines of the Northeast, where they call Boston home), and an offer on the table to take part in this summer’s OZZfest, what started as a sucker-punch is turning into full-fledged fisticuffs from Godsmack. Currently criss-crossing America on their second headlining club run (the first ended in mid-February) we caught up with frontman Sully to talk about his band’s rapid rise.


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Black Sabbath on the cover of Maximum Ink

Black Sabbath

by Paul Gargano
December 1998

Black Sabbath, the original four horsemen of the metal apocalypse, charged their reunited forces across foreign soil earlier this year, saving their triumphant return to America for a winter tour kicking off in Phoenix on New Year’s Eve. Working up to the live run, bassist Geezer Butler, guitarist Tony Iommi, fabled frontman Ozzy Osbourne, and drummer Bill Ward issued Reunion, a double live CD that smokes with the haunting Sabbath dirges and staunch, dark music of heavy metal’s most influential outfit. As Butler and Iommi indicated in a late October interview while doing press in New York City, the CD is just the tip of the iceberg.


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Rammstein on the cover of Maximum Ink in November 1998  - photo by Paul Gargano

Rammstein

by Paul Gargano
November 1998

Just how far should a band go to win over a crowd? Rammstein go further. Some musicians breathe flames, Till Lindemann sings while engulfed in them. And that’s just to open the show. With only a handful of American dates under their belts, the buzz surrounding German industrial metal giants Rammstein is spreading like wildfire, propelling their Sehnsucht debut to gold status only six months after its release, and earning them the second headliner’s position on Korn’s Family Values tour. That may seem a bit ironic for a band whose lyrics hammer from brazen metal imagery to treading a fine line between sweetly erotic and disturbing sexual extremes. Then again, when the song titles in question are smash single and MTV Buzz Clip “Du Hast”-which translates to English, “You Hate”-and the more provocatively penned “Küss Mich,” “Tier” and “Spiel Mit Mir”-“Kiss Me,” “Beast” and “Play With Me,” respectively-the risk of being too risqué is lost. Rammstein are from Germany, sing entirely in German, and according to guitarist Richard Kruspe, who joined me on the phone from his homeland with a translator, they write their music in German, as well. Whether listening to their pair of tracks on David Lynch’s Lost Highway soundtrack-edits of ``Rammstein” and ``Hierate Mich,” their American unveilings-or any of the tracks on Sehnsucht, they slam with all the eerie forboding of a militant strike, twisting American metal and industrial with their foreign flair for results that crash between hollow hauntings and throbbing mayhem. Then there’s the performance. Live, the six imports from the other side of the crumbled Iron Curtain detonate more explosions than an air raid, and spew enough sexual imagery to dement even the sickest set of Family Values. Behold, America, the wrath of Rammstein is upon us…


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the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart and Planet Drum on the cover of Maximum Ink in October 1998

Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum

by John Noyd
October 1998

To say world percussionist Mickey Hart is embarking on a new adventure is like saying the Pope is going to church this Sunday. Author, student, artist, composer, Mickey’s musical curiosity in all things cosmic has produced seventeen discs for Rykodisc’s “World” series, two books on the history and mythology of rhythm and countless shows and solos. His latest disc, “Supralingua,” continues to explore new worlds with a strong bent on digital technology and sampling. While best known for his association with the Grateful Dead, it soon became evident that the only past he was interested in conjuring happened long before there was any Haight-Asbury scene.


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Monster Magnet on the cover of Maximum Ink in September 1998

Monster Magnet

by Paul Gargano
September 1998

Monster Magnet may unleash the most bombastic arena rock this side of the Reagan administration, but frontman Dave Wyndorf is as misplaced today as he would have been in 1988. His music glows with flash and fire, a hard rock amalgamation of everything guitar-driven and melody-laced, and onstage he plays equal parts Paul Stanley, badass biker, and teenager enchanted by the allure of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. With a brilliant new release, Powertrip, that rivals Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction in sheer audacity, tenacity, and musical virtuosity, he is currently wrapping a month of amphitheater dates with Aerosmith before kicking off a blockbuster tour with Rob Zombie and Fear Factory in October. ``In 1998, there is no alternative but to just physically get out there and pound people over the fucking heads and celebrate excess,” Wyndorf said over lunch recently at a New York City tavern. “Fuck this symphonic turntable going ‘wacka wacka wacka,’ it’s time to fuck people!”


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Days Of The New on the cover of Maximum Ink

Days Of The New

an interview with Travis Meeks
by Paul Gargano
August 1998

They produce one of the purest sounds in music, they’ve spawned the most influential songs in the history of rock `n roll, and they’re the favorite for songwriters the industry over, but in the eyes of hard rock fans, acoustic guitars are still fighting for respect - on radio they’re equated with power ballads, in live shows they result in a sea of lighters, and unplugged sets have become nothing more than trendy sidebars during performances.

Enter Days of the New frontman Travis Meeks, whose acoustic guitar has meant a great deal more. It’s helped him earn a platinum album, one of the most coveted billings of the summer, and an opportunity to disprove the fallacy that unplugged bands can’t rock as heavy as their amped-up peers. An impressive list of accomplishments for a 19-year-old from Kentucky whose artistic vision projects far beyond his breakthrough commercial success.


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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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