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Articles in Reverse

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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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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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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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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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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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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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