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Brooklyn's Shinobi Ninja on the cover of June 2010 Max Ink

Shinobi Ninja

from Brooklyn by way of Madison
by Troy Johnson
May 2010

A ninja is a stealth mercenary agent who is a highly trained assassin and an expert saboteur.  Like their namesake, the six members of Brooklyn’s Shinobi Ninja are professional musicians with a broad set of skills ranging from turntablism, to hard guitar riffs to off-the-cuff street lyrics.  With an innate ability to rock a party and the musical knowledge to pay homage to a variety of influential artists, Shinobi Ninja has already built a fan following that grows each time they take the stage. 

I spoke with Maniac Mike the band’s lead guitar player while the group was rolling to Virginia Beach for a gig. I asked him him which albums he considered Shinobi Ninja’s biggest influences. He rattled off a diverse range of albums, including Pantera’s “Vulgar Display Of Power”, Janet Jackson’s“Control”and “In Utero”Nirvana’s less heralded follow up to ‘Nevermind.’  He also gave props to classic hip-hop albums by The Notorious B.I.G. and Beastie Boys, which came as no surprise.

The band’s MySpace page features three sample tracks that highlight this wide variety of musical influences. In these tracks, one can quickly identify metal, punk, grunge, electronica, hip-hop, dance, rave, reggae, beats, and Rock n’ Roll blended seamlessly together. This eclectic style lends itself equally to both live and studio music but performing in front of an audience seems to be Shinobi Ninja’s favorite medium. “We are fans of music before anything else,” Mike told me, explaining how a group with such diverse tastes can work so well together. “Half of us are producers and we are all cognitive of each other’s style. No egos.”


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Ronnie James Dio

Ronnie James Dio

Six Decades of Ronnie James Dio
by Jeff Muendel
June 2010

Six decades. That is the span through which Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona) was a rock‘n’ roll professional. With his death last month on May 16, an incredible music career ended. Dio was best known for his work in heavy metal, and in fact he became a cultural icon – one often steeped in humor – for the exaggerated posturing and fantastical lyrics that are a rich part of the genre. His introduction of the “metal horns” hand sign cemented it. To be sure, Dio immersed himself in such things, but it’s interesting to note that his musical career actually took him through several rock‘n’roll genres.

In 1958, a band from upstate New York called Ronnie And The Red Caps released their first 7-inch single on a small label called Reb Records. They could be described as a doo-wop group. Ronnie James Dio was the singer of that band, and the vinyl single began his professional recording career. Dio went on to form a group called Elf that also garnered a recording deal. That band, which had their first release in the late sixties, could be best described as boogie rock. But Dio’s strong voice set the group apart from many of the hippie bands of the time, lending a power to the band that was unusual.

Elf got a big break by landing opening slots for Deep Purple


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Mastondon cover art by Ian Chalgren

Mastodon

an Interview with Brann Dailor
by Sal Serio
June 2010

Any metalhead with their ear to the ground is sure to hear the rumbling, gargantuan footsteps of the mighty Mastodon. The densely complex and thought provoking heavy rock of the recent Crack The Skye and Blood Mountain releases have propelled Mastodon out of the underground and onto arena bills and critic’s top lists. I conversed with drummer Brann Dailor in anticipation of their May 18th appearance at the Orpheum Theater in Madison. Mastodon is rounded out by guitarists Bill Kelliher, Brend Hinds, and bass player Troy Sanders.

Maximum Ink:  Has Mastodon been to Madison before?

Brann Dailor:  I’ve been there a bunch of times.


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Fear Factory

Fear Factory

an interview with Dino Cazares
by Chris Fox
June 2010

If you’ve felt discouraged with Fear Factory’s direction in the last few years, Mechanize (Candlelight Records) will bring your faith back. The L.A. Industrial metal masters have put out a record that many will say is the revitalization of a legend. Fan-favorite Raymond Herrera has left to pursue playing with Arkaea (E1/Century). He has since been replaced with Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death, Dethklok). All the more exciting is the reunion with Dino Cazares. He’s back after nearly a 6 year hiatus from the group. Chris Fox interviewed Mr. Cazares, emphasizing the experimental side of Fear Factory…Don’t miss FEAR FACTORY The Rave in Milwaukee on Saturday, May 29.

The metal genre has such a vast array of sub-genres and categories that it is truly impossible to define a band with one term these days. FEAR FACTORY thrives on this grey area of metal, Dino Cazares explains, “we experiment so much that it is hard to put any kind of label on what we do. Death to industrial… the best way [to describe it] would be FEAR FACTORY. We are proud to be a band that helped define a bit of this genre.”


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Chiodos

Chiodos

by Mack Dreyfuss
June 2010

It has been said of ever-evolving reality that you never step in the same river twice.

An American band named Chiodos appeared in the music-time continuum at the outset of the twenty first century with a series of three EPs: “The Chiodos Bros.” (2001), “The Best Way to Ruin Your Life” (2002), and “The Heartless Control Everything” (2003). Their powerful live show manufactured a local following. A full-length studio album ensued:  “All’s Well That Ends Well.” It was issued by (Equal Vision Records). 


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Don Bakken of Last Crack - photo by Nick Berard

3 For The Price Of 1 - My Fair Share - Don Bakken - The Moments

by Sal Serio
June 2010

3 For The Price Of 1 - My Fair Share - Don Bakken - The Moments

Sal Serio runs through 3 CD’s from regional artists


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