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Sunspot at the Market Square theater in Madison - photo by Mike App

Sunspot

An interview with the WI natives, Ben Jaeger, Mike Huberty, and Wendy Lynn Staats
by Tina Hall
February 2011

Wisconsin based Sunspot is made up of Ben Jaeger (Guitar & Vocals), Mike Huberty (Lead Vocals & Bass), and Wendy Lynn Staats(Drums & Vocals). The trio from Madison offer up singalong rock with a local flair. Their newest album Singularity was voted Madison’s Rock Album of the Year by the Madison Area Music Association, with the tracks, No Place Like Home being named Rock Song of the Year, and Sweet Relief, Video of the Year. They have opened for acts such as Death Cab for Cutie, The Flaming Lips, Sponge, SevenMaryThree, Hot Hot Heat, and Sick Puppies. Earlier this year they licensed the song “Go, Pack!” to FOX Sports for use during the NFC Playoffs and Super Bowl, events seen by tens of millions of people around the world.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your background? How do you think coming from where you do has influenced your musical styling?
Ben Jaeger: We came from small towns surrounding a medium sized city -Milwaukee. We have spent a lot of time in big cities sharing our songs, but we very much enjoy returning to our roots. Madison has been our home for 15 years now and there are many things that we enjoy about it. It is small enough that people in the music community are accessible and supportive, but the city is large enough that there are plenty of people to interest in being fans. Our music is very real and honest and appeals to a variety of people from sci-fi geeks to jocks to musicians to avid readers.


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Carl Harvey

The Carl Harvey

An interview with Toots & the Maytals guitarist and solo artist, Carl Harvey
by Tina Hall
February 2011

Carl Harvey has been playing the guitar since the age of 13. Although he has worked with bands like Crack of Dawn, Aggrovators, and Willi William, he is best known from his work in Toots and the Maytals, where he has worked for well over 25 years. He has also worked as a record producer, producing four albums for Messenjah (two of which gained Juno Award nominations). He also produced a recording from Juno-winning artist Kim Richardson and Sway. Harvey has won an Grammy for his work with Toots and The Maytals for the Best Reggae Album of the Year in 2004 on the album True Love. He is also a solo artist with The Carl Harvey Project. His solo album The Times is available now.

Maximum Ink: What is it like in Jamaica? Do you remember what it was like to relocate from there to Toronto?
Carl Harvey:  I have mixed memories about my life as a child in Jamaica. Some are happy and some very sad. My parents immigrated to the U.S. when I was very young and then to Canada. I went to join them in Toronto when I was 12 yrs old. Integrating into a whole new environment and being reunited with my parents along with my younger brother was a bit tough at first. I had to deal with a whole new social dynamic. I arrived in Toronto a day or two before having to go to a new school in a new country. It was scary and exciting at the same time.


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Thoughts For Food

Thoughts for Food

by Mike Huberty
February 2011

Easily the largest benefit concert in Wisconsin, Thoughts for Food gets all the music venues of Racine to party for a cause every year on the first Saturday of March. That cause is the Racine County Food Bank, an organization dedicated to helping the area’s people who are having trouble with the bottom and most basic rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Currently on its 19th year (its longevity a minor miracle in itself), the benefit spans nine Racine clubs as well as over 40 bands. That’s something that Racine County Food Bank Director Dan Taivalkoski doesn’t take for granted. He states, “Our budget is around a million dollars when you factor in the value of food. Our cash budget is about a third of that and Thoughts for Food is about a tenth of that, so it’s a very important fundraiser for us.”

While it’s essential for the Food Bank, it’s also a no-brainer for the venues involved. Taivalkoski states, “Most years you can guarantee a packed house the entire evening. And most of the bars give back their proceeds in the form of a donation to the food bank. It’s positive all the way around.”


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Doomsday 2011

Doomsday 2011

An interview with Doomsday creator and coordinator Lawrence Weeks
by Aaron Manogue
February 2011

Anyone who pays any type of attention to music knows it’s becoming harder and harder for quality bands to break into the music scene. With social media becoming ever popular and new ways of sharing music making music distribution easier for bands, there are more new bands now than whiney teenage girls who praise Justin Beiber like he’s the second coming of Jesus (and that’s saying something). So, for all the metal-heads out there, this means you are oversaturated with stumbling, offbeat double bass beats and ear drum bursting shrieks. Luckily, I have a cure for these metal doldrums by way of an event called Doomsday 2011. An annual event started back in 2000 that gives us all hope that there truly is good, high quality, kick your ass music still left out there. Maximum Ink sat down with event creator and coordinator Lawrence Weeks, to discuss the event and hear what sets this event apart from the rest.


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Morgan Rose of Sevendust - photo by Paul Weber

Sevendust 2011

An interview with Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose
by Aaron Manogue
February 2011

The rock scene isn’t something that is easy to break “big” into, and even when you do, there comes the constant struggle of staying relevant enough to continue successfully writing music and touring. Very few bands have figured out the precise formula to balance immense musical talent while pleasing the suits who sign the checks. Since 1997, when they released their self-titled debut album, Sevendust has done just that and much more. They’ve gone through lineup changes, financial troubles, and everything else that rock ‘n’ roll throws their way. Sevendust has continued to write, record, and produce music that transcends the struggles and has formed them into one of the most stoic forces in the hard rock music scene. Maximum Ink sat down with drummer Morgan Rose to discuss changes in the Sevendust family, what keeps them going, and what comes next.

Maximum Ink : What is it that keeps you going personally and wanting to continue to make music?
Morgan Rose : You know, there’s the cliché, “I do it for the music,” but it’s very therapeutic. Usually in every record there’s a story that went on in that past year or two, and it’s something that is a great outlook for us. We do actually call this a job, even though it’s kind of embarrassing to use that term. When you leave your kids, leave your family, and you do it for as long as we have, I think we’ve justified it by now. I think people can say, “Well yeah, this is a job.” Creating music and performing is what we do, and we were blessed enough to be in the right place at the right time. It’s something that’s very special to us.


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Cowboy Mouth

by Troy Johnson
February 2011

In the midst of their 16th annual Mardi Gras tour, Cowboy Mouth is fixing to bring their New Orleans style of good times rock and roll music to the Midwest. The group has earned a reputation for a wildly entertaining live performance with crisp and clear, often goofy, lyrics and songs that encourage crowd participation. Their style of literate but accessible pop-rock is similar in spirit to former tour-mates, the Barenaked Ladies. The band also shared stages with musically similar groups like Sister Hazel and Hootie and The Blowfish.

I had a brief conversation with Fred LeBlanc, frontman and drummer, before a show while they were unloading their equipment for a gig that evening in Shreveport, LA. Cowboy Mouth plays so many shows, I was curious about what makes an individual show special. LeBlanc mentions that “A live show, for me, is about creating a moment for the audience and ourselves. I have this thing I started saying when we first put Cowboy Mouth together, it goes, ‘10 or 10,000.’ It doesn’t matter how many people are or are not in the audience. Every night that we play we give our very best.”


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