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An Interview with Superchunk Guitarist Jim Wilbur
by John Noyd
Formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1989, Superchunk has maintained the same line-up since 1991, releasing heartfelt high-velocity indie-rock over the course of eight albums before taking a hiatus in 2001. Returning from their various side-projects in 2010, the band currently finds itself promoting their tenth full-length, “I Hate Music,” without their original bassist Laura Ballance, whose hearing issues has made her participation in their volcanic live shows untenable. In anticipation of playing Madison’s 2014 FRZN Fest January 19th, Superchunk’s Jim Wilbur was kind enough to answer a few questions via email.
MAXIMUM INK: Superchunk’s guitar sound has been an influential force for years, what guitarists do you admire and are there any guitarists/bands playing today you find particularly interesting?
Jim Wilbur: Thanks for the compliment. Let me say first of all that I am a completely un-trained guitarist, never had a lesson. I bought my first guitar (a crappy off-brand acoustic) when I was a senior in high school after listening to the Minutemen’s “Double Nickels on the Dime”. I had a little pamphlet with some basic chord diagrams and that was that. I usually tell people I perform with a guitar - rather than say I play a guitar. So… basically I admire anyone who can ACTUALLY play the damn things, especially people who seem to play intuitively.
MI: After so many years together Superchunk seems more like a family than a band, how would you describe the group dynamics and what do you feel are your responsibilities in the band?
JW: You’re right. I think we are more like a family at this point, that, or maybe a gang. We all know how to deal with one another, where each other’s toes are and ways to avoid stepping on them. As far as my responsibilities go, hmmm… back in the 90’s I did most of the driving, but I don’t suppose that is what you mean. I think the most important thing for each of us is to be respectful of one another and allow each other the space to live inside the group. That may sound a little New Agey. When we are arranging/writing songs we all have to figure out how to complement one another and not step on each other’s parts. I’m talking musically here - but the same goes for the personal relationships we share with one another.
MI: The band seems happy to tour, I’ve always wondered, how does it get decided who gets to choose the music in the van?
JW: Back in the day the rule was “Driver picks the tape”. Since I drove about 90% of the time, that meant the band had to sit through my homemade mix-tapes of Def Leppard, Squeeze, The Verlaines and various hardcore punk bands. These days everyone is plugged into their own little worlds. Everyone but me, that is. I don’t really like listening to music in moving vehicles. Mostly I just sit there and ask questions of my band mates that go unanswered because they can’t hear me. Ha.
MI: Obviously there has to be a difference not having Laura touring with you on bass for this tour, what’s the band’s history with her stand-in Jason?
JW: We’ve know Jason for years. Jon has played with him in Bob Pollard’s band as well as Bob Mould’s trio. He’s a smashing fellow and a quick study. I’m reminded of our first practice with him. We ran through “Slack Motherfucker” and after the chorus we stopped because the bass sounded weird. Mac, Jon and I were sure he was playing the wrong notes. So we sent a quick email to Laura who was at her desk in the Merge office asking what she played at that point in the song. While waiting for a reply we listened to the song on YouTube and sure enough, Jason was right. I think we never heard the song properly since we usually play it at the end of a set when some of us might have had a little too much beer!
MI: The energy your guitar provides is enormous. Is there a warm-up routine you employ before a show or do you just plug and play?
JW: Mac and I just plug in and play.. Mac will do vocal warm-ups that sound like he’s making farting noises with his lips. Jon will warm up by playing paradiddles on sofa arms or chair-backs. If I’m sitting too close to him he’ll use my calves and feet
32 Years of Brap
by Hester Megan O'Donnell
With the May 2013 release of ‘Weapon’ and the first North American tour in five years scheduled to launch January 24, Skinny Puppy fans across the globe have a lot to smile about. While there’s been much speculation in online Puppy forums as to which songs will don the set lists throughout the ‘Shapes for Arms’ tour, one thing is certain: these pioneers of the Industrial genre have persevered within the music industry for 32 amazing years.
Skinny Puppy, the brainchild of former Images in Vogue drummer and renowned synth guru cEvin Key, (aka Kevin Crompton) began as an experimental project in 1982 which seemingly took on a life of its own. Based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, Key teamed up with vocalist Nivek Ogre (aka Kevin Ogilvie) and producer Dave (‘Rave’) Ogilvie. After a plentitude of ‘brap’ (a verb coined by the duo) sessions, they had enough material to self-release 1984’s EP cassette ‘Back and Forth,’ and signed on with the label Nettwerk later that year. Countless horror movies later, the year 1985 brought the ‘Remission’ EP and first studio album ‘Bites’ into fruition, but when a band called ‘Water’ opened for them in Edmonton, Alberta, there took place an encounter which forever changed the course of Puppy history. Read More...
An interview with John DeServio of Black Label Society and Cycle of Pain
by Tina Hall
Cycle of Pain is one of the most unique bands on the scene today. With members who have also been friends since their teenage years, it has a certain loyalty that has kept it intact through the years. Comprised of John “Jd” DeServio (also of Black Label Society) on bass and vocals, Gregg LoCascio with lead vocals, Joe Taylor on guitar, Bob Panetella on the drums, and Troy Cromwell on keys. The highly anticipated EP Pain Us! is slated for release in early 2014. With the excitement building it was my pleasure to catch up with John to find a little more about the latest offering.
Maximum Ink: For those who might not be familiar with the band, can you tell us a little about how it came into being?
John DeServio: We’ve been friends and in bands together since we were 14. I got offered a record deal in 2009 and got the band back together.
MI: Do you think the fact that some of you have know each other so long now, has made it easier to keep the band progressing and working well?
JD: To some degree. On the other hand we?e brothers so there’s some hate in there too at times. (laughs)
MI: Do you think loyalty is a rare thing in the music industry today?
JD: Yeah, that’s a thing of the past. If you don’t sell you get no loyalty.
MI: Do you remember what it was that first sparked your love of music?
JD: KISS is solely responsible.
An interview with producer Ronnie King
by Tina Hall
Ronnie King is best known for his work producing Tupac Shakur. He has produced such iconic artists as Snoop Dogg, Coolio, Mariah Carey, The Offspring, Kottonmouth Kings, Pepper, and countless others. He can also be found touring with Rancid from time to time. It was my pleasure to sit down with him and learn a little about the man behind the music that is so well loved.
Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about your early days? What were you like as a kid?
Ronnie King: As a kid I was always playing music. I came from a musical family of 7 kids my older brothers and sisters where always making music. Then I started studying at 5 years of age and didn’t stop until 2 years into college.
MI: What was it that first sparked your interest in music?
RK: My brother Chuck’s friend John Buccino, who is a great piano player.
MI: What was your very first favorite song?
RK: Mandy by Barry Manilow.
MI: What do you think it takes to make a great song?
RK: Great vision and acting skills.
MI: Why do you think music has always been so well loved throughout the ages?
RK: Everything else loses power in the translation. Music you just sit back and enjoy.
An interview with Crispin Hellion Glover
by Tina Hall
Crispin Hellion Glover is a man of many talents. He has worked as an actor, screenwriter, director, author, publisher, and recording artist. His best known roles such as George McFly in Back to the Future, the Thin Man in both Charlie’s Angels flicks, Willard Stiles in the remake of Willard, Grendel in Beowulf, The Knave of Hearts in Tim Burton’s Alice inWonderland, and Phil in Hot Tub Time Machine make him one of the most recognizable faces in film.His own company Volcanic Eruptions publishes his lavishly illustrated books and delightfully twisted films. Currently he is set to tour in select cities to promote Crispin Hellion Glover’s Big Slide Show with showings of his filmsIt is fine.EVERYTHING IS FINE! & What is it? Please see his site for specific dates.
Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about yourself? What were you like as a kid? How do you think you early years influenced you to be who you are now? Read More...
Crispin Hellion Glover: I went to a small private school called Mirman School for Gifted Children. It was an excellent school that was academically oriented. The school was an influence to let me understand that questioning things was very good.
MI: What first led you try your hand at acting and when did you know if was what you had to pursue as a career? Do you think your parents being actors themselves was a positive influence on you to follow your dreams?
CHG: I was in school plays and such, but having watched my father’s career I understood, to a certain extent, how the business worked. I decided it would be something I could do at around age 11. I got an agent at age 13. My parents did not push me into the business. It was something I decided to do by my own volition, but my parents were supportive.
MI: Do people find it hard to believe that Hellion in your middle name? It is a very cool name to carry, are you glad to have it?
CHG: My father Bruce Glover is an actor as I’ve said. In fact he is in Part two of the trilogy It is fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE! People may know him from such films as Diamonds are Forever, Chinatown and the original Walking Tall series. His middle name is Herbert. He never liked his middle name Herbert. So as a young struggling actor in New York he would say to himself “I am Bruce H. Glover, Bruce Hellion Glover. I am a hellion, a troublemaker.” And that would make him feel good. He told my mother this was his real middle name. When they were married she saw him writing on the marriage certificate Bruce Herbert Glover and she thought “Who am I marrying?” They gave Hellion to me as my real middle name. I had always written and drawn as a child and I would always sign my drawing and writing with my whole name Crispin Hellion Glover. When I started acting professionally at 13 which was something I had decided on my own I could do as a profession at a relatively young age it became apparent that I had to choose a professional acting name for SAG. I thought my whole name was too long for acting and just used my first and last name. When I started publishing my books I simply continued using the name I had always used for writing and drawing. This is also why I use my whole name for my films.
by Andrew Frey
Big Gigantic is an electronic dance party ready to happen at any moment. Their music is a relentless body gyrating, mood pulsing, can’t sit down, blast off of beats, drops and jazzy rhythms. Since they formed in 2008 the Boulder, Colorado based duo which consists of saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken, has banged it out at and left their mark at various sold-out headlining tours, including Red Rocks and played some of the biggest festivals, from Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Ultra, and?Austin?City Limits to Hangout, Summer Set, Electric Forest, and Outside Lands, among many others.
It all began when Lalli… Read More...
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