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Chicago - photo by David M. Earnisse

Chicago

A 2014 Interview with Robert Lamm
by Sal Serio
March 2014

Taking in the entire breadth and scope of rock group Chicago’s storied career, it’s difficult to fathom the immenseness of the band’s journey, their accomplishments, forays in to a multitude of musical genres, and ability to survive in the ever changing climate of popular culture. After all, this is the first American rock band to chart Top 40 albums in six decades, and is the highest charting American band (# 13) in Billboard’s list of Top 100 artists of all time.

With the recent highlights of performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and inclusion of their very first album, ‘Chicago Transit Authority’ (1969), in to the Grammy Hall Of Fame, the band is currently riding a new wave of enthusiasm and confidence. Maximum Ink’s Sal Serio got to speak to founding member, keyboardist, vocalist, and composer, Robert Lamm, in advance of Chicago’s upcoming Wisconsin appearances (April 28 at Overture Hall in Madison, May 1 at Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, and two dates at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theatre – April 30 & May 4).


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Tommy Emmanuel

An interview with guitarist Tommy Emmanuel
by Max Ink Writer List
March 2014

Tommy Emmanuel is an acoustic guitar virtuoso who has delighted fans with his complicated fingerstyle technique. He has been playing Maton guitars for most of his career. A long-standing fan of Chet Atkins, he recorded the album “The Day Finger Pickers Took Over The World” with Atkins. The album also turned out the be the last Atkins ever recorded. Tommy still performs at the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society every July in Nashville. He recently wrapped a tour alongside Martin Taylor.

Maximum Ink: What was it like being taught to accompany your mother on steel guitar when you were only 4? Do you think,looking back, those are some of your most fond memories? What do you think is the most important thing you learned from her?
Tommy Emmanuel: It was so long ago, it’s hard to remember everything. I recall it was exciting to play music with my mother – every day I looked forward to hearing the school bell, knowing that I would run across the road to our home and my mum would be waiting to play. She showed me some songs that were simple and easy to remember. She taught me how a song is constructed, to know the difference between the verse and the chorus and the bridge, and to look out for key changes. I think I learned the importance of melody against chords through learning all these songs.

MI: Do you remember what it was like to work as musician at the age of 6? Did you ever get stage fright when you first started playing to crowds?
TE: I was never afraid of going on stage – in fact, the opposite is true; I couldn’t wait to get out there. I’m just the same today.


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Haliewll

Haliwel

by Teri Barr
March 2014

The music is tight. The performance looks like a seasoned band on stage. And though the members in Haliwel have some years of experience between them, this Madison-based band is a new, exciting effort for all. Haliwel has been a dream of founder Shawn Streeter, since moving to the area a few years ago. But the guitar player and back-up vocalist, couldn’t find the right partners for his project. A chance encounter connected Streeter to Ryan Seney, another back-up vocalist and guitar player; later an ad led them to drummer Max Neal. This formed the core of the band, which created the sound in play today. Add inTravis Malin on guitar, and newest member lead singer Justin Schmitz, and this is five guys with a goal of ruling the music world.

They aren’t wasting time—a C.D. of original music is already written, recorded, and available. The band just signed a sponsorship agreement with Dirtbag Clothing, a company created in the memory of Dimebag Darrell. And they’re putting together a show schedule for the summer, starting with a few here this spring. I recently had the chance to ask the three main members a few questions for Maximum Ink, including what it’s like to start from scratch in a new city, and how waiting for the right members is paying off.


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3296 ViewsPermalinkHaliwel Website

The Madison 420 Fest

by Evan Verploegh
March 2014

Cannabis fans here in Madison will be able to ring in the holiday in style this year at the 4/20 Festival at The Brink Lounge. This event will benefit Madison NORML as well as The Ben Masel Project.  The celebration is hoping to promote marijuana awareness and will also feature two stages of live music from nine Madison and Midwestern bands.  The 2nd annual Festival will also have vending booths as well as non-profit tables for more information on marijuana reform.

“This is a celebratory event. A celebration and energization of all things cannabis, as well as a benefit for Madison NORML and the Ben Masel Project,” says Erik Riedasch, entertainment director for Madison NORML. “The bands are here because they want to be. We live in a city that is supportive of the cause, and accepting and we’re excited to be able to host this event again.”


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2691 ViewsPermalinkMadison 420 Fest Website

Natasha Mira

An interview with Songstress Natasha Mira
by Tina Hall
March 2014

Natasha Mira is an up-and-coming vocalist who has performed at The House of Blues, MGM Grand among others. Her work tends towards the medieval pop genre. Her latest single, ¨Chasing Fire¨  produced by Patrick Reza, has been getting rave reviews.

Maximum Ink: Can you tell us a little about yourself? What would you like the world to know about you?
Natasha Mira:I grew up in a small town but I have always been surrounded by music, recording studios, and artists. I sometimes appear shy when you first meet me but I get this whole other persona the second I walk on to a stage. It’s empowering and is a wonderful way to express myself. I’m definitely a perfectionist when it comes to projects I’m involved with! I really love to have creative control and a hands-on approach over my ideas so that the visions in my head are translated across to the music you hear.

MI: Do you think your upbringing has had a positive influence on you when it comes to your career ambitions?
NM:Absolutely. I often wonder if I was never exposed to music throughout my life if I would have ended up on this same path. I know my upbringing made a huge impact on my decisions and career aspirations. The music industry is all I’ve ever known thanks to my mother, Ilona Europa, who is also a singer, songwriter, and the creator of her own talk show Accent On! on LA Talk Radio. She has always inspired me, and to this day I try to be as outgoing as she is! She’s a natural with meeting new people and collaborating. Maybe one-day I’ll have even half of her people-skills!

MI: Who were some of your earliest influences?
NM: I have a really wide variety of influences. It’s funny, I tend to stick with one artist or one album for a really long time and then move on to the next. I go through phases and I think my music and writing adapts accordingly. When I was thirteen a friend introduced me to Tokio Hotel, a glam/rock band from Germany. They definitely kicked my dreams into gear and their influence came across in songs of mine like “Go Now and Tell Her”. I was tentative about pursuing singing as a career when I was young but after going to one of Tokio’s concerts – it just clicked. I just remember crying and breaking down out of nowhere knowing that performing is what I truly wanted to do. Right now I’m obsessed with Imogen Heap, and Ellie Goulding’s newest album Halcyon. I’ve been listening to it when I drive to and from school for the past six months. A lot of the new material I have been writing is absolutely influenced from that album; I just can’t get enough of it. I find it interesting that most of my inspirations are artists signed to Interscope – a label I hope to one day work for - or be signed by. It’s a funny coincidence; or maybe it’s fate! Besides musical influences I have FINALLY found a brand and image that clicks for me personally. I have always been obsessed with Medieval Times, knights, castles, and all things associated with that time period. I have such a strong emotional connection to that era that once I finally recognized that this influence is what I want to portray in my music - it all clicked for me. It was a very fascinating revelation. I had always been searching for a “persona” and never quite felt comfortable in my own skin on stage because I was trying to be like someone else. I think I’ve finally found my comfort zone and I can’t believe it but I finally feel like I’ve developed my own musical influence that is so different from every artist around me. It feels fantastic and extremely freeing. I no longer have to try to create a product, something niche that will sell, I’m just creating music that feels like me. It must be the European influence from my mother combined with my obsession with shows like Reign on the CW, Game of Thrones, and various games that depict that time period!

MI: What do you love most about being a vocalist?
NM: It just sort of came naturally to me. I was always singing around the house but mostly to myself. I was very introverted about singing when I was younger. My mother had many vocal students coming in and out of the house and I could hear them singing from the room next door. I was shy when I was little, so I started singing the same songs in my room. When I realized I couldn’t hear myself over my mother’s students I just naturally started singing the harmonies to EVERY single song to differentiate my voice from theirs. I definitely think singing harmonies non-stop when I was younger is the main reason why I am addicted to harmonies in my music.

MI: How would you describe your sound to those yet to hear it?
NM: If you had asked me this question about a few months ago I would have had an extremely difficult time answering. I feel like I have finally defined my own sound, my own genre, and I’m labeling it as “Medieval-Pop”. I’m obsessed with minor chord progressions and eccentric melodies that are still commercial and easy to sing along to. I strive for a full orchestrated sound, lots of strings, lots of instrumentation, making my songs bigger than life and my producer Jerry Jones (Lthrboots) is the mastermind behind my instrumentals. You’ll just have to check out my music to really get the full experience! I also collaborate with many artists and write in various genres so it really depends on who I’m working with. For example, I just collaborated on a track with an incredible Dubstep producer and artist named Patrick Reza. He has such a unique sound that’s unlike any form of Dubstep I’ve heard before. When he asked me to collaborate on a track with him I was thrilled to get the opportunity to work on a genre I normally wouldn’t have associated myself with and the track “Chasing Fire” has been getting ridiculously great feedback. I’m also working with another amazing songwriter/producer, Kidd Genius, who is also a Music Business student at USC. Our writing styles completely flowed effortlessly and we have multiple tracks coming out in the near future. Be sure to look out for them!


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Adrenaline Mob

Adrenaline Mob

An interview with guitarist Mike Orlando
by Chris Fox
April 2014

Riding on the release of their latest album, Men of Honor, ADRENALINE MOB hits the road again this spring. The quartet has continued to reaffirm their supergroup status with the addition of TWISTED SISTER drummer, A.J. Pero, as they deliver a gut-hitting hard rock sound.

The band’s latest album follows what they started with the first, Omertà. ”We’ve taken the staple of what we created with that album, and just turned the page and turned it up,” explains guitarist and songwriter Mike Orlando. “But, it is what it has always been, solid grooves, big hooks, and monster beats - wrap all of that up and you have Adrenaline Mob.”


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