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A friendly Q & A with local musician Kyle Rightley
by John Noyd
One might not guess hearing Kyle Rightley’s windswept folk guitar trimmed in mandolin and graced with a clear calm voice that the talented singer-songwriter spent time in the nine-piece funk and soul band The Big Payback, attends Tuesday night jams every week at Madison’s Mason Lounge playing trombone and euphonium with the Five Points Jazz Collective and produces electronic prog-rock as (io). Having dropped two solo acoustic EPS in 2014, Rightley kicks off the new year’s new feature where we ask local talent what are a few of their favorite things
MAXIMUM INK: Do you have a favorite story of a musician helping another musician?
Kyle Rightley: I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of other musicians! Specifically, music professors from my college days helped shape my playing and musical philosophies. John Stevens at UW-Madison was a mentor and role model for me. And my involvement in every band that I’ve ever played in happened because of another musician giving me a chance. Even if I doubted my own abilities, my band mates seemed to believe in me.
MI: What’s your favorite thing about the local music community?
KR: That kind of ties in with the first question. Madison’s music community is knit very tightly. One might think that local musicians compete against each other for gigs and exposure. That might be true to some extent, but a victory for one musician is a victory for all local musicians. If a venue hires a band or solo act and the night goes really well, that venue is going to be more likely to hire other musicians on other nights. I think we all understand that to a degree, so there’s a great deal of camaraderie among Madison musicians.
MI: What’s your favorite song these days?
KR: It would be hard to pick just one. My all-time favorite songs are “Dogs” by Pink Floyd, and “Canada” and “Funeral” by Devin Townsend.
MI: Who’s the favorite one in your family?
KR: Well, that’s a loaded question! My brother’s girlfriend is a flight attendant, and she’s hooking us up with cheap plane tickets to South America in January. So even though she’s not technically family, she would rank pretty high on my “favorites” list currently.
MI: Where’s your most favorite place to write music?
KR: I’m lucky enough to have a music room in my place right now. All my instruments and recording gear live there, so that’s my creative space right now. But it can also be really fun write lyrics or music out in nature (when the weather is nice, of course)!
For more information check out www.kylerightley.com and catch Kyle along with Hugh Trimble January 10th at Madison’s Crescendo Espresso Bar & Music Cafe. Read More...
Why you should say yes to seeing live music!
by Mike Huberty
When someone in a band asks you to come to one of their live shows, there are a million reasons to say that you can’t make it. I’ve heard every excuse out there. It’s always, “There’s a cover charge and I’m broke” or “I can never talk to my friends when the band is playing” or “I’ve got the kids that night” or “I’m at home with venereal disease” (well, my friends anyway.) I know that the allure of Netflix, Xbox, or the latest comic book movie seems overwhelming. And the clubs and bars that host shows don’t make it any easier. After all, the shows are designed to run until bar time to keep the maximum amount of people drinking at the bar. You know that it’s after Midnight when drinkers start getting loose with their wallets and the shots start flowing freely (the Jägerbomb was undoubtedly invented in the wee hours of the morning as a quick wake-up/barf inducer.)
Interview with two candidates for Madison Mayor 2015
The primary election for the mayoral race in Madison is Tuesday, February 17, 2015. The pundits have been analyzing the candidates on everything from economic to evironmental policy beliefs and everything between, except music. It occurred to me that we always find out how supportive, or unsupportive, a mayor is for the music scene “after” being elected to office. There are two candidates that are young, bright, and bring a lot of energy and passion to the table. They are people that I have seen out at shows around town.Those two candidates are Bridget Maniaci and Scott Resnick. I thought it would be interesting to get their viewpoint on four simple questions.
Both Bridget and Scott have attended UW-Madison and served on the Madison Common Council. Bridget left office to complete a Masters of Science Public Policy & Public Management at Carnegie Mellon University while Scott has been Vice President of Hardin Design & Development as well as currently still serving on the city’s common council.
Resnick’s company, Hardin D&D, was named by Madison Magazine as one of the city’s best places to work and Bridget was named in Brava Magazine’s “Women to Watch” in 2014. You can get all the info on both candidates at their websites BridgetForMadison.com and ResnickForMayor.com. Read More...
Singer-Songwriter Karen Wheelock takes Center Stage with new EP
by John Noyd
With bold, genuine statements like, “Music is my life,” followed by a half-embarrassed laugh, Madison singer-songwriter Karen Wheelock exudes a warm and bubbly authenticity. Casually sincere while stylishly attired, Wheelock’s sweet demeanor hides a driving thirst to experience life whole-heartedly; reaping a rich resume that includes on-line magazine editor, half of an acoustic duo, coordinating a benefit album, singing at nursing homes and tackling other musician’s promotion duties. A shy person who blossoms on record and stage, she is a hard-worker behind the scenes who recently managed to write and produce a showcase EP, “Imaginary Girl.” Full of heartfelt writing and a strong voice that trails easily off into a whisper or blossom into robust proportions, “Imaginary,” reflects Karen’s all-in aspirations, sentimental melancholy and eager self-reflection.
Grit and determination comes naturally to Karen, who grew up working the 240 acre family farm, but patience and compassion grew after encountering Alzheimer’s through her grandmother and mother. A demure dynamo that started public singing in kindergarten choirs and continued throughout college, Wheelock always was a team-player who, “likes to keep it real.” A childhood dream of becoming a back-up singer took a pragmatic turn when Karen became a Theater and Communications major at Beloit College, but as she branched out into playing guitar, recording her performances for YouTube and exploring her feelings through song-writing, the solo route seemed a natural next step. That it at times took the form of music therapy was unexpectedly fitting for someone with Ms. Wheelock’s community spirit.
A Lords of Trident pin tacked onto her guitar strap and a Leonard Cohen song on her lips, Karen is a ravenous music fan with tastes ranging from punk to folk. She says she likes, “honest music,” and can often be found hugging the stage and chatting with the bands after their set. She solicited advice from indie-rocker Cary Brothers and even struck up a correspondence with art-pop singer Meiko, whose introspective odes and DIY lifestyle matches Wheelock’s positive outlook and gung-ho attitude. Encouraged to express herself in song, Karen’s first attempts were less than spectacular, particularly when a love song she wrote for her college guitar-playing boyfriend was met by a luke-warm response that inspired her to break off the relationship but also challenged her to write more, better songs.
Ever the explorer, Karen has learned a lot playing solo, but yearns to be a part of a band. “I think the whole purpose of sharing music with each other is to connect and relate to each other,” she says, “and besides, it just feels nice to be onstage with other people!” She wants to sharpen her song-writing and expand into piano, admitting she tends to sing sad songs despite her cherry exterior. Finally, Karen would like to meet Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters; an ardent admirer half her life, she likes to dream big and, like the songs she chases, she likes to keeps things interesting, focused and full of feeling. For more information, check out www.reverbnation.com/karenwheelock.
An Interview with Lucas Cates
by Teri Barr
Add up the miles. 2000+ to the west coast, another 1100 to the Gulf Shore, and then multiply it by at least a dozen times. Lucas Cates, founder of Madison-based The Lucas Cates Band, has been on the road from one end of the country to the other, and almost non-stop since 2006. But recent change to the long-time lineup is giving Cates time to re-group and re-charge. As one of the few full-time, DIY working bands, he’s also now pursuing other interests. Yet Cates still has an eye on the music scene. He’s pulled together a new group, which will open a big show at High Noon Saloon January 22, and plans to include a sampling of songs from their new album, expected out in February. I asked him about his past, his future, and what he’s learned along the way.
Maximum Ink: Has music always been your focus?
Lucas Cates: I have a musical background but one I never took seriously until college. I played french horn and trumpet in high school, then dabbled at drums and piano but wasn’t great at either, so I finally learned guitar when I was 20. It was the first time in my life I felt like I had a natural ability to do something. I have always been drawn to acoustic guitar, and much of the music I was brought up on featured it. I think we are influenced by our environments and music has always been part of mine.
MI: And you have a new version of The Lucas Cates Band (TLCB)? Read More...
LC: Yes! New additions to the band are Cody Davis on bass, and Travis Drumm on drums. Both are extremely talented and humble players. Over the last few months of playing together we have become a cohesive unit and great friends. I think our new album, “Back to the Cocoon”, really captures that. We also have some great guest musicians on it: Kenny Leiser (Mighty Wheelhouse, former TLCB band mate), Darren Marabelli (Katie Scullin Band) put down some electric guitar parts; Andrew Traverse (The Mustache) played some killer trumpet; Jesse Warmka (also a former TLCB band mate) contributed backing vocals.
An interview with drummer Mike Bailey of Bret Michaels Band
by Tina Ayres
Mike Bailey is the drummer for the Bret Michaels Band. A man of many talents he is also the President and Artist Relations Director for Potomac Records. The D.C. native studied TV and Radio Production at Columbia School of Broadcasting.
Maximum Ink: What were you like as a kid? What are some of your most fond memories from those days?
Mike Bailey: I’m the youngest of 3, with 2 sisters that never lacked pranks on their baby brother. We were raised in a northern Virginia suburb (Chantilly) outside Washington DC. At 7 years old, several of the neighborhood friends, ala The Sand Lot style upbringing with street sports, and music, would rock out to KISS with tennis rackets, jump on top of couches and chairs, playing the roles of our favorite KISS member. I was always Peter Criss of course. In the 4th grade, neighborhood friends Jeff Pringle, Bobby Sparks, Duane Sibole, and I performed (pantomime) KISS’ I Was Made for Loving You in full costume and make-up at the Brookfield Elementary School Gong Show; dried ice, strobe lights, blood capsules, the works. Unfortunately, to a lot of adults at the time, KISS was also known as Knights in Satan’s Service, being one of them, music teacher Ms. Mayo gonged us. And of course the kid playing Elvis, won. Go figure. In retrospect, this was my very first experience in front of a crowd, playing in a rock n roll band, even if only lasted 2.5 minutes (laughs) it’s a memory I’ll never forget.
MI: Did you discover your love of music at an early age? Who were some of your influences? Do you happen to remember you very first favorite song?
MB: It’s the typical story of banging on pots and pans, and anything else that made noise, at a very young age. But my first real introduction to the drums was when my Aunt (Libby) in Alabama shipped me a Toys R Us drum kit for Christmas when I was 5. After destroying and replacing a few more Toys R Us kits, my Dad bought my first real drum kit when I was 9. It was a standard 5 piece kit, and remember him telling me if there’s anything else I want to add to the kit, I would have to work for it and buy it with my own money. I was so excited to finally have a real drum set, getting a new cymbal stand and cymbal, or hi hat stand, was something I was happy to work for, and in turn instilled a good work ethic at a very young age.
Elvis Presley ruled our household. Although I don’t recall my first favorite song, I’m sure it was an Elvis, Dolly Parton, Chubby Checker, Buddy Holly, or a Creedence Clearwater song. I am thankful for my parent’s diverse genres of music they listened to. The first live concerts I went to were The Beach Boys, Dolly Parton, Chicago, and Alabama. I’m proud to say I was able to see some of the 80’s best rock bands at the height of their success. Big influences were Motley Crue, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Tesla, Poison, and Savatage. Tommy Lee was my first true inspiration. The sheer power, and passion he plays with is an amazing combination that separated him from the rest.
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