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System Of A Down on the cover of Maximum Ink in November 1999 - photo by Paul Gargano

System Of A Down

by Paul Gargano
November 1999

There’s no shortage of bands raising their pitchforks in the name of Lucifer, raping and pillaging in the spirit and disorder of chaos, and redefining battle lines with a flammable spray of piss and gasoline for the entertainment of their audiences. But when it comes time to walk the walk, too many are too busy fumbling over their own absurdity to matter for more than a sweaty night of mosh-pit mayhem. System Of A Down spare us the verbal diatribes, and when it comes time to lead by example, they aren’t satisfied with simply walking the walk. They power the pits, give the masses metal worth mulling over, and provide a rainbow of musical colors in a scene forever dominated by black.

It takes little more than a cursory listen to their self-titled American/Columbia Records debut to realize that there’s more to System Of A Down than your run-of-the-mill metal-thrashing-mad quartet. Building on the artistic foundation of their Armenian heritage with finger-flickin’ guitar licks, crunching bass riffs, and drums that punch, pop and pierce the unflinching darkness of their sound, frontman Serj Tankian snaps lyrics like a mad genius-calculated in their delivery and impact, yet presented in the manic and crazed ilk of a manifesto.


The Misfits

The Misfits

A Ghoulish Conversation with Jerry Only
by Holly Day
November 1999

The Misfits are a perfect example of a band more popular in death than in life. Since their first official break-up in 1983, when then-frontman Glenn Danzig left to pursue his own projects, the backlog catalog of Misfits material has been released on various CD compilations and in one four-disc box set.

In 1996, former Misfits’ members Jerry and Doyle Caiafa (a.k.a. Jerry Only and Doyle von Frankenstein) reformed the Misfits, choosing Michale Graves to take up Danzig’s former position and bringing in Dr. Chud on drums. Currently on tour with GWAR and with a new record out in stores, the Misfits have a host of new projects aimed at the public: a line of Misfits action figures, a guest appearance in the upcoming George Romero film, “Bruiser,” and a music video, also directed by Romero. Maximum Ink spoke to bassist—and only original Misfit’s member-Jerry Only during a break in the tour.

Maximum Ink: Where did you all meet and when did you first start playing together?
J: The original Misfits all met in high school, in New Jersey. I was 17, Doyle was 12, and Mom wouldn’t let him play him play until he was out of grammar school. We had to wait until he was 14, and he and I have been pretty much been playing together ever since.

MI: Did you have any other career plans outside of music?
Not really-we have a family business that Doyle and I run, so I have a job. I work-as a rule, we’re always at work. It’s a machine shop. We make a hobby knife line called Proedge-X-Acto’s our main competition. We sell to Sears and Stanley Tools, so we have some pretty big accounts. We also make our guitars and drums and everything else at the shop. We’ve got a whole monster factory
out in the country.

MI: How often do you go on tour?
Well, we’ve got a new album out, so we’ve got to bang the hell out of this for about a year. But the thing is, Doyle has two little boys-his youngest was just born last New Year’s Eve,  so this New Year’s Eve he’ll be one. So he needs to spend some time home around then. It’s no fun when you can’t be around your kids. My daughter’s going into college next year, and my son’s a freshman in high school . So for us,. This is kind of like a make or break album. In my opinion, this band will either make it in the next year or it’ll just continue to be at the level it’s at forever, which is an unsatisfactory level for me. We’re just at the point right now where we need to be playing big shows or I need to be hanging out with my kids-one of the two. So if I’m at a position where I can go out and tour with the Misfits and maybe put my daughter through college doing it, then I’ll go out and tour.  But if I’ve got to do this and then come back home and go right to work, then it’s just not going to happen. If I need to, I can quit playing until my kids are out of school and then pick up the Misfits when they’re out of the house-I have that power. I did it once already. I’m like a cat-I just keep coming back.


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Kid Rock on the cover of Maximum Ink in December 1999 (oh no, the millenium bug!!) - photo by Paul Gargano

Kid Rock

by Paul Gargano
December 1999

If there’s a single artist that best signifies America as we bum-rush the millennium, it’s Kid Rock. He oozes white trash and he’s proud of it, blazing across the country and winning audiences over with a devilish charm and coy irreverence to anything that gets in the way of his pimpin’ ain’t easy persona. He’s as smooth as a frosty cold one, but kicks back with the sting of a warm malt liquor. He’s rock, he’s rap, he’s country, and he’s blues. He probably smokes bluegrass, and his stage show rolls with the rocking and rolling curves of female dancers and big-bottomed bootieful backdrops. He’s impishly sexy, yet slyly chauvinistic, something his female hordes of fans are ready to lap up with a tease me, please me grin and an enthusiastic baring of their chests to get backstage. Call it all what you will, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll, and it’s something mainstream music has been without for too damn long-Kid Rock’s a superstar, the likes of which American audiences haven’t had since ‘80s hair bands left women wanting to be sexy, and made it fashionable for men to be sexist. It’s all about living in the U.S. of A., and Kid Rock is here to make it fun again. “I just call it true, red-boned, American music. That’s exactly what it is,” says Rock of the rock ‘n’ roll hybrid that has pushed his Atlantic Records debut, Devil Without A Cause, beyond quadruple platinum status. That’s more than four million records sold, and counting. “It’s just American music to the fullest, right here. People like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash did it in their day. My hang up was always with The Stones and The Who, and a lot of the bands like that who just mimic blues music and stuff, and are probably some of the greatest rock bands in the world-They are nothing compared to Lynyrd Skynyrd or Marshall Tucker. Those were the only bands that could get onstage and blow them off. So what I’m doing is just a hybrid of true American music, everything from blues to rock ‘n’ roll to metal to hip-hop to jazz. Anything that sounds good-rockabilly, country, anything-I put it in there.”

The results-while they can be confusing to fans of traditional, straight-forward styles that don’t span competing genres-are infectious in their musical energy and primal enthusiasm.


The Pimps (Goodyear Pimps)

by Jeff Muendel
March 2000

The Pimps from Rockford on the cover of Maximum Ink in March 2000.

When rock music and Rockford, Illinois are mentioned in the same breath, the only thing that comes to mind is Cheap Trick . Rockford is not known as a musical mecca, but as in any city, there are always at least four or five punk kids who come together, form a band, and create something worthwhile. It is now Rockford’s turn again to offer a group that demands attention on a national level, and this time the entity is called The Pimps. Originally christened The Good Year Pimps , the band was forced to drop half their name because the mighty tire company that has become synonymous with blimps didn’t like the quintet’s little word play. While this was a disappointment to the group, they realized that good rock and roll is about the, not the name. Indeed, the Beatles were once the Silver Beatles, Grand Funk were once music Grand Funk Railroad, and Chicago were once Chicago Transit Authority. On top of the historical justification, “The Pimps” is easier to remember, shorter to type, and has a bit more of a sting to it.


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 - photo by Rökker


by John Noyd
March 2000

Plastic - sturdy, modern, and ubiquitous.  When referring to the musical group Plastic, the same qualities come up - plus adaptable, durable and multi-faceted. With current influences ranging from Radiohead, Bowie and the Cure, the eight-year-old band has dabbled in everything from greaser rock to British pop soul without softening a thing.  The axis on which Plastic turns are original members Joe Price and Joe Williams, the bass and drums, the backbone to any great sound.  Besides sharing first names, Joe and Joe share a telepathic intuition that cut through the rainbow of musical rosaries to move the beast along.  They do so with swift Swiss movements, like a funky Missing Persons meets son of Primus; intricate and propulsive, precise and explosive.


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Whorrorcore from Madison's Tormentula featuring Cathy Detmers of the High Noon Saloon - photo by Rokker


by David A. Kulczyk
April 2000

“Whorrorcore,” was the reply that I got from Tormentula drummer / vocalist Alice Bludgeon when I asked her to describe Tormentula’s music. I’ve wanted to do a story on Tormentula ever since their CD, Submit You Unworthy Soul, came out last summer. Not a pretty record and occasionally not easy to listen to, but nonetheless a superior record of enraged estrogen recorded for all of the world to hear and one of the best hard rock CD’s to come out of Wisconsin. So impressive is Submit Your Unworthy Soul, that the CD was stolen from my office while I was setting up this article.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from these women with faces made up better than KISS, playing music to stomp gonads to. What I did find was an intelligent and articulate woman (drummer / vocalist Alice Bludgeon) whose love for rock and roll music is as passionate as Angus Young. “I think that music should be challenging to the musician and to the listener,” said Bludgeon.


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