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bryan carlstrom with don bakken of last crack

Letter to the People - February 2013

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Bryan Carlstrom. Bryan was an engineer and producer for many of the great albums since the late 80’s. He worked on many recordings with legendar producer Dave Jerden including Jane’s Addiction, Alice In Chains, Anthrax, Kiss, Last Crack, Rattlebone. The latter two bands, Last Crack and Rattlebone featured Madison based musicians.


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Lizzie's Birthday

Letter To The People - June 2012

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

Letter To The People:

Rökker Vodka: Don’t forget Sunday, June 10th I’ll be hosting the Bloody Rökker bar at the Sprizzo Cafe in downtown Waukesha. Come down to make your own Bloody and talk all things Rökker Vodka. Hang out long enough and you may end up running around downtown to other fine establishments carrying the Madison-made spirit. Check the website at RokkerVodka.com to see a map of locations as well as the beginnings of our cocktail guide and other FAQ’s.

Caritas Karaoke: You probably won’t see me singing anytime soon, but I’m hoping to see you singing at Caritas: Demon Karaoake at the Inferno in Madison on Wednesday, June 20th. Hosted by DJ Karcus, the “music” starts at 9pm and there will me a menu of Rökker Vodka drinks on special. Make sure to ask Amada about the “Happy Happy Joy Joy” shot. For Inferno info, go to Clubinferno.com.

Peach Pies Caburlesque: Catch the Peach Pies at two shows in Madiosn this month. One on the northside at the Inferno on June 15th, and the other at Club 5 on the westside on Thursday, June 28th. Go to their page at Facebook.com/peachpiesburlesque to find out about VIP tables, special guests, Rökker Vodka drink specials and more!

Lords of the Trident: The Regent Street Retreat will be hosting this metal show sponsored by Rökker Vodka and Scorpion Shot. Come down to sample Scorpion Rökkers, a drink made with Rökker Vodka and the flavor enhanced Scorpion Shot. Each shot has it’s own baby scorpion and if you hadn’t already guessed, you eat it just like the tequila worm! I thought it was crazy too, but after talking with owner Kenny Wayne, I found out that females are usually the first to slurp down the exotic treat, putting to shame many a boyfriend and hubby. I’m not sure how I’ll fair, it’s like Rökker Vodka meets Fear Factory!

It all happens June 23 with Lords of the Trident, Dethlahem, and Tiger Clutch at the Regent Street Retreat in Madison.

Max Ink Radio: Win a ticket and camping package to the Soundtown camping & music festival in Somerset, Wisconsin on July 27-28. With 3 stages and over 50 bands including Jane’s Addiction, Weezer, Florence & the Machine, Andrew Bird, and a tone more!

To win, you must sign up for the contest at one of our physical locations in Madison, or listen to Max Ink Radio for opportunities to get signed up by one of our dj’s. In Madison, you can sign up at Bennett’s Meadowood Country Club off Verona Rd., Knucklehead’s on State Street, or Trixie’s Liquor on E. Wash. It’s pretty simple, fill out the form and slip it in the box, we’ll announce winners live on the Jimmy K show on Tuesday, July 15th at 7pm. Make sure to sign up by Monday, July 14th to be eligible. Go to Soundtownfest.com for more details on the festival.

MAMA Awards: Max Ink Radio will be at the Overture Center in Madison broadcasting from the MAMA Awards show happening Saturday, June 2nd. If you’re in attendence stop by the Max Ink Radio booth and say hello to Jimmy K, Edub, and myself. DJ Erotic Jesus will be spinning songs between reports from the show. Listen at Maxinkradio.com or on your mobile device at Tunein.com, just search “Max Ink Radio.”

Downtown Middleton Beach Party: Saturday, June 16th from 9am-4pm. There will be a stage with live music from 12-3pm featuring the steel drum band Od Tapo Imi. They’ve been around for a long time and just recently they recruited two Madison veterans, Bradley Fish and bassist Philly (Sequentials, Cornerstone, Dread Knot, Bradley Fish’s Electrifried Band).

Atwood Summerfest: Wowie Zowie! Things are changing for Madison’s eastside festival, Atwood Summerfest!! First, the festival is moving to two days. The first day, July 28th, will feature two stages; Maximum Ink/Ale Asylum Rock Stage and the Harmony Bar/Capitol Beer Blues Stage, and will run from 2pm-9pm. The second day, July 29th, will feature one stage, yet to be named, and will feature live music from 2pm-7pm. The second day will be about half size but carry twice the punch! Stay tuned for band line-up and more info. Look for Updates at AtwoodSummerfest.com starting in late June.

Adventures With Nikko and Lizzie: My kids are food snobs. They have hardlines on just about every food, there is not even one shade grey. That makes restauranting difficult sometimes. Recently, we’ve branched out. A new restaurant opened up on the northside of Madison called Banzo, as in garbanzo bean. It is owned and operated by the soon to be married couple Natalie and Aaron. Natalie moved to Madison from Israel and brought some of that middle eastern flavor with her. Banzo specializes in falafel and hummus, not too mention a killer tahini sauce.

The couple has been running Banzo as a carry-out restaurant, as well as operating a falafel cart downtown, but are remodeling an eat-in dining room and outdoor deck that will open in early summer.

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Max Ink Radio.... Radio for the People!

Letter To The People - January 2012

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

Rökker Vodka, Max Ink Radio, Adventures with Elizabeth & Nikko


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Rökker & Lars (Distiller at Yahara Bay) with the first bottles of Rökker Vodka off the line - photo by Nick Quint

Letter To The People - July 2011

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

Rökker Vodka: This Month, Rökker Vodka gets introduced in Madison. Yep! I put out my own vodka label, crazy huh? It is distilled and bottled right here in Madison by Yahara Bay Distillery, an award winning distillery. It is a premium vodka, so it’s not rail… and best yet, it’s so pure there isn’t a hangover.

I got the idea for this special vodka after touring through Iceland and a stop in Reykjavik that turned me on to the “Black Death Vodka.” We needed a “Black Death of the Midwest” vodka, so I bring you Rökker Vodka. You can read the full story about the tour at RokkerVodka.com/iceland.

The Label is characterized by a skull and crossed guitars with a small story on back about the Iceland experience. It can’t be mistaken with the recently released Swedish vodka “Rökk Vodka” because if there isn’t a skull or guitar… it’s not Rökker Vodka.

Lars Forde, the distiller at Yahara Bay Distillery, helped me celebrate the first few cases heading out the door by coming with me to the Frequency, High Noon Saloon, and Majestic Theater last weekend to talk to people about Rökker Vodka. (see the pic of him and I with the first bottle, we’re standing in front of the still)

This month, even more venues will carry Rökker Vodka including Mr. Roberts, The Harmony, Wilson’s, Alchemy Cafe, Inferno, Barrymore Theater, Bluephies, Drakenberg’s, Ale Asylum, Talula, Brink Lounge, Bellini Italian Restaurant, Dragonfly Lounge, Lazy Oaf. Also keep an eye out at Woodman’s.

A list will be updated at RokkerVodka.com, both growing daily.


Rökker Vodka on Tour: You will also be able to catch Rökker & Lars on tour throughout the summer! We don’t need no stinking guitars or drums to tour, lol, all we need is some Rökker Vodka! We’ll be hitting shows and clubs at the following locations with a $4 drink special each night. Come see us on tour and hear the story of Rökker Vodka and how it’s made. Google the locations for directions.

Max Ink Radio presents
Rökker Vodka on tour in July:
7/14 Drakenberg’s Cigar Bar - 10pm, $6
7/15 Official Tasting & Release Party
Frequency - 10pm with
Sunspot, and Subatomic
7/16 Alchemy Cafe w/ Kingtown Rockers
7/17 High Noon Saloon w/ Red Elvises
7/22 Inferno w/ Droids Attack, Romero
8/4 Majestic w/ Baghdad Scuba Review
8/19 High Noon Saloon
Last Coast & MIR Present
Nashville Pussy, Whisky Pig

Atwood Summerfest: I am personally looking forward to this year’s band line up. Here’s a preview of the Maximum Ink/Ale Asylum Rock Stage at Atwood Summerfest on Saturday, July 30th 12-7pm on 2000-2100 blocks of Atwood Avenue in Madison.

Up first at noon is Unity, a reggae band from the Fox Valley. I’ve tried to get them a few times over the years but they are never available. This year we caught some luck, they’re a great band, great chemistry and a killer bass player…. oh, and the other guys ain’t too shabby either! wink

Following Unity will be a Milwaukee band featuring Paul “Evil” Kneevers on Hammond B3 and Dave Schoepke (Moloko Shivers) on drums. They’re instrumental jam music is fun and groovy.

Then Madison’s Soul Shaker will crank a set of hard blues. They really rocked it last year and everybody loved ‘em. I had to give ‘em another round!

Baghdad Scuba Review is reuniting for Atwood Summerfest! Make sure to catch this “rare” show as they sink back to vacation status again.

And back for an unprecedented third time, Madison’s 70s disco outfit VO5. They have gotten more people to dance at one time than any other band in Atwood Summerfest history. So get your wig on and boogie to set a new record this year!

Rökker Vodka is a sponsor of the Rock Stage and if you need to try some it will be available at some of the local establishments like Players, Mr. Roberts, Wilson’s, and Alchemy Cafe. We’ll be hitting all of those places after the fest and getting some prime rib at Wilson’s for sure!

Special Thanx Randy Wilson of Wilson’s Bar and Grill, Otto Dilba from Ale Asylum, Keith From the Harmony Bar and Grill, Michael & Steve from Knucklehead’s Tobacco and gifts, Margo at Goodman Center, and General Beverage for sponsoring the Rock Stage again this year!

Adventures with Elizabeth: It’s summer and the kids are in camp. More next month.


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Elizabeth in her Jazz recital outfit striking her best Charlie's Angels pose

Letter To The People - June 2011

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

Beverly O’Neil: Bev delivered papers for Max Ink in the Oconomowoc area for a number of years. Bev also managed a regional metal band from the Milwaukee area called A Tortured Soul. She was driven and determined to help the bands she managed and booked. She will always be remembered by us here at Maximum Ink with fondness. Bev passed away in September 2007 unexpectedly. News of her passing was attained recently. She will be missed and this issue of Maximum Ink is dedicated to her memory.

Max Ink Radio: MIR has had a successful start and is growing nicely. Listeners from the area have been regularly tuning in as well as national and international listeners.

Last month, a popular internet radio show host DJ Zed joined Max Ink Radio. His Metal Shred show now airs live on Monday and Wednesday from 9am to 12pm central time. His followers are many and his library is huge. Log into the chat room to request directly from Zed or hang with the rest of us.

Max Ink Radio will be presenting two shows this month around Madison.

Max Ink Radio presents Whisky Pig, The Gusto, American Dead, and Kevin Seconds acoustic at the Majestic Theater on June 24th.

Max Ink Radio presents Chaos Revolution Theory CD Release party with the Black Saints from Milwaukee and Madison’s Subatomic on July 1st.

Listen to the Bastard Den, Tuesdays from 4-9pm, to win tickets to those shows and here interviews of the artists and previews of their songs.

Max Ink Radio… Radio for the People!

Rökker Vodka: It’s been approved. As I type this up, labels are being printed and bottles are being filled! We’ll announce a release and tasting party in July! If you can’t wait, go ahead and pre-order a bottle or two from Yahara Bay Distiller at 608/275-1050 and have your name put on a list, tell ‘em Rökker sent ya!

Atwood Summerfest: Ok, you probably can’t believe this, but I’m now telling you about an event that is the beginning of the end of summer… Atwood Summerfest. The Maximum Ink/Ale Asylum Stage is going to rock this year with Unity the Band (reggae), Soul Shaker (hard rock blues), Baghdad Scuba Review (jam, reuniting for this one off show), and VO5 (9 piece 70’s disco). Many of these guys have played before, but they’re so good, and the people love them so much… I had to bring them all back.

Check back next month as the Atwood Summerfest takes place in Madison on Atwood Avenue on Saturday, July 30th. The event is free and there is plenty of stuff for the kids as well.

Lova Nova: Paul “Evil” Kneevers is already a legend in Milwaukee’s music scene, even if he never jumps a motorcycle over the Milwaukee River. He’s recorded and engineered so many bands it would be impossible to count. He currently owns the building that Sooper Dooper cd duplication uses in Milwaukee which also serves as a rehearsal studio complex for many bands.

One delivery run for Max Ink, Paul took me on a walk through and we ended up in a room where he had this old Hammond B3 organ. It was pretty beat, and he had a few others too… a collector you might say.

He messaged me on Facebook and asked if I’d received a package for his band Lova Nova, an instrumental band featuring Evil himself on “heavily hot-rodded” Hammond B3. Also featured is Milwaukee’s Dave Schoepke, a long time veteran whom I remember being in the band Moloko Shivers. It’s a refreshingly good cd with it’s “majestic sonic landscapes” and Jimmy Smith/Booker T influence. I was jammin’ to it! Their LP release party is coming up at Club Garibaldis in Milwaukee on June 10th. For more go to www.LovaNova.net.

Paul, when you comin’ to Madison to play… hit me up!

Adventures With Elizabeth: May is recital month around our house. Dance recital. Elizabeth performed in both Ballet and Jazz dances this year for the Virginia Davis School of Dance’s final show. All her grandparents were there and witnessed her perform her routine in front of the huge crowd at Sun Prairie HS to perfection. Her elegance and beauty are only matched by her smile and grace.


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Ben Masel

Letter To The People - May 2011

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

This Month: Ben Masel, Bastard Den, Faces For Radio, Adventures With Elizabeth


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