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Darth Walker, Mini-Vader, Lizzie & Allison Rocker

Letter To The People - March 2011

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

15 YEARS OF MAXIMUM INK: As I think back to the beginning of 1996, I remember the Pack losing to Dallas in the NFC Championship, I remember the final months of Max Ink’s predecessor, Night Sites & Sounds, and the establishment of Maximum Ink that spring.

It wasn’t easy. My friend and co-owner of Maximum Ink, Michael “Black-n-Tan” and I were not the biggest players in the bid to take over NS&S. Madison Newspapers, Woodward Communications, and even a group of local yokels were ahead in the game. It pained me to see a big corporation take over a local music magazine, so we hung in there.

When the dogs were done fighting over the scraps and it was obvious that Night Sites could not continue under that flag, Maximum Ink was born out of passion to keep a local, music magazine on the streets to help promote Wisconsin’s music scenes to its fans.

We honor Black n Tan’s brother, Max Ward (see Voice Box story inside), by including his name in the name of the company and magazine. Max Ward passed away on the day after Maximum Ink’s first issue (March 7, 1996) after a long battle with AIDS.

Here’s to 15 years of Maximum Ink, and from a message in an ad from Randy’s Recording from our first issue… “Live long and prosper.”

DOROTHY WARD: As it’s a happy time for Maximum Ink, it’s also sad as we always remember Max Ward. It is also sad because in February, Dorothy Ward, Michael Black n Tan and Max’s mother, passed away. We honor her memory and dedicate this issue to Dorothy.

MADTOWN BASH: The Bastard Den, that local internet radio show at is putting on another of their events to promote Madison bands. Stop down to the Frequency in Madison on Friday, March 25th where they’ll be broadcasting live featuring Madison bands Beefus, Transient, Helliphant, and Milwaukeeans The Black Saints and comedians Ryan Casey, Rick Yoose, and Sean Moore. Doors open at 7pm and it is an 18+ show. The show is sponsored by Maximum Ink, Megatone Studios, and

BOMBLASTICA 2001: This year’s Max Ink birthday party will take place on Friday, April 22 at the Annex in Madison. As usual, it will be FREE ADMISSION and FREE BEER and MUNCHIES while supplies last. Beer will be provided by my favorite brewer, The Ale Asylum.

Bands will include spoofs of Black Sabbath done by Mother Hive Syndicate with Erik of Baghdad Scuba Review on bass, AC/DC by recent Max Ink cover artists Subatomic, NEIL YOUNG by Madisonian’s Pinch, as well as a set by Lyden Moon, the extraordinary guitarist whom I first met after he won the Steve Vai guitar player contest at the Barrymore.

We will also feature two comedians, Steve Purcell and Stephanie Sherlund. Come celebrate 15 years of Maximum Ink.

ADVENTURES WITH NIKOLIA AND ELIZABETH: First, Allison went down to the protests with her friend Leelee and got coverage on The Ed Show. So the next day I had Lizzy make a sign on a big piece of cardboard, “Stop Darth Walker.” I put on my Darth Rökker uniform and became “Darth Walker.” With Lizzy holding the signj, I proceeded to Force-choke protesting Wisconsin citizens and pose for pictures, a lot of pictures. Then Saturday came around and the whole family went up to the rally and Nikko dressed as mini-Vader and I as Darth Walker.

Sure enough, a picture of all of us ends up as high as #3 in the best protest signs on the Huffington Post’s website, and on and Next a friend chimed in that he saw Darth Walker on the O’Reilly Factor and another who saw DW on Fox News in Milwaukee. Then came Fox Financial and finally the CBS Nightly News. I’m sure there are more I don’t know about. It’s been a lot of fun with the family and very educational. I asked Nikko if he had a good time and he said, “I got to dress up in costumes and hang out with my dad, yeah, that’s fun.”


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Lizzy in her new pointe shoes - photo by Rökker

Letter To The People - February 2011

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

This Month: Max Ink’s 15 year birthday coming, Green Bay Packers Superbowl, Sunspot gets national publicity, Reptile Palace in Oshkosh burns… back when repairs done, The Bastard Den internet radio show, Bradley Fish, and Adventures with Elizabeth


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Ken Adell

Letter To The People - January 2011

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

When Ken jumped into a lake and broke his neck it changed his life forever, little did I know that it would change mine too.

I lived as a roommate of Ken’s for a few years in the mid-1990’s and at the time worked close with him helping out with his voice assisted computers and software. Back then, it was a pretty big deal to control an operating system like Windows without a mouse (he always called me “Mouseman”). But Ken was determined to get that pecking stick out of his mouth and “just talk to the damn computer.” Read more….

Marty Lamphier also passed away last month. Some of you may have seen him at the Last Crack show in November hanging with his g-friend Lisa H. He was a lover of music and a friend of Maximum Ink. He will be missed.

Adventures with Nikolai: Everybody knows Nikko loves Lego’s. Especially “Star Wars” Lego’s. And that’s exactly what he got during the holidays and his birthday. The Star Wars Turbo Tank was the crown jewel and it contained two large books of instructions as well as 1141 pieces.

Read more…


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Lizzie & Nikko Goofballs - photo by Rökker

Letter To The People - December 2010

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

BAGHDAD SCUBA REVIEW: If you haven’t seen Madison jam band the Baghdad Scuba Review live and ever wanted to, you had best get down to the Harmony Bar on Atwood Avenue in Madison on December 11th. The band is going on a “hiatus” for 2011 and this show is their final show before said hiatus. Show up or shut up.

I know, but we’ve increased shows this year in other months and I need a break, lol. In it’s stead, I am sponsoring a few local events that help out local bands, an internet radio station and a local Christmas album. You will party in December, trust me!

A local Madison Christmas CD is coming out and its release party happens Saturday, December 18th at the Annex. The show is 18+ and features The 4am, Axiom, Government Zero, Lot 74, YLAB, 626, Kill Junior, and Wall of Funk. Dan Stoffels, drummer mixed the album and the event is also sponsored by and will be broadcast live over the internet. To find a link to the event page, go to Dan O’s wall, and don’t forget to friend him…

Infernal Rock Radio DJ'sMADTOWN BASH: is featured here in an article and the local madison DJ group that make up a large share of the Kansas City based station have put together a show to benefit the station and keep it on the air. Mad Town Bash happens Saturday, December 11th at the Frequency in Madison. The show features Wisconsin stalwarts, Brainerd, as well as well established Madison acts Kill Junior, Subatomic, Unusual Hurts, and Lords of the Trident. There will also be 4 comedians including IRR’s own Steve Purcell. The event is $5 bucks and proceeds go to keep the internet radio station on the air or you can donate at the above website.

Brad Van has been jamming in Madison bands for at least the 15+ years I’ve known him. For the last few years he’s thrown a local holiday show featuring great rock and metal bands. This, his sixth year, will feature his stoner-rock band Droids Attack with Kentucky Beltfight from Minneaplis and Sinking Suns from Madison on Saturday, December 18th at the Crystal Corner on Williamson Street in Madison.

As follows with their tradition, naughty elves will pass out Christmas treats, bands will hand out presents to the audience, and you’ll see a robot Santa Clause. I’m sure there will be a few drink specials and the Crystal Corner is always a blow out time! The event is also sponsored by Mad City Music Exchange and Capital City Comics. Hit the Droids up at

Comedian/DJ Steve PurcellINFERNAL ROCK RADIO:
You can read the interview we’re featuring here in Max Ink, but my story is a little different. Steve Purcell, the comedian deejay of the bunch, contacted me regarding the upcoming Madtown Bash show, intrigued I listened more about their home radio studios and legal “rogue” radio station called InfernalRockRadio. As it turns out SlamminAlvin lives and has his studio down the street from me, we’re neighbors. They invite me down to the weekly BOA show every Friday night that is broadcast from his abode. The BOA is a loose show of a bunch of working professionals (the Madison based deejays from IRR) get together to blow off a little steam, jam some tunes, call each other bastards, and make calls of football games. It’s a whole lot of fun and SlamminAlvin has been doing it for a long time, you could say he’s been a “pioneer” of intenet radio.

During my interview, another local deejay, Jimmy K, asked if they could broadcast the upcoming Last Crack show over the internet on their station. The next week saw the planning and execution of broadcasting Last Crack to the world live in concert from Scatz. The pre-show started earlier and a select group of fans and cohorts were interviewed live along with a band interview before the concert.

Since (the industry leading metal news site) picked it up, we could see tons of people across the world tuning in on a google map, and many joining in the chat room. Although it was early in the morning for a lot of people in far away countries, it was a unique experience for them to be connected to the show in such a way.

Thru that week, and a bunch of interviews and shows on IRR to promote the event, I saw how these group of Madison deejays work together as a team to promote local music and each other’s shows. Every show I’ve listened to plays or interviews local bands. It was nice to see a bright spot in the local music scene by people motivated by nothing more than passion.

A recent homework assignment required Nikolai to write a letter to Senator Herb Kohl. He said “hello” and “happy holidays” and “please say hello to Mr. Obama for me.” What a kid and he turns 8 in December! Happy Birthday Nikolai!
See you next month! Rökker


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Elizabeth in her dress-up Wedding Dress - photo by Rökker

Letter To The People - September 2010

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

This Month: Max Ink presents Beatallica at the Annex, Dragonfly Lounge (Under Bellini’s Restaurant in Madison) opens with some familiar faces at the helm, Last Crack coming to Scatz in Middleton on November 13th, Savagefest (now happening in Green Bay) is put on by Max Ink writer Jason Mansavage,


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Elizabeth getting ready for her recital... All the single ladies! - photo by RökkerLetter To The People - June 2010 Publisher's Commentary by Rökker

This Month: Capitol Square Scavenger Hunt II Winners, Steel Bridge Song Festival, Globe U, Adventures With Elizabeth


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