by Paul Gargano
Paul Schluter of Madison's Magic 7 on the 7th cover of Maximum Ink in September 1996
photo by Craig Gieck
What’s so magical about Magic 7? It depends who you ask. For fans of Last Crack it’s the first time writing duo of Paul Schluter and Buddo have worked together in more that five years. For the former member’s of Madison’s best known hardrock outfit, it’s an opportunity to put the past behind and focus on the present.
“This wasn’t pieced together just to get all of the members of Last Crack, except for the drummer, together in another band,” said guitarist and principal songwriter Paul Schluter in a recent interview. “We’ve all worked together before, we’re in each other’s heads and it’s a great starting point, but I think the thing that makes this band special is that we’re relying on mostly new music. Last Crack was fun for us, but it was in the past. What makes this band worth being around is that it’s a whole new style of music for us, a lot mellower at times, a lot more melodic, a lot more mature, and at times completely different sounding.”
Last Crack fit the loose parameters of metal that draped the late ‘80s and early ‘90s but in Magic 7 – Crack guitarists Schluter and Don Bakken, bass player Todd Winger, vocalist Buddo (who recently changed his name to Adam Wrathkey) and former Lysergic drummer Jeff Grieshammer – the tones are more progressive, the ranges are more dynamic, and the mood is more musically cohesive than crazed and manic.
“In the past I felt like we had to be heavy, this is me being more free with myself,” Schluter continued. “There’s less pressure on me to write a cool, powerful, heavy riff. Last Crack always had a tension to it five people all pulling in a different directions and that came out in the sound. I still think we have a little of that tension, but we can control it now. Our roles are defined; we’re not trying to rehash, we’re trying to write music the way we do best. Our way.”
Despite the more publicized rock outfits that Last Crack splintered into – most notably White Fear Chain, Spiritus and Mind Ox – Schluter and Winger never stopped recording together, four-tracking the material that has become the basis for Magic 7.
Wrathkey joined the duo in fall of ’95 and the three were joined by Grieshammer a few months later. The quartet recorded a four-song cassette in December of last year. After writing more than a dozen songs as a fourpiece, Bakken finalized the outfit in July. “He really colors the music,” said Schluter of his fellow guitarist. “I’ll come in with the parts and he almost always adds something that is completely different. It should be a lot easier and more inspiring writing with him instead of having him play catch up after the songs are finished.”
With their present efforts directed towards a CD release later this year, Magic 7 started recording at Madison’s Sleepless Nights Studio in July. The CD is expected to contain the four tracks from the band’s cassette – the adrenalized crunch of “Drifter” punches Wrathkey’s vocals though a tight guitar grind, “Drowning in a Daydream” wallows in a tranquil cloud, and “Sunrise New Day” and “Forgiveness” are more progressive at the core, highlighting crisp vocals and loosely-strung arrangements – already been laid down, as well as an acoustic song written by Schluter and Wrathkey prior to their forming Last Crack almost a decade ago.
“I’m sure we’ve still got a similar sound,” Schluter said when comparing Last Crack to Magic 7, “my guitar and Buddo’s voice definitely have distinct sounds, but I think the songwriting is different. It’s a little less quirky, there aren’t as many quick part changes, it’s definitely more mature. I feel very strong about it, it’s the best songwriting we’ve ever don’t.
“There is a definite beauty in being with people for years and years. It’s just back and forth, like we’re just throwing a ball back and forth, that’s what the band is like,” he added. “At this point we’re just trying to develop and take it slow. We don’t hinge on every little thing and don’t have a lot of expectations. We all feel like it is going to go someplace, but there’s no rush. I’m definitely not biting my fingernails and waiting everyday to get signed, but I definitely feel like it can happen with this band.”
Magic 7 will be performing in the Ticketmaster New Music Showcase Sept. 6 – East End; Sept. 14 – Mango Grill; Sept. 19 – Regent Street Retreat for the Rock for Musicians Benefit.
* editor’s note: Last Crack has reunited and more information is available at www.lastcrack.com and Magic 7, Last Crack and other Crack band’s music is now available by download at rokkerrecords.com starting December 15th, 2004.(6071) Page Views Magic 7 Online: