Letter To The People

Publisher's Commentary
by Rökker

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

Letter To The People - June 2011
by Rökker
June 2011
(4781) Page Views

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.


Ben Masel Ben Masel

Letter To The People - May 2011
by Rökker
May 2011
(4333) Page Views

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


Nikolai with goggles Nikolai with goggles

Letter To The People - April 2011
by Rökker
April 2011
(4880) Page Views

SUPREME COURT: Wisconsin’s politics have been out of hand lately, and one of the underlying reasons is that the many people who have voices didn’t get out to vote in the last election cycle. Including Wisconsin’s current governor, a portion of the politicians across the state won by a small margin. I even heard one person say that she didn’t vote because she “assumed” her candidate would win. Not true.

As the current legislature makes the act of voting more difficult, now more than ever the greater public must keep its vigilance and go to the polls. Voting now is better than protesting later.

April fifth brings Wisconsin to a vote for a new State Supreme Court judge. This position carries a 10 year term, a very long term in comparison to the four year term for governor. Not many think about the State Supreme Court because much of their business happens without fanfare but not for long.

Federal Supreme Court decisions are more often in the thoughts of the public. Citizens can see the effects of their decisions clearer in their daily life. Miranda Rights, Legalized Abortion, and the 2000 Presidential Election of George Bush were all decisions by that federal court. Federal justices are appointed by the President of the United States, and their term is for life. However, State Supreme Court justices are elected. Yet, their decisions carry an enormous weight as well, even if the public is not paying attention. The State Supreme Court is a large part of the ‘“checks and balances” system.

Wisconsin’s current state of politics is in great peril as the parties in control of the legislature are in heated battles and do not trust each other. As these partisan battles rage, and tactics are taken that might appear less than lawful, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court will likely have a few cases moved to the front of their load. The recent “meeting law” violation is one example that could not only allow the current “repair bill” items to pass, but change the actual meeting law itself- perpetuating more of the same type of political tactics seen in the last few months.

Wisconsin’s citizens have the honor and duty to educate themselves about the current candidates and cast a vote. If transportation to the voting polls is an issue, those living in Madison have the opportunity for free transportation from Union Cab and Badger Cab. There are no excuses, only votes or no votes. There are people who will benefit from not voting, please deny that benefit.

MAX INK RADIO: Maximum Ink is entering new territories in April as we begin to launch an internet radio station. The radio station, like the magazine, will feature many genres of music from local, national, and international artists.

Our station will bring some of the music already heard on various commercial radio stations, and it offers a lot of music they would never touch.

For instance, every morning at 9:00am is the “Morning Ragas” show. Ragas are traditional, instrumental Indian music that are uplifting and inspirational. Ragas employ two main instruments, sitar and tabla.

Stay on from 10:00am-noon for Wisconsin Local, a mix of Wisconsin based bands. We’re building up songs for that show, so if you would like to submit music for consideration, please send a 128k MP3 to mp3 (at) maxinkradio.com. Please only attach and send one song per email.

There will also be rock, metal, reggae, blues, world, and maybe even a little talk radio down the line, which brings us to The Bastard Den.

The Bastard Den was a local radio show that was featured in a story on InfernalRockRadio.com in Maximum Ink a few months back. The Bastard Den will be moving their show to Max Ink Radio, and the show will air every Tuesday from 4:00pm-9:00pm. The Bastard Den will feature local music, interviews of local bands, comedy, sports, and some talk radio.

The show’s host, JimmyK, is joined by co-hosts Edub and local comedian Steve Percell, known as Stolley. Listeners will be able to chat and interact with the show by clicking “chat” on the website.

Their first show for Max Ink Radio will premier on Tuesday, April 12th and will feature interviews with local bands Wall of Funk, 4 Aspirin Morning, and Chaos Revolution Theory. These bands will also appear live at The Bastard Den’s first anniversary party at The Annex on Friday, April 15th.

The following Tuesday, April 19th will feature The Mother Hive Syndicate, Subatomic, and The Pinch on the show as those bands will also be performing live at BomBlastica 2011.

Hairtopia, an 80s hair-metal show, mixed with comedy and hosted by Stolley, will be airing on Sunday nights from 7:00pm-10:00pm. This show has also moved to Max Ink Radio and will simulcast on the Uber Radio Network.

Max Ink Radio is a work in progress, and listeners will receive updates here regularly as we add shows and DJ’s. If you are an aspiring Radio DJ and have an idea for a show, please send an email to programdirector (at) maxinkradio.com.

BOMBLASTICA 2011: Maximum Ink’s 15 year anniversary party will happen on Friday, April 22nd at The Annex in Madison. There is free admission all night long, and the party will kick off at 9:00pm with free Ale Asylum Hopalicious, a Yahara Bay Vodka tasting, and pizza from Bellini Italian Restaurant until everything is gone.

Music will kick off at 9:00pm with Lyden Moon, the guitar wizard from Kenosha, along with The Mother Hive Syndicate doing Black Sabbath, Subatomic doing AC/DC, and the Pinch as Neil Young.

WAMI: The Annual WAMI award show is back in Milwaukee this year at Turner Hall on Sunday, April 17th. Find all the nominees and information at their site: WamiMusic.com.

Milwaukee punkers Die Kruezen (prounounced De Kroytzen) are being inducted into WAMI’s hall of fame. Congratulations to Dan Kubinski and the boys.

ADVENTURES WITH NIKOLAI: Nikko participated in his first science fair at school. All of the students were asked to come up with an experiment and hypothesis. The little “engineer boy” in me screamed for complexity, but it was Elizabeth’s voice of simplicity that saved the day. Thank goodness for big sisters.

What happens to air when heated and cooled? The experiment would test the fundamentals of the weather system. The equipment list was fairly simple: an empty two liter bottle, a balloon, two cooking pots, 20-40 ice cubes, and tap water. The action was fairly simple. Place the balloon over the opening of the bottle, place the bottle in a cold water bath, observe what happens, then the hot water bath, observe what happens, and back to the cold water bath.

After many conversations on heat rising, air expanding, and their opposite states, Nikko was ready to deliver his first public speech. As the assistant, my job was to hold the poster board and fetch the water.

This science fair invited all the parents to the school to see the presentations. Nikko said he had a few butterflies, but when his turn came, he jumped into action with his first step ... safety goggles.

As he immersed the balloon tipped bottle in cold water, the crowd was silent. As anticipated, there was not any action. Nikko then pulled the bottle from the cold water and immersed it into the hot water bath. Again, nothing happened, as anticipated. But, after a pause of silence, the crowd’s reaction was filled with oohs and ahhs (and a little laughter from the adults) as the balloon perked up to attention, filling with the warmer air that was heated by the water.

The bottle and balloon went back into the cold water bath, and it quickly responded by deflating, which was followed with another round of oohs and aahs from the crowd. This experiment was a total success for Junior Scientist Nikolai.


Darth Walker, Mini-Vader, Lizzie & Allison Rocker Darth Walker, Mini-Vader, Lizzie & Allison Rocker

Letter To The People - March 2011
by Rökker
April 2011
(2712) Page Views

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 www.bastardden.com 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 Hard-Rock-Reviews.com.

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 Examiner.com and Buzzfeed.com. 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.”


Lizzy in her new pointe shoes - photo by Rökker Lizzy in her new pointe shoes
photo by Rökker

Letter To The People - February 2011
by Rökker
February 2011
(11723) Page Views

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


Ken Adell Ken Adell

Letter To The People - January 2011
by Rökker
February 2011
(5081) Page Views

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…