Random Maxx
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Random Maxx

Band Pop Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"To the Maxx"

For members of Milwaukee's Random Maxx, being on stage is as natural as breathing. From theater, to improv comedy, to their current musical endeavor, they have lived the life of performance to the fullest. Musically, their tastes and backgrounds are divergent, yet their vision leads to a truly accessible style they refer to as a "sonic cocktail." Bassist Matty Phillips and drummer Jim Schweitzer lay down a jumpy, pop-conscious bottom end, while rhythm guitarist Bo Johnson and lead guitarist Mark Redlich work their was through interesting cover arrangements and infectiously melodic originals. The band's true strength: four-part harmonies that bring to mind such groups as CSN&Y and Queen, leaving fans astonished with their clarity and consistency.

Random's latest release, Rock Star Parking, is a collection of fun pop-rock peppered with their signature vocals and catchy melodies that remain in the brain. - Shepherd-Express Metro Weekly (Milwaukee)

"Bonus Discs Keep Random Maxx on Fans' Radar"

It's a problem that most bands have, even the world's most famous. How do you make sure people keep you in mind, even between projects? For Random Maxx, one of Milwaukee's most popular local original bands, the answer is the "Bonus CD."

The bonus discs, of which there now two, are EPs of material unavailable elsewhere and they serve the dual purpose of keeping fans interested between albums and of attracting interested folks in signing up for the band's mailing list. Only fans on the band's list are eligible to get copies.

"The basic purpose of the Bonus CDs in general is more or less a 'fan appreciation' type of thing," says guitarist Mark Redlich. "We feel our fans deserve the chance to get more music than one CD every couple of years, so we give away these bonus discs for free in between larger and more expensive CD projects. They are generally down and dirty recording sessions--just get 'em down and move on. We don't spend more than two days on the recording. As a result, they are a very good approximation of our true live sound, and we can afford to give them away for free."

The first bonus disc had some studio outtakes.

The second installment, "Quilts, Lids and Tarps," which follows the band's "Rock Star Parking" CD, recorded with producer Mike Hoffman and released last year, has recordings of some of the band's favorite cover songs. The five-song, low-budget disc opens with a frighteningly spot-on cover of Duran Duran's "Rio."

There are also version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," "She's Got Me Where It Hurts" by Madison's The Other Kids, Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" and "Under Pressure" by Queen and Bowie.

"The disc was just meant to give our loyal following a chance to hear some of their favorite cover songs from our repertoire," Redlich says. "We have been getting lots of appreciative e-mails and posts on our message board from people who love the disc." - Shepherd-Express Metro Weekly (Milwaukee)

"Band's Success No Fluke - by Jason Keil"

It's a Friday night at the Safe House, and Jim Schweitzer, the 6-ft.-tall, 300-lb. drummer for the Milwauke band Random Maxx, is explaining why their accomplishment of being named "Best New Band" in a local magazine's readers poll was a setback.

Then our waiter interrupts Schweitzer's story to say that the kitchen is too busy, and cannot make the spy burgers that guitarists Robert "Bo" Johnson and Mark Redlich ordered just five minutes ago. The bespectacled Johnson is frustrated. "That was the best food I never ate," he jokes. "I guess I'll have to drink my dinner."

It is this mixture of joy and frustration that follows Random Maxx everywhere they go, but if you listed to their new CD, "Rock Star Parking," it is the joy of playing together that is most apparent. Their brand of four-part harmonies and tight, fun pop is also gaining the attention of more than just their loyal fans. Last November, the band won first place in the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) CD Roulette with their song "A Very Someone."

Matty Phillips, bass player and songwriter, considers the award one of Random Maxx's greatest accomplishments.

"It's awesome that something I created was critically acclaimed," Phillips says, "My feet didn't touch the ground for a month afterward."

Phillips, who sometimes moonlights as a wrestler, is not the lone writer in the band. In fact, all members in the band write, sing and play a variety of instruments. "All of us get a chance to get our creative voice," Schweitzer says, "That's one of the reasons our band is so unique."

The band formed in a unique way as well. Schweitzer and Phillips were members of the jazz ensemble in high school, and the friends reunited after college. Schweitzer was also working with Johnson, a member of the improv group the Dead Alewives, at Discovery World, and the three had started to jam together. When they felt something more was needed, Johnson suggested that Redlich, a guitarist with the Dead Alewives, join the band.

Redlich wasn't sure what to expect. "I thought it was going to be a hippie band," he says, "But I was surprised, and pleasantly so, because it was such a tight pop band, sort of like the mixture of chocolate and peanut butter."

Schweitzer like the fact that the band's members have musical histories with each other; it is part of the glue that binds them. Just go to one of their shows and you will see what they are talking about.

"All of us have a degree in theatricality in our approach to what we bring on stage."

Of course, when you list such great live bands as Queen, Barenaked Ladies, Rush and The Cars as your inspirations, it is easy to see why showmanship is important to Random Maxx. Johnson, who also works as an actor, teaches the younger member of the group what was hip 30 years ago.

In October 1999 Random Maxx issued its first album, "Senseless Beauty." Whie the album garnered praise from local critics, the band felt it seemed to mechanical. They were second-guessing themselves in the studio, but after two years of performing, Random Maxx feels confident enough to launch "Rock Star Parking."

"We've been through so much together," says Redlich, "I can't understand why other bands go through the hard times and then just to throw in the towel. The hard times make me want to stick together more. This is too much fun."

When the new album was released, the awards and accolades came rolling in, and the band feels that the disc is a big achievement.

"We got tighter as a band," says Redlich, "Every note sings and every note hums." To further the point, Phillips says, "The big difference between this album and 'Senseless Beauty' is that it contains songs that come from the inside. We were able to put some soul in it."

"We've got a CD that can right now hang with anything, even on a national level." Schweitzer elaborates, "We have just got to get the word out. We believe we have got something people will like if given the opportunity to hear it."

The first song on "Rock Star Parking," "Next Big Thing," sums up Random Maxx's journey so far. "It is about bot accomplishment and disappointment," says Redlich, "You hear people at WAMI meetings talk about becoming huge and how you're always really close, but what you also need is a lot of luck."

Their fans will agree that Random Maxx's luck is going to change for the better. - OnMilwaukee.com

"Spotlight: Not a Random Mix"

There are some scorching 70s guitar licks on the debut CD by Milwaukee's Maxx, but as drummer Jim Schweitzer heartily admits, "Loud is not a word that srpings to mind with this band. Nobody holds their ears and runs and runs from the room when we play. We're melodically and lyrically oriented."

It's as good a description as any for their disc, Senseless Beauty, and for a band that falls somewher into the chasm separating West Side rock from its East Side alternative. "We're trying to let the niche find us," Schweitzer continues, but it's hard to sell a band that's hard to peg. Their original songs often feature four-part harmonies and draw from the diverse interests of their members: Schweitzer (modern rock), bassist Matty Phillips (jazz), electric guitarist Mark Redlich (arena rock) and acoustic guitarist Bo Johnson (folk rock). Jaco Pastorius-like bass lines provide counterpoint to acoustic rock melodies. Moody originals are interspersed with such forgotten gems as Joni Mitchell's "Cary.' It's an odd mix, but not entirely a random one.

"To the extent we have a leader, it's whoever wrote the song," Schweitzer says about the quartet's four songwriters. Johnson adds: "We take a back seat to the writers. There are no big egos in this band. The songwriting has always informed what this band was going to be."

Although connecting with the right club audience has been difficult, Random Maxx has been heard on WLUM and WLZR's local shows, and were voted best new band in last year's Shepherd Express Metro Readers Poll.

"I still don't think we've decided what kind of band we want to be," Schweitzer says, laughing. Maybe that niche will come to them sooner than later. - Shepherd-Express Metro Weekly (Milwaukee)


Commercial Releases:

1. Rock Star Parking - 11/2001
2. Senseless Beauty - 10/1999

Fan Club "Bonus CD"s:

3. Quilts, Lids, and Tarps--Fan Club CD #2 (Random Maxx covers) - 1/2003 (out of print)
4. ‘Cause We Like You!--Fan Club CD#1 - 9/2000 (out of print)

Samples from each disc, as well as brand new, unreleased music, can be found at http://www.randommaxx.com/music/.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Formed in 1997, Matty Phillips, Mark Redlich, and Bo Johnson brought together their respective backgrounds in theater, improv, and even professional wrestling, to create a unique, breathtaking whole called Vocal Power Pop. Now joined by Dave Partridge and Mary Morales, Random Maxx is fast becoming one of Milwaukee’s premier musical acts, garnering praise from every band they play with, and at every locale they play. Fantastic 4-part harmonies, melodies that stick in your head days after you hear them, and a fun and inviting stage show are their trademarks. Their last commercial release, Rock Star Parking, was produced by RIAA-certified platinum producer Mike Hoffman, and is steadily gaining airplay across the country and abroad into Canada and Europe.