Pump up the volume
Radio is an industry filled with megalomaniacs—people more caught up with their persona than the music they play. But Max Volume isn’t like that. Despite having the most instantly recognizable name and voice in Reno radio, and despite naming his band The Max Volume Band—a move that would suggest a praise-guzzling ego—Volume wants to share the limelight. Really.
Ask the KOZZ deejay about the band, and he immediately starts talking about his fellow bandmates, downplaying the fact that he has written or co-written all of the group’s songs since its inception in 2001. Ask him about being the lead vocalist, and he’ll tell you how the band’s bassist, John Gaddis, can sing perfect renditions of Rush and Sammy Hagar. Ask him just about any question, in fact, and you’re sure to hear him compliment others while minimizing his own achievements.
“I’m the least talented person in the band,” says Volume. “There is nothing you can’t ask our lead guitar player, Lenny [Supera], to play. You can give him the hardest stuff, put it in the weirdest time, and he’ll play it. Greg [Sample], our drummer, has been playing in bands since he was 12, and he’s just incredible. And John sings all those songs that just aren’t going to happen with my voice.”
The truth is, Volume is pretty talented himself, having been the guiding force behind the band’s songwriting, marketing and booking for the entirety of the band’s existence. But when he chooses someone for his band, he’s looking for more than talent.
“I’m looking for someone who is in my bloodline and genetic code,” says Volume. “There has to be a bond, a friendship, some sort of family connection.”
One of these familial connections was with Gaddis, a person he decided to play music with when they were “dad roadies” for a band that featured both their sons.
“John and I were sitting down outside [defunct, unofficial, all-ages venue] Spacement, listening to our kids’ band just blasting away, and John says, ‘We should jam sometime,'” says Volume. “Basically, the boys brought us together.”
Critics have categorized the band as everything from blues to classic rock to alternative, but Supera, who also plays in local band Burning Peace, sees them as an original rock band that is a cross between Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin. As a guitarist, he also appreciates the freedom the songs allow.
“Whenever we play, there’s plenty of room for me to improvise, which is one of the fun things about this band,” says Supera. “As Max says, ‘It’s the canvas I can put my art over.'”
The band is also looking forward to playing Wingfield Park, a venue they say will provide a nice change of pace from the bars they usually play.
“When we go into a club, there is sometimes this force field you have to break through,” says Volume. “But at Rollin’ on the River, you’re outdoors, there’s the river going on, it’s springtime, and you have a crowd of people who are thinkers and doers.”
“There’s a great vibe down there,” says Sample. “Besides, people want entertainment right now because they’re depressed about the situation around them. They need to get out, stretch out, have a couple beers. Rollin’ on the River is the perfect place to do that.”