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Introducing the new Max Volume Band to the Reno/Sparks music scene

The Max Volume Band
The Max Volume Band
Photo by John Tuckness

September 4, 2014

The Max Volume Band w/ Reno rock phorographer John Tuckness
The Max Volume Band w/ Reno rock phorographer John Tuckness

The Max Volume Band is a power trio that has been around the Reno/Sparks music scene for many years. Although the line up has changed a few times over the years, the one thing that has always been a constant is that the band has stayed true to it's roots of being a blend of blues, acoustic and rock with tight compact melodies and a strict adherence to the roots of rock & roll music.

Here is who the band is today,

On the bass is Ken Ballone. Ballone is from New Jersey, and his first job was working for Hartke, assembling amplifiers. Ballone is the former bassist and founding member of the NYC thrash metal/crossover band M.O.D. (Method of Destruction). Presently, Ballone works as a DJ / Engineer / Producer for Lotus Radio - KDOT Rock 104.5 FM in Reno, NV.

Ballone is also a multi-media artist, an audio-engineer, and producer. He is also a cigar and pipe tobacco reviewer/ blogger. Past band affiliations include: Angry Corpses (1983-1986) M.O.D. (1986-1990) Chemical Waste (1987-1989) Triggervision (1991-1993) Corpse (1984-Present) Max Volume Band (Present).

Ballone has been involved in music professionally from the age of thirteen, playing bass guitar and percussion with accomplished musicians from NJ and NYC.

At fourteen, he did his first studio gig for Hank Williams JR, and ASCAP publisher Joey Coco. He then went on to do studio work as a musician, and began studying Audio Engineering.

Then at seventeen, he worked at Hartke Systems hand making aluminum speakers, with Larry Hartke.

At eighteen, he worked at Sam Ash Music in NJ where he met Billy Milano from S.O.D. (Stormtroopers Of Death). Shortly after meeting Milano they went on to form M.O.D., with members of his existing band and Milano as front man. M.O.D 's first release, USA For M.O.D hit the Billboard Top 200 chart in October 1986 at the163 position, and stayed on the charts for over 20 weeks. This was and is still hailed in the Metal scene as a major accomplishment for a Thrash Metal band. Currently, M.O.D.'s album USA For M.O.D. (Megaforce Records) is still selling thousands of downloads and physical copies worldwide, with his musicianship and original sound standing the test of time for over 27 years.

Mike Wortman is the drummer extraordinaire. He was born in South Lake Tahoe, CA in the summer of ‘65 and has lived in the Reno-Tahoe area all of his life. A child of the 60’s he fell in love with such notables as The Beatles, The Doors and Credence Clearwater Revival. One of his earliest memories is listening to the Magical Mystery Tour album for the first time at age three and begging his brother to play it again and again while banging along with Ringo’s drums. When his brother gave him a Ludwig snare at age nine, a young drummer was born.

Wortman played throughout elementary and high school, before establishing his first band (in Carson City, Nevada). His influences, among others at that time, included Buddy Rich, Bill Ward, John Bonham, Peter Criss and Alex Van Halen.

In 1979 things began to change, it was the first time he heard 2112 by Rush (in this examiners opinion the greatest album ever made) and his life would never be the same. He had never experienced anything like Neal Peart, who formed the distinction between drummers and percussionists. This further fueled his passion to become a musician and performer.

Although his love for music is boundless, he puts a special emphasis on such bands as AC/DC, Boston, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica and Pantera in the soundtrack of his life.

Since 1998, Wortman has been a part of the local music scene, playing in such bands as Grouch, Pufferbilly, Geezerslaw, Jadium and The Max Volume Band (previously Mike did 53 shows with the Max Volume Band from 2009-2010). He has also played percussion with the Reno Wind Symphony.

With so many amazing bands coming out of the Reno/Sparks area and so many cool new bands to check out, Wortman and his wife, Emberlee, love to get out and support the local music scene every chance they get. Playing with the Max Volume band is a huge part of it all. Wortman loves being back in the band with Volume and new bass player, Ballone, and so grateful to be continually influenced by every musician he encounters along his musical trip.

Max Volume has been playing professionally since he was fourteen years old. A native of California. Volume grew up in Pasadena, going to see Van Halen play backyard parties.

At nineteen, he was playing rhythm guitar in local favorite, Terraplane. In 1982, he took a job in radio to learn the business. That career exploded, and he helped bands like Whitesnake, Poison, Ratt, Y&T, Queensryche, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana, get notoriety and airplay, long before the masses (as Music Director and Program Director of KOZZ, KRZQ, KRXQ, & KDOT).

Volume was involved in the making of the Whitesnake CD “Slip Of The Tongue” and the Coverdale /Page CD. Volume’s friend David Coverdale has relied on him in several other projects as well. Volume spent a lot of time with Jimmy Page during the making of the Coverdale /Page CD. Volume has his own chapter in the upcoming autobiography “Roses and Thorns” from his friend Bret Michaels of Poison.

In 2001 Volume began recording and touring again. First as a solo artist, releasing “Written in Stone” in 2001, “MV” in 2004, and “Live Volume” in 2005. Then, in 2007 he teamed up with legendary Edgar Winter & Sammy Hagar Drummer, Chuck Ruff and Stevie Ray Vaughan understudy Widgeon Holland and released the critically acclaimed “Illuminaughty” CD. He went on to do 70 shows in 18 months, in support of that disc (as headliner and support, for national acts). Three songs from that cd, “Baby’s Got Ink”, “Long Road To Nowhere” and “Reno, Nevada” were featured in the Disney funded “Jarin” film by Myrton Running Wolf. “Long Road to Nowhere” is featured in the soon to be released full length movie “Nowhere Nevada” in which he plays “K” the evil drug lord.

In 2009 he released “Live8”, a cd taken from the live shows from the Illuminaughty tour. Volume’s music has been played on various radio stations, not just in America, but all over the world like, Planet Rock in the UK, Radio Sweden, and Pure Rock Radio in Canada. He’s sold over 5,000 cds, and over 4,000 downloads.

A perennial opener in the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe market, he’s performed with Y&T, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Foghat, The Edgar Winter Group, Pat Travers, Mickey Thomas’ Starship, Les Dudek, Sublime, Steve Morse, Joan Jett, and more.

On March 17th, 2011, Volume released “Max Volume”. Volume teamed up with seminal Punk Rock Drummer Troy Mowat of 7Seconds to write and record the powerful double disc. It’s available (along with others) on Itunes, Napster, Amazon, and CD baby. Volume, Ballone and Wortman are currently working on a 5th studio cd tentatively called “Tales”.

The Max Volume Band is a must see, check them out any time you can.

If you want to know more on the Max Volume Band, here are the links to all things Max Volume,

Max Volume © is a servicemark protected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The Max Volume Band is signed with Tadzhiq Music Group (P.O. Box 8193
Reno, Nevada 89507)

Recently The Max Volume Band opened for rock legends Y&T at The Knitting Factory Concert House in Reno NV. To read the review for the show (click here) and to see all the photos from the show (click here).

To book the band, contact Max Volume at or by calling (775) 336-9493.

As with all this examiners reviews and feature stories, "The Photos Are What It's All About", so check out the photo slideshow and enjoy the show.

All photos by, JOHN TUCKNESS

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