Today’s Millvale Music Festival Inquisition features Stosh Jonjak of MaxXouT. He and the rest of MaxXouT will be playing Strange Roots at 6:30pm

List the names of every band that you’ve ever played in ever.

I had a band in high school and we got a sweet gig to play the homecoming pep assembly. We learned two songs and they both had the same three chords. So, we set up, we’re all nervous, the whole student body is there in our high school’s gym when the MC of the whole thing asks me what the name of the band is. We didn’t have a name, hadn’t gotten that far yet. So I just say “Crust” because it popped into my head. The MC turns around, faces the whole audience and introduces us as “Thrust”, which is such a better name.

What was the artist, album, or song that inspired you to play/write music? 

My bus driver was in this band called Rock It (with a picture of a rocket underneath it, of course). They’d play this bar/supper club my buddy’s parents owned, fill the place up, and everyone would go apeshit. And I was just amazed that the guy was my bus driver during the day, and then like this actual rockstar at night. It was pretty damn hilarious, honestly. But it made me realize that, oh yeah, I could just start doing this. So I bought a guitar from a guy on my dad’s cranberry farm.

What is your favorite piece of merch that you own?

Shreddy Ed Smith from the band Under Indictment used to come to all our shows and challenge me to guitar solo contests like we were living in the Ralph Macchio movie “Crossroads“. The absolute highlight was when, during a gig, Ed busted out his axe and sat inches away from me, stared into my eyes, and practiced scales during our whole MaxXouT set. After that gig, he told me I passed his test and gave me a shirt. A shmedium.

Tell us one thing about the Pittsburgh music scene that could be better and one thing about the scene that you love.

Could be better: Selling pre-sale tickets is rough and I wish it didn’t exist.

Think I love: The quality of the bands here full of quality people is really impressive.

What’s something about you/your band that you think people should know that maybe they don’t?

We’ve never actually melted a person’s face while playing a guitar solo. To be honest, we make a lot of jokes, but we take the music really seriously and work really hard at it.

If you had to pick only one of your songs for people to listen to, which one would it be?

Of the stuff we have available now, the remastered Steel-Toed Boots is pretty awesome.

Who would you cast in the movie of your band? 

The Rock as Elliot because then the studios would get behind it and we’d have a big budget. Daniel Day-Lewis as our manager we don’t really have. Mickey Rourke as that yeti we almost hit in Aliquippa.

How does your family react to your music? Do they come to your shows?

My parents are both pretty sweet about it. My mom sends me text messages about how much she loves the music. My dad forwards our videos and music to all my cousins, aunts, and uncles.

What band or artist have you seen live the most number of times?

Non-local band: Mountain. Local band: Stone Cold Killer.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you at a show as a performer or spectator?

A not-to-be named defensive coordinator of a prominent football team came to a show. He drank only jaegy-bombs and smoked heaters. He had a girl sitting in his lap, had his arm around another girl, and was talking to a third. When he left the bar, he forgot his jacket. We were cleaning up, and one of the cooks came and out and put the jacket on, stuffed his hands inside the pockets, and pulled out papers showing the defensive audibles for the football team’s next game.

Does your band have any shows coming up or other newsworthy events?

We’re releasing an EP this summer, and working on a full length.


Photo credit: Jana Lee Macheca First Angel Media