They're Not Talking. Instead, They're Doing.
Scene Magazine, September 17-23 1981
By Mark Holan
Transcribed by Robert Ferent
4 Cover Image


Lucky Pierre's singer / songwriter / rhythm guitarist / founder / keyboardist Kevin McMahon arrives right on time at the SCENE offices for our appointed interview. When last we talked interview-style, it was at a well known downtown watering hole. Real casual. The beers came, and the talk meandered over a variety of topics. Nothing special just the usual loose talk that starts and ends with a slug of brewski. Today, it will be different, and McMahon seems ready to plug into the vibe that is permeating the SCENE offices on this a Thursday afternoon. This week's paper's out, and everybody's gearing up for the next one. The tape recorder is clicked "ON."

"It's mainly an attitude change within the band since we last talked," McMahon responds to my state-of-the-band question. "We're booking more out-of-town jobs now. Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit and even New York City. The big thing now is that instead of just talking about it, we're doing it."

Without a doubt, the past year has seen the band take great strides to expand it's sphere of influence. Having just released it's third single, "Once A Child" b/w "Stetson's," Lucky Pierre has made plenty of believers of members of the local media with the irresistible blend of intelligent lyrics and crafty musical experimentation. Last week the band opened for Peter Frampton at the Music Hall, and this week they shared the Cleveland Agora stage with two other promising "original" Cleveland bands, The Clocks and The Generators. This band is obviously on a roll.

"The band's opened up a lot more in terms of each individual member's input into the music," McMahon opined. "When I first formed the band, my ideas and arrangements were followed through much like a production team, but now it's gotten to the point where everyone is equally involved in the making of Lucky Pierre's music."

"That satisfaction element of putting something into it rather than just executing a part has made the binds between us a lot tighter. I think that the band is developing. Not trying to develop, it is developing. That's the difference over a period of time."

The other members of Lucky Pierre - bassist / vocalist Tom Lash, drummer Dave Zima and guitarist Denis DeVito - broaden McMahon's predominantly lyric-conscious songs into larger musical statements. DeVito, a self-confessed basketball freak, plays thoughtful leads to McMahon's keyboard or guitar rhythms as if he were setting up the Big (?) with 20 seconds left in the game. The rhythm section of Lash and Zima fulfill all the musical accents asked of them and add their own personal punctuations as after-thoughts.

Though the band has only produced three singles in four years, McMahon maintains that this has not been a problem for them, and he announced the group's plans to release their own album soon. Said McMahon: "An album shouldn't merely be a group of songs. Not that you have to take it to the operatic concept, but there should be some cohesiveness to the songs. We're going to take our time with it."

As one of the first of the present generation of Cleveland "original" bands, Lucky Pierre and McMahon, in particular, feel that over the years the audience has become more open to New Music than it had in the past.

"The Cleveland musical scene has definitely gotten better," McMahon admits "More clubs are allowing original bands to play there, and that obviously means that more people are opening their ears to original music."

As for McMahon, himself he too has changed his outlook on his music and lyrics, opting for a more balanced integration of the two.

"There used to be too much separation in my mind between music and lyrics," McMahon explained. "Now I've decided that poetry is musical. A poem can read a certain way and be accented with a high hat cymbal. It paints the picture more than if you just read the poem or heard the high hat cymbal by themselves. Now I appreciate that more."