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luckyPRICK Interview w/Kevin McMahon (Part 1)
By Todd Millenacker
Transcribed by Todd Millenacker
Kevin McMahon is back... again! The main man behind Lucky Pierre Music has agreed to be interviewed by our own resident interviewer, Todd. Here, we present you with Part 1 of the interview, and a streaming preview of a digitally remastered Lucky Pierre track from an upcoming release!
Lucky Pierre "Don't Say Maybe"
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Todd Millenacker: I have to start this interview with the most obvious of questions; where have you been for the past few years?
Kevin McMahon: Oh, flying around the sun navigating the firmament of sound and silence… just like everyone else.
Todd: Musically what have you been up to?
Kevin: Mostly writing, which has become increasingly an instrument free zone... By that I mean I'll turn on the tape recorder or computer and only record the vocal line of the song being composed, then I'll dictate instructions for arrangement and production. After a couple of weeks, I'll listen back and select the ideas that most appeal to me and execute the instructions I had left regarding instrumentation.
Also, I've been spending a lot of time getting the new website together and all the CDs and merch it will offer. Ultimately, I want to use the website as a new type of record label from which I will release songs as they are recorded. If I want to write and record a full band song like "Runaway Brain" or a light solo tune like "Chilly Willy", then that's what I'll do.... a lot of rough mixes (I suppose that's nothing new).
The reason I haven't pursued a recording contract after the Interscope/Nothing deal is mainly to assure myself the freedom that was jeopardized by entering into that experience. Record labels want/demand that you remain in the style of the previous release and give your fans what they "expect". I don't agree with that. I know there is a method to their marketing madness, but I'm more interested in songs as an expression of changing perspective or spontaneous fun rather than the same old soda with a different bubble... Even though many fans are lost along the way, I believe those who stay are in for a richer and more interesting experience.
For instance, I was working on a very upbeat solo project when Andy Kubiszewski came to visit for a few days and we went into the studio with Greg Zydyc (gtr) and his friend Mark Gamiere (bass). We had two days to get whatever we could. I didn't want it to turn into one of my year long sessions so we played it live without a click track so there wouldn't be the temptation to add more tracks or obsess over the perfect overdub after Andy left town.
When I told him we were gonna do it without a click he looked at me as if I WERE nuts (well, MORE nuts than usual!), but after we got going he really dug it. I think we all felt good about just kickin' it out like the pre-click days. For that group of players and/or songs, I chose (sic), a name I've been using sporadically through the years for VARIOUS impromptu projects. I wanted song arrangements that we could easily pull off live if we ever were in a club and felt like taking the stage before the headliner... (Hey, you never know!). I don't think there's enough of that kind of spontaneity and reckless joyfulness in the music scene these days. Granted, the majority of the (sic) material isn't very joyful, but I'm alluding to the basic kicks we get out of playing music. Not performing, but PLAYING... Simply being a part of a live band, driving it AND being driven by it. Now, if I were under contract with a major (even many indies these days) I would not be able to release those (sic) tracks and most probably would have been discouraged from even participating in the sessions (Skipping over the record deal and going for a distribution deal has been something I have been looking into because - as you know - the marketing of oneself has ALWAYS been a conflict area).
Same with the FEAR OF BLUE stuff. There's a lot about those tracks which even hardcore LuckyPierreMusic fans won't get because they will be initially turned off by the production. I myself have a low tolerance for techno music which employs stock keyboard sounds and pedestrian drum and bass lines, which admittedly some of the F.O.B. stuff does, but that was what I considered to be the common atmosphere required to best serve the ATYPICAL lyrics. Once I put in my bits Rae (DiLeo) use to say, "Okay, Kev, just sit back and watch the magic happen!", and proceed to lay down some bad ass shit from leftfield and "Voila!" the mundane to extraordinary... But, once again, if I was under contract I would never be able to release that stuff because it would "taint" my image as well (whatever the marketing man or intransigent fan regard my image and style to be).
Now with the new website and all the music being released I think it will become clear that each song IS my style for that 3 or 4 minutes of playing time. And whatever song I wrestle from the stream next will be my style for however long it takes to translate, or attempt to translate, arrange and record IT... and then? The next… and THE NEXT… SO ON…
I also had been working on a show I was going to do with Roger [Von Golling]. It's entitled "PoorTrait of ThinKing". We filmed a rehearsal which, as it turns out, will be released in some form or another next year (maybe). I play acoustic guitar and sing, Roger does his art. Then I add some tracks and process the images a little... Hard to describe very... well. I'm putting up outtakes from it on the website. Those outtakes are songs which I've already released (see "Attitude" on homepage), but performed here as LIVE acoustic gtr and vox with VERY rough, on the fly, overdubs... in post. However, the songs for "PoorTrait of ThinKing" (e.g. "Fire On The Red Line", "Daze", etc) have never been released in any rendition. You see, all this diversion of creative energy is all too often quashed when one is bound to contract and/or celebrity.
Todd: Are there any plans to re-release The Wreckard or ThinKing?
Kevin: Yes, both CDs will be available at www.luckypierremusic.com. The same mixes, but the packaging is different. Everything is still Roger's art, but we are using higher quality materials and a more substantial package. Manufacturers have made real progress in the area of sustainable materials and I think we should provide those who will buy a CD the best choice available.
Todd: Do you have the option of re-releasing the "Prick" album?
Kevin: I can't do anything about that record right now… That's all I can bear to say on that subject.
Todd: When The Wreckard was first released, you felt your music with its intricacies wasn't particular suited towards the MP3 thing. Do you still feel this way or will you be selling MP3s through the new website?
Kevin: Some subtlety and nuance is sacrificed with certain digital reproduction methods, but it's also sacrificed when the best of copies or even the original is played back on a shitty stereo system. I really can't monitor what people play my stuff back on. I can't force someone to buy a CD. I CAN offer the various formats and hope they get something good out of whichever they choose.
(To be continued...)