DigitalNoise Interview
digitalnoise.org
By Azroth
Transcribed by AuralX
1 Cover Image
Recently, Digital Noise’s very own Azroth had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Kevin McMahon, the man behind Lucky Pierre and PRICK, and discuss different topics such as The Wreckard, and the upcoming PRICK tour. Be sure to keep a lookout tonight so you can sign up for our “We’re not PRICKs” contest giveaway, where you have the chance to win an autographed copy of The Wreckard, and other prizes

Did the internet-only release of The Wreckard go as well as you planned?

Well, it’s in the process of going so...I mean the first day was great, you know, because there were a lot of people hanging around, obviously, just waiting which was a surprise to me because I figured it’s been five years or whatever since we put anything out that all of a sudden there’d be people in the first five minutes. It was kind of surprising. The whole thing has been kind of an experiment, and it’s really hard to figure out how well things are going until you go through a lot of the trenches of finding out exactly how the system (which I guess is a system) works, which I still don’t know. I’m finding out people ordered the CD, and then they tell me they’ve been looking for it all this time and they just found it. And this is several months after we had it on the site, and I’m wondering why they just found it. It’s probably one of those things were you’ve got to invest some dough and research and find out how you can get priority. That’s, a long answer to the question [laughs]. It’s actually going pretty good. I think that just the mere fact that people are still around, and that they’re...I’m sure people are downloading it here and there from different sites and that kind of thing, but the fact that there are hardcore people that understand that it takes some money to get to what I had done. It’s kind of reassuring to know that those people are out there, especially in foreign countries. I’m really surprised at the orders we’ve been getting have been so global.
Was that one of your concerns when you were releasing it, that people might not get the word since it was only over the Internet?

That was a concern. My main concern was that they would just find out where it is to get it for free. I don’t have any problem with somebody taking it and copying it for a friend, you know, when it’s in a small circle of things, but when it goes through websites that kind of like sell it or download it in numbers, you know, that’s fucked. But you know, that’s sort of the tradeoff that you make with a major label or any kind of a label. I mean, there are some things that you’re gaining and some things you’re losing. I like the freedom of knowing that it’s exactly how I want it to be, you know, whether or not it turns into...uh...I mean I don’t have a car yet or anything.
How long did it take to record The Wreckard?

That’s kind of hard to say because a lot of the stuff was taken from different sessions, and I like to do things in different layers, you know, collage kind of effect, and bring it back. There’s certain things I can’t reproduce. When I’ve tried to reproduce certain recordings, it lost some things. If I decide to go into a better studio with the greatest equipment in the world, and I just try to do this one pass of thirty seconds, I find that it doesn’t get what I had gotten five years ago in this little room. So, I prefer to take that section and put it somewhere else and incorporate into the final mix. It’s really kind of hard to say how long it took because I started recording The Wreckard before I even did the PRICK debut. Some parts of "Analyst", for example...I don’t know if it’s even called "Analyst"; maybe it’s called "Analyst Says" [laughs] - were done in the 80’s at some point in a club, and I just took a piece of the cassette and threw it in and moved and processed some things around. Sometimes you have to pitch adjust, but then other times it sounds better if you don’t. [jokingly] I don’t think you’re going to get a straight answer for any of these questions, but I’m doing my best [laughs].
Are you satisfied with how it all came together and turned out as an album?

Well I am and I’m not. Satisfaction isn’t something I’ve really found to be a...I don’t know about satisfaction. I’ve heard about it [laughs]. To me it’s kind of a search. I’m satisfied that I got it out and that I maintained some things that I know I couldn’t have maintained if I did it through normal channels, and also, it’s hard to tell exactly how people listen to it. I think if people listen to it, say, with headphones and actually pay attention to it like they might a film, on first viewing, or first listening in this case, then yeah I am satisfied. When it’s in a room full of people talking, it doesn’t have that...it’s not a party album. There’s a lot of things that are afforded by being in a great studio and seasoned engineers...all that kind of thing. They somehow can turn anything into that kind of record. You know, it’s not that. It wasn’t meant for those people, or that situation. I mean, I don’t think it’s meant for anybody. I’m surprised [chuckles] there’s that many people that can relate or even care to search for a relation.
Who does the artwork on your albums? Is it stuff that you do?

He’s a friend, and obviously to me, a very underrated artist. He’s probably less interested in pursuing the fame factor than I am, and that’s why he’s not all over The New Yorker, or that kind of thing. I’m finally getting to the guys name. Roger Von Golling. He’s living in Boston now, and every month or so he sends me a few photographs of him standing by his new illustrations. That’s sort of part of the reason that I don’t want to have a lot of photos or go into the whole, "here’s the rock band, the singer, here’s what I have to say" I already said what I had to say on the records. As far as an image and a visual, I like his approach to things because to me it strikes me as a, well, timeless is a big word, but it’s closer to that than it is topical, and I don’t really think I can find anybody to replace that. I’m not really searching for anything different, because it works to all the stuff; it works to exactly what is going on. And one doesn’t know. His visuals seems like they’re in the midst of formation, and that’s what I consider the music to be...and uh, "quest", that word’s been overused. This is the trouble with commercialization. They take a word like that and actually use it for things like hamburgers.
So if somebody were interested in his artwork would he put it out there? Or is this something he does for himself?

Well, I talked to somebody here, and I was trying to set him up for doing some kind of gallery work, which, is not you know...me setting up anything is bad business. Because "change of plans" comes as the words are coming out of my mouth, and he’s like, "yeah, let’s do something and maybe you’ll play there and yeah yeah yeah," and then the next day I called him and said "well the gallery said he needs to know what kind of price ranges you have on different things." So I said ", you gotta think about that." He said ", Tell them I am not interested!" [laughs]. I said ", So what? That’s it?" And he goes ", That’s it!"[laughs]. He couldn’t even confront the possibility that he might actually go into the world of commerce. That’s another part of the reason I guess we hang [chuckles].
Back to the whole fame thing, does that bother you sometimes? Is it sort of like, ‘I said what I have to say, let us just leave it at that’?

Yeah, I’m not comfortable with the fame thing. Even just walking out after a show and having somebody recognize me or anything like that, because I kind of just am there on stage when I’m on stage or in the studio. That’s sort of when I do whatever I do. The other times I’m just kind of looking around like everybody else. I don’t want to have to be anything that somebody expects me to be. I just think that once that starts it’s the beginning of deterioration of the person.
Kind of like, ‘I do the music, but every other time I am a normal guy’.
Yeah, I don’t really care for normal guys [chuckles]. But you know what I mean. I’m every man but I’m not every man just like every man is not every man. You can sit at home and stare at a wall and think about that one forever; believe me, I have. And my only escape is to turn on the recorder and hope that I can put it out somewhere, and send it to LA, and they go, "What...the...hell is that? Who the hell? Call me when you’re sane."
Have you ever considered putting out music as mp3s for a cost?

Well, I am right now considering it, since you mentioned it. But I have no idea of how to do that, actually. A lot of the things I don’t do, I don’t do because I don’t know how to do them. I don’t really have that kind of Internet savvy that other people have. I do also recognize that some mp3s are not as...the quality suffers. I think a lot of people know that, or think that, but when it comes to especially my stuff when there’s different studios involved and different time elements and analog tapes, different media, and an abundance of notation that’s not exactly in the Western 12-note phraseology. It’s really lost in the mp3 thing, because the mp3 thing is kind of structured for finding the most prominent and obvious of what’s coming across in sound and taking that and all the other stuff, the nuances, and all the stuff I find to be the most intriguing, that kind of stuff, is not there. Maybe it’s more sophisticated than it was when it started, I don’t know. I’m willing to have somebody educate me if there’s something out there that I don’t know about. Theoretically it sounds like a good idea.
I’ve come across some people that have Lucky Pierre mp3s of old albums that are no longer in print. Does that bother you?

No. [laughs] It doesn’t right now, as you ask me. I might be staring at the ceiling at 5 in the morning going,"That bugs me." [chuckles] but no, right now, no, sorry.
Is there another Lucky Pierre album coming out?

Yeah, and I think that’s part of the thing is, I want to have the ability which...the major label channels. It’s not just major labels. I don’t want it to sound like I’m down on corporations. It’s kind of what it does to people, and people, the more they’re exposed to a certain ideology, the more they adopt it themselves and they actually think it’s the right way to be...that so and so is this. "If he changes, or she changes, or the band changes, then they’re not what I want them to be anymore, and so I’m going to go over here". That whole way of thinking is so anti-creative and anti-growth and what it’s supposed to be about. I want to be able to have an outlet, if I do a song that’s, you know, it’s snowing outside right now, so a song about snow...I should be able to write it without a corporation suit kind of person or even a fan saying, "You know, you sold us out." Well, the corporation guy wouldn’t say that [laughs]. But do you know what I mean? I think it’s good to have the ability to do whatever you want to do as far as music goes. And Lucky Pierre seems to be more of the stuff where I’m not to...yeah, I can’t really describe the difference except that when a certain song comes to me, it goes, or my personality, or what I’m seeking goes in someplace.
Do you plan on re-releasing some of the older material?

Yeah. Actually I do. I don’t know exactly if I’m going to do any remixing. There’s things to be said about it, and not. As far as some of the studios that we’ve recorded in, in the 80’s, or the 70’s, were…compression was “God” basically, and you know the carpet on the floor... and everything was dead, and I don’t know if that is the best way to have the song come across, but then other times I’m thinking, well, if you want to leave it true to the time period, it’s a question of whether you want to be true to the time period, or true to the song, or make the song better. There’s different ways to look at how to release it, but I do intend at some point to put the stuff out. Maybe even at the site www.luckypierremusic.com. Yeah, my answer is yes.
On the Lucky Pierre website, there are some other names listed as well. Are these other side projects, or other bands?

Yeah, I lived in different cities: San Francisco, London, Paris, LA, and Boston for awhile. Some of those are projects from those time periods that were never released. I think that I might, I mean, once I can figure out how to do all of this, or get help. It’s hard to try to be a business man, for me. I respect people who can do it, but I don’t think I have the knack. Once maybe something develops from the PRICK thing, since we’re going to do some touring, maybe somebody will have some interest who has got some brains and we can figure out how to get this stuff released from these different projects. And also, some of them are going on right now. The Struggles, is a thing I’m working on right now here in Cleveland. It’s a friend of mine who actually, when I started out as a musician, that is, started out as a drummer, I haven’t seen the guy in awhile, and we just got together recently and started doing some stuff. It’s not, well I guess in a way it’s not my cup of tea, but it’s fun to play drums to. And so, I like to be able to just sit back there and beat the shit out of the drums [laughs] and not care if there’s some point to the song or anything. Everybody’s got to have a break down every once in awhile. The Fear of Blue thing was a, I worked with a guy in San Francisco, his name is Ray Di Leo, and I don’t know if he’s playing music anymore. The last time I talked to him he was moving to an Indian reservation. That recording, there’s like 16 songs, and they’re hot...extremely techno, and dark. The reason I want to put it out is because the lyrics are something that I like. I mean I still like. You know how you go through phases, attitudes, and perspectives, and 10 years later, or 5 years later, you go, "What the fuck? What the hell was I on?" But then others, you seem like it’s right on.
So they’re pretty much all side projects?

Yeah. The main thing is...the two main things are Lucky Pierre and PRICK. One of these days I might be able to choose between them, but right now I can’t because they’re fighting in my brain at the moment. I need to have two phones, one up to each ear. They’ll be different answers.
About the shows that you’re going to be playing, are they going to be mostly around Cleveland?

At the beginning, they’re going to be regional like Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Buffalo. Something we can kind of hit within an eight hour drive, or something like that. There’s really no budget to get on the road for a month, and pay everybody, and do all those things to make everybody happy. I don’t expect it to stay like that. I don’t expect it to be a regional situation. Japan, and other countries. The world. The world is there. I must go.
I’ve already talked to some people about the first date, which was posted on Ticket Master today. There’s actually some people planning on going and driving and chilling out.

See, I’m already in cahoots with the business people. I hope that doesn’t backfire. It’s really hard to do anything without having some kind of association with somebody else. There’s only so much you can do by yourself. You certainly can’t call me and order tickets [laughs].

www.digitalnoise.org | originally published: 12.04.02 | 08:30:23 PM