MUSIG preview COUNTRY ROCK
Rootin’, tootin' and raw as a muleskinner's knees, THE MAVERICKS ride into Glasgow. Frontman Raul Malo gives a rare
interview. Words: Kenny Mathieson
Picture the scene. The band are about to lay down a track when the lead singer mentions that he is a little
"the break was absolutely necessary, both professionally and personally. On a creative level, I think we had hit a plateau. l was feeling stifled and a little bored, and we really needed a change. Now we are all really up for it again.’
thirsty. Minutes later, smack dab in mid-take, in walks the studio chef with a brimming pitcher of margaritas. Nobody misses a beat, and the whole scene simply becomes part of the colourful circus that constituted the making of The Mavericks' killer new album, Trampoline
Raul Malo, the band's charismatic
Cuban singer, epitomises their ability to take a retro sound — country, gospel, easy listening, classic pop, jazz, Latin, Cuban — and make it sound as fresh as a newly laid egg. The range of their material gets wider all the time, from driving country-rock to fat Cuban horn and lush string arrangements, the Byrds-like 'I Don't Even Know Your Name’ (circa 'Chestnut Mare’) to the vaudeville pastiche of ’Dolores'.
’We started talking about making a record in the way some of our favourite records were done, which was recording everything live in the same room at the same time, and that then led us on to the idea of decorating the studio with great antique Circus backdrops and props,‘ explains Malo. ’We had lots of family and fnends coming down to hang out and the only requirement
was that whoever
showed up had to be dressed up! Then we
decided 'Hell!", we might as well film the whole thing as well, and if anybody wants to make it into a TV show or a documentary, it's there.’
The problem With holding open house in the studio can be that nothing actually gets done. For Male and his collaborators — guitarist Nick Kane, bassist Robert Reynolds,
" ‘5 X“
r r 3 l
The Mavericks: doing thangs their own way
drummer Paul Deakin and a host of guests — the opposite turned out to be true.
'Making music has to be fun for us, and the whole thing of having people around became part of the process of making the record, and we loved that atmosphere. Everybody was very focused on the music, and I think that happens when you are happy and energised.’
A year earlier, the band were neither happy nor energised. The Mavericks came out of Miami Beach as one of the hottest properties on the country rock scene in the early 90s, and their four albums and a sensational live presence had established them as a major left-field act. The pressure was beginning to take its toll, however, and they took a year off to recharge their creative batteries.
'The break was absolutely necessary, both professionally and personally. On a creative level, I think we had hit a plateau. I was feeling stifled and a little bored, and we really needed a change. Now we are all really up for it again. I wanted to expand our musical vocabulary, and we figured that since we had taken the time off to recharge our creative energies, this was the time to do it.
'We have always been outsiders in
country music, we've always been
different, and we have set our own pace and our own standards, so we felt we had an open playing field to make the kind of music we wanted. So we thought well, if we have that open field, let’s use it, let's go for it.’
The Mavericks play the Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Sat 25 Apr.
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