'Standing Up To The Maan!'
MOON MAAN is set to unleash their debut CD on June 5 on
Catlick Records. The brainchild of former Afghan Whigs guitarist Rick
McCollum, Moon Maan, is a ghostly, groovy, grisly, and bluesy sound that emerged along city streets and in the shadows of skyscrapers, where darkness and loneliness linger and cracks of hope appear like broken glass in the asphalt below.
For frontman McCollum, who contributes vocals, guitars and Theremin to the
four-piece band’s Zeppelin- and Whigs-inspired debut, that kind of layering
of experiences to create an entire world—and an entire sound--makes sense.
“I love things that require a lot of tracks to make one sound,” he says. “I like to think of myself as a Maximalist Purist. I’m inspired by artists like Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus. I like using all these little things, all these voices, all these sounds, to try to make something else.”
Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing
up and how many still factor into your music today? Rick McCollum - "I had my school friends that turned me on to Earth,Wind & Fire, Parliament, Ohio Players, Brick, etc. and I had my neighborhood friends that were into Boston, Kiss, Aerosmith, etc. - which often led me to tearing down posters from sheer embarassment!"
"Often, I see the soul music I listened to helped in the dynamics and singing within the songwriting. Like where I tend to draw a riff from a groove, the drums lay down and go from there with the vocals being last, rather than writing it on acoustic and the rest of the band playing along. That doesn't enable the emotions of a song to emerge as much as tapping into the feel and working from the inside out."
"As all four of us were brought up as middle-class white kids, we tend to carry over more of the rock music into the Moon Maan sound with a pop sensibility and the hook of a riff. But I like the fact that everyone doesn't have to play all the time, or play the same notes, which gives space and other sounds that you wouldn't have done if they weren't attempted."
For the Average Joe who (amazingly!) may not have heard of you and
was thinking of buying this new CD, how would you yourself describe your
sound? "I would say a little T. Rex, the first solo Lennon, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper ... but then with a little early '70s pop soul that ran the charts at that time. And definitely the Afghan Whigs!"
With this Moon Maan debut CD being self-titled, I'm wondering if
there were indeed other actual titles floating around near the end that it
could so easily have still been named? "A few, but none managed to make it without someone else already using it!"
Being that this new record brings forth the musical visions of
ghostly blues, grisly grooves, shadowy streets and lingering darkness, I'm
wondering just what state of mind you were in when you set out to write and record such a deep work of art?! "A happy and engrossing state of mind that may need some help along the way!"
Indeed, how easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant,
wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical
wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "Since the business has drastically changed from the Whigs days, it
seems like everything has been done. So any way you approach it you
just have to be open and honest. Then the originality of your
endeavors will come forth and be recognized. A timeless song is a
timeless song, whether you have a full production or a stripped-down
one ... and with a Theremin as a widening addition to the full rock sound
that we play, it doesn't hurt, but only helps to stand out more on its
And just where was the band name 'Moon Mann' actually culled? "Moon Maan was actually a "plural" version of my nickname in the
Whigs ... and graphically and everything else pertaining to the band's
sound and identity seemed to make it the best candidate for the job."
Will there ever be another Afghan Whigs CD recorded with all its
original members? "Ya know, it was so great to see all those guys when recording this past fall for Rhino. I love them to death and I still see them as great friends for life. I treasure everything that we managed to produce ... but no, I don't see that happening since we all have to move on."
"As good as what we accomplished is, I think we had a good snapshot
of our life through those thirteen years and I'll never forget them.
Change is meant for the good, or else it gets stale and
predictable ... and we didn't want that to happen. As Greg [Dulli] once
noted, "I did what I did, and I do what I do"."
And with relation to that band, what is one of your recalled
highlights of being in AW? "Steve Earle leaving the gas nozzle in the van before taking off ... but seriously though, the fact that it was more than chemistry which made it very special."
With the old school AW fans ready to welcome you back and newcomers
to your music/scene ready to check you out, are you worried that perhaps
the two entities/groups shall become the proverbial oil and water? "No, not at all ... I'm not worried about that since there is a
definite derivative of the Whigs. There always will be more devout fans
of the individuals from the Whigs, but the audience - if they are into
good music - won't matter. As time passes, the Moon Maan music will
change into our own original sound which will be a fantastic thing once
its achieved, but we haven't gotten there yet."
"Playing with Erik on drums, Mark on bass and Bryan on guitar, I can't wait to see the growth over time. This will only bring more fans along for the ride, which is exactly what the Whigs achieved."
If you were asked to do it for charity, what '80s (and possibly
cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "'Melt With You' - Modern English."
Lastly, and throwing in a comedic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine
love Penguins ... do you?! "Penguins are classy, smooth, one of a kind, quiet ... but will let you know when something is on their mind. They're just happy animals in general ... so I give two thumbs up!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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