Hard Talk

Interview with Jason Makenroth of Mack

Former Rollins’ Band and Mother Supieror drummer, Jason Makenroth is introducing his latest musical venture. What started out as idle hands waiting for something to come along, it quickly turned into a solo project. And what started as a solo project, soon enough turned into a full fleged band effort. The debut Mack album is now being released on Mackenroth’s own label, Wrecked Records. Jason and Co. are currently working out some touring details. As well as some international distribution deals. This is the latest on Mack.

JH: Well first off , give us the Jason Mackenroth Bio/history.

JM: Probably , anybody that would know anything about my musical experience, I was a member of the band Mother Superior , who put out a bunch of independent records .We had our own label . I was with those guys for 14 years . We were also simultaneously , Rollins band from Summer 98 until 2003 . I guess it kind of fell apart then , because Henry stopped doing music . I guess he’s gonna do it again , but since 2003, he’s been doing other things . So at that point also , I left Mother Superior and just had to do something, so that’s why I put out a record . I didn’t really want to go solo and never really intended to be a solo guy, so I’m trying to think the condintations are that my new record is like a Jason Mackenroth solo record .And it was kind of made that way , because I didn’t have the band . But I am trying to make it more of the band emphasis. The next record is definitely going to be one of the band thing. For this record , right now , I do have the band and we have some tour dates coming up early next year . Starting January in Los Angeles. Right now were doing L.A., Sacramento, Portland , Seattle, Las Vegas , Reno, Mesa . We’re still waiting on some confirmations for San Francisco and Long Beach , San Diego and Tucson .So that’s what’s going on now. I just got the record out . I formed the label Wrecked Records , which is my label and got national distribution for that, so it’s time to hit the road again. Will early next year . It’s time to just gear up and start working it.

JH: Well , thanks a lot, youjust killed a bunch of my questions.

JM: Sorry about that.

JH: So , are you still drumming for Rollins band?

JM: Well like I said, Henry hasn’t been doing anything musically for a while . We got together one time after I left . Mother Superior . We got together with Chuck Dukowski the original black flag bass player , and Henry had a concept that he wanted to work on for a minute. And nothing ever came of it .But Henry, Dukowski and i got together one day in a band room to jam for about three hours and got a bunch of music .It was sort of a hodgepodge of nothing in the end, and Henry had a bunch of other commitments . I don’t think he really wanted to put the energy in at that time to really make anything of it . It didn’t just blossom right off the bat, so he went on. And that was the last musical thing , I’ve known him to do that for a while. I know he was talking of having Chris Haskett, his other guitarist get involved with something , but at this point, I haven’t heard anything about it.So I guess anything could happen. And to be honest , the last time the other Rollins band before, we became the Rollins band . I don’t even think they knew that he made a new Rollins band . And then all of a sudden , we were the Rollins band . For those few years , or whatever it was.

JH: So he sort of just does what he wants?

JM: Yeah , he just sorta does what he wants to do . When he does it , you know . I talk to him every now and then. There’s no weird things going on . He’s just so busy with other things . So I just took the opportunity to get a band together in work on that.

JH: Did you ask him for any help or advice on this album?

JM: Of course. He and I were communicating on it every step of the way. But he didn’t help out like financially or songwriting wise. He basically just helped out , supporting wise. He was like, ” yeah, do it dude”. I just kept sending him some MP3’s as I was getting some of the stuff together and he was digging it. And this or that helping cheer me on.

JH: So you wrote , all the music and lyrics on this?

JM: Yes , I wrote all the music and lyrics with the exception of one song I’d co-written with Mother Superior quite a while ago that just never became of anything. But it was one of my more favorite, so that’s the one that’s co-written by three of us.

JH: Give us your own personal description of the disc.

JM: Well , I’m a Kiss fanatic . That’s probably my most deepest roots , is Kiss . Even some of the early eighties punk rock stuff. Paul Stanley has always been one of my favorite singers . Just everything about that band. I lived and breathed it for so many years so that’s probably one of my biggest influences . So if I could just capture some of what excites me about rock-and-roll , and that’s all I really wanted to do. The record came about from a lot of the way I felt when I left Mother Superior . It wasn’t a really easy thing for me to do it with something for whatever reason . I just had to go away from that for a while. So the record kinda had a lot to do with my feelings for that and it wasn’t even something that I preconceived of doing. Making a record once I left the band. But I found myself wanting to write those songs and it just kinda came about. Without really even trying, I had a records worth of material on my hands . A couple of them were written before , but you know , what I mean by in large, the whole thing came together very quickly for me . So I was like,I’m just gonna make this record. I think it reflects a lot of my punk rock influences and it reflects a lot of the way I felt lyrically about things at that time. And punk rock influences like on the song “Threesome” . Even maybe some Motorhead , because I really love Motorhead . So if I can capture any of that type of energy and truth in what I’m thinking about stuff and just away rock-and-roll makes me feel.

JH: Now for someone not being familiar with Rollins Band or Mother Superior , what can someone expect from Mack? Seeing as your name will be coming up as the drummer of Rollins Band and Mother Superior . What’s a good selling point for the album?

JM: Well , I guess it’s sort of pop . There are hooks . It’s not quite, it’s definitely different than Rollins Band. I mean, Henry doesn’t sing as much . I mean , he’s such an amazing iconic persona obviously and he knows how to get people’s attention. But singing wise he’s got kind of one thing. Like talking about Paul Stanley , not that I could ever sing like Paul Stanley at all, but well , I would like to so I kinda try and sing and so I think that’s what’s sort of different about it . It’s really sort of closer to Mother Superior then Rollins band because I was one third of Mother superior for all those years . I mean , we created that music mostly together .And even though I wasn’t the lead singer of that band , there still was a lot of my influence. And I think a lot of my reflection in that band is apparent with Mack because it’s kinda who I am and how I hear and feel music.

JH: So on this release you played drums you sang and played rhythm guitar?

JM: Yeah , I played all the guitars. Not the lead guitars . I played rhythm guitar on every track . Actually one track, I think I do play of middle solo section . It’s not as much a solo as it’s an arranged melodic, harmony thing. But I had my friend John Kuker , who is in the band now , who plays in the band now . He did a lot of the leads on it and my other friend , Jacques Wait , who plays bass on most of the record , who is the bass player in the band now. So those guys really helped me get it together . And they subsequently became the band.

JH: Is that because it started off as more of a solo project?

JM: Yes , it did . I didn’t form a band and start playing live or anything . I was just kinda left with not much to do . I was playing with a couple friends. When I got my music together, I really didn’t have anybody to bounce it off of at that point, so I just wanted to finish it . I was really a mission at that point. To just make something happen. And get something recorded. And just get something out there . It was just something I had to do and I wasn’t going to wait around. And I didn’t want to go out and hang out looking for people to jam with me . I just wanted to get it done . And those guys will John Kuker own a studio here in L.A. called Seedy Underbelly that he had recently moved into at that time and, and basically let me record there for nothing . He engineered it for the most part and was just sort of a good spirit to have around to get the record done . So yes , in that sense , it was like a solo project . But now that’s changed and the focus now it’s definitely a band project.

JH: So for touring you have the full band now?

JM: Yes. Those of the guys that are going to be with me from now on. So what I’m doing live is I’m playing the drums. I put the drums right up front and center , sing and front the band from behind the drums . I really didn’t want to strap on a guitar which is one way as a lot of drummers have been doing lately. Like when they want to start their own band and they’re a drummer . They kinda just come up front with a guitar .But I wanted to stay on the drums and come up front with the drums . I know , people have done that to , but I just wanted to do it that way.

JH: Numerous drummers have done it.

JM: Yeah and I’m a big Buddy Miles fan too. Hendrix’s drummer . After Mitch Mitchell. And I always liked how the Buddy Miles Express, it was just like Buddy Miles band. But he did all the vocals from the drum set. I always thought that was pretty cool.

JH: So Wrecked Records is your own label now?

JM: Yes , it is.

JH: And you’re the only artist on it?

JM: Yeah. This is just a debut release . I haven’t put anything else out onto it

JH: Has the album , been selling well?

JM: Yeah from what I heard.. I guess it’s doing all right. To be honest with you , I haven’t really checked into it, or started really promoting it yet . And as far as radio, there’s gonna be a college radio campaign that’s gonna surround the tour dates. I’m gonna get together with a guy who’s gonna service it to a lot of markets. So that will help too.

JH: So , are there any international distribution deals in the works?

JM: No , not as of yet . I’m looking for somebody to hopefully license it in Europe. But I haven’t been able to secure any of that yet

JH: So you’re handling all the business end as well?

JM: Yes. That was kind of my role with Mother Superior too . And I was pretty much the guy who took care of all that stuff

JH: Well at least you know who to call now

JM: Definitely.

JH: Will that about wraps it up . Is there anything else you want to add?

JM: Nope. Not really . I just can’t wait to rock. To get out there with the band on the road . It’s been too long. I haven’t done any significant touring for a couple years , so it’s going to be fun to take it out there and just do it.

JH: Well you need to make it out to the Midwest.

JM: Yeah , I do. I sort of made out a map. A little map of the country to do a figure 8 of clubs because I’ve got to get back to Chicago. And Milwaukee and Minnesota Boston , New York, Cleveland . All of those areas. I know I could get gigs if , if I could get a good routing and plenty of gigs to pay for itself and get out there on gonna do that . So on working on it for 2006 and hopefully South by Southwest will come through . I just applied that so that it be nice if we get that. That’ll be nice

JH: Well I’ll do that drive to Chicago to come see you.

JM: Excellent. I will let you know , when that will be.

MACK Ball-Buster Interview conducted November 2005.

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