Legendary Irish Punk band, The Mahones return to their hometown of Kingston Ontario for the Fourth Annual fundraiser for local non-profit Joe’s M.I.L.L. Canadian Tapped caught up with Finny McConnell, described as “Jack of all Trades” as he helps not only write, sing and play guitar in the band but also has a hand behind the scenes producing in the studio as well.
Excited about returning to Kingston and promoting a new live double album, released earlier this year on their own label: Whiskey Devil Records. Finney explained The Mahones would play a Cancer Benefit show on Thursday April 3rd, 2014 and will be reuniting with old band mate and Manager of The Toucan, Andrew Brown, for three shows Friday and Saturday April 4th and 5th.
Opening up about spending the last 24 years on the road Finney had many stories and a few words of wisdom to share.
CTP: What prompted The Mahones to start their own record label and go independent?
Finny: “With the growing influence of the internet and because of Facebook, Twitter, email we are able to release music digitally world-wide. We stand a good chance to make some money off the music and use that to continue making music. One of the best ways to do this is to go DIY and release the records when we want. Normally you release an album once every one to two years, we are putting out four albums this year. Two double albums. One release in February, a live album from a concert and another in the Fall hopefully called “The Hunger and The Fight”.
“Another thing we can do with an independent record label is sign other bands and help them out or promote some old classics that got lost in the woods”. Finney added.
Talking about upcoming releases planned for The Mahones Finny shared is love for Record Sore Day, and how on a certain day (April 19th this year), many artists have embraced how music fans have re-acquainted with vinyl records and now work to make Record Store Day unique by releasing content specifically for it.
“It’s really great for the independent records and I remember going down on release day and picking up the album, brining it home to listen to. It was a big thing”. Finny added enthusiastically.
CTP: Is there a story behind a song you would like to share?
Finny: Off the last album we did called Angels & Devils and the first track off that album. Shakespeare Road, My cousin, we grew up together Colin told me before he died, he said, “you have to write a song about Shakespeare road”. We’ve lived used to live together back in the day. When we were living in London there was this squat we lived in with smashed in windows. In our early 20’s we were trying to break into the music scene. “Used candles for light, drink cider, and pissed out the windows”. Its about five min. long, think Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run.
CTP: Can you talk me through your song writing process?
Finny: “We all do our own thing, we don’t generally write together. But come together with written songs. I am so deep into the music I have a certain process I use”.
Finny’s song writing is as follows, first is the album titles almost like book titles. Telling you what the story is about, in batches of ten. The guitar riffs come next.
“if I don’t like the riff I won’t write the song”. The music is very important. Lastly filling in the lyrics using a post card style making sure each song has a beginning middle and end.
Spending the last 24 years immersed in The Mahones Finny credits a passion for bringing punk rock to the next generation, and a general love of music for his continued inspiration.
“I always try and reach for the sky, its one thing I always try to do because your dreams will come try if you go after them, and give it your all”.
CTP: Any tattoo stories to share?
Finny: I got “homeward bound” tattooed recently because all I wanted to do was come home. But an interesting perk is I don’t have to pay for them much anymore”, we are good advertising”. He added with a laugh.
CTP: Any Tour stories you can share with our readers today?
Finny: “We were in Romania, being chased down the streets by a pack of wild dogs with beers in hand. Didn’t spill a drop. I will never forget that one”.
CTP: What are your staples on the road?
Finny: The food over in Europe is fresh and tastes amazing, lesson learned from touring is if it comes in a package it isn’t good for you. But movies are a great in the hotel room after gigs, especially if you’re in a country and you may not know the language. “Keeps me out of trouble”.
CTP: What about The Clash, The Who, Stiff Little Fingers have influenced The Mahones?
Finny: “They are where I really got my musical direction from”. I’ve since met and played shows with The Who. I Still having those moments of excited nervousness meeting my idols like Roger Daltrey, he’s a legend. It’s like being a kids sometimes. I have a picture of us with his head on my shoulder. That was pretty cool.
With talks of the melting snow the conversation turned to anticipation of festival season. The Mahones booked for a summer on various festivals including headline the Get Shamrocked Festival in California on September 19th, 2014. If Finny was given the reigns in determining who would make a killer festival lineup, here is who would play: The Clash, The Who, The Defects, Alexis On Fire, Drop Kick Murphy’s so much more.
The Hunger and The Fight is a double concept album. It will be loosely based on the story and struggle of the Irish people with two distinct sounds. One album with be more folk sounding and transition into what Irish punk rock has become today.
Join The Mahones this weekend both Friday night (Today) and Saturday Night (two shows) for an unforgettable live experience! The proceeds from this set of shows will be donated to Joe’s M.I.L.L a non-profit organisation that supplies free instrument lending to children who have a desire to play music and want to learn, but can’t afford to buy them. If for some reason you cannot make it out to the show, their double live album recorded in Italy is available now! It will give you a glimpse of what live Mahones show is like! See you tonight at The Toucan!