“ From an Irish pub to an Academy Award winning movie: The Mahones have come a long way in 24 years! Heralded as pioneers of the Irish punk scene, and internationally recognized as one of the best and hardest working punk outfits around, The Mahones formed on St. Patrick’s Day in 1990, and have been working on their own brand of Irish punk ever since. With a working class ethic and a love of classic punk, Finny McConnell formed the band to combine his love of punk rock and his Irish culture
With nine classic albums under their belt, the band experienced a tremendous surge in popularity upon the release of their 10th album, The Black Irish. It was voted Best Punk Album at The Independent Music Awards (USA), and the band’s hit song “Paint The Town Red” was featured in the climactic final fight scene of Academy Award winning film The Fighter. The band was determined to follow-it up with an even bigger, better sound. Their 11th studio album, Angels & Devils, certainly rose to the challenge. It was the 2012 winner of Best Irish Punk Album, as voted by leading worldwide Irish Punk authorities Shite N Onions (USA), Paddy Rock Radio (USA), Punk.ie (Ireland) and Vandala Concepts (Canada). It made the top 100 new releases on iTunes worldwide, and the top 10 in Germany……………….. click here for more about The Mahones “
Hey Finny, So what did you do to celebrate the new year eve?
Finny: Hi Tomi, great to meet you and Happy New Year. I was very lucky to be able to spend this year at home with my wife Katie (Kaboom) and my 13 year old daughter. I love playing shows on NYE, but after being on the road for the last 3 years for The Black Irish and Angels & Devils world tours (we toured in over 30 countries) back to back, I really got burned out and needed to go home and rest for awhile. So, it was great to be able to be at home with my family for once. I loved it!
The Mahones started from 1990 and still be a productive band until now. Can you gimme the recipe how to get survive till now?
Finny – Well, if you want to be in a band like me for 24 years, you have to commit to it for life. This is the only thing I ever wanted to do: play guitar and write songs in a band, and then tour the world. I have been playing since I was 12 years old with my first garage band, Live Wire (terrible name, but hey, I was 12). Now, in my 40’s, I’m playing Irish Punk for a living with 12 albums under my belt, and amazing fans all over the world. It is a dream come true. Anyways, the bottom line is you have to be dedicated, give it everything you got and have fun doing it. You also have to make lots of friends and be a nice guy!
During all these year, what do you see about the Mahones’ evolution? Is there any important change?
Finny – The Mahones have had an amazing evolution since 1990. When we started, we played songs by The Dubliners really fast and now, we sound more like The Who and The Clash playing Irish Punk. We keep getting louder, heavier and faster on every cd.
You still use the D.I.Y ethic. Why don’t you just cooperate with corporate and make the album release become easier and massive?
Finny – We have tried the cooperate route a few times now and it never works out the way we hope. We now have our own Irish Punk record label (Whiskey Devil Records) and we now have all the tools to get our music out to the world. Plus, we have the freedom to work with bands we believe in. We now control our output so you can plan on seeing some really great new releases from The Mahones in 2014.
Yeah you’ve prove that D.I.Y is possible for long time. Can you give some advices to another band to get survive with D.I.Y?
Finny – If you are a new band, you really need to read the interview I did with riffyou.com the other day. I gave some very detailed advice on how to make in on a worldwide level as an independent band or artist. Here is the link….
You also need to be really nice to your fans and give as much as you can back because without the fans, you would have nothing.
Beside The Mahones, what did the personnel do?
Finny – Well I do solo acoustic shows and have just recorded a solo record. I also sometimes do shows with Katie Kaboom and Sean Winter. My solo acoustic album we be released soon on Whiskey Devil Records. Just waiting for the right time to put it out there.
Dom “The Bomb” Whelan does a lot of studio session drumming for other bands and artists when he is off tour. Michael O’Grady does solo shows, and I have no idea what Jon Kane or Eyrk Chamberland do. Not a clue.
Tell me about the next album called The Hunger and The Fight? What can you offer from that album and when it will be released?
Finny – The Hunger & The Fight is a double concept album about the struggle and perseverance of the Irish people and the evolution of Irish music from Irish Folk to all out Irish Punk!
And the fundraiser about that album, how’s the progress?
Finny – The fundraiser is going well. We have raised just over 5K. It will cost about 20k to record, manufacture and design the new albums. We have a long way to go, but we will make it happen, even if we have to go back on tour the raise the money.
Ken Casey, Jake Burn and Greg Keelor will collaborate for the next album. Why did you choose them?
Finny – I only ask the musicians I admire to guest on our records. I would never want to work with someone I was not a fan of. I have always been a big Dropkick Murphy, Stiff Little Fingers and Blue Rodeo fan so having these guys was a dream come true!
Now irish punk has been played in a lot of country, include in my country, Indonesia. What do you think about the reason people love irish punk?
Finny – I think everyone likes Irish Punk because it is very uplifting music. It is fast, very melodic and usually includes some very fine musicianship. I was hooked as soon as I heard The Dubliners and The Pogues back when I was a young man!
Wait a minute, celtic punk is just another name of irish punk. Is that right?
Finny – Irish Punk, Celtic Punk, Paddy Punk, Folk Punk….. It is now so popular that it has been broken down into so many categories. The Mahones are Irish Punk. We are a punk band that plays Irish music. End of story!
So, every one know The Pogues, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphy and of course The Mahones. And what a about the new irish punk band? Who’s your recommendation?
There are so many now. I really like The Tossers (USA), Bastards On Parade (Spain), The Bloody Irish Boys (USA), Irish Moutarde (Canada). I love so many. I love all the bands on our tribute cd. Here is the link to check them all out……
Oh ya, what do you know about Indonesia? Like I said before, there’s some band that play irish punk as well as The Mahones. Hehe. You should check a band called The Cloves And The Tobacco.
Finny – I have know about The Cloves And The Tobacco for a long time and I am a fan. I always keep an eye out for great new bands like them. I also know that Indonesia loves the Irish Punk scene and we can’t wait to visit one day. We just need to get a promoter to put it all together. Maybe it will happen one day? You never know.
In next few month, there will be an election day in my country. Do you think election will affect for better life?
Finny – I sure hope so. I wish nothing but the best for you and all the Indonesian people. I really do wish you all a great future and I do hope the election goes well for you.
You’ve traveled to many country. Do you have the favourite one that you would like to come and come again?
Finny – Hmmmm. I love almost all of the countries we tour in. We’ve toured all over Europe, the USA, Ireland and the UK, and I toured Australia once. We’d love to tour Asia and South America next. We even made it to Moscow last year!
And what about Asia, especially Indonesia, is there any plan?
Finny – We are just waiting for a promoter to bring us down and organize a few shows. I sure it will happen soon. Cross you fingers. My mother is touring Asia right now with her husband on a world trip. They are having a great time . I can’t wait to go!
You have a drunken night on the Mahones first show in St. Patrick 23 years ago. Can you tell me another craziest drunken show that the Mahones did?
Finny – We did a show in the early 90’s in Kingston, Ontario (where The Mahonesformed in 1990), and it was a 2 set concert. When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t remember the second set. I called our old Tin Whistle player Andrew Brown to ask him what happened. He told me I couldn’t remember the second half of the show because I WASN’T THERE! Apparently, the drinks had kicked in and I left the venue thinking I had finished the show. Oooops!
Ah, and what’s your favorite drink anyway?
Finny – I drink A Pint Of Plain with A Drop Of The Pure. That’s a new song on The Hunger & The Fight and it means a pint of Guinness with a glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey.
And what’s The Mahones’ big achievement so far?
Finny – Having our song Paint The Town Red in the final climatic fight scene of the 2 x Oscar winning film The Fighter.
Okey Finny, any last word for WARN!NG magz reader?
Finny – Long Live Punk Rock. Keep it DIY and support your local scene. You can do anything you want to do, you just have to give it all ya got. We love you, Indonesia!
Whiskey Devil Records
[Interview by: Tomi Wibisono]
[For the complete interview in Bahasa Indonesia, check out our magazine Issue #2 (February 2014). This Interview was taken on January 2014, and published on WARN!NG MAGZ issue #2 – February 2014]