The Return of Raul Malo and The Mavericks
Did you have any second thoughts about re-starting The Mavericks once it began?
RM: You are always concerned. The one thing I know is that I know nothing. That anything can happen and you don’t take anything for granted. There are always doubts. It is like you are building an airplane and you wonder if it will fly. That’s what it feels like. You are getting to release this record. You wonder what it will do, how it will be received and there are so many facets. What I mean by flying is everything together not necessarily a hit record in the conventional terms. I mean getting your record out there and let it be written about and spoken about and hopefully people get to hear it. That’s what I mean about letting it fly. You don’t know if it will. You hope it will. You think it will.
When we spoke in the past, you mentioned how you had always turned down chances to restart The Mavericks, just for the sake of re-starting it. You had said it meant too much to you to give a half-hearted effort.
RM: That’s true. Those opportunities were always dangled in front of us, like a carrot. It just never felt right. I didn’t want to put the band back together and just do the same thing that we had been doing. If we were going to do it, we were going to have new music. And if it was going to be new music, it better be as good a record as we could possibly make. I’m confident enough about that, that we did make a really good record that we can be proud of. Whether it is a hit or people like it, who’s to say? But we put a good effort in.
It had to be surreal to record with The Mavericks again.
RM: It was really surreal. The strangest thing about it, and this was by design, was I was specifically thinking we would go into the studio and not rehearse. I didn’t make any work tapes or demo tapes like we normally do. We didn’t go into any rehearsal to work out arrangements or any of that. I just told everybody ‘Let’s go in and make music like grown ups.’ We can take our time. We don’t necessarily have to be in there in a hurry. We had only gone in there going to do three to four songs over the course of three days or so. By the end of the second day we had nine songs.
All these things had kind of been building up. This anticipation. It was really fun. It was fun being around the guys. There was such a positive energy. Everyone was really dialed in to make this as special a record as we could possibly make it. You know when you are working like that and you are working and firing on all cylinders like that. It was really special and everybody stepped up and, you know, contributed much more than in records past even.
It’s like having another chance.
RM: Yeah, I think everybody thinks that. Everybody knows that. We don’t talk about it much, but we know nobody gets these opportunities. You look at the format that we’re in where everybody is half your age, 20-somethings, and they are talking and writing about all this other stuff you aren’t talking about. Of course not. It’s not your world. And we are getting this opportunity again in this day and age; it is really kind of a freaky thing. You have to appreciate it.
When you think back to recording, was there one moment that stands out above the others?
RM: I will say that there were so many little moments but I think the most chilling moment, the most exciting moment, was when we had gone into the studio. Everybody was getting sounds. We were all getting sounds. I was playing a song for everybody, the way we used to do it way back when. I’d sit there with a guitar and we’d hash out a song. We did that in the control room before we went out and played it. Everybody got in their stations and everybody put on their headphones and I’ll never forget that moment. It was like, ‘Yeah, that is what it sounds like.’ It was really, really fun and it gave you a little different perspective and made you appreciate it.
You don’t always appreciate what you’re doing or what you’re a part of or how you affect the world or how you affect fans because you’re so involved in your thing. But I think now, as you get older, it just happens with age. You are able to step back from yourself a little bit and see how the world perceives you, how you perceive the world and it really hit me at that moment that, yeah, The Mavericks were back and it was real. Because it is a unique sound. I don’t like saying stuff like that because it sounds like we are boasting. I don’t like to do that. But it is a unique band. I think we are grown up enough to at least admit that. And it is a good band. A really good band.
It was natural and effortless. It was like, yeah, we’re back. I remember that moment. It was a beautiful moment.
It had to be overwhelming, to receive the standing ovation after you played at the Americana Music Awards.
RM: It was. You are just so caught up in the moment and you are so filled with adrenalin. For a moment after the song finished and people realized it was over and it was quiet for like a millisecond and we were like ‘Oh my God. They hated it.” Then people were standing up. And then they were cheering. We were like ‘Wow!’ But it’s good to have those doubts, those little feelings. You have to as a musician you have to be as equally confident as you are neurotic.
So look in your crystal ball and tell me what we’ll be talking about next year. What will be the big news for Raul Malo and The Mavericks?
RM: I think we are going have a pretty good, damn busy year. Hopefully we are talking about some fun, successful stuff but I don’t like to verbalize what. Not for any reason in particular. But if we can get people to hear the record and go out and play and tour, anything that happens beyond that, that will just be icing on the cake.
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