The physical release will follow early next year. Joining former Rollins Band drummer Jason Mackenroth in Mack’s lineup are bassist Michael “MK” Kelly (Magnified) and guitarist Billy O’Malley (Seka, Stripmind, Jocobono). Between albums, Mackenroth moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and joined Blue Man Group’s show at the Venetian, where Kelly and O’Malley also serve as band musicians. Pay To Play marks a blistering return to their rock ‘n’ roll roots. GRAMMY®-winning producer/musician Daniel Lanois, who enlisted Mackenroth as drummer for his U.S./European tours for Shine, perhaps put it best: “that is some bad ass high speed high octane shit!”
Mack will play a record release party at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas on Thursday, October 13th. A U.S. tour will be announced shortly. For the live shows, Blas Elias (Slaughter), who also plays in Blue Man Group’s Las Vegas production, will play drums, enabling Mackenroth to step out front on lead vocals.
Today Mack launched a Kickstarter.com campaign to help finance the vinyl edition of Pay To Play and shoot the video for “Ride The Sky.” Backers can receive such perks as a drum lesson with Mackenroth (in person or via Skype), a stint as an extra in the video, complete with styling by a top Vegas hairdresser, or the chance to be the set photographer, with the resulting photos posted on the band’s Facebook page. Fans can check out all the options at:
Pay To Play kicks off with the harrowing “Ride The Sky,” written from the point-of-view of cocaine, followed by the amped up “She Likes It All,” co-written by Mackenroth and Kelly, which suggests the temptations of the Vegas Strip aren’t all that different from Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. “Enough To Know” at first appears to be a penitent ballad, but a sense of malevolence grows as the music escalates into a full-on aural assault.
“Everything has a price, whether it’s monetary or otherwise, and whatever we get out of life depends on how much we give,” says Mackenroth, expounding on the album’s central truth “There are no shortcuts. If you blow it, there’s a price to be paid. It’s a really heavy record and definitely takes some dark turns, but I think it emerges with a sense of true optimism.”
That sense of hope shines through in songs like the anthemic “Gonna Make It,” with its Humble Pie-meets-KISS groove, and the stirring “Turn Around,” which will close Side 1 and Side 2 respectively on the vinyl.
Mackenroth was a founding member of Los Angeles-based power trio Mother Superior, which became punk icon Rollin’s backing band in 1998. After seven albums and four world tours with Rollins Band, Jason ventured out on his own, releasing Mack’s self-titled debut album in 2005. Tracks like “Welcome Wasted Again” – praised by the East Bay Express as “a harsh yet hooky appetizer powered by a lifetime’s worth of rock ‘n’ roll road stories” – garnered radio play on specialty shows from coast to coast and the band’s tour dates were named “Pick of the Week” by numerous publications. “Here’s a drummer who’s had melodies on his mind this whole time, and here’s your chance to see that scroungey, punky fruition at the best venue for it,” said Las Vegas City Life.
Pay To Play was produced, engineered and arranged by Michael “MK” Kelly. Jacques Wait mixed and Erick Labson mastered. The track listing is as follows:
Ride The Sky
She Likes It All
Enough To Know
Gonna Make It
What Happened To You?
I Fucked Up