The Mavericks: "We're Having So Much More Fun Than Ever Before"
So it wasn't just about the money?
In all honesty, I figured if the Mavericks came back, it wouldn't be for a paycheck and then to call it a day. I'd rather have left it alone at that point. I respect other bands that would do that, but the Mavericks were always about a lot more than a paycheck. If we're going to bring it back, then we're going to make some music, and hopefully we'll make some important music and some relevant music as it pertains to our career and what we've done. It was the music that steered the thing, and once Big Machine said yes to the project, then everyone was up for it. And that was it. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. We made the record and boom, here we are now.
So was there an elephant in the room once you guys reconvened. Was it awkward in any way? What was the vibe like?
It's like anything. I think time heals old wounds. So you throw that stuff out, forget about it and kind of put it aside, learn from it and then move forward if you want to do it. And we all really wanted to do it. We really wanted to make the record, and we knew that the record was going to be a special record. We didn't know why, but we knew there was a lot of energy around it. There were high expectations, of course, but everybody's energy was there. And we knew we had to have a special energy for this thing to work. We tried to make the best record we could, and lo and behold -- without trying to sound like I'm bragging here -- I think it's one of the best records we've ever done.
It really sounds like no time has passed at all. It sounds like you guys were right back in the proverbial groove.
That's pretty much how it went.
So was it just like old times? Did everyone just transition into their roles?
Yeah. In the past we'd always do a whole bunch of demos and do a lot of preproduction and all that kind of stuff. But this time around, I told the guys that this time I didn't have time to make a bunch of demos. I just wanted to go into the studio. Initially, we were going to go in for just four or five days and do a couple of songs to get the group going, but by the second day we had recorded five songs. So there was definitely a lot of positive energy and thinking that, yeah, we're back. That's kinda of how it was.
Was there any lingering resentment?
When we initially got together, everyone said their peace. We made sure that the miscommunication and the lack of communication and the lack of openness that had happened before within the band didn't happen again. There had been a lot of third parties communicating for us, and that's never good. It's never good in any communications, because then you'll end up with a stalemate. Part of the problem back then was that we were younger, and, honestly, I was burned out. I didn't want to hear from anybody; I didn't want to hear from anything. I was just as burned out and fried as I could possibly be. As was everybody.
We didn't really take care of our business. We let others do it, and that was a big mistake. It was a big learning curve in that we realized that no one can take care of your business as well as you can. So there was all this stuff going on back then that really led to the breakup. I think this time around, everybody is more aware. Everybody wants this to work, and we're having so much more fun than ever before. That's really the big difference now.
What are the audiences like?
The fans are going nuts, and not only that, we're seeing a younger audience too. They're discovering the band through their parents. We're getting into that echelon of elder statesmen [laughs], and it's cool, because we're seeing those different demographics in our audience.
The music business is fickle, and when you're away ten years, it can seem like a lifetime. But from what you're saying, it sounds like people didn't forget and they hooked into it right away. Was that the case?
It's unbelievable. Certainly during those years in-between, I was still out there doing my part to keep the Mavericks name alive. As I told the guys, no matter where I went, no matter who I was making music with, no matter what groovy little project I was doing, the conversation always turned to, when are the Mavericks getting back together? What about the Mavericks? At first, I was like, aw geez. Give it up already. It's over. But I think that after awhile, it was maybe because they were such relentless pains in the ass, it just eventually influenced my sentiments. It was like, OK, what about the Mavericks? Why aren't we doing stuff?
Looking back on it now, I think that had a lot to do with it. I'm just being honest. How could it not when everywhere you go, people are asking about it. It's not that they didn't like my solo stuff and/or they didn't like what I was doing. I don't think that was it at all. It's just that the Mavericks meant something to them. They meant something to a lot of people. That's nice to finally realize.
So how has this affected your present mindset?
All those things, all the emotions, all the bad blood, all the mistakes, the apathy or whatever you want to call it, makes you stronger and a better musician. At this point, we're feeling we can do anything we want. We don't have to play the game. We don't have to cater to radio or adhere to trends or whatever. We can do whatever we want, and our fans kind of expect that. We can be a little more carefree.
In a sense, it seems the time was right to reconvene. When you started out, you were ahead of the game. You guys broke the barriers. Yes, there was the underlying country flavor in your music, but you broadened the scope, and these days that seems to be the norm in general.
Absolutely. And not only that, sociologically, things have changed. The industry is more open now than we were say, 20 years ago, when we first arrived. Imagine, a Hispanic lead singer named Raul. They couldn't even pronounce my name (chuckles). I think that plays into it as well. We're seeing so many young Latin people coming to our shows. It's amazing, because I've always considered this band a truly American band. It's a blend of all these things and a blend of all these cultures.
We embody that in many ways, and nowadays our audience is so vast. It's fun to watch and it's fun to see that. We love it. Everybody's welcome at our shows and it just runs the gamut. We're loving that part of it too and we want to make a statement. We want this band to be a band for everybody, as it should it be. That's the way we see ourselves and we're enjoying it, because it's proven that we were on the right course all these years. After all these years and all the hard work, it's very gratifying.