Hard Rock Interview with Mike McManamon

MIKE McMANAMON - "Music gave me direction and a voice..."

We had already the occasion to talk with Sean Tarr, the TNA's guitar player, and now we have chance to talk with vocalist Mike McManamon. We asked Mike about few details from his career and a deal with Kivel Records...

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Hello Mike. Since some time I'm taking delight in Your album titled Branded. One of the best things on this release is Your strong voice...

MIKE McMANAMON: Thank You... I appreciate that.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Have You ever taken some singing lessons? Did You attend any music school?

MIKE McMANAMON: Well to be honest I really haven't had any formal training. I did fool around with a vocal coach some time ago... but all he wanted to accomplish was vocal aerobics... Scales and all that. I was looking for soul and depth. It took me a while to figure out, that soul and depth come from within. I started to listen to music of all genres, therefore I think my voice is a compilation of many influences... and a love of Whiskey provides the growl.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: What was the fact that made You devoted Yourself to music career?

MIKE McMANAMON: I think what initially attracts You to music or any art form is when the medium speaks to You. There are so many examples of this in music alone whether it be Clapton speaking or James Hetfield. I can remember being young and thinking about how great it would be to share the stage with those I idolized. I felt that these people understood me and felt the same way I did about the world. I dedicated my life to music as soon as I realized that music gave me direction and a voice. I now feel obligated to use the talent that God gave me.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Which one of the vocalists in music is Your favorite?

MIKE McMANAMON: I love Chris Cornell, Peter Gabriel, Bono from U2. I must admit that as of lately there are no real new additions to that list. I love a good scream now and again... but today's musicians are very one dimensional.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Your voice is often compared to Oni Logan of Lynch Mob. What is Your reaction for such comparisons?

MIKE McMANAMON: I hate to admit... but I never heard either... Someone send me an example... I'm dying to know.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Where Your inspirations to write the lyrics are coming from?

MIKE McMANAMON: I write about what is around me... All depends on what is going on right and wrong in my life when I pick up the pen... The news is always the greatest source.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Do You write the lyrics first or do You compose the melodic lines and then You're trying to fit the music for them?

MIKE McMANAMON: Always base them on the music... Sean always comes in with the rock... As a band we chisel away at it... When the dust clears... We usually have a better idea as to what the piece feels like. In a lot of ways I like to let the song write itself... Now that I think about it... Never know where half of it comes from.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Are You the only lyricist or the rest of the band also has its part in the text-writing?

MIKE McMANAMON: Sean is a great lyricist... And the other guys are fine wordsmiths.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Is there any song that gives You more satisfaction than the rest when You sing it?

MIKE McMANAMON: "Scream...". Love that shit.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: I love the new material, but the new material is a departure from "Trigger" with the exception of Walk Before Crawl. Why do this when people were happy with the first album's sound?

MIKE McMANAMON: You have to grow my man... And grow we did.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Missing is ballad which TNA is excellent at. WHY no ballad?...

MIKE McMANAMON: I think we were writing in NYC... And that city ain't pretty... In the end, we just released what we thought was the strongest material... And a ballad would have been so predictable... As far as the next album... Maybe... Depends.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: There was time few years ago when the vocalists were willingly singing in the duets. Is there any vocalist You would sing with in a duet?...

MIKE McMANAMON: I would sing a duet with anyone... Depending on the material. You know... if it made sense... as far as who... Why not. Have people contact me at www.tnarocks.com and make suggestions.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: If one day any pop star (for example Britney Spears or Michael Jackson) would like to sing with You, do You agree for it?

MIKE McMANAMON: Yes... But be aware... I will not be happy until I am the center of attention... Character flaw. Call Britney and see if she is available... Something skimpy would help me allot.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: In the studio You can take as long as you wish to record Your vocal parts. When You enter the stage You must sing all at once. Do You feel some fear that something could go wrong?

MIKE McMANAMON: No, never...I don't think about it too much... All the work that goes into the songs, especially delivery is done way ahead of time... I always record notes that I know I will hit 110 % of the time... Every time... I once sang105 in one day and never missed a note... I also record the songs live... So what You hear on that album is what You will get live... Every f*** time.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Branded has a great image of a war torn child and no eyes. I see it fitting the sound of the albums material. How did this idea come to light and and up on the cover? What were the photo shoots like to do and were you there?

MIKE McMANAMON: Of course I was there... My stunt double in NYC Union... So he wouldn't work the graveyard shift... John Kivel came up with the concept... and it works so well with the material... The shoots were fun I usually hate them... But the band really connected with the photographer and the location kicked ass.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Please tell us how the band signed with Kivel Records. How is it the second time doing album with label. They have a strong image in the rock market here. Do you feel that is helping?

MIKE McMANAMON: Kivel Records has proved to be a force in the melodic rock market. Hats off to John for providing the bands and the fans with a forum for what they enjoy... It has been great for TNA. John approached us a few years ago as a fan who now runs a label... Smooth sailing since.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Finger On The Trigger is produced by Lez Warner, the drummer of The Cult. How do You recall the co-operation with him?

MIKE McMANAMON: Lez rocks... Plain and simple... Love to work with him again... We also went out for a beer after I finished my tracks... What a great guy.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Speaking of "Trigger...". The band had a more rock look as they do on Branded. Was this a planned move and if so, why?

MIKE McMANAMON: People change... I hope to change again... Keep changing... Have You seen pictures of David Lee Roth lately ... 'nuff said... Hold onto the past and become a prisoner of Your own history.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Can we expect the new TNA's album this year? Have You any new material for successor of the Branded?

MIKE McMANAMON: We are always working on the next project and when the waters boiled we will head to the studio.

HARD ROCK SERVICE: We have heard that such well known artists as Steve of Trixter / 40 Ft. Ringo and Bill Leverty of Firehouse have liked your release Branded. How does that make you feel?


HARD ROCK SERVICE: Speaking of Trixter. It is heard that TNA and Trixter have been friends many years and were thanked in the Trixter CD. How do you know each other and how did you feel when they were signed in the heyday and you were not?

MIKE McMANAMON: We were all playing the same scene. I think we connected with those guys more than any other band at the time. It was great to see them go on and be so successful...Of course... I would be lying if I told You it didn't sting when we didn't take the same path... But so be it... We're here now and that is all. That really counts!

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Is there anything You would like to talk to our readers at the end of the interview?

MIKE McMANAMON: YES, keep your eyes on our website TNARocks.com for our upcoming studio video... Oh and BOARDING RULES!!

HARD ROCK SERVICE: Thank You for the interview. See You in the concert I hope...

MIKE McMANAMON: Can't wait... Let's roll... See You on the slopes.

Oficial website: www.tnarocks.com 
Label link: www.kivelrecords.com 
Band photography: www.kentmillerstudios.com 


(graphic materials on this site are used with permission of Kivel Records)

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