Interview with G Tom Mac April 30, 2012

May 16, 2012 by: admin

April 30, 2012


By: Shauna O’Donnell

I have had the honor and privilege of meeting one of rock n roll’s most talented songwriters, G Tom Mac, also know as Gerard McMann recently. Our first meeting was at a red carpet event that was held in his honor for the release of his latest record titled Untame the Songs.  What an incredible night it was. The Rolling Stone Lounge was packed with celebrities who came out to see G Tom Mac perform and pick up a copy of his latest release. G Tom has a long list of credits to his name, but most know him for the song “Cry Little Sister” from the movie Lost Boys that was released in 1987. Last year, he earned a Grammy on EMINEM’S “RECOVERY” album in which Eminem sampled him in the song “You’re Never Over.” 2012 brings the new release of a long awaited “UNTAME the SONGS” album. It features eleven stellar songs that fuel a unique style in G Tom Macs Modern Rock approach in production and writing. It tells the many different stories of his encounters with life’s angsts, yet offering songs that give a sense of liberation from these ever lost & disillusioned times.

Hi Gerard, thanks for talking with me today. How did things go in Virginia Beach?

G Tom Mac: It was an amazing gig. I wish you would have been there. The full on band thing was over the top good. It was completely packed and I did five hours of autograph signing all day long with one break. There were lines upon lines and it was awesome. It was a really positive gig. The stories I heard of people coming there just to see my show was incredible. There were people in line that did not get an autograph. I was at the airport and I went and had a bit of lunch before we went back. These two girls approached me and said “Excuse me, we loved your show the other night and we did not get a chance to get an autograph.” I was like “Did you come all the way to the airport?” They didn’t, they flew from Atlanta to come see my show. I was like “Wow, you paid some coin to come see my show. What have you got for me to sign? I don’t have a CD or anything here.” They pulled stuff out like the Lost Boys soundtrack. It was great!

Well, the song “Cry Little Sister” is one of the things you are best known for.

G Tom Mac: Yeah Tony (bassist in band) said to me “Were you aware of how many people were mouthing the words to your other songs at our gig when we were on stage the other night?” I said “Yeah, it use to be they only mouthed the words to ‘Cry Little Sister’, it seems that song has created fans checking out my other songs such as the last album Thou Shalt Not Fall (2008). Yes I’ve had this weird career as an artist, where it is based on that song, but then it has again helped fans dig deeper into my other works.

You have written songs for the likes of Robert Plant of Led Zepplin, Roger Daltrey of The Who, Ice Cube, Digable Planets, KISS, Carly Simon and Eminem. Were you in the studio with these people writing the songs or were these songs that you wrote and gave to them?

G Tom Mac: It was both. I was in the studio with Robert Plant. We were writing and forming ideas, but we weren’t actually recording in the studio. We got together and tossed some ideas around. I went back to my studio and then we put some vocals on what we created and just went down that road. Before I knew it, Roger Daltrey had heard and was aware of my songwriting, not what I was doing with Robert necessarily, but they are managed by the same people. Roger was hearing that I was working with Robert and he was at that point where he was ready to make his next album Rocks in the Head (1992). He asked me if he could use four or five of my songs on his next album and I said “Of course!” They were songs that I had written on my own that he heard. He then said “Well, would you produce me? I love the way these demos sound.” I said “Why don’t we go into the studio, have a go at it and see if you even like me producing you? We can pick a song and work on it.” Well, we did and we got along famously. Then of course, all hell broke loose later in a good way.

You have done things with such a wide range of genres, because you have even done songs with Ice Cube and Eminem.

G Tom Mac: In the case of Eminem, he sampled me and my song “Cry Little Sister” on “You’re Never Over” (Recovery album 2011). He was a fan of that song when he was coming up, I was honored because I am such a huge Eminem fan anyway. He is such a great guy. In the case of Ice Cube, it was a music supervisor from the film Players Club that said he was looking for something unique, kind of retro, but modern at the same time that can apply itself to the hip-hop world. He was like “Do you want to take a shot at writing the main song in the film?” I said “Sure, why not.” I took a shot at it, didn’t think anything of it because I knew there was other competition and I was probably the only white guy writing something. I gave it to Frank who was supervising the film and he called me back and said “Cube loves what you did out of 25 things I’ve played him. He wants to do a rap on the song/track as well.” I said “Really? Alright.” I met him, went down the whole road and he did not expect me to be a white guy. “I’m just a brotha from another motha man.”

Do people often make that mistake with your name being G Tom Mac? Do they automatically assume you are a rapper?

G Tom Mac: Early on they did when I changed my name from Gerard McMann to G Tom Mac, which is Gerard Thomas MacMahon. I thought that G Tom Mac was a simple way for people to remember my name, even though on the Lost Boys soundtrack it was spelled McMann, again an attempt to make it easy to pronounce. I don’t know why it was so difficult and I got so bloody well tired of it, (laughs!) “I am just going to go and re-invent myself as G Tom Mac and over time it will get figured out.” Yeah, in the beginning stages people are like “Is he a rapper? Who is G Tom Mac?” I said “Oh no! Did I just create another problem for myself?” Now, people call me G Tom. At least it is better than Gerald, Gerry or Jerome. Not that those are bad names haha!

They can just call you G.

G Tom Mac: Well that is the best one because it is the most simple isn’t it? You call me G and I like that. My close friends always called me G and that sort of started the whole G Tom Mac thing.

You released a new record titled Untame the Songs. How does it feel to have a new record out?

G Tom Mac: It has its torments and it has moments of “OMG! People actually like it.” The torment is that you can never go back, not that I want to, but there are days where you go “Is it that good?” It’s that weird thing where I liked it when I was making it, I liked it on the final mixes and then you kind of go into this whole insecurity. I think most artists do that, but for the most part I’m really pleased with it. What is really gratifying is that the fans love it. They let me know how much they have been playing it,  living it, and that’s all you can hope for right? It is a bit of a diverse song writing style of a record, but that is always the case with me because I am a songwriter with diversity, however I think it has a focus to it’s over all sound of an album. It took thirty some odd songs to write eleven things to really feel like, as diverse as they are, they have a thread together.

Is there an underlying theme throughout the record?

G Tom Mac: Lyrically speaking, I started out writing the album about these very dark and turbulent times we all live in. Having just seen Middle America on my last go out of a tour, I saw how dire it was out there. I started writing about it and then I said to myself “I don’t want to write about these dire circumstances and times we live in and I don’t want to be “Mr. Bright Pop Guy” about it either.” I just started to write inspirational songs if you will. I just wanted to inspire people. Even with the song “Groove At The End of the World.” It is a bit of a tongue in cheek, alright we are all supposed to die in the Mayan calendar year 2012, but I thought have a laugh about it. If we are going down, let’s rock it out together! That song came out rocking and I’m very pleased with it. “Am I A Rock Star?” is about how no one should take themselves seriously. That was appropriate for myself and anybody else for that matter who ever thinks that they should take themselves seriously at what they are in this fame game world. The song “Crave You” has a lusty, sexy kind of vibe and you always have to have one of those on the album. I’m proud that all the songs came from a real and honest place.

Tell me about the single “Not Ready To Die.”

G Tom Mac: Well that’s a whole other thing. That is a bit of poking fun at myself too. When you dig into the lyrics, you ask “is he talking about people going to rehab?” It’s a bit about that and it is about a lot of friends of mine who have needed to go there. The song is more about the many addictions in life. We all have addictions to something. It was meant to not be pointing at one particular thing. I always thought the phrase “not ready to die” was a good one anyway because it’s sort of like you are never over and we can survive the worst of troubled life.

You just released the video for your single “Not Ready To Die.” Do you prefer the concept videos or do you like doing the performance ones?

G Tom Mac: That video was meant to be something of a throw back to the 80’s, kind of ‘Breakfast Club’ movie and at the same time have a modern slant to it. It was a choice of making it a live performance video or concept. I had an idea in my head of the look of this video and went there. Most likely the next video from this album will be a live performance one.

Has the single been released to radio?

G Tom Mac: It has not been worked at traditional radio just yet. We are working towards so many things right now to build momentum in these ever changing times of making a new album work out there. We focused on that song just to get it out there and bring attention through all things social media. We are just now starting to do some interesting things with YouTube as of recent. We have formed a pretty interesting relationship with one of the people who started You Tube. I can’t talk too much about it, but it is going to be a really exciting thing once it kicks in. We are around the corner with our relationship there and this should help radio take notice. The guy there just so happens is a huge fan of “Cry Little Sister” as well, so that song just keeps the light of my career burning.  We will see how that goes. We are paying attention to all things that make sense to promoting the new record. I hope that we get traditional radio and I think that once we build the YouTube thing, I believe that is going to make a difference.

Your songs have been in over 50 films & more than 100 TV shows. Have any of the songs off the new album been picked up for TV or movies, or is that in the works?

G Tom Mac: It is already happening. A lot of it will happen in the mid summer when the new summer releases on the CW happen, as well as other networks. As you know with cable, you have new shows coming out every season. A lot of good things happen in the fall season because we serviced the new album to a lot of the same people who really have been there in the past, like the TV & Film people who used my stuff in the past such as ‘Scrubs’ ‘Americas Top Model’ ‘Vampire Diaries’  & Ellen Degeneres. She has been incredibly generous and supportive in playing my music in her day time shows. It is a whirlwind of different kinds of television licensing that we will be doing, but most importantly shows like Kiefer Sutherlands new Touched. It looks like we will expose the next single in that show hopefully. TV is brilliant in that if a song gets a good play, it’ll give more exposure to the album.

There is a lot of competition in that field as well.

G Tom Mac: Tell me about it! Thank God I got into that world early on. It is very competitive and much more competitive now because there is so much music out there as well as there is a new set of producers and directors coming up all the time. The ones that have been a mainstay have been fans of my work and they continue to tap into a song here and a song there. It has been a nice source of additional income.

What is happening in the way of touring in support of the release?

G Tom Mac: We are going to be doing Albuquerque, NM , Billings, Montana, Vegas, Philly and Orlando, Fl. Most of the gigs that we will be doing will be starting to kick off in late July into the fall. The hope is to do some global music festivals as well from 2012 into 2013. I’m ready to UNTAME The SONGS & The World!! How’s that for a closer?

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