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The myth of The Mavericks

By Jeffrey B. Remz, January 2000

Page 2...

The disc did not exactly set the charts afire and found the group continuing to lose its place in country.

But it may have been healthy for the band's future.

"That record we did purely for ourselves," says Deakin. "We do have a healthy self-indulgence. If you do please yourself, you can please others. That was a blueprint for our success."

"When 'Trampoline' came out, we wanted to make the record we wanted to make and have fun making it and let the chips fall where they may," says Deakin.

The band became increasingly popular in Europe, which led to "Super Colossal."

"We've been touring a lot in Europe mostly and some here," says Deakin. "I don't believe we had a full record written and ready to go yet. I believe the idea of wanting a greatest hits came from our success in the U.K. and Europe and introducing the people who heard 'Dance the Night Away,' (from "Trampoline') which was a huge pop success over there, Apparently 'best of' things do well there. We had a new label...It has been 10 years. Why not?"

Despite switching labels, "Super Colossal..." was made possible because both MCA and Mercury are under the same parent, Seagram.

Picking songs proved easy.

"The only reason it was easy was that Raul, Robert and I and our manager all wrote down what songs we thought should be on the record," says Deakin. "We all made our own lists without talking with each other."

Bottom line - the lists were nearly identical.

The only hit not to make it was "O What a Thrill." "We tried not to stick too much to what was a radio hit and what wasn't," says Deakin. "We just tried to give a retrospective, and that one didn't necessarily make the cut."

The Mavs also had to come up with new songs for the project.

"We had no songs," says Deakin. "All the songs were thought of two to three weeks before we go into the studio (We had six songs). Raul had one in his head that he'd written with Kostas."

They cover the musical bases of The Mavs over the years: the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens ("Think of Me When You're Lonely)," written in part by Owens' sideman Don Rich and a number one for Owens in '66), the Latin/strings/bouncy sound ("Pizziricco," penned by Malo and frequent collaborator Kostas), a Sixties pop sensibility merged with an early Mavs sound (the lead off "Things I Cannot Change") and more of a pure pop sound (Cat Stevens' "Here Comes My Baby," a hit for The Tremolos in 1967).

Long-time producer Don Cook came up with "Here Comes My Baby."

"I would hear it here and there," says Deakin, adding, "We're all enthusiasts of old music, and I remember just loving the form and the flow of the song. The melody and verse seemed to wander, and I always liked that."

Covering Cat Stevens songs has been somewhat controversial since his numerous comments promoting fundamentalist Islamic views.

"When I heard he had written it, I said, 'I guess it's not too politically correct to do one of his tunes."

"I think it's a dark point in that phase of history," says Deakin. "I think they were way off the mark in saying what they said."

"It's a good song. I think of it as more by The Tremolos anyway."

Mercury released the song as the band's first single in the States. The song charted, but did not get above the 40's.

The Mavs have enjoyed the Bakersfield sound for years, so covering "Think of Me" was natural.

"We always loved that song," says Deakin. "We had tried that song. We were playing Buck's Crystal Palace (Owens' club in Bakersfield). We worked it up at soundcheck...as a tribute to Buck. That was about a week before we recorded."

"On a personal note, he is a person who's so amazing. When we go out and play his place, it's not necessarily a lucrative venture for us. He pays us very very well. He's generous, but it's a small place. But we go to do it to be around Buck, to sit around on the bus with him for a few hours. Buck, himself is an amazing successful person, an amazing success story and so full of life."

"Musically, it's what we listen to. When the band first started, it was all Buck and Johnny Cash. Buck was definitely one side we liked. Even his psychedelia period."

"If you look at the history, it was one of the first things to come outside of Nashville - the whole Bakersfield sound as they call it. To me, it was a little hipper, and it had that dual harmony thing going. I love his melodies. I love his rhythm. It's simple, straight ahead country music to me that we became a band that's what we were listening to. We weren't necessarily listening to what was on the radio at the time."

"To me, it's what do I love about Johnny Cash or Hank. (With Cash, it's) obviously Johnny's voice and his persona. With Buck, it's his music and his persona. It's not just the music."

Deakin sees the new album and label as a great chance for The Mavericks to "kind of to re-establish ourselves and kind of take away this myth that The Mavs are no longer a country band. You know, I can kind of see why it happened when we had a pop hit in England. Then, they took 'Dance,' which they worked at country radio in U.S., and it didn't take. It took like a bad skin graft actually. Then they decided it's obviously working at Top 40 over there. Let's try and work it here. They worked the single out of L.A."

But the feedback, according to Deakin, was "this is a country song. "

"Maybe Raul had commented at the time his displeasure of some of country radio's not playing the record or conservatism. In some ways, it wasn't taken the right way."

"It's still a huge part of our sound obviously, and we still love it," says Deakin of country.

Deakin says the fact the band has gotten airplay again on country radio "is an interesting feat...I love that. It's great. We never categorized ourselves so strictly before...'we're this, we're that.' We're a country band."

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