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The Mavericks want to know

By Jeffrey B. Remz, October 2003

Page 2...

Malo has children ages 3, 6 and 7.

For the first time, Malo will hold a Democratic fundraiser at his Tennessee party for the state party. "I've never done that before, but I think these are desperate times. I can't let the system run amuck with good intentions."

"Would You Believe" takes a look at the environment. The song says, "It started 16 billion years ago/It's hard to conceive/we'd lose it all and then where would we go/find another place where they don't know the human race."

"It's about what we're doing to this planet on a large scale," says Malo of the song. "The planet is not that big. It really isn't. We don't have, we can't keep coming up with landfills and garbage dumps, the emissions. Right now, this administration is basically allowing the power plants to renew their gear without having to meet EPA standards. You're going 'what the hell are they doing?' It's one thing after another. Who makes these decisions and why? We know why - because it benefits them one way or another. It's all the special interest groups and the lobby. The manipulation of the truth is unparalleled. It's incredible."

"I don't want to get in this doomsday conversation. We can make a difference. Next time people go to the ballot and give their precious vote that people have died for through the years, that we have sacrificed so much to attain that vote, people have to really be aware of what they are voting for and not because their cousins voted for it or their parents voted for it or their brothers and sisters voted for it."While Malo may have had very clear ideas about what he wanted to do with the album lyrically, the sound is a different story as usual.

"Sonically, I think like most Mavericks records when we approach them, we don't quite know what's going to be. We just kind of get in there and whatever happens and works best at the moment, that's what is on the record. I wish it were a little more thought out and a little more planned. We like it that way. We leave it open for interpretation when we get in there. That's how we go about it."

"That's kind of the way we like to go about it," he says with a laugh. "We don't plan too much of anything. We kind of let it all happen."

Like a slew of albums lately, Willie Nelson shows up to sing "Time Goes By" with Malo. Why not? After all, he's done it lately for the likes of Toby Keith and Dwight Yoakam.

"We were in the same studio, Ocean Way in Nashville," says Malo of The Mavs and Nelson.

"We went and had a sit down with the godfather and asked him if he wanted to sing on the song," says Malo. "I knew if he heard the song, I had a feeling he would dig it. I've known Willie for years, and we've always talked about doing something together. I knew lyrically he'd get into it, and it made sense."

"The song sounds like something he and Waylon would have done together 20 years ago. I played it for him, and he dug it. We had to send him the tapes...and he did it (in Texas). We knew exactly what it would sound like. It's Willie Nelson. Man, if he doesn't know how to do it a lot..."

"He's the last one of an era," says Malo talking shortly after the passing of Johnny Cash. Turning obviously morbid, Malo says, "I don't even want to think about it. Of all of them, I've known Willie the most. Waylon wasn't that accessible of a guy. Even though I was a huge Waylon fan, I never got to hang with him very much. Johnny, I got to meet. We were the house band for a CMT (tribute concert about four years ago)."

"But Willie, I've gotten to hang with on many occasions thankfully. He's it. It's almost like you get a sense that everyone wants to (record with him), I know it sounds kind of morbid, but it's kind of interesting that everybody's going after it (recording with Nelson). They should. Man, how great is he?"

"We wrote that song awhile ago, but after we heard it and demoed it, (we thought) it would be cool to have Willie on this. But we didn't really think about. I wasn't kidding (when I said) we don't plan much of anything. Here we were in the studio, and Willie's in the studio. Okay, this is a sign."

Like most Mavericks albums, Malo either wrote songs solo or with a few compadres like Rick Trevino, Allen Miller and Jeff Hanna.

The bond of Malo with Reynolds and Deakin is a long one. Reynolds and Deakin were already working together, when Malo joined their group in Miami.

They raised enough money to put out an indie album on Y & T Records in 1990 (Malo pretty much dismisses the album today, "It wasn't that good," he says).

But the album gained attention from others, including powers that be in Nashville.

The group played for several Nashville labels and signed in 1991 with MCA, which put out its first disc, "From Here to Eternity" shortly thereafter. The title track was an early foray into politics - a family tale of leaving Cuba behind. The disc's sound had a far more traditional country bent than the sound into which the band would evolve. The band mixed a traditional country sound with echoes of the 1960's and Roy Orbison, who Malo often has recalled.

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