Mad Dog Mcrea blend a unique mixture of folk rock, pop, gypsy jazz, bluegrass and ‘shake your ass’ music. We speak to the band ahead of their Komedia show to talk about getting back on the road, where the name came from and gigging with Mick Jagger...
What has it been like for the band over the very difficult last 2 years?
Initially it was quite nice to have a break having toured extensively with each other for many years, but as time dragged on, we realised we were in for a long lockdown and extended restrictions we all really started to miss the live performances - the audience and eventually each other.
It is great that the band has still been performing, adapting to the Covid restrictions by doing online/virtual performances around the UK. Now venues are finally reopening will you continue to doing these performances and do you think virtual online performances are something the industry will now nurture/develop moving into the future?
Yeah I think the hybrid shows are great, as not everyone will be able to get to gigs for one reason or another, and as long as there is a few people in the audience it makes for a great show. Just like the old times when we used to just play to the barman when we first started out !! We did an online last year with no audience at all and that was very strange and surreal ! At least on facebook live you feel the audience presence with the live comments. I can see the industry embracing the hybrid shows in the future because it benefits the performers & the audience.
What does it mean to be able to play in front of a live crowd inside a venue again?
We did our first indoor gig to a live socially distanced audience at The Cheese & Grain in Frome and even though it was seated it was pure magic seeing peoples faces again and absorbing the atmosphere plus the audience interaction which we thrive on in a live performance. There was some really creative table dancing on the spot which was a joy to watch and it spurred us on no end. We are all about the interaction with our audience and completely lost without it.
We always love performing our own self penned songs but because of the audience reaction to ‘Am I Drinking Enough” that has to be the favourite. We simply get pissed together but try not to get as pissed as the audience until the end. It has taken years of practice and seldom works.
Your favourite experience/performance you have done?
We have many favourite memories & experiences over the years having played major stages at Glastonbury and all the major UK festivals but Mick Jagger joining us on stage with his tambourine at a small gig in London has to be the one that stands out for me. He even asked permission and I froze when I realised it was him and we went on to have a great session afterwards singing obscure Irish songs which he loved much to my surprise !
Where did you meet and how did the name of the band come about?
We have many tall tales about how the name came about but the truth is the original band met at Plymouth university back in the mid 90s and there was a shoot em up arcade machine called “Mad Dog Mcree’ which was a meeting point before rehearsals and there the name was born and we simply changed the last letter from 'e' to 'a' for copyright reasons.
What does the band do in their spare time that contributes to their eclectic musicality and creativeness?
We have all very different pastimes & jobs away from the band as well as very different musical tastes. We all perform music away from the band as well. Dave our banjo player writes musicals in his spare time which are awesome, Nicky is a violin teacher, Jon experiments with anything that makes a sound, Pete our drummer is constantly playing his sticks on his knee and listens to ‘The Red Hot Chilli Peppers on repeat, Dan our whistle player lives in a kaleidoscopic world of notes from many of the instruments he plays and experiments with and I run a pub/music venue on Dartmoor!
two tickets to see Mad Dog Mcrea live at Komedia on Friday 20th May. For a chance to win, simply click on the link below and follow the steps. Good luck!