Molly McGuire Kickstarts New Album
Kansas City native Jason “Captain Blackie” Blackmore has been playing guitar and singing in San Diego for over 11 years now, but before the Turf Club doorman began blowing the roof off of local venues with projects such as Sirhan Sirhan, Rats Eyes, and Otro, Blackmore was fronting the band Molly McGuire who, alongside fellow “big melodic noise” outfits Season to Risk and Shiner, was a staple of the mid-90’s Kansas City sound.
Sharing the stage with bands such as Tool, Hum, the Melvins, The Jesus Lizard, and Girls Against Boys, garnering attention from several major labels, and evidently bound for the big time, Molly McGuire disbanded in 1998, not long after the release of their second full-length album Lime (Epic Records, 1996 - produced by Failure mastermind Ken Andrews) due to conflict with the label.
Now, with band members spread across San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Kansas, Molly McGuire is reuniting to play Middle of the Map Fest (April 5-7) in Kansas City.
“That’s what sparked this whole thing,” says Blackmore. “They said, ‘this may be a long shot, but would Molly McGuire ever consider a reunion?’ I was in, but I didn’t know what everybody else was into. The first person I hit up was [drummer] Jason Gerken in LA. He manages a few bars and barely has a free minute to himself, but he said, ‘fuck it, sounds fun.’
So we hit up everybody else and they’re all really into it. These are guys I haven’t jammed with for years, and there’s this really positive vibe. Everybody is more than enthusiastic about it. We are basically those guys at 40 or 45 years old that we used to make fun of who are like, ‘hey, we’re getting the band back together.’”
Blackmore says he’s already gotten emails from old fans requesting a tour from the Kansas City “holy trinity” of Shiner, Season to Risk, and Molly McGuire.
“This reunion show, we’re trying to figure it out,” says Blackmore. “[Original guitarist] Seth Harty may come and play a few songs. We’re planning on doing 5 or 6 songs from our first album Sisters Of… and 5 or 6 from Lime. We might swing up and do a Chicago show. We used to have a strong Chicago fan base and we recorded both of our albums there.”
After tossing around set ideas with guitarist Scott McMillian, the two had the idea of releasing a record with new and unreleased material.
“There was so much material that was never properly recorded and released,” says Blackmore. “4 track demos and studio takes. About 10 years ago I compiled a tape of 23 songs that were never released, so we’re trying to pick a strong ten from that batch. We’re all on the same page with songs like Monster Capitol, Fat Lip, The Dryer. Songs we feel never got a fair shake.”
Blackmore says the new album title, Cursed, is a nod to Molly McGuire’s past.
“It’s about the whole major label machine that chewed us up and spit us out and pretty much ended Molly McGuire,” says Blackmore. “We started as a band who just wanted to do our thing and travel and have these experiences together and then got thrown into this business world.
Now it feels like back when we started. We’re in it for the right reasons. So were trying to find a way to do it, financially. For starters we don’t live in the same city. It’s a different situation from when we started in 1991.”
One of the studios the band is eyeing for Cursed is Rancho de la Luna in the Palm Desert.
“It’s Dave Catching’s home studio and it’s associated with Queens of the Stone Age, the Earthlings, Masters of Reality, this whole camp of people. The vibe is really cool. So Dave suggested we start a Kickstarter to raise some money.“
Molly McGuire hopes to raise $5,500 before February 3 via online donations from friends, fans, and family. The band will be pressing 300 to 500 colored vinyl as donor incentives along with digital downloads, signed copies of limited availability 7-inches, T-shirts, Polaroids from recording sessions, a behind-the-scenes DVD of the making of the new record, original autographed drawings by Blackmore, drumsticks autographed by Gerken, and, for top donors, an autographed pair of Gerken’s underwear.
“At this point we’re just working stiffs trying to pay rent and put food on the table,” says Blackmore, “so just the idea of this is really exciting.”