The Inaugural Boohatch Songwriter's Workshop & House Concert
One of the most entertaining and interesting things, as well as one of my favorite things to do, is to interview Mike McClure. Better known as Mac round these parts. You just never know what he’s going to say. I've gotten the pleasure of picking his brain probably half a dozen times, on the record, and who knows how many off. I’d like to think the reason he’s so ridiculous and open, so easily sarcastic and dry, is because I’ve earned my spot behind the curtain, but the truth is he’s probably just the same wacky Mac with everyone, media or not.
This interview, like most I’ve done with him, is heavily edited. I mean, this is all coming from a man that probably, for the first dozen times I got to hang around them all, would point at me and exclaim with fervor,
“Hey! Don't be putting that in your book!”
Oh the things I can't put in my book......
but let's move on.
Mac is seriously one of my favorite poets, who happens to put his poetry to music and melodies. He's got one of those brilliant, artist minds, even if it's littered with all the shadows and dark recesses, like most of them are. Maybe that's really what makes them so damn brilliant. There’s magic in madness and melodies.
So when I saw his post recently about hosting his first songwriter's workshop, I about jumped up and down with excitement and promptly messaged him asking if I could come, strictly for professional reasons of course, to report the event to you guys. It has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a writer and I want to pick their brains about their songwriting skills for my own personal use. Or that I love the Boohatch like it's my own personal red dirt wonderland because it's just that damn magical there. Or because in the post about the workshop he also mentioned how he moved the studio upstairs now and while I have been to the Boohatch probably a dozen times or so, I have never been upstairs. That house is freaking amazing from the outside, so I want to explore it inside too. And have I mentioned that Mac is one of my very favorites?
So yeah, none of those reasons were why I asked to come, it was strictly just business and professional.....
And to my great delight he said yep, come on down.
Then when I got a text from him last week asking if I'd like to go ahead and write an article about it before, as well as after it happened, of course I said absolutely.
So about 18 hours after he said he'd call me for the interview, he finally text and asked if I wanted to FaceTime the interview. Which sounds cool, but all my nifty-neato recording apps on my phone only work for phone calls and in-person interviews. For transcription purposes, so that I get everyone's words right (not that I just want to have all of these amazing musicians and our conversations recorded for personal reasons, or you know, black mail...) I told him it had to be a regular ol' phone call. So he text back to tell me to go ahead and call him then.
So I did, and he didn't answer the phone. So I sent a smartass text that said that the way the phone works was I called and he answered....
and he promptly called me and as soon as I answered the phone he said,
“Are you talking shit?”, in that one of a kind Mac tone.
Thus started the interview with one of my favorite people. Heavily edited of course, I can't be repeating everything he had to say....
Me: What spurred the songwriting workshop?
Mac: I've never written a song in my life! Oh, wait.... well Chrislyn Lawrence encouraged me to try it, she's done it before with other songwriters. The first person I thought of was Susan Gibson, because I hadn't really jammed with her since back in the early 2000s. It's been a minute. That's when she came and sang on 'Wicked Game of Hearts' on Twelve Pieces, and then on 'Dirt and Spirit' she came in and did 'Hung Down Head' and 'Harder to Ignore' and on and on.
Me: So do you have an outline and a plan of what you are going to be doing or are you just letting it flow?
Well hell, I'm not sure. Chrislyn, she's done this before and Susan's done this before, so I'm just going along with them, they know what they are doing. And there's nothing I like better than sitting around talking about songwriting. That interested me, because you know I sit around in my studio all the time producing songs and I make a living that way and I travel all over the road and make a living on the highway, this might be another part of that. I'm just kind of exploring that and what's cool is it's with someone like Susan and Chrislyn, and I love both of them. Hopefully it's something that can keep perpetuating.
Me: So it's something you want to keep doing?
Mac: Yeah. We are offering a songwriter workshop, where basically songwriters sign up and come in and just talk about songwriting, and we'll look at their songs and put them up on the racks. It’s limited to 8 people for the weekend. We have about 4 spots left open. Writing is all the same, whether you are writing for a blog or a paper or writing a song, it's all similar, its just hooking into your own muse. Being around people that do that regularly reminds you that, yeah you are crazy, but you aren't so crazy.
Me: And you are feeding people and having a concert?
Mac:Yeah, Saturday night we're doing a house concert that is going to be open to a limited number of people. Whatever seats we have, I gotta go upstairs and count the chairs really. I've moved my studio upstairs now, I don't live in the basement any longer. I got a buddy coming from New Orleans with a pot of jumbalaya to feed everyone.
Me: How do people go about becoming one of those limited number of people?
Mac: For the private concert with me and Susan? Hell I don't know, we're inventing this as we're going, you're reporting on shit that hasn't existed yet.
No, really, I live in a big house and what I would really like is to use some of the ballrooms or dining rooms in it to have house concerts. I'd like to set it up where it's cool and all kinda blends together and then if young songwriters want to come to a workshop once a month, that would be great too. I would love that, I'm so into it. Having people come listen to music in my house.
Me: Absolutely. I love house concerts, there's something so intimate about it.
Mac: Uh yeah, probably because it's in a house.....
(oh you gotta love Mac and his loving way of being a dick. Pretty sure if he's nice to you, he doesn't really like you at all. If he's being sarcastic, you're golden. Or let me believe that one anyway.)
But yeah, come in my house, come listen to music. I just really want to turn my whole house into a concert hall, I mean how ridiculous is that? But really, let me figure out how many chairs I got and I might call you back....
Me: For the first couple of shows you really need to tell people part of the ticket price is that you have to bring some kind of really cool chair to leave for your new house concert series.
Mac: That's sharp, man that's brilliant. What a great idea.
Me: I know, I'm brilliant. I bet people have some really great chairs though.
Mac: I know, and you know people are going to try to outdo each other. You don't want to be that dick bringing the little fold up chair. You gotta enter the party on the red carpet and we're gonna talk about your shit Ryan Sea Crest style.
So he never did call me back with the number of chairs he had available, but he did text and tell me all the info was on his website, so here ya go:
Come join Mike for a songwriting workshop, in his Boohatch home, this October 2018.
It is sure to be fun, encouraging, enlightening, and hopefully helpful.
Our intention for this workshop is to have it feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible - to facilitate a non-judgmental space to explore the craft of songwriting, while collaborating within a community. The time spent with us at The Boohatch will encourage you to reach new heights (or depths) and expand more into your own creativity, and the art of a well-written song.
Mike is over the moon to have his long-time friend, the masterful and lovely Susan Gibson along as a guest teacher. She probably needs no introduction but in case you’ve been steeped in other realms - "Susan has spent more than a decade crafting great songs that share (and usually exceed) the qualities that made "Wide Open Spaces" such a hit - authenticity, wit, and themes to which just about anyone with a heartbeat can relate." - No Depression Review Susan has taught at many writing and music workshops. We’re so happy she said “yes!”
Also along for the ride is Chrislyn Lawrence - artist, writer, and community organizer, who will help facilitate the work flow of the workshop and lead one or two mini-sessions.
Each session is designed to instruct and also challenge and move you. There will be group sessions each day and 1:1 opportunities with the workshop teachers. There will be time for solitude as well as group writing and jam sessions, with the final night giving you a chance to perform a show with Mike and Susan.(no force here - your choice)
Come ready to learn, expand, and laugh.
We are tightening up the final schedule over the next two weeks. However, we intend for it to start on the morning of Friday the 19th, and will end Saturday night (with an optional brunch/breakfast/send-off on Sunday morning before you leave)
Tuition is $550/person. A $100 deposit reserves your spot. We are limiting this to 8 people. There is ample lodging in Ada, including nice RV parks, and the amazing Turner Falls isn’t too far of a drive either. (more info on lodging to come soon! we are working on some discounts for folks at hotels in Ada)
Breakfast will be provided on Friday-Sunday mornings, including coffee and tea, and we will cook a family style dinner on Friday and Saturday nights. Your lunch and snacks are on your own. We plan to pick and share around the fire pit at night. And yes, Nixon the mini-horse and Lewis the big pig will likely listen on and may contribute to the joyful noise.
For more info on things or specific questions, please email Chrislyn - firstname.lastname@example.org
SUSAN & MIKE SWAP SONGS AND TALES:
& SOME SONGS BEFOREHAND FROM
SONGWRITING WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS
$30/PERSON; INCLUDES SHOW & GUMBO DINNER!
7:00PM - GUMBO & HANG
7:30 - SHOW STARTS
9:30 - SHOW ENDS…MAYBE…
SHOW AT THE BOOHATCH IN ADA, OKLAHOMA
MORE INFO AND TO RSVP — ROSETHEBONES@GMAIL.COM
TICKETS AVAILABLE BELOW - KEEP YOUR EMAIL OF RECEIPT
FOR ENTRY TO THE SHOW
You can go to the website at www.mikemcclureband.com to purchase tickets and for more information.
Don’t miss out, you know you wanna come!