Geeking Out With…Ron Mahoney

I’d like to introduce a new feature on this blog. It’s called Geeking Out With… and it basically involves me sending out a questionnaire to some of the biggest music freaks I know, in an effort to chronicle the roots of their obsession. And I figured my old man would be the perfect guy to profile.

Without a doubt, my dad played the biggest role in encouraging my love of music. Like a football player and coach studying game tapes, Dad and I would screen the great rock performances of all time (e.g. Jimi Hendrix’s set at the Monterey Pop Festival or The Who at the Rock and Roll Circus) and he’d enthusiastically explain the ins and outs of what was going on.

But I don’t want to give you the impression that he was fixated on the past; over the years, Dad was always attuned to new stuff that was happening in pop culture. As a kid in the 80’s, I was raised on a steady diet of The Clash (they were the soundtrack to our family car trips) and when the 90’s arrived, Dad was as excited about Nirvana as any of my 13-year-old friends.

Well, without further ado… here’s my Q & A with him and I hope you all enjoy reading it.

If any of you would like to take the questionnaire or have the perfect person in mind, feel free to drop me a line: gillian.mahoney@gmail.com

Name: Ron Mahoney

Age: 57

City: Regina

What’s the first album you ever purchased?

Are You Experienced – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

What possessed you to buy it?

Up to that point I, like a typical teen in that era, was buying “45’s” (Wikipedia should be able to define this historical reference for your readers.)  These single hits were usually well polished gems played ad nauseam on the radio. We used to go to a record store in the basement of a downtown building to see what’s new. Playing on the turntable was music unlike anything we had ever heard before. Feedback, distortion, sound clips of railway box car wheels, backwards looping… It blew me away!  I stood holding the cover staring at the 3 dudes for half an hour before I could ask Dave “the Head” if he could lay a 45 on me.  “Sorry dude, no 45’s yet. But I have two albums left.”  Well $5.98 was a lot of dough those days so I would have to dip into the old Star Weekly Carrier Boy Trust Fund (a coffee can hidden in the closet.)  I went back the next day and exchanged cash for album over a counter (again refer to Wikipedia for this antiquated form of acquisition of goods.) I was hooked, not only on music with an edge, but the album as a media format.  My next singles purchase was on iTunes some 35 years later. Probably because nobody knows how to produce an album anymore.

Is there any album in your collection that you’re embarrassed to admit you own?

I would have to say no. I made it a rule of thumb not to buy an album without hearing a song or getting a review from an absolutely trusted source. In the early years Regina didn’t have an FM station but we had an AM station that during the week nights after midnight would play entire featured albums. A great number of purchases were based on those nocturnal sessions.

I would have to admit there were some embarrassing albums in my record rack but they were not my choosing.

How many records or CD’s do you own, roughly?

Over the years, hundreds of vinyl albums and a like amount of CDs. Now I am on my 3rd iPod and it has over 50 gig of the new and the old, full albums, compilations, singles etc.

What was the first concert you attended?

Pink Floyd- Regina Centre of the Arts – 1972.

What do you remember about it?

Me and 5,000 of Regina’s neophyte rock fans sat with our jaws agape as Astronomy Domine washed over us. I am sure the Centre’s management had no idea what they had booked that evening but we sure were glad they did.  I snuck in a cassette recorder in an old army back-pack, taped the entire show and carried that tape around for 10 years before it was lost in a flood.

What’s the most recent show you attended?

AC/DC, Mosaic Stadium, Regina.  They were on my “bucket list” of bands I gotta see before I kick out.

If you could have a beer with any musician living or dead, who would it be?

Easy one!  Keith Moon. Problem is it wouldn’t be one beer.

Name the last 5 songs you listened to you on your iPod.

I usually listen to whole albums so I am going to give you one song off of each of the last five:

1.     Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes – Live at the Greek-Celebration Day

2.     Jay Z – Big Pimpin’

3.     Pearl Jam – Supersonic

4.     The Faces – Cut Across Shorty

5.     Them Crooked Vultures – Dead end Friends

Do you play any instruments?

I wish!  I bought a sweet electric guitar, took a few lessons and was ready to unleash the demons. Trouble was I watched my daughters pick up guitars around the same time and I saw and heard them play the daylights out of their axes. Damn they are good. I packed up the guitar put it away and vowed to pick it up again when I retire.

If you need to be cheered up, what’s the first album or song you reach for?

Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” always makes me wanna dance (albeit in a very weird old white guy way)

If you could only take one album to a desert island, which one would it be?

Compilations and boxes sets are cheating! So I would have to say Led Zeppelin 1.  I first heard this record in grade 12 when we were setting up the stage for the drama club. One of my fellow music nerds heard about this through a friend of a friend brought it that night to school and ran it through the gym’s p.a. system. Any preconceived notions of what we thought heavy blues were, well they were completely obliterated that night. I never tire of putting this record on be it Vinyl, CD, or digital.  To this day whenever I hear a song from this album on commercial radio, movie soundtrack, ghetto blaster, or satellite radio I flashback to that night when we discovered something so wonderfully different. It still sounds fresh and alive to me.

(The patriotic question) Favorite Canadian musician/group of all time:

Gotta be Neil Young and old’ black!

Complete this sentence: I’d rather stick a knife in my eye than listen to…

Someone saying “I HATE THAT SONG!”  What is tripe to someone is soul music to others. What is sonic dissonance to someone is hypnotic bliss to others. I’ll never forget someone telling me the other day that they really thought that Miley Cyrus’s song “Party in the USA” was crap. I thought back to a couple of nights prior when I was installing a countertop for some friends. When that song came on the ghetto blaster, I looked over at a young mother and her six-year-old daughter jumping on the couch, pumping their fists and singing their hearts out to the chorus. Crap to some yes, but pure unadulterated fun to others.

Are you now… or have you ever been… a member of a fan club?

I was a founding member of the “Divine Chaos” fan club.  They were cult favorites in the Regina alternative scene in the early years of this decade. I was able to see them grow from jammin’ in the garage to rockin’ in Victoria Park in their heyday.

If you could join any band – past or present – which would it be?

Green Day.  They always look like they are having a great time playing their music the way they want to. I am sure very few thought they would last longer than their first disc.

When they got a little tired of working on their recent album they switch gears took a break created a new persona and became Foxboro Hot Tub.  They released the best garage band tunes I’ve heard in a long time.  You gotta love your job when you take a break by doing what you love best.

Song lyrics to live by:

My My Hey Hey. Rock n Roll is here to stay.

It’s better to burn out than it is to rust.

Hey Hey My My Rock n roll will never die.


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8 thoughts on “Geeking Out With…Ron Mahoney

  1. Wow! Your Dad really is as big a music fan as you and your sis. And he’s even got a Hendrix tattoo!!

    I like this new feature. Keep it up!

    P.S. I bought some new Vampire Weekend tunes based on your review…

  2. I love the concept of this new feature!!! In my humble opinion, you kicked it off with a fine candidate indeed! Beautifully articulated resonses Ron (ha ha ha, that feels weird to call you that). What I would give to be able to hear this bootleg tape of Pink Floyd in Regina…..Le sigh.

    I cannot wait to see who else your will feature!

    • Do you like Fleet Foxes? They’re an indie-folk band out of Seattle and their debut album was pretty amazing. I’ll admit, I don’t listen to a lot of stuff in that genre though. Are there any new artists/albums that you’d recommend?

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