Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tim McMahon of Mouthpiece and Double Cross Webzine

Tim McMahon and Mouthpiece
playing at This is Hardcore 2011
Tim McMahon is the lead singer for a few different bands, including New Jersey's Mouthpiece.  They are a really cool band!  He also helps run Double Cross website.  (They are upgrading their website and moving to a new address which you can check out:  Thank you for doing this awesome interview, Mr. McMahon.

PMAKid: You have been in a few bands like Mouthpiece, Hands Tied and Triple Threat. It has been about 20 years since you were playing in Mouthpiece. What are you doing musically today?

Mr. McMahon: Last year the Youth Of Today guys asked if Mouthpiece would be interested in doing a handful of dates with them on the east and west coast. Considering Youth Of Today are easily one of our biggest influences and one of the most important bands in hardcore, we pulled Mouthpiece out of retirement and made it happen. For the first time since we broke up in 1996, we were able to get our guitarist, Matt Wieder, out of Indiana and back on the road with us, as well as other original members, Chris Schuster on guitar, Jason Jammer on drums and long time Mouthpiece roadie, friend and reunion show bassist, Ed McKirdy. In reality, this 2011-2012 line up ended up being the strongest and hardest hitting line up that we've ever had. We ended up doing two shows in Pomona California, one show in Oakland California, one show in Washington DC, one show in Philadelphia, one show in New York City and one show in Brooklyn, all with Youth Of Today and all were a lot of fun.

Remarkably in 2012, the chemistry was still there, the friendship was still there, our love of hardcore was still there and we were all still straight edge, so it sort of made for a unique reunion. As these shows were happening, we agreed that we'd make an attempt to do more with Mouthpiece in the future. We've talked about doing some European dates, a South American tour, more American dates and to work on writing some new material. We figure if we can fit Mouthpiece into our busy personal lives filled with jobs and families, we could end up doing some positive things.

PMAKid: One of the other things you are known for is a really great webzine called Double Cross where you talk about hardcore music - old and new. Why did you and Gordo start Double Cross?

Mr. McMahon: Double Cross was an idea that I had come up with in 1996, to be a printed fanzine. I had done fanzines in the late 80's and into the very early 90's, so I wasn't a stranger to the fanzine world. Over the years I had collected a ton of photos and a handful of interviews, so I felt like I needed to get the content out there. Unfortunately, the printed fanzine version of Double Cross never came together, but in 2008 with the introduction of the blogosphere, I decided to make an attempt at Double Cross as an online fanzine / blog.

The original Double Cross posts were generally made up of old content that I had collected, but when I pulled Gordo into the Double Cross fold, we decided to start bringing in new content and doing it on a regular basis. Gordo was a total lighting rod, chock full or enthusiasm and drive. We set our sights on a few people we wanted to interview and like a tidal wave, things just took off from there. For the next four years, Gordo and I worked consistently and tirelessly on delivering content that meant something to us and ended up impacting others. Out of all honesty though, if no one else ever saw a single entry, the work we put into it was all worth it, just for what we personally got out of it. The idea that others enjoyed it and learned something from it, only makes it that much more worth it.

The bottom line is, Double Cross serves as our outlet to document everything that we loved and still love about hardcore. Whether it's an interview with a person from a band that's impacted us, the meticulous breakdown of a recording session or show, personal stories, the design of a classic hardcore shirt, incredible collections of photographs and flyers or something as simple as a found video, it all makes up Double Cross.

PMAKid: My mom does not like hardcore, but she likes the positive energy and she likes the straight edge message. My dad got me into hardcore by listening to our friends, 7 Seconds and then H2O and then all the React Records bands and a lot of other stuff. Do you have any kids? If you do, do you let them listen to hardcore? Some hardcore lyrics have swear words and so I am not allowed to listen to all the songs by a band. My dad jokes that Ray Cappo uses the f-word as punctuation marks - even though he sings about really positive things. What do you think about letting younger kids like me listen to hardcore?

Mr. McMahon's baby son.
Cool shirt!! 
Mr. McMahon: I do have children of my own, a nine year old son, a five year old daughter and an eight month old son. My nine year old son, Trevor, has been to a handful of shows, seeing Triple Threat, Hands Tied and Mouthpiece as well as plenty of other bands like Insted, Youth Of Today and the Cro-Mags. They all listen to a little bit of hardcore here and there, but haven't really shown enough interest yet, to actually listen to a hardcore record on their own. When ever I'm listening to hardcore around them, I usually make it a point to remind them that they are not to repeat the curse words that they hear in the songs. So far, there hasn't been any problems or issues and musically, Trevor's stuck to some tamer bands, like the Foo Fighters, The Smiths and Iron Maiden.

I have talked to my kids about straight edge and explained to them what it is, plus all of my children have been vegetarians since birth, so they are well aware of that as well.

PMAKid: Here is one of my standard questions (I like to ask this because I get some really interesting answers. So far three or four people have said that they like The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.) : what are your favorite books or authors?

Mr. McMahon: I'd say my three favorite books are John Joseph's - "The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon", Brendan Mullen's - "Lexicon Devil - The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and The Germs" and the Michael Moynihan / Didrik Soderlind book - "Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground".

All three of those books were very interesting and left a pretty big impression on me. John Joseph's "The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon" book was very inspiring. To read how that guy grew up and what he went through in his life and then to see where he is now, was simply mind blowing. Not to mention, he was in one of the greatest hardcore bands of all time.

PMAKid: Partly because my family is really interested in politics and we have some friends who are politicians and also because we are going to vote for President this year, I am asking people about politics. What do you think about the Presidential race and Congress and stuff?

Mr. McMahon: Out of all honesty, politics aren't a huge interest for me. I tend to believe that 99% of politicians will say whatever people want to hear, just to get elected, but rarely do they come through with half of the promises that they make. I do end up making a decision and I do vote, but like I said, politics just aren't something that I invest a lot of time and thought into.

Mr. McMahon likes the Phillies just like my friend
Chris Mahon from Ireland.  Maybe it is because
their last names are so similar!
PMAKid: My uncle (kinda) Kevin Seconds told me that the weirdest place that 7 Seconds ever played was on a pig farm. What is the weirdest (or coolest) place you have ever played a show?

Mr. McMahon: I've played in a few basements and a few garages, but I don't know that I'd really consider any of them all that weird. I've also played a pretty dirty punk squat in Europe with a dilapidated, hole filled stage, but again, I wouldn't really consider that all that strange either.

If I had to chose a weird place, I'd probably have to go with the Club Unisound in Reading PA, in the early 90's. Mouthpiece played quite a few shows there and we always had memorable experiences. Whether it be some sort of strange run in with the club's owner, Jake, and how he was constantly telling us that breaking mics wasn't straight edge, or the fact that his dog would randomly hop up on the stage in the middle of a set, anyone who spent any amount of time at Club Unisound, has interesting memories.

PMAKid: Are you going to go to the Revelation Records 25th Anniversary show in June? My dad and I are going on Friday (the Saturday tickets are sold out! bummer!). What are your thoughts (especially since you had records out on Rev) on them doing a 25th anniversary show?

Mr. McMahon: Yes, I'll be attending the Rev 25th Anniversary shows. I bought my plane tickets about two weeks after the shows were announced.

There's no question, Revelation Records has been the most important and influential record label in my life. So many of their releases have left such a massive impression on me. The idea that Revelation has been around for 25 years and is celebrating it with a weekend of shows, I just knew I had to be there and be apart of the celebration.

Also, considering the fact that Mouthpiece had the privilege of releasing our discography on Revelation, it's a true honor to be part of that family and roster.

PMAKid: From checking out Double Cross, it seems you like one of my favorite bands (Outlast) from New Jersey. What do you think of the younger bands out there today?

Mr. McMahon: Yeah, Outlast are a cool straight edge band out of New Jersey and a band that I definitely support. There are a bunch of young, up and coming hardcore bands out there today that I support, Mindset, Peace and Step Aside, to name a few. I try to stay in tune with what's going on, but with so many bands popping up regularly, it's tough.

PMAKid: Aside from your music and Double Cross, what do you like to do for fun? To relax?

Mr. McMahon: Well first and foremost, I'm a pretty big fan of all things Philadelphia sports. Whether it be the Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies, Sixers or Flyers, I'm all in when it comes to the Philadelphia teams. With Philly only being about a half hour drive away, I try and go to as many games as I can and catch as many games on TV as possible.

I also like to get out on my skateboard as much as possible. I've been slowly getting my son Trevor into skating, so it's cool to have him tagging along. Been planning to build a mini ramp in my backyard, so I'm sure once that's up, I'll be spending a lot of time out there on that.

Other than sports and skateboarding, I'm big into horror movies and I also enjoy getting out on my mountain bike when I can. Really, just being a father to three, I keep myself busy. I try to get them out and introduce them to things that I've enjoyed throughout my life and present them with fun and memorable experiences.

PMAKid: What are your thughts on 7 Seconds' song "Young 'til I die"?

Mr. McMahon: Great band, great song and a message I can really get behind. Although when seeing 7 Seconds in the late 80's, I don't recall them playing "Young 'Til I Die", I do have great memories of seeing Insted cover it at one of my favorite shows in 1989. I remember a stage completely mobbed with kids singing along to every word.

As I get older, I almost feel like the "Young 'Til I Die" lyrics get more and more relevant. As a kid I think I took a lot for granted, I felt like I was going to be a care-free kid forever and adult life was light years ahead of me. The truth is though, adulthood and all those responsibilities that come along with it, arrive much quicker than you can ever imagine.

As for the drinking aspect of the song, that's still very relevant to me as well. As a kid with the majority of my friends being straight edge, drinking really wasn't something I ever felt any pressure to do. As a 38 year old adult, people tend to look at you as weirdo because you don't drink, therefore it takes more courage and convictions to stay above it. Not that I really feel any pressure to drink now, I think it's just so ingrained in me that it's not even something that I really have to think about, but it is much more "the norm" in circles that make up my age group. But really, I feel just as strongly about it today as I did 24 years ago.


(Noting that this site is primarily run by a kid, his parents ask you to keep profanity and offensive commentary out of your posts.)