You’ll probably be aware that The Mahones are putting out a tribute to themselves CD soon with some really great bands involved – a full preview is up on www.myspace.com/mahonestributealbum . I was honored to be asked to write the sleeve notes by head Mahone, Finny, so in my best Lester Bangs, I give you The Mahones…….
I first came across The Mahones sometime during late summer 1995 – I had gone to the 1st (and only) Cambridge, Celtic festival run by the then and now excellent The Druid pub. I was interested in checking out The Mahones as I heard they were a bit like The Pogues – well were they that and more! The guy with the porkpie hat and the mass of blond hair underneath let out a banshee wail that shook me to my foundations and the band, a musical equivalent of a faction fight knocked me for 10. Yeah they were like The Pogues but instead of just having a punk attitude The Mahones were punk – Celtic Punk.
I caught The Mahones a 2nd time that night at a party in the old Cambridge House of Blues for Dan Aykroyd’s Celtic Pride movie (awful movie, great title track from The Mahones) that me and me mates somehow crashed (Trev, Paddy where are you?). After the gig, The Mahones thanked me and the lads for jumping around and generally acting the goat during the set unlike the rest of the Hollywood type posers who made up the audience. Finny (the guy with the hat, the hair and the wail) then handed me a piece of paper – “it’s our web site check it out when you get a chance”, he said – me, I was highly impressed with this printout and said I would. Of course, I don’t think I had ever been on the internet at that point in time (it was ’95 kids, The Dropkick Murphys were still working on construction sites and saving pennies for their 1st 7″ a year later, and Dave King was still doing the hair metal super group thingy).
I lost touch with The Mahones after that as they went through issues with their major record label and the tragic death of bass player Joe Chithalen.
In 2001, now internet savvy and having just started Shite’n’Onions, I tracked down The Mahones and bravely sent a email to their new indie label looking for a copy of their new release – Here Comes Lucky – to review. Two weeks later very pleased with myself that the label had actually sent me the CD, I popped it in the CD player and wow, Finny was still screaming like a banshee and The Mahones were even better and louder then I remembered.
By the early to mid 2000’s Celtic Punk had become a whole genre, a genre that The Mahones founded.
Unfortunately for The Mahones, while Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys were able to build huge followings through hard touring, The Mahones were forced to look on as visa problem keep them out of the US for 5 years. Now, with visa problems out of the way, and with another great album under their belt – Take No Prisoners – and another – The Black Irish – on its way, combined with almost constant touring, The Mahones are poised to claim their place on the top of the Celtic Punk pile. All hail The Mahones!