Meach Pango’s Alex Mackenzie at Spinster Records for the Dallas Ghosty Awards 2018 | Photo Credit: Jessica Waffles
The Origin of Saginaw Based Pop-punk Quintet, Meach Pango is a Classic Rock ‘N’ Roll Story. Live performance at Main at South Side, Fort Worth at 1002 S Main St. Fort Worth, Texas | Friday. July 12th |
The group has also recently performed at Fort Worth’s Fortress Festival 2019, earlier this year.
By Roderick Pullum
Members Tony Coffman (lead guitar), Jorge Marquez (bass guitar), Jared Loftis (rhythm guitar), and drummer Clayton Gaskamp came together as teenagers, working out their musical growing pains in the garage of front-man Alex Mackenzie. Initially they played covers, performing the music of Devo, Weezer, Elvis Costello and others before fine tuning a sound of their own. The momentum from their debut album Fresh Fruit, released in September of 2017, lead to notable accomplishments last year. This included a performance at Fortress Festival and a Central Track Honors win for best pop rock act.
The feeling of hope and optimism Meach Pango had when they started is now accompanied by the confidence that comes with a successful debut album. Presently the band is in a transition period where they are trying to convert what started out as a childhood hobby into a full-time career. The obstacles that, at times get in the way of this goal was the inspiration for their second album “Distractions” which is scheduled to be released this Friday, July 12. Lead singer Alex Mackenzie explains his bands dilemma. “We’ve been going to school, working day jobs, and dealing with the whole mundane lifestyle. I think us wanting to do the whole music thing, but also dealing with life is a major inspiration for Distractions. It’s about all of the various distractions going on in each of our lives.” Specifically Mackenzie cites typical relationship problems, financial issues and the monotony of “regular” jobs.
Meach Pango is brimming with hunger, and their eagerness could be misconstrued as impatience. In reality, this is a crew of musicians who have realized their collective strength. They’ve developed a chemistry and process to creating music that is inclusive of all five members. Belief in each other, is the foundation for wanting to share their craft with a national audience sooner than later. “I feel like with Fresh Fruit we were so new to songwriting and kind of all over the place when it came to what we wanted to write about,” Mackenzie said. The songs on the second one are a lot more focused and more mature. The first one was us just trying to find our rhythm and find our groove as far as what we were wanting to say. We used to all be on different levels musically. Once we finished the first record I felt like we were all on the same page. The synergy within the group when we recorded Distractions was unbelievable. One person would come up with this one thing and we would just expand off of that in really cool ways.”
Meach Pango at Spinster Records | Photo Credit: Jessica Waffles
The chemistry and growth Mackenzie speaks of is evident on their song “Built for the Tilt” which is the lead single from Distractions, and it was chosen as such for good reason. What stands out first and foremost is the astounding vocal arrangement and use of harmonization in this song. The Beach Boys Brian Wilson himself would have to nod in approval at what they achieved vocally and lyrically with this track. Another aspect of “Built for the Tilt” that makes it the perfect song to generate interest in Distractions is the tactical precision of Clayton Gaskamp’s drum performance. Gaskamp provides the heartbeat for the song with metronome-like accuracy without sounding sterile. If Meach Pango were meeting with a record label talent scout who asked them to play one song that exemplifies why the band should be signed, they should without a doubt choose “Built for the Tilt”.
Mackenzie credits the sound quality heard on a Meach Pango record today to the mentoring they received while recording their first album. “A lot of that was due to working with Ben Barnett our producer. We didn’t know shit about harmonies until we got in with him and he was like here are the basics. This is what you guys should know and this is what you shouldn’t do. With Distractions, we already had harmonies written out and he just had to tweak a few things.”
Obviously the elements of each Meach Pango song varies when it comes to the basics components of sound and lyrics. However, the soul of each song is uniform and it’s rooted in the positive feel good vibes of summer that evoke good communal energy and a desire to make memories with friends and family. “I think what we’ve always wanted to do is just have a good time playing rock ‘n’ roll music and that gives off a summery, light-hearted vibe I guess,” said Mackenzie.
Meach Pango puts painstaking effort into creating music that by and large thrives off good energy and at times generates bitter sweet feelings of nostalgia. They are in the complimentary sense, nice guys who dig playing music. However, there is nothing meek or modest about the goals they ultimately want to achieve. “The goal by the end of this year is to have a solid tour schedule next year. By then all of us will be out of college and we’ll have enough time in at work to move around and do more things.”
Makenzie pauses in thought then adds, “By the end of it dude I want us to be at the top. Sometimes it’s kind of weird to have this pipe dream of being a rock star but I’ve thought about it and you’ve got to think you’re the best to be the best. I want to be at the top of this game. I want to help bring Fort Worth music and DFW music to the forefront. I want us to be just as important as Austin, or New York. I want us to be one of the leaders that helps us do that. You got the Vandoliers and you obviously got Leon Bridges and they’re both doing major things right now. But so many people say rock ‘n’ roll is dead and we want to be the battery that recharges it and brings the excitement back.”