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Interview with Frank MacDonell, May 28, 2016

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:17 - Early life and music

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Partial Transcript: Talk a little bit about where you grew up.

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell talks about growing up in the suburbs, taking guitar lessons, and forming his high school band, Aftermath. He talks about performing gigs in his high school and at the local VFW, and the gradual dissolution of the band after one of the members went to college.

Keywords: Sandy Springs, Georgia; high school; suburbs

00:15:15 - First Les Paul guitar

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Partial Transcript: Were you still playing the Hondo?

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell recalls buying his first Gibson Starburst guitar.

Keywords: Les Paul guitar; musical instrument

00:19:37 - Working after high school

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Partial Transcript: You didn't come up to UGA right away, as I remember, right?

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell talks about working after high school in a real estate firm instead of going to college. He recalls visiting his girlfriend in Athens on the weekends, and getting exposure to the music scene there.

Keywords: career; job; real estate; working

00:26:06 - Bar-B-Q Killers

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Partial Transcript: The first band that really blew me away--

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell recalls his impression of the first Bar-B-Q Killers show he saw in Athens. He describes his appreciation for bands that have an unconventional music direction.

Keywords: Athens music scene; Bar-B-Q Killers; Jack-O-Nuts; Porn Orchard; show

00:31:37 - Moving to Athens

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Partial Transcript: You're hanging out in Athens, you're visiting your girlfriend...

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell talks about deciding to quit his job to move to Athens to play music, and playing with various bands until forming his own band, Magneto, with members Larry Tenner and Tony Young.

Keywords: Magneto; band formation; life decision; turning point

00:40:22 - Writing original music

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Partial Transcript: Now you have to write songs.

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell talks his desire to create original music, the atmosphere of friendly competition between bands, and names some of the bands that inspired him.

Keywords: competition; original music; recognition; songwriting

00:49:24 - Releasing first record

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Partial Transcript: You guys made a record.

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell talks about producing Magneto's first record, Matchmaker.

Keywords: Magneto; recording; self-release

00:58:00 - Playing in different bands

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Partial Transcript: One thing I remember, at the end of Magneto...

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell talks about playing in various bands after Magneto's breakup. He recalls being in the short-lived band, The Late Models, and later having to choose between being in two bands: National Anthem and Poolside.

Keywords: Magneto; band breakup; time management

01:05:35 - Creative shows

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Partial Transcript: National Anthem--nobody remembers that band at all.

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell describes the creative strategies that his band National Anthem used when planning shows, with a conscious attempt to break the mold.

Keywords: marketing; promotion; unconventional; venues

01:09:07 - Experience of a great show

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Partial Transcript: Although Harvey Milk were kind of going that direction too.

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell describes the wholly-immersive music culture in Athens and the feeling of awe when listening to a really great show.

Keywords: immersion; inspiration; music experience

01:16:21 - Poolside in talks with L.A. producer

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Partial Transcript: And you guys were going for it too.

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell describes Poolside's close encounter with fame as they were in talks with L.A. producers, a deal which eventually fell through.

Keywords: Poolside band; distribution deal; music production

01:19:48 - Guitar ownership over the years

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Partial Transcript: What are you playing at this point?

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell talks about the guitars he has traded up over the years, including a mint-condition Les Paul that he found in a pawn shop. He mentions Famous Bargain Music, a music store in Atlanta that operated during the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Keywords: Famous Bargain Music; Les Paul guitar; guitar ownership; music store

01:23:57 - The Glands

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Partial Transcript: When did you start playing with The Glands?

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell recalls playing guitar in the band The Glands, and talks about the lead singer and songwriter, Ross Shapiro.

Keywords: Ross Shapiro; The Glands; songwriting

01:37:11 - Connection to David Barbe

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Partial Transcript: Well, you want to talk a little bit about Dave Barbe?

Segment Synopsis: MacDonell discusses his connection to David Barbe--sound engineer and UGA's Music Business Program Director--which goes back to high school.

Keywords: collaboration; connection