Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever

 

Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever is captivating audiences with their originality, distinct lyrical style and edgy rock production, on full display in their new radio single ‘Happy Friday’. We wanted to find out what drives this dedicated rock band to push the limits of the genre.

You can generally tell when a band is ready for the next stage of their career. It shows up in timing and tonal certainties, and there's a sense of conviction that just can't be faked. Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever's catchy new track ‘Happy Friday’ has that audible conviction, but its sheer inventiveness and mainstream digestibility fulfill the other half of the equation that determines who gets radio time and who goes home unheard. It also doesn't hurt that the critics have raved about their music: ‘Don McAvoy and band mates have created the perfect visual complement to their infectious rock anthem ‘Happy Friday; we especially loved the hilarious last hit from the band.’ Independent reporter Alexis Adams recently caught up with Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever to talk about their new single and the passion for home-grown rock that gave rise to it.

ALEXIS: Let's just get this out in the open- What is the craziest thing that has happened to you in your music career?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: We have three - pick the one you like best or use all three: We got a last minute invite to open for a regional act in a 5,000 seat arena 400 miles from our base. The gig was booked by one of our super fans and he only gave us a few days’ notice! Turned out to be a great show! (Not to mention, modestly speaking, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones played there during the British Invasion…and the night before it was The Robert Cray Band – all folks we absolutely love!!! Also, a booking agent we tried - turned out to be a sleaze and booked us at a strip club (we had a girl in our band at the time, too!). Finally , we were a headlining act at a Festival that celebrated a food product called Scrapple (a mysterious breakfast meat popular in our region).

ALEXIS: Your song’Happy Friday’is receiving a positive listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: Thank you - folks who identify with us! We worked all week – now it’s time to celebrate!!! You have what you have because you worked hard for it…Nobody handed anything to you (or us)! We are part Irish – the “Celebrate life people” we tried to capture that spirit… It’s still very, very exciting even, modestly and humbly, after having our songs played on the radio before. It’s what we work and strive for. It’s validation for all of our hard work. Like the best things in life “It Never Gets Old” – a new song of ours!!!!

ALEXIS: What was the inspiration behind your radio single?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: Long may the underdog win! We finally reached the point in our lives where we see the value of rest. And naturally, that starts with the weekend. We’d like to talk to the person who came up with five days to work and two to relax. We have a new proposition! (More to come…Please stand by… This is the “Great Whatever”….) Special thanks to the Dawson Street Pub in Philly for allowing us to shoot the video at their venue…Not to mention (Aunt) Joan Dougherty whom we told we memorialize in a song and who taught us to be thankful for everything that we had…We wanted a tune showcasing the winning under dogs…

ALEXIS: It is often said that great art arises from difficult experience. Is there something in your life experience thus far that you would describe as the ‘catalyst’ or ‘fuel’ for your desire to create music?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: Well - How much time do you have? … Like most folks we’ve endured a lot of trials and try to channels those into something productive – such as songs/trying to put on the best show we can. Being honest , We’ve always wanted to do this - that is sing you some stories that may in some way give you another perspective. We’re the type of guys that take nothing for granted, albeit our attempts at humor, playing things down and we always try to change themes, musical genres and our perspectives as much as we can….Just like life – subject to change without notice!

ALEXIS: How would you characterize yourself as an artist/musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving, complicated…)
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: Modestly - fun, upbeat, positive, down to earth , approachable, family-friendly. We strive to bring people together and have a great time! We are Rated “E” for EVERYONE! …We’re the band that wants to remind you of how great life can be and is…

   

ALEXIS: What has your experience been like working with the other people on your team?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: Not long ago, Marc (our bass player) said to all of us…”There are no other people I’d rather share the stage with…”.The people I (Don) share the stages with are my best friends/brothers (scars and all)…We’ve been through it all together and every such night is a celebration that we want you part of!!!! All around the experience has been very rewarding and filled with great memories.

ALEXIS: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: (Don) My Uncle, Joe McDade played all kinds of horns and the piano, and did arrangements for the Andrews and McGuire Sisters and, my Uncles Joe and John played guitar for my siblings and I…(My Uncle John is the reason that I ever started doing this…) Awesomely, my nieces, Theresa and Monica are singers/flutist and piano players/songwriters, respectively…Not to mention, that my uncles on the Polish side played accordion and tuba…Also, my brothers Mike and Joe respectively are great drummers/singers/songwriters and guitarists. Please check out Joe’s band, Germany Hill on the internet.

ALEXIS: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: (Don) That I am able to use the talents that God and my parents gave to me to try to relate to folks on another level (all at the same time doing it with my best friends and family members too!) The most challenging thing to me is that, like all things, I have to balance making music with my other responsibilities such as being a husband, father, son, legal professional, etc…SO, I just keep getting up earlier to write!

ALEXIS: Who are your role models in music?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: Don - The Beatles, The Kinks, classic rock/the 1970’s era of singer/songwriters…In addition, I love almost every genre of music and have very eclectic tastes … Marc - Influenced by the obscure 1980's music he discovered at a small insignificant college radio station. He self-taught himself the bass by mimicking the lines of Mike Mills of REM, Jonette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and many more of those ''left of the dial'' artists that helped form his musical addiction and bass playing technique. Jim- Zappa to Clapton to Joe Walsh (no relation) to The Allman Brothers to Alabama Shakes to CAKE and everything else in between.

ALEXIS: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: Our recent CD release show for “There’s Time Between The Bridge And The Water”. Almost flawless musically, great crowd response and participation, some great guest musicians that helped some of the new songs shine even more, Class “A” venue and sound system. We worked and practiced hard for that event and it showed! Well worth the effort… A night we that we won’t forget and hope our loyal fans won’t either! Our new CD is available at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/donmcavoythegreatwhateve4

ALEXIS: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists out there who are unsure and need guidance?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: When you are in a band / group – you need to be FRIENDS FIRST and foremost. Always chose the better PERSON over the better player and it will show in you music and performance. You have to love and trust those you share a stage with for this is more intimate than a marriage sometimes! Know who you are and what you are and don’t change that to please everyone. Don’t give up or believe the nay-sayers. Watch out for the SONG-SHARKS! Protect yourself and your interests.

ALEXIS: What's next for you as an artist? Is there a new single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
DON MCAVOY & THE GREAT WHATEVER: We’re going to: Continue to promote our new CD via airplay, shows, and the internet. Release another video or two from the new album. Grow regionally and nationally! Record and release more new songs (we have a state of the art home studio!) Possibly develop a musical / rock opera using our library of over 2,500 original songs. Please wish us luck!

ALEXIS: That's wonderful! Thank you so much for letting us get to know you a little better. We wish you the best of luck and continued success.

http://www.dmcgw.com

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