With this week’s release of their 7th video adventure, more is becoming known about that mythical group, the heymacs. Those in the know have sensed from the beginning that there’s more to this shambling group of itinerant musicians than meets the eye.
When the Toronto group was first conceived, the five musical veterans weren’t interested in regular gigs, but they did want to share their story. One video led to the next, each offering a little more backstory and insight into the guys and their pragmatic ‘means to an end’ way of life.
When we first met Macky, Doc, Skid, Cowboy and Carlyle, they were pawing through the discarded instruments in the bin behind Ms Laurie’s music store. But there was a sense that the guys might not quite be as they first appeared. As Macky’s graveled voice led the ragtag team in a song of hope and faith, the band proved to be more than proficient on their cobbled together instruments.
Jul 2013 the heymacs – You’ll Never Walk Alone
When the second video appeared six months later,the boys, with a small change in personnel, had found a warmer space where they could relax and work on original material … between dice games.
Dec 2013 – the heymacs – Life is Tough
True to form, this cover of a classic Bob Dylan song appeared after another six month break. It seems the boys had managed to finagle their way into an unlocked recording studio, where they took the opportunity to lay down a few tracks. In the descriptive notes below the video, another pattern emerged – a request to be kind to the homeless was always included.
Jun 2014 the heymacs – Like A Rolling Stone
Recorded on the same night, but released – yes, six months later – Macky finds himself waxing philosophically on growing older, while the rest of the band catch up on some badly needed sleep.
Nov 2014- the heymacs – If I Were Young Again
With the pattern firmly set, fans were surprised to see another heymacs tune emerge only two months later – and this time, Macky’s poor attempts at maintaining normalcy in his love life have lost him his latest lady friend and a crash pad. Undeterred, the band continue rehearsing for an upcoming audition, while Ms Laurie and her friends Lee and Roxie rub it in that Macky’s gonna have to “Hit The Road.”
Jan 2015 the heymacs – Hit The Road, Jack
There’s a lot riding on the big music contest Great North Ski and Skate has sponsored – gear, recording time and a little taste of fame could be within the heymacs grasp. All they have to do is impress the jury, with their musicianship, style, and ‘vintage’ equipment.
Jul 2015 the heymacs – Freeskatin’
In the 7th and most current video, the band has been keeping a low profile, but contest judge Mr. B tracks Macky down to their favourite bar to let them know that they’ve won the contest and the goodies. In fact, he’s so impressed with the boys that he’s brought along his squeezebox, and hopes to have a chance to sit in with the band.
Through “a guy who knows a guy,” Macky and Skid later have a chance to play their video take on a Murray McLauchlan Canadian classic for the writer himself, who offers to put in a good word for the band with the ‘new kid’ now running the country.
Feb 2016 the heymacs – Down By The Henry Moore
With seven well-received videos under their belt, it was time to track down band leader Macky O for an update on what was next for the heymacs. Who were these scruffy lads, seemingly unencumbered by families, homes or jobs? And how had the motley crew recognized in each other the musical talent needed to bring the group together?
I cornered the gruff voiced Macky at his favourite bar. As Skid had revealed in their “FreeSkatin’” video, you can just about always find one of the band at Dangerous Dave’s around dinner time. Macky’s a man of few words, but here’s what he had to say to my questions.
How did the group find each other?
“Well, all of the guys dabbled in music to one extent or another over the years, and we’d organize card games in the alley behind the local music store on some of those nice summer nights. That was Ms. Laurie’s place, called High Note Music. When it started getting cold out, she was kind enough to let us move the game into the receiving shed behind the store. Sometimes she’d throw out damaged gear that we’d fix up as best we could … next thing ya know, we’re jamming instead of playing poker sometimes.”
How did you choose the band name? Does it have some sort of meaning?
“Well, it’s a phrase we’ve heard a lot when exploring dumpsters ( as in “Hey, Mac! What’cha doin’ in there?!)”
What can the heymacs fans look forward to next?
“Workin’ on a tune called ‘The Old Man Blues’ … a subject with which we have the inside scoop.”
Are there any plans for upcoming gigs where the heymacs can be seen live? What are the band’s long term goals?
“I dunno … maybe do some charity gigs to help out some less fortunates.”
Why do you always mention the homeless in your video descriptions?
“None of us are strangers to being one pay check from disaster, and lots of guys and gals on the street have a backstory of events that simply got outta their control… hey, we’re all human, folks. Every little bit helps …”
How will the band’s sound change with new gear?
“Don’t know if it’ll change that much… but, at least, better equipment is dependable, and guitars will have all 6 strings (and, as Skid often reminds us, drumsticks don’t grow on trees, eh!)”
Anything else you’d like to add, for those new to the heymacs and their music?
“By way of a plug, it’s not easy to find any heymacs stuff that you can buy, and we’re not coming to your town anytime soon. So feel free to visit us on the YouTubes as often as you’d like… just remember … while we don’t want to bash anyone over the head, we’re all about trying to raise awareness to the plight of the homeless.”
To find out more about the heymacs, their music and their ‘private lives,’ hop on over to their website, http://heymacs.shawnoshea.com or visit their Facebook page. (The heymacs.)
(first published Feb 14/2016 – bobsegarini.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/roxanne-tellier-introducing-the-heymacs/)