Moon Maan Bio
History will record Moon Maan’s place of conception as the city of Minneapolis, MN, and it’s birthplace as the stage at the Hole In the Wall in Austin, TX during the 2004 South By Southwest Music Festival, but it’s real birth goes back much further.
Lead by former Afghan Whigs lead guitarist Rick McCollum, Moon Maan was born along the banks of the Ohio River Valley in places like Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH before traveling up river to Minneapolis, MN and the head waters of the mighty Mississippi River.
After releasing a number of critically acclaimed albums for Sub Pop, Elektra, and Columbia, and touring the world amassing a sizeable following of fans from every corner of the globe, the Afghan Whigs called in quits in 2001.
McCollum found himself back in Minneapolis (his home since 1994), and for the first time, he was without a family. For McCollum, the Whigs had a special chemistry, and they had become his main family
The ensuing three years found McCollum getting a “day job”, performing occasionally as a solo artist accompanying old silent films using only a guitar, sampler, and theremin, and ending a 10-year relationship.
“Everything in your life makes you who you are,” McCollum says. “These things happen. I wouldn’t be who, and where, I am if they didn’t.”
McCollum would find solace and inspiration listening to the music that lead him to pick up the guitar in the first place: Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, T.Rex, and what McCollum calls the pinnacle of music: Sly Stone, the Stooges, and Jimi Hendrix.
“I even dug out the first single I ever bought, ‘I Wish’ by Stevie Wonder.” McCollum says.
“Sometimes you just need to strip it all back and get back to the fundamentals of what inspired you in the first place.”
An invite in early 2004 to perform at that year’s 2004 South By Southwest Music Festival led to McCollum putting together the band that would become Moon Maan.
He surrounded himself with a band of talented Minneapolis-music vets (and kindred musical spirits) who began to write and rehearse in earnest.
Guitarist and background vocalist Bryan Knisley (Push On Junior, Snapperhead) was an old friend from Ohio who had also relocated to Minneapolis. Drummer Erik Mathison (Ballon Guy, Polara, Mark Mallman, Jessy Greene) had met Rick years before through a mutual friend in A&R at Elektra and was re-introduced by another mutual friend in 2004. Bassist Mark Pakulski (Signal and Report, Psychadelicates) was a long time friend of Erik’s who came into the band in September 2005, replacing original bassist Catherine Clements.
For McCollum, a Moon Maan album was the next logical step, the next layer, in his life and aural experience. “This new band has made me blossom a little bit,” he says. “With the Whigs, it was this safe family I never had. This is kind of the next step. “
Sessions for the band’s debut started at Minneapolis’ Fur Seal Studios in 2005 with Joe Johnson (Heiruspecs, Jessy Greene) engineering, and continued in 2006 at Terrarium Studios with Brent Sigmeth (Luna, Bad Plus, Polyphonic Spree, Andrew Bird) handling the board. Everything was then mixed by Brent at Pachyderm Studios in late 2006.
Early 2007 finds Rick McCollum ready to finally step out from the long shadow previously cast over him by his past.
Like the long list of other notable guitar players over the years who decided they had “my own record to do” (Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Joe Perry, et al), 2007 finally finds Moon Maan ready for lift off.
“Sure, it’s scary, but we’re all really proud of the album, and I think that old fans of the Whigs will really like it, and new fans who just love straight up rock-n-roll will dig it too.”