Lucky Mulholland, a local four-piece with Bryan Phelps on guitar and vocals, Jackson Keating on bass, Jolee Phelps on keyboards and Theo Long on drums, plays a gig tomorrow night at the Iron Post at 9 p.m. The bill also features Bloomington’s Dan Hubbard and the Humadors and Backyard Shark for just $5, so it’s worth a look.
After the jump, the male three-fourths of Lucky Mulholland sit down for a chat about where they’ve been, where they’re at and where they’re going.
Full disclosure: Theo Long is a columnist for Smile Politely.
Smile Politely: How long has Lucky Mulholland been a band?
Bryan: This lineup has been together for about two years. I played under the name Lucky Mulholland for about three years and hated it. So I needed a band. I was tired of being just acoustic all the time. People say they like it, but they like it for about 15 minutes and then they want something else.
SP: How did you guys get together?
Jackson: Openingbands forums.
Theo: Yeah, I contacted them on Openingbands, too.
Jackson: I don’t know how Bryan met Jolee, but they were together when I joined, too. And then Theo started playing with us two or three months after that.
Bryan: We interviewed in October, then we played a show really quick in November ‘06.
Theo: And then I went on a sojourn for a while and left the band for a job, but then I came back.
SP: You’ve put out a couple EPs?
Bryan: One of those came out during the acoustic days and then the second one, La Petite Rendezvous, was with this lineup plus another guy, Scott Callan.
Jackson: And he recorded the CD for us.
Bryan: And then he moved to New York.
SP: So you’re making plans to record a full-length?
Bryan: There are plans for such an event.
SP: Are they concrete, or fairly flexible?
Bryan: They’re hinging on finances. There’s not really much of a budget of what we have to spend.
SP: I’m not a musician, so I don’t know, but what would it cost to record an album?
Bryan: If you get lucky, they’ll charge you 50 bucks for a song, and that’s really rock-bottom. So take that times twelve and … $600.
Jackson: Some of them go hourly. Pogo studios is like $55 an hour.
Bryan: But that time goes fast.
Jackson: Recording a song usually takes way longer than an hour.
Bryan: So we’re going to do it ourselves. I need some gear.
SP: Are most of the songs written?
Bryan: I would say so. There’s a truckload of songs written.
SP: How does the songwriting process work for Lucky Mulholland?
Jackson: Basically, [Bryan] comes up with a song, and we fill in the blanks.
Theo: Bryan gives us an acoustic version of it, and then we take it home and listen to it. And then when we come together, what we thought worked didn’t work and it’s never like we think.
Bryan: We just had our first almost jam session the other night so I’m anxious to see how that works. Just grassroots, seat-of-our-pants stuff. Do you have any shrooms? [laughter]
Theo: Maybe we’ll come up with something like “Ebony and Ivory.”
SP: Do you have similar musical tastes in what you listen to? Like, what’s the greatest album of all time?
Bryan: Holy crap!
Jackson: I think we all pretty much agree on what we listen to.
Bryan: A general sense of classic rock.
Theo: Greatest album of all time …
Bryan: There are two categories: Beatles and non-Beatles.
SP: You can have one from each if you like.
Theo: Abbey Road if it’s the Beatles, and I can always listen to Dark Side of the Moon. I don’t mean to sound like a stereotypical drug addict, but I just love that album.
Jackson: I always forget what albums I like …
Theo: Isn’t yours like, Deee-Lite? Is that a band?
Bryan: Yeah, World Clique. You know, half that album isn’t that bad. Well, there’s one other song on there that I found to be quite good. For a Beatles album, it’s Rubber Soul. That’s just everything to me. Revolver took it further, but I prefer the more simplistic tone that they got out of Rubber Soul. And non-Beatles, probably Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan. I was in second grade, so I would have been, like, ten when that came out. No, I wasn’t that old yet. I was seven when that came out, so that tells you that I’m quite old. Oh my God, it changed my whole life. That record did it.
Jackson: Beatles, I like Rubber Soul like Brian. And one CD that I listen to a lot all the time is Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Theo: And I would say Elliott Smith, Either/Or, but if I listen to that too much I’d probably end up dead, too.
Bryan: Jackson and I both have an affinity for 1977 to 1981, particularly the British imports of that era.
SP: Who are we talking about there?
Bryan: Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, I’ll even throw in, like, Supertramp, and the Clash. Just that whole spectrum that came out at that time.
SP: What do you guys do for a living when you’re not dabbling in music?
Theo: I work for the man.
Jackson: I’m a student, so really I don’t make any money. I study electrical engineering.
Bryan: I work for a biomedical research instrumentation facility. And I take the instruments that they make, and I put them in boxes and make them go.
SP: So we’re all living the dream, pretty much.
Theo: Jolee is, too.
Bryan: Jolee’s in sales for a wide range of communication devices.
SP: What’s a band or a singer that you get compared to that you think is way off-base?
Jackson: I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody compare us to anyone.
Bryan: I get John Mayer a lot, and I cringe at it, but I can’t say that I can really deny it because I haven’t really listened to his work. He’s got one song about running around his high school that I though was really poppy and catchy, so I wouldn’t mind if we sounded like that to some people.
Theo: I got Jack Johnson. We played a wedding for a couple, probably our best gig ever, and they compared us to Jack Johnson. They’re our biggest fans and they really enjoyed us being there … I don’t know if you want that in there or not.
Bryan: I hope people hear Tom Petty, the Cars and the Cure. That’s what I’m going for.
SP: What’s the biggest challenge for being in a band in Champaign-Urbana?
Bryan: Being cool enough!
Theo: I also think developing a fan base that’s not just our friends and co-workers, because every year with a new student population you’ve got to start over.
Bryan: I see it as they’re going back home and hopefully we can put a Lucky Mulholland CD in their collection before they go.