Interview: Mac Lethal

Kansas-bred Mac Lethal says Milwaukee reminds him of home a lot — a fact he noted onstage both times he’s performed here with Atmosphere.

“I’ve never grown up in a place with a lot of music and bands,” he said of Kansas’ music scene. “I know that here there’s a lot of gangster rap…there’s not a lot of people who believe in themselves here.”

But impressing the citizens of Brew Town wasn’t the only reason he moved from philosophizing about phonies (i.e., goofy-smart  “Tell Me Goodbye”) to his all-out goofy beer-drinking anthem “Pound that Beer.” “I don’t know if I care about deeper songs…anymore,” he said over the phone.

“I grew out of it. I don’t find that music is something that makes you think deeply and feel. I think it’s about letting go and having fun.
I don’t care about about engaging peoples minds anymore.”

Maybe he was being slightly facetious, but his songs validate the truth in this statement: “I just make it entertaining, make sure that I have fun, make sure that people that are there have fun as well. And I don’t mean like happy…I mean like real fun like an entertaining time for everybody.”

His new album, which he’ll work on after touring this spring, is “really ignorant.” Mac Lethal added, “The concepts (behind it) are deeper than beer, but the production doesn’t take itself seriously at all. The beats are weird. People are going to be troubled by it.”

Mac Lethal’s mix of commercial, bombastic pop lines with dirty beats makes sense after he cites Tom Waits and Young Jeezy as his main influences. “Honestly that’s all I listen to. Tom Waits, for the lyrics, creative visions and trying new stuff for his voice. Young Jeezy makes the hardest, most gangster music.”

Oh, and here’s another reason Mac Lethal could be biologically tied to Milwaukee: “Yeah, I don’t consider myself an alcoholic, but I drink everyday. I’m guilty of pre-gaming it … I drink more than I should before a show. But I can handle it; most drunk people on stage are no good.”

Mac Lethal performs with Kid Millions at Mad Planet (
533 E Center) , 9:30 p.m., Monday, April 21

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