Jerry Dale McFadden Shares Stories from a Career Spanning from His Childhood Band The Peanuts to His Current Outfit The Mavericks

November 10, 2015

Tell us about your tour vehicle.

Other than fly-dates, we usually tour in two tour buses (one for the band and one for the crew) in the States, and a double-decker tour bus in the UK and Europe. We lease the buses, so repairs are not our problem. That’s not to say that a bus doesn’t break down every now and then, or that we don’t occasionally hit a deer in the road.

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

Now that most of us are in our early 50’s, we’ve learned to take better care of ourselves. We eat healthy and get various degrees of exercise. Our rider for backstage food and bus stock is full of organic requests and healthy food choices.

How many strings or drum cymbals do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?

Well, being the keyboard player in the group, I’m not the guy to answer this one. With guitar and drum techs, it’s not really an issue. I believe that replacement cymbals and guitar strings are just a band expense and no one is actually out any of their personal money.

Where do you rehearse?

Before a year long tour, we usually rent a rehearsal space at Soundcheck in Nashville for a couple of days. Our gear is stored there so it makes for an easy setup. We’ve played together for so long, that we don’t require too much rehearsal.

Describe your first gig.

From a personal standpoint, my first gigs were with a little band I was in when I was 11 with my brother and a couple of other guys. My brother played drums and sang lead at the age of 8, the bass player was 8 and the guitar player was 12. We were called The Peanuts and we used to play at old folks homes and a pizza place that used to have live music in the Dallas, TX area.

I wasn’t around for the early Maverick days in Miami, so I can’t really comment on their earliest gigs. I do know that there was no country music happening in Miami in 1989 – early 90’s, so the guys used to play in punk bars primarily, even opening shows for Marilyn Manson.

What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?

As a band, we’ve probably all had a number of day jobs before the big break. I know that Raul and I both worked at a record store when we were younger (Him in Miami and me in Oklahoma City). I was a lucky one when I was a kid in that from the age of 14 I was playing in 21-and-over clubs in various cover bands with guys who were already in their 20’s. That’s not to say that I didn’t do a number of odd jobs along the way. During lean times or through the college years, I worked for the Stagehand Union in Nashville, worked at Target while in college, worked at several print shops.

How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?

Well, the Mavericks were split up for 8 or 9 years there, before we got back together three years ago to kick this thing back into gear. During those off years, Eddie was playing with Dwight Yoakam, Raul was making solo records and touring on his own, Paul played with a number of other musicians along with doing his own carpentry business. I didn’t play music at all and focused my attentions on running my own contemporary art gallery. Since being back together, we pay ourselves a modest salary and have enjoyed watching this thing grow over the past three years, thanks to our amazing fan base who never gave up on us.

We imagine doing this for at least another 20 years!

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

That’s impossible to say. The Mavericks have had what you might call a new lease on life these days. We had something special in the 90’s during our heyday. We somehow lost sight of that, but now that we’re back together again, we’re enjoying the experience more than ever. We know how to take care of the music now and take care of each other. The music comes first. Without it, we would never know the joy that we now have.

The country-steeped garage band with a Cuban American lead singer that had emerged from Miami in 1989 with their sultry debut that was equal parts innocence, intensity, and vintage influences reunited in 2012 after an eight-year hiatus.  For Raul Malo, the lead singer with the rich supple voice that’s second to only Roy Orbison in its ability to convey lonesomeness, desire, and vivre; drummer Paul Deakin; as well as longtime collaborator keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden and seasoned guitarist Eddie Perez, life has become richer in terms of experience, playing acumen, and a sense of their own musicality. It has also deepened the connection between them in a way that heightens the singular chemistry that made the Grammy-winning band one of the most exciting live acts in any musical genre.

Mono, the band’s latest album, was released earlier this year.  Connect with the band online and on the road.