Mack the Coffeeman

Keith is the guy in the camo shirt.
Interview with Keith Wilson of Mack, the Coffeeman at Purple Door 1999 Interview and photo by Tom Bastian.

Tom: So whats new with Mack, the Coffeeman?

Keith: We talked about touring in the fall. With Ran Away to Sea, which is another band on our label and Denison Witmer but I don't think we are going to be able to do it just because we are all really busy in the fall. So we are definitely planning to tour in March if not sooner. So in the fall we hope to take a bunch of 4 day weekend trips out to Nashville and up to New England a couple different places and stuff. We also have a new CD, called Every Blessing Tonight, which is out on Burnt Toast Vinyl(read the review in the Decapolis Music Reviews section).

Tom: What are your feelings on Christians and the Arts?

Keith: Well I guess the way I see it, among Christians who are musicians it seems to me like there are two kind of, well I guess there is a lot more than two if you divide it into a lot more groups. There seems like there are musicians who have the call to be youth pastors or something like that and they also were musicians so they just sell music as a vehicle to do whatever kind of ministry they wanted to do and a lot of those bands it seems to me are the more CCM oriented kind of bands. I'm not trying to make a judgment call one way or the other, but thats just how it is. Then their are other bands that I think are called to be musicians and its just like the deepest, well for me it's the deepest part of who I am, its like what I need to do is write music and make music and I am a Christian so obviously that is going to be reflected in my art, but the music is not a means to an end for me. The music is what I want to do, it's not like I have a specific ministry goal in mind and music is just a vehicle or whatever.

Tom: Do you have any feelings on the current state of the average Christian concert goer?

Keith: They seem to get younger and younger. Thats about all I can say about that, I don't know. It seems like sometimes its a contest to see whose pants are bigger and whose hair is greener(as the few around us start to giggle due to the fact that there is a kid in front of Mack, the Coffeemans merch table with green hair).

Tom: Do you feel your band has a particular message to share with the youth of today? If so what would be that message?

Keith: No, I don't think that we have a specific message that we are trying to specifically get across. I mean I would hope that through the stuff that I write which is more personal about my experiences with faith and with everything else in my life. I would hope that people would be able to identify with that in the same way that like when I read the psalms. The purpose that the psalms serve is like you can really see that David was going through some of the same human things that we all go through and so hopefully we might be able to fill the listeners with something that would be able to resonate and voice something for them. Put people can take it for what its worth.

Tom: What do you feel you are most proud about with your band?

Keith: I guess maybe that as far as the music that we write I really feel like we can say we don't sound like anybody. We don't try to be weird or different, we are not trying to do anything except write what we feel like writing and we have just been blessed by the fact that what comes out is somewhat unique.

Tom: Are there any bands that you have been really impressed with lately?

Keith: Bands that I have been listening to, Radiohead, always. Built to Spill and I'm enjoying the new Pavement album right now. I really like the new Luxury album which I never heard anything about I don't know if its even getting promoted at all, but its really good.

Tom: What is your best experience with Mack the Coffeeman to date?

Keith: Probably our last recording at the Church Box. There were a lot of frustrations and stuff but the creative process and being able to take the time that we took with it, and just spending all those hours hanging out in the studio it was just really fun. Playing Cornerstone was really fun last year.

Tom: What are your general feelings on Purple Door so far?

Keith: It's OK. I'm glad that we got to play. That's about all.

by Tom: Senior Music Correspondent

1999 Decapolis - All Rights Reserved

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