Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever® - 10 Questions Music Interview
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Ribsy Records recording artists Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever® consist of 1) an Irish/Polish/Catholic prolific singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has written 2500 original songs and is the son of a US Marine; 2) an agnostic, sarcastic, politically incorrect, bespectacled, Italian/German bass player; and 3) a newlywed drummer with an encyclopedic memory and a huge collection of Star Wars memorabilia.
Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever® feature the talents of: Don McAvoy (songwriter, lead vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, husband, father, dog-owner, legal eagle); Marc Arot (bass guitarist, vocalist, husband of a school teacher, annoying uncle, project manager); Mike McAvoy (drummer, percussionist, vocalist, newlywed, movie and music aficionado, person who has the memory of an elephant); plus a revolving door of family and friends who guest star in the studio, and on the stage, adding the ''Whatever'' to "The Great Whatever®."
Be sure to check out Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever's latest single, a heartfelt composition titled, "Hometown Hero," which was written in memory of their close friend, mentor and hometown hero - Mark Melvin. In addition, you don't want to miss their recent full CD release There's Time Between The Bridge And The Water. The album contains 23 songs that vary in genre and style including the hit song "Happy Friday" (See video below). And for the upcoming holiday season, please check out "Best Little Christmas'' from their EP Peace, Love and Scrapple
Please enjoy our interview with Don McAvoy.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
My Uncle, Joe McDade, played all kinds of horns and the piano; he also did arrangements for the Andrews and McGuire Sisters. Both my Uncles, Joe and John, played guitar for my me and my siblings (My Uncle John is the reason that I started doing this…) Awesomely, my two nieces, Theresa and Monica are singers/flutists and piano players/songwriters, respectively…Not to mention, that my uncles on the Polish side played accordion and tuba…Also, my brothers Mike and Joe are great drummers/singers/songwriters and guitarists.
Like most folks we’ve endured a lot of trials and try to channel those into something productive – such as songwriting and trying to put on the best show we can. To be honest, we’ve always wanted to do this - that is, to sing you some stories that may in some way give you another perspective. We’re the type of guys that take nothing for granted; for instance, we attempt humor, playing things down, trying new themes, musical genres and perspectives as much as we can….Just like life – subject to change without notice! We want to live up to our name – the Great Whatever!
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
A booking agent we tried turned out to be a sleaze and booked us at a strip club (we had a girl in our band at the time, too!). Also, we were a headlining act at a Festival that celebrated a food product called Scrapple (a mysterious breakfast meat popular in our the Philadelphia region).
Check out this fun video by Don McAvoy & The Great Whatever®
What has been the high point of your music path?
One of them was when we got a last minute invite to open for a regional Canadian rock star in a 5,000 seat arena 400 miles from our base. The gig was booked by one of our super fans and he only gave us a few days’ notice! Turned out to be a great show! Not to mention, and modestly speaking, supposedly The Beatles and The Rolling Stones played there during the British Invasion…and the night before it was The Robert Cray Band – all folks we absolutely love!!!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
It’s so different with each tune. I’m typically working on 20 or more songs at a time; just waiting for the right lyrics and music to get married! With some songs there’s a long courting process, others a quick engagement and still others elope!
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The current expectation in the marketplace is that music is free. Streaming services pay you fractions of a penny per spin.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
Tough question as there would be so many – but to narrow it to 2, I’d say the Beatles and John Prine for the continuing inspiration they provide on so many levels.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
We usually like to start off with a jam, then go 'round robin with each band member picking a number to do…For live shows we usually take a couple of practices forming a set list and the week before the show we turn off all the lights (except for the Christmas lights I hung with my dad when I was a kid) and run through the show once or twice…
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
“Hometown Hero”…our latest single.The whole writing, recording and mixing process reminded me of the fragility of life, immortality, eternal life and the blessing of great people and memories in your life…It was an extremely emotive process.
What's coming up in the future? We’re going to continue to promote our music via airplay, shows, and the internet. Release another video or two. Grow regionally and nationally! Record and release more new songs (we have a state of the art home studio!), Develop a musical / rock opera using our library of over 2,500 original songs and writing a story around many of them. Please wish us luck!
Tell us where fans can access your music? Website