Mac McCaughan

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Mac McCaughan
Mac McCaughan.jpg
Background information
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 51)
Genres indie rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, co-founder of Merge Records
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Labels Merge Records, Matador
Associated acts Superchunk, Portastatic, Seam, Bricks, Go Back Snowball, Wwax, Slushpuppies, Metal Pitcher

Ralph Lee "Mac" McCaughan ( /məˈkɑːn/ ; born July 12, 1967) is an American musician and record label owner, based in North Carolina. His main musical projects have been Superchunk since 1989 and Portastatic since the early 1990s. In 1989 he founded the independent record label Merge Records with Superchunk bandmate Laura Ballance.

North Carolina State of the United States of America

North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. North Carolina is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 2,569,213 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in North Carolina and the 23rd-most populous in the United States and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City. North Carolina's second largest metropolitan area is the Research Triangle, with an estimated population of 2,238,312 in 2018, is home to the largest research park in the United States.

Superchunk American rock band

Superchunk is an American indie rock band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States, consisting of singer-guitarist Mac McCaughan, guitarist Jim Wilbur, bassist Laura Ballance, and drummer Jon Wurster. Formed in 1989, they were one of the bands that helped define the Chapel Hill music scene of the 1990s. Their energetic, high-velocity style and do-it-yourself ethics were influenced by punk rock.

Portastatic is an American indie rock band founded in the early 1990s by Mac McCaughan. Portastatic began as a solo project for McCaughan, lead singer and guitarist of the indie rock band Superchunk. Since then it has evolved into a full-fledged band, which sometimes includes Superchunk guitarist Jim Wilbur and McCaughan's brother Matthew.


Musical history

McCaughan is a founding member of the rock band Superchunk. Formed in 1989, they are one of the bands that helped define the Chapel Hill music scene of the 1990s. Their energetic, high-velocity style and do-it-yourself ethics is influenced by punk rock. The band released a string of full-length albums and compilations throughout the ‘90s. After releasing their eighth studio album in 2001, the band went into a period of reduced activity. In 2010, the band released a new studio album Majesty Shredding and followed it up in 2013 with their tenth studio album, I Hate Music.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Musical ensemble group of people who perform instrumental and/or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name

A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instruments, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Some music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

He also heads the band Portastatic, which began as a lo-fi side project from Superchunk and has blossomed into his main musical project. [1] Prior to this, he was the head of another lo-fi band named Bricks with Andrew Webster of Tsunami, Josh Phillips and Laura Cantrell. Other bands he played with prior to Superchunk include Slushpuppies, Wwax and Metal Pitcher (with Ballance).

Bricks were an indie rock band founded in New York City in the late 1980s. The group was formed by Merge Records co-founder Mac McCaughan while he was studying at Columbia University, along with Nashville-born singer-songwriter Laura Cantrell, plus classmates Andrew Webster and Josh Phillips. The foursome recorded at least 18 lo-fi songs between 1988 and 1990, which they released on a cassette and two 7" singles before disbanding. Their first single, "Girl With The Carrot Skin", enjoyed college radio airplay and was also made into a music video. Shot on super-8 film, the video featured the band eating and playing with copious amounts of carrots.

Tsunami was an American indie rock band from Arlington, Virginia, formed by housemates Jenny Toomey and Kristin Thomson in late 1990 to play at New Year's party. They enlisted former housemate John Pamer to play drums and Andrew Webster from Bricks and Jenny's previous band Geek to complete the line up.

Laura Cantrell American singer

Laura Cantrell is a country singer-songwriter and DJ from Nashville, Tennessee. She used to present a weekly country and old-time music radio show on WFMU called The Radio Thrift Shop. Since October 2005 she has only made occasional appearances on the station.

In the early 1990s he was also the original drummer in the band Seam, which was formed in 1991 with former Bitch Magnet front man Sooyoung Park. He played on their debut album Headsparks and the Kernel EP.

Seam was an American indie rock band from Chicago. Active from 1991 to 2000, it was led by Sooyoung Park, former frontman of Bitch Magnet. Seam's initial line-up included bassist Lexi Mitchell and drummer Mac McCaughan.

Bitch Magnet was an American post-hardcore band who formed in 1986 at Oberlin College in Ohio and later moved to North Carolina. They released their first record in 1988. All of the band's full-length albums were released on Communion Records in the US; they were also signed to the European labels Shigaku/What Goes On and Glitterhouse. The band disbanded in 1990. Frontman Sooyoung Park later formed the band Seam with Mac McCaughan and Lexi Mitchell. Post-Seam, Park also played guitar in Ee. David Grubbs, who was a founding member of Squirrel Bait, was briefly a member of the band while also leading Bastro. Orestes Morfin went on to drum for Walt Mink and God Rifle. Jon Fine formed Vineland and Coptic Light, and was briefly a touring guitarist for Don Caballero.

Sooyoung Park is an American singer-songwriter, best known for fronting the bands Bitch Magnet and Seam. In 1995 he co-founded Foundation of Asian American Independent Media, an art festival dedicated to showcasing Asian American culture. In the late 1990s, to help make ends meet, Park worked part-time as a computer programmer, in addition to being a musician.

In 2002, McCaughan teamed up with Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices to form the group Go Back Snowball. The duo recorded and released an album in 2002, titled Calling Zero. [2]

Robert Pollard American singer

Robert Ellsworth Pollard Jr. is an American musician and singer-songwriter who is the leader and creative force behind indie rock group Guided by Voices. In addition to his work with Guided by Voices, he continues to have a prolific solo career with 22 solo albums released so far.

Guided by Voices band

Guided by Voices (GBV) is an American indie rock band formed in 1983 in Dayton, Ohio. It has made frequent personnel changes but always maintained the presence of principal songwriter Robert Pollard, who founded the group with guitarists Mitch Mitchell, Tobin Sprout, Jim Pollard, and drummer Kevin Fennell. The "classic" lineup included these musicians along with bassist Greg Demos, who also has some song co-writing credits.

Merge Records

Along with his Superchunk band mate (and then-girlfriend) Laura Ballance, he founded the successful independent record label Merge Records in 1989 as a way to release music from Superchunk and music created by friends. The label has expanded to include artists from around the world and records reaching the top of the Billboard music charts, including the highly successful band Arcade Fire.

Laura Ballance American musician

Laura Jane Ballance is the bassist in the rock band Superchunk and co-founder of Merge Records along with Mac McCaughan. In 2013 she announced that she would no longer be touring with the band due to her worsening hyperacusis.

Merge Records independent record label

Merge Records is an independent record label based in Durham, North Carolina. It was founded in 1989 by Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan. It began as a way to release music from their band Superchunk and music created by friends, and has expanded to include artists from around the world and records reaching the top of the Billboard music charts.

Arcade Fire Indie rock band from Canada

Arcade Fire is a Canadian indie rock band, consisting of husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, along with Win's younger brother William Butler, Richard Reed Parry, Tim Kingsbury and Jeremy Gara. The band's current touring line-up also includes former core member Sarah Neufeld, percussionist Tiwill Duprate and saxophonist Stuart Bogie.

McCaughan was a co-contributor to the book Our Noise - The Story of Merge Records by John Cook, released in 2009. [3]

Other activity

On October 24, 2007, McCaughan gave expert witness testimony in the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on the topic "The Future of Radio". [4] [5]

Personal life

McCaughan lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife and children.




All releases on Merge Records.

Mac McCaughan

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  1. Behe, Regis. "Portastatic showcases frenetic, idiosyncratic pop". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review . Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  2. "Calling Zero" . Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  3. Cook, John (2009). Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. ISBN   978-1-56512-624-4.
  4. "THE FUTURE OF RADIO". US Government Printing Office. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  5. "Daily Digest of the 110th Congress First Session 2007". Congressional Record. October 24, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  6. Alston, Trey (5 February 2019). "Mary Lattimore and Mac McCaughan Announce New Album New Rain Duets". Pitchfork . Retrieved 6 February 2019.