Mac McCaughan

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Mac McCaughan
Mac McCaughan.jpg
Background information
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 52)
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.


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.

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).

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.

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] In the same year, he composed the score for Matt Bissonnette and Steven Clark's film Looking for Leonard . [3]

Merge Records

Along with his Superchunk band mate 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.

McCaughan was a co-contributor to the book Our Noise - The Story of Merge Records by John Cook, released in 2009. [4]

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". [5] [6]

Personal life

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




All releases on Merge Records.

Mac McCaughan

Related Research Articles

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 ethic were influenced by punk rock.

Merge Records US 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.

Polvo is an American indie rock band from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The band formed in 1990 and is fronted by guitarists/vocalists Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski, with Steve Popson playing bass guitar and Brian Quast playing drums. Eddie Watkins was the band's original drummer, but did not rejoin the band upon its reunion in 2008, after breaking up in 1998.

Versus is an American indie rock band formed in 1990 by Richard Baluyut, Fontaine Toups, and Edward Baluyut in New York City, United States. Richard and Fontaine were to remain the two core members throughout the band's history. The band was noted for their marriage of indie pop songwriting and vocal harmonies to the "loud-soft" dynamics of grunge and alternative rock. They were also noted for their proficient and disciplined musicianship and for their credo of "meat, sports, and rock", none of which had much currency in the early 1990s American indie scene. They named themselves after the Mission of Burma album Vs.

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.

<i>Foolish</i> (album) 1994 studio album by Superchunk

Foolish is the fourth studio album by American indie rock band Superchunk. It was recorded November 30 through December 2, 1993, at Pachyderm Studios, by Brian Paulson and mixed by the band and Paulson at Steve Albini's home studio. The album was released by Merge Records in 1994.

<i>Incidental Music 1991–95</i> 1995 compilation album by Superchunk

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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.

<i>Come Pick Me Up</i> 1999 studio album by Superchunk

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The following is a list of releases by Merge Records. Merge Records was established in 1989 and released its first album in 1992. By 2012, the label had released more than 450 releases.

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.

<i>Slow Note from a Sinking Ship</i> 1995 studio album by Portastatic

Slow Note From A Sinking Ship is Portastatic's second studio album. It was released on Merge Records on June 20, 1995.

Spent was an American Indie Rock band from Jersey City, New Jersey consisting of singer/guitarist John King, guitarist/singer/keyboardist Annie Hayden, bassist/occasional vocalist Joe Weston and drummer Ed Radich.

<i>Majesty Shredding</i> 2010 studio album by Superchunk

Majesty Shredding is the ninth studio album by American indie rock band Superchunk. It was released on September 14, 2010 on Merge Records. It is the group's first studio album since 2001's Here's to Shutting Up.

<i>Summer of the Shark</i> (album) 2003 studio album by Portastatic

Mac McCaughan was the co-founder of Merge Records and also the frontman of the band Superchunk. They had earlier started to record music under the name of Portastatic in the early beginning of 90s.

<i>De Mel, De Melão</i> 2000 EP by Portastatic

De Mel, De Melão is CD EP by the band Portastatic. It was released on the Merge Records label in 2000.

<i>The Perfect Little Door</i> 2001 EP by Portastatic

The Perfect Little Door is CD EP by the band Portastatic. It was released on the Merge Records label in 2001.

Slack Motherfucker

"Slack Motherfucker" is a song by American rock band Superchunk. It was the first single released from the band's debut, self-titled album (1990). The song was penned by vocalist and guitarist Mac McCaughan in reference to an indolent co-worker he had at the time. Credited to all four band members, it was the band's second single and first to be released under the name Superchunk.

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.

<i>What a Time to Be Alive</i> (Superchunk album) 2018 studio album by Superchunk

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  1. Behe, Regis. "Portastatic showcases frenetic, idiosyncratic pop". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review . Retrieved 15 October 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
  2. "Calling Zero" . Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  3. Jennie Punter, "Looking for a break". The Globe and Mail , March 14, 2002.
  4. Cook, John (2009). Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. ISBN   978-1-56512-624-4.
  5. "THE FUTURE OF RADIO". US Government Printing Office. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  6. "Daily Digest of the 110th Congress First Session 2007". Congressional Record. October 24, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  7. Alston, Trey (5 February 2019). "Mary Lattimore and Mac McCaughan Announce New Album New Rain Duets". Pitchfork . Retrieved 6 February 2019.