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The Mavericks Release An Album, Minus Robert Reynolds

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Mavericks are back with a new album. The band mixes rock, country, soul, Cuban folk, and Raul Malo's deep voice into a mix of sounds.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STORIES WE COULD TELL")

THE MAVERICKS: (Singing) Before this night began, I was the kind of man who never shivered in his shoes.

SIMON: Their new album is called Mono. And we're joined now from Nashville by Raul Malo. Thanks very much for being with us.

RAUL MALO: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

SIMON: And the group's guitarist Eddie Perez. Thanks very much for being with us.

EDDIE PEREZ: Oh, thank you so much.

SIMON: In mono - what's wrong with stereo these days?

(LAUGHTER)

MALO: Well, nothing wrong with stereo. We sat around every day before we'd start recording and we would listen to vinyl records and marvel at how beautiful they sounded. And they were in mono. And so Niko, wonderful engineer, turned to me and said why don't we do this in mono? And I said heck yeah. And I don't think anybody the band or anybody that was in the room took us seriously.

PEREZ: Yeah. We didn't really believe it until we actually had the mixed record and it was done. And everybody was like, OK, let's do this.

SIMON: Everybody's going what's wrong? Wait, let me press this button.

PEREZ: Exactly. But at the same time, I enjoyed it so much that I'd love another swing at that one. I think we'd like to do this again.

SIMON: Let's listen to another track if we could. And this is "The Only Question Is."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ONLY QUESTION IS")

THE MAVERICKS: (Singing) I could fill your heart up with desire. And I can fall into your burning ring of fire.

SIMON: Now what can you tell us about this song?

MALO: Well, I had always wanted to write a blues song. And I realized that we didn't have a blues song. And so I'm not talented enough to find a new blues lick or create one. I mean, there's only so many notes on the guitar. There's only so many frets. So I basically just picked my favorite blues lick and wrote a song around that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ONLY QUESTION IS")

SIMON: Another track we want to listen to, and some weeks we all feel this way - "Waiting For The World To End."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAITING FOR THE WORLD TO END")

THE MAVERICKS: (Singing) You're overstating, pontificating the meaning of your life, my friend. I'll tell you one thing, but not for nothing, we're all waiting for the world to end.

MALO: That song was an inspiration really from the band on the Titanic when that band is playing as the ship is going down. I just love the thought of being a musician all the way to the end.

SIMON: That's the first time I've heard the band on the Titanic cited as any kind of musical inspiration.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: But, you know, that's really quite beautiful.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WAITING FOR THE WORLD TO END")

THE MAVERICKS: (Singing) Let me be clear, we're all waiting on the world to end.

SIMON: I have to ask you both, Robert Reynolds, your bass player and a founding member of The Mavericks isn't on this album. He had addiction problems and I gather you had to let him go this past fall. That must've been a painful decision for everyone?

MALO: It still is. It's tragic and sad on many levels. And we tried doing everything that we could and we got to the point where the only way to help him was to let him go. You know, 'cause this record is not just a record, it's a representation of all the years, all the hard work, all the crappy gigs - sorry for the language but there's no other way to explain that.

SIMON: You can say gigs on our show. Don't worry.

(LAUGHTER)

PEREZ: Thank goodness for that.

MALO: Yeah. You know, it' not just an album, it's a continuation of a life in music. And had we continued down that path, it would've stopped for all of us, and that's not fair. It's not fair to him and it's not fair to us. And so something had to give and hopefully it'll lead to him seeing the light and getting his life back on track.

SIMON: Yeah. You stay in touch?

MALO: Unfortunately we don't. And we have reached out. We have offered to send him to rehab. We've offered to pay for it. We've offered everything. He's still living his charade. And we can't have that anymore.

SIMON: Well, God bless everybody.

MALO: Yeah.

SIMON: Another song we want to ask you about, maybe it reflects a little bit on situations like that is "Let It Rain On Me."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET IT RAIN ON ME")

THE MAVERICKS: (Singing) Oh let it rain, let it wash away sorrows and pain before a brand new day.

SIMON: What was on your mind when that song came together?

MALO: Well, funny enough that you mention Robert because part of the inspiration for that song was the Robert situation. This song is about sort of a cleansing. The narrator - the storyteller wants the rain to just wash away his sorrows and his pains before he gets home. And we all need a little help every once and a while, even if it is just from raindrops.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET IT RAIN ON ME")

THE MAVERICKS: (Singing) Let it wash away sorrows and pains before a brand new day.

SIMON: Eddie Perez, you've been around for 25 years. You have another 25 in you?

(LAUGHTER)

PEREZ: Well, I'll tell you what, I'm trying to take care of myself to ensure that, you know, I can see this thing going as long as people get enjoyment out of what we do, as long as we're still loving what we do, and as long as we're still pushing ourselves to do something musically that we haven't done yet. You know, you can be into a journey 25 years and still just scratch the surface of what your potential is. So God willing, as long as we all take care of ourselves - you know, it's not an easy thing to be on the road and to play as many shows as we do, but like I said, if we all stay healthy and we all feel like we got something to say, something to play, I think we can keep doing this for many years to come.

SIMON: Good. Well, I wish you all a fiber-rich diet and lots of time in the gym. Raul Malo and Eddie Perez of The Mavericks. Their new album "Mono" is out on February 17. Thanks so much for being with us.

PEREZ: Thank you so much.

MALO: Thank you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.