Interview with Lisa Mychols of The Masticators
By Ronnie

Ever get the feeling you were at an important even that was "happening"? Well, that's how you feel when you hear the debut CD by the Masticators, called MASTICATE. I talked to lead singer/songwriter Lisa Mychols about the past, present and future of the band. And most importantly, "how does she do it?!" How does she write such infectiously catchy & clever songs that stay imprinted on your brain?

E.C.: First, what exactly does "the Masticators" mean as a group name and who came up with it? I know the word "masticate" means chewing, but I'm trying to get the connection…is there a word play going on, or am I digging too deep?

Lisa: I was listening to radio personality Tom Leykis on the radio doing what sounded like the most dirty sounding show I had ever heard! His callers, that day, were totally cracking me up with how they like masticating, at least 3 times a day on a daily basis! I was looking for a name at the time and there it was! The Masticators!

E.C.: John Lennon once said he just 'channels' the songs that come to him. Since you are the primary songwriter, I just gotta ask…how do you come up with such amazingly happy, catchy songs?

Lisa: Funny, I used to try and channel John Lennon, when I was a little girl, with a regular deck of cards! Um...let's see....I pretty much just fool around with a particular instrument that would be in my hands, at the time, and just go from there. Wee hours of the night till dawn is a preferred time to write! Another way is laying down drum beats and writing from there!

E.C.: How do you compare your songs on MASTICATE with your solo album, LOST WINTERS DREAM? Was it just a totally different mindset? Since you play various instruments, did you play all of them on your solo album? Is your solo album still available?

Lisa: Lost Winters Dream pretty much came out of me when I was at my craziest. I felt so lost and so dead at the time that I was either going to kill myself or do something artistic. I wanted to play all the instruments on this album, I guess to try and prove something, but as soon as Darian Sahanaja and Nick Walusko got in the picture it sort of shifted into another direction. They had a vision that just ended up merging with mine. This was fine because I wasn't really sure what I wanted anyway! They turned out being the main arrangers of this project. This album is available through my e-mail for now, though, are trying to re-release it professionally in about a year. The Masticators was me finally just coming out of my shell!!! I knew I had it in me but was too scared all the time. I was always playing in someone else's band....being a part of someone else's vision....people constantly told me I should start my own band. I was just too scared!!!! I was a mess till The Masticators began! (Imagine that!) Patrick, Severo, and Robbie.....I am so thankful for these guys-really really thankful!

E.C.: I only recently got my copy of MASTICATE and that album has been out almost a year. Any plans for a new album soon?

Lisa: Oh yes! We are working on it as we speak!

E.C.: Speaking of MASTICATE, I haven't been then excited about a debut album since I heard the Muffs first album. But, I made it a point NOT to read the reviews until I had listened to the whole album. When I finally read all the reviews, most comparisons were to the Bangles, the Go Go's, Blondie and even Pat Benatar (?!). The only comparisons that came to my mind were the early Bangles (when they were still good). Are you trying to emulate the best aspects of this time period without sounding dated?

Lisa: I guess I would have to say yes. I cannot tell you what a high it is for me when music moves me! I want it to move everyone! And I want to be in it's quivering fiery soul!!!!

E.C.: I'd like to ask about a few of the songs on the MASTICATE album. "Intro" is unlike anything else on the album, how did that song come about?

Lisa: This comes from records from my childhood! An intro to an album....such a strange idea! I like it!!!! So I was envisioning a 70's spy show theme as an intro and suggested it at practice one night! (So that in the listeners head the music would inspire a picture of The Masticators running!) Patrick just sort of came up with something entirely different...actually kind of scary!!! So we were like, yea! This is pretty scary....grraaaahhhhh!!!!!! And built on from there!

E.C.: Who picked "Uncontrollable Urge" as a cover? Was it Severo?

Lisa: You'd think so, huh?! Nope-he just almost drooled everywhere when I said, do you know that song by Devo? Wanna try it for fun?

E.C.: About Severo, that is such a cool name…is it his real name?

Lisa: Oh yes! Although Robbie prefers Salchanko! I can't really tell you how that started, though. Sure is funny!

E.C.: All the members of the Masticators have side projects with other bands. Does this help the spirit of the band? It's gotta limit your live schedule.

Lisa: Well, I think we are just hopelessly addicted to music and playing it as much as we can. We want to do it all and now finally are. We somehow work it all out when it comes to The Masticators. I think if we were at a more successful place we would devote even more time, no doubt, but for now it is cool.

E.C.: Finally, in the 'masterplan' for the Masticators, what would you say is YOUR main goal for the band?

Lisa: We would love to tour and build our fan base, for now. The main goal is to do music for a living. The thing that sucks so much is how this business is set up! There is so much room for tons of musicians to be able to do this for a living and it bugs me that only so many actually "make it"! It's like, either make it huge or not at all!!!! That is beyond completely silly! This needs to change and I want to be there when it does!