Friends in To Live And Shave In LA have asked Brian to come out and play: Short one guitar player for the Chicago show, TLASILA will pinch hit McMahon for an absent Don Fleming on Wednesday Night May 9, 2007 at Nihilist, 2250 South Michigan Avenue (Across from the old Chess Records!)

gentle reader,

... given the ephemeral nature of Brian's writings, his memoir "Jaguar Ride" has left the cyberdome and is no longer on view at this site... available on Trikont Records, the "England's Dreaming" compilation is available in stores and online ... chosen by Jon Savage to represent the Electric Eels oeuvre is the track "Accident" written by McMahon and performed by the original band. Savage says, "Accident could be their finest moment: an accelerating riff with a numbskull chorus and a great storyline." ... here's a link to some of Brian's latest scrawls at Blastitude: Read "MoovyMusic!"

... and, lastly, this. Brian writes: Mary, readers may find interesting these recollections I raised in response to a Christmas 2004 email from little Emily Klim, a student at Oberlin College in Ohio. She wrote compellingly: “Every year during January we are required to do a Winter Term project which is basically a project of our own choice that is supposed to be enriching or something.” Well, naturally, I had to read on. Seems Emily intends within her term paper to “pay tribute to the roots of Cleveland punk”; and she asks about the myth, the other Eelings, violence, art, Peter Laughner and whether those “crazy stories” about me and Morton are true.

Yes, Emily.
There was an Electric Eels band much like the one you’ve heard about. Only more properly: the “electric eels” ... as Davy always intended that the name he gave us should be rendered in two lower case “e”s, after the formidable poet of a preceding generation. Dave McManus, John Morton, and I met in Lakewood High, a public school, in grades 11 and 12. We all ended up there after being kicked out of private schools for ... manifesting— I was expelled from St. Ignatius, a Jesuit prep school, for shoplifting record albums; John from Lake Ridge Academy for breaking some kid's arms; and Davy from St. Edward's High for sundry episodes of incorrigibility. The electric eels were the resultant rage cocktail, which —our being nothing if not ideal citizens— we decided to serve up as a band only when we’d reached legal drinking age. So we waited til 1973, when John turned 21. Myth has it that Captain Beefheart at LaCave, with Left End supporting, was the catalyst. Okay, I'll go along— but I know it wasn't LaCave, where I well remember seeing the “Nazz” and the original “Velvets” years before. As for the Eels being more than just a tuneful band, —the ART TERRORISM thing—well, given our decretum that one’s philosophy must be actionalized, it’s no wonder apt behaviors found way into the lives of certain people around us and ... it terrorized them. On the point that the early 70's scene in Cleveland was in some ways homogenous, I bristle only when the Electric Eels are lumped with the likes of the Mirrors, Rocket from the Tombs, Styrenes and— godhelpus—the Dead Boys. Other than Stiv Bators' not-very-good impersonation of Dave McManus, we were totally dissimilar. Emily, allow me to treat your questions about Peter in a more personal way. And where my words appear digressing, read them as germane. Yes, Peter Laughner and I had things in common; they included an eclectic taste in songwriters and at least two concurrent girlfriends (I only found out later). But, there were also enough differences to keep us from seeking each other out on any more than occasional bases. I guess we grew closest when I moved into the next building over from his and Charlotte Pressler's East Cleveland apartment. (Verily, it was from that roost the little red rooster came calling on my live-in chick.) At that time (pre-eels), I was listening to an awful lot of music —Peter, more. And he played much better guitar, gigging with several bands & duos & solo . He drank way more, too . And stayed out much later. Hell, Peter even got thrown in jail more and that’s saying a lot! In a few of those cases I might have accompanied him had I not—to borrow a Biblical phrase— "denied him” thrice. The first time, Peter got caught stealing lawn jockies from front yards in posh west-suburban Bay Village. I was up the street at the getaway car, struggling with my own beautiful score: a four-foot industrial "Ridgid" pipe-wrench-with-mailbox-attached-and-fixed-to-a-150-lb-concrete-base. In fact, I made him a present of it later to assuage my guilt for having driven off when I saw him grabbed by the cops! Well, that's "once". Next time, he was getting ejected into a paddy wagon at a "Doors"concert for smuggling into Music Hall quarts of Jack Daniels,— which security guards personally confiscated. But not without the very bloody fight Peter put up in spite of his also being in bodily possession of nearly all the illegal substances of the era. Security then threw out anyone who knew him. That was "twice" (Christ, I wasn't about to miss Jim Morrison arrested on the stage! ... which we all seemed to know about in advance.) And then I denied Peter for the third time after his good friend folkie familiar Terry Hartman and I had strolled the length of East Cleveland’s end of Euclid Avenue at ten feet parallel to the curb where Peter walked bashing the glass out of consecutive parking meters with hammer and chisel. Like, no way were we gonna say to the cops when they asked: “yeah, that’s right officers; he’s with us”! Charlotte made his bail about 4 hours later ... and then she really chewed his ass out. Terry and I barely crashed that night for laughin’. So, what did Peter think of the electric eels? He thought we were amateurs. Much later— in the 80’s after Peter’s death— I eventually played music with Charlotte and Andrew Klimek ( whom I think were married by then) in the band “Red Dark Sweet”. I was probably very obviously uncomfortable in that group ( even though we had a Communist “pot and pan” drummer). I think the reason was because: while both C & A were extremely talented verbally and musically, they weren’t very visual. So, my frequent efforts to incorporate sculpture and graphics, while tolerated, were not encouraged. But, to this day I love many of Andrew’s songs— “Lincoln Tunnel” and “European Economic Community” to name 2—which you may come across in your research, Em. (May I call you Em?) As for my influences ... count friend and publisher Michael Weldon among them. Back before the electric eels formed, I lived at least twice with Mike, finding sustaining purpose in our shared interest in eccentric film and trashy television. He also had a soothing manner with irate landlords, which I suspect was a talent he cultivated due to the fact that he traveled with thousands of vinyl record albums and volumes of hand lettered text and photo clippings which would one day become his very fine tome “The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film” . And Michael sometimes turned into “Mo Tucker” ... when around “Mirrors”. Which was a good thing cause that’s just what Jamie needed and Mike always gave friends what they needed. Prodigious amounts of mind-expanding substances passed through his hands to mine as everyone we knew tripped their way through the 60’s, the best decade of the century. Emily, I feel bad for you and everyone who missed it. The “Mirrors”? They were a band whose music I have only recently begun to appreciate. Especially the songs of Jamie Klimek. I liked all the members of the group,— excepting Paul Marotta— but never paid all that much attention really. And I kinda regret that. But, in my defense, I was very asocial when on my best behavior. So, my secret joy stayed well hid whenever I heard that the Mirrors were gigging out— like at the Lakewood YMCA. God, they must have been the proverbial hair in the hamburger! And, yes, all stories you’ve heard about John Morton and me are true. When we weren’t fighting with each other, we were either punching people or being punched out in bars all across the city. But it wasn’t the fistfights that made me leave the eels for a couple months every once in a while; it was usually that I’d pawned my guitar to buy some booze or I’d have to travel just to keep steps ahead of the constant boredom of living in Cleveland. It’s a terrible place to live! But, soon enough, I’d find myself back in town picking up one odd job or another to buy a new guitar. Or John and I might subcontract a construction project together; he was a diligent carpenter (built our Marshall stacks) and I was a thorough painter (painted ... and repainted ... the rooms of my parents’ house when I couldn’t find meaningful employment). One summer Morton and I even signed on to erect grain silos across southern Ohio. It was in some farmers field where John told me about his idea to place, on every table in any club we played, individual speakers — wired to HIS Marshall amp only. Hell, I even once worked at a warehouse with Gene O’Connor of the Dead Boys. He was ok. But that band of his! After the eels split up,— in the late ‘70’s— Davy and I had a band, the B-Sharps. We did a cover of Janis Ian’s “ Society’s Child” ... as a cha-cha ... which we referred to as “Society’s Cha-Cha”. The members of that band were so friendly and civil that it was a refreshing break from the turbulence of the Eels. Mike Metoff ( the Clocks) (g), Linda Hudson (d), Chas Smith (p), Mike Terbeek (sax)— all real sweethearts— but I soon enough realized that wherever the internal provocation of the Electric Eels went, so went the creativity. Still, the Sharps was an amusing little band. We covered Bobby Rydell’s “Wild One” (which I have on tape), Nat King Cole Trio stuff, and Dion in a decidedly “Davy” way. Dave was also doing stand-up ... and getting slaughtered at the comedy clubs. I think by the time he’d built up a following, the B-Sharps had disbanded and we’d all dropped out of each other’s lives. The next thing I heard was that McManus had become a missionary for Christ. And as Cale says: “Nothing frightens me more/ than religion at my door!” Was Jim Jones ( Pere Ubu ) an occasional bassist at eels’ practices? Maybe. But we found a bass guitar superfluous to our sound. Though, having someone else there to push along Nick Knox on the drums may’ve been worth hearing the extra 4 strings once in a while. Of course, Jim was an exceedingly genuine and warm person, and interesting despite that he worked in a record store! Which none of the eels ever did. Which kept the eels from falling victim to the incestuous cross-pollination of personnel that can be heard among CLE-wave bands. Yes, I’d go so far as to suggest that bands formed by record store / distribution employees are largely responsible for the mediocre monolith that is today’s music. The Chicago scene’s unfortunately another such example. Don’t get me started. Predating the eels, I loved Brian Kinchey’s band Moses (serving up the best Lennon “Cold Turkey” in any Cleveland strip mall). Brian (Sands) was among the most pretentious (and I mean that as a non-pejorative) of the hometown rock stars and should have made it instead of ...say ...Eric Carmen. He and I met a few times around town. When he owned a record store called Platterpus with Jim Jones, and when we talked at an Adrian Belew guitar seminar. And my brother Kevin (Lucky Pierre ) re-introduced us at Otto Mosher’s on 4th where I think the cover photo for their 7-inch “Fans & Cameras” was taken. Oh, speaking of “incestuous” goings on in the hometown scene, Kevin McMahon is my brother and though we’ve liked each other much of the time we were unlike most of CLE band’s siblings in that there is no history of our ever having worked together. He played drums at first ( a very useful niche), but never seemed to want to get involved with me outside of a casual basement jam. So he led his own distinctly different band whose members held wary suspicion of the electric eels. I don’t know that “Lucky Pierre” ever “got” us,— but I know Kevin did. And now that thirty odd years have passed and my new work grows more accessible with each passing day, I predict we may yet collaborate. And, speaking of drummers, I can’t imagine Anton Fier ever working with Davy in the post-eels “Men from Uncle”. Or visa versa. Apparently, though, there exist some recordings to suggest otherwise. But my memory of Mr. Fier is that we threw him out of the electric eels precisely because he was too anal to work with Davy. I can’t imagine he’s changed although I’ve never heard Golden Palominos or anything he’s ever played on since then. Zealously pedantic, a total creative impediment ... and my wife says he looked like Wayne Newton.

Brian