Saddened by the passing of Doug McKean. He was a great engineer and producer, worked on Danger Days, Black Parade and Foundations of Decay. My thoughts are with his friends and family.
Doug McKean’s latest album, “The Second Golden Age of Pirates,” features life in recent years. The Cleveland Musicians officially released their 10-track project on Friday, October 2.
McKean weaves together lyrics about isolation, politics and protest. Three of the 10 songs were written after the pandemic began in the spring. But the rest of the album, written in the second half of 2019, still feels as relevant as ever.
“A lot of it isn’t a direct response to what’s happened in the past few months, but it’s definitely a response to what’s happened in the past few years,” McKean said. “This year is the perfect time to release these songs. I don’t want to sit for another year when we have a whole bunch of other issues on our plate, I’m talking about the past year… to release these songs in some form It feels urgent.”
For McKean, his new solo album is a change. His four most recent albums have leaned towards folk and punk influences. These influences can also be heard in the work of his other bands, including punk band The GC5, rock band Rosavelt, local holiday supergroup The Ohio City Singers and Pogues tribute band The Boys From the County Hell.
“Musically, I really wanted to do something more rhythmic and colorful with this record, in terms of the chords you use to do something,” McKean said. “Every song doesn’t have to be straightforward. You can take something out, go in a different direction musically, and add other instruments. Lyrically, you don’t just sing what you want to say, but Find another way to touch it from a different angle.”
McKean said two songs — “Cowboy Show” and “Runaway Helicopter” — found lyrical inspiration from the killing of George Floyd by a police officer last summer. The song “Suddenly Summer” tells the slow passage of time during the corona quarantine. Other tracks targeted political figures, including a song titled “Meditations on the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein.”