The group—rounded out by drummer Brian Ireland, bassist Clutch and guitarist William Tell—built its ardent following at the Coach House and the Galaxy Concert Theatre. Which is weird, right? I think so, too, since those places aren't exactly known for fostering the scene on a small level or helping out the little guy. But Coach House and Galaxy owner Gary Folgner saw potential in Something Corporate and even funded their demo.
"We always hustled a lot and did everything we could do get shows and get people to them, and promoters developed interest in us because we were bringing a couple of hundred kids every time we played," says McMahon. A couple of hundred soon turned into more than that, and once the group sold out the House of Blues, labels started sniffing around.
In a way, Something Corporate's success story reads like a business success story. Like a grassroots sales campaign. Like finding out you were just going door-to-door as a Brownie trying to sell your dumb little cookies when other kids had entire teams of parents and shit helping to hawk their wares, all to win some dumb trip somewhere that would cost less were you to just buy the trip than to win it. You know, theoretically.
"We would create these ticket networks where we would get these diehard kids who were fans of the band, and we would say, 'If you can sell 10 tickets to your friends and convince them to come see us play, we'll give you a free ticket or a signed something-or-other,'" remembers McMahon.
"Orange County is so much a pay-to-play situation," he says, in a way that suggests he doesn't really have a problem with it. And hell, it worked for them, so why should he?
Now that Something Corporate are on a major label and on tour until forever, you'd think they wouldn't have to hustle so much, which must be nice, right? Wrong.
"We've always found that when you let people do things for you, they tend not to do them as well as you would if you were paying attention," says McMahon. "So we make it a point to be extremely involved."
Something Corporate perform with Yellowcard, Rufio and Steriogram at The UC Irvine Bren Events Center, 901 Mesa Rd. (at W. Peltason), Irvine, (949) 824-5000. Sun., 7 p.m. $20. All Ages.