Juggling Mountains With Stephen McBean

This article was originally published by Monday Magazine.

A quarter of a century ago, an underage Stephen McBean managed to bypass Harpos’ air tight security to see up and coming bands such as The Melvins and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are now hailed as legends; on Friday night, McBean will return to the club, this time as a living legend in his own right. All of the proceeds from The Pink Mountaintops’ homecoming will go to Autism research.

McBean’s rise to the top has been a long and winding road. He’s played in a number of bands over the years; he’s played in Jerk With a Bomb, he’s played with Blood Meridian; but it was Black Mountain that launched him out of tiny clubs and onto some of the world’s largest stages in support of Coldplay. As McBean explains, however, his idea of a ‘good show’ hasn’t really changed all too much.

“Sure it’s great to play huge shows with thousands of people. It’s great to feel the energy of that many people in one place for one reason, but I still love to play to one hundred people in Prague who’ve never heard of our band.”

For the past decade, McBean has been at the helm of two very different bands with deceptively similar names. In many ways, Pink Mountaintops have played the friendly, though overshadowed, foothills to the towering Black Mountain. While Black Mountain has played some of the largest venues on earth, Pink Mountaintops have done much smaller tours throughout the Mid West and down into California.

Pink Mountaintops’ albums are just as strong as Black Mountain’s, however; their most recent release, “Outside Love” boasts an incredibly strong track list, which just so happens to feature a host of Victorian talent; the choir consists of local musicians such as Rachelle Reath, and the album was recorded at the 50/50 by our own Tolan Mcneil. On Friday night, these songs, along with the man who carefully crafted them into the gems they are, will return to our wee town. It is an event not to be missed.

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