When the pandemic hit, frontman Shawn Meehan and others in the popular Canadian country band Me and Mae found themselves, like many artists, without the ability to do what they loved.
As musicians used to performing and touring and the added complications due to social distancing, it became impossible for them to be together even in the rehearsal room. It became evident that Meehan and two others from Me and Mae needed a musical outlet.
“We didn’t know what to do,” says Meehan. “The world was turned upside down, and there didn’t seem hope of any gigs for who knows how long.”
As they watched the world becoming more chaotic, the three of them kept getting together to help keep their sanity.
“You’re talking about people used to touring most of their lives, and now there is nowhere to go but our rehearsal hall,” says Meehan. “So we just started this little side rock project called Trigger Mafia for fun.”
It is not surprising to learn Meehan was looking for his next creative music outlet, given he has been surrounded by music most of his life, beginning with his grandmother, who was a Royal Conservatory trained piano teacher.
“My earliest memories are of me sitting next to her on the piano and watching her wail away on the piano, and I just fell in love with that,” says Meehan.
With other professional musicians in his family and a step-dad with an extensive album collection, who also started giving him guitar lessons at age eleven, Meehan traces his musical routes back a long way.
Even his future parents’ first meeting has a musical connection as they met at a gig where both happened to have brothers playing in the same band.
“They invited all their friends and family to this gig, and that is where my parents first met. So it starts really early for me,” says Meehan with a laugh.
As an early teen performing at the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival, this first professional gig would solidify his musical trajectory.
“I got the bug and had such an extraordinary feeling at that first gig that I’ve been chasing that high ever since,” he says.
Chasing that high would eventually lead him to Me and Mae in 2011 and now onto Trigger Mafia in 2020, which has recently released its first single Find A Better Way. It was a song born out of a feeling of helplessness.
“We didn’t know what to do, but my step-dad, who was also a songwriter, always said when you have emotions that you have a hard time processing put them in a song,” says Meehan. “And that is what we did. We wrote about how we felt.”
It is a centrist message, about coming together, the left and the right and everyone in-between trying to find a better to resolve our issues. – Shawn Meehan on Trigger Mafia’s first single Find A Better Way.
Referring to Find A Better Way as a centrist message about coming together to resolve our issues, Meehan also says it has an underlying message of peace and love.
With powerful images from the single’s video, Meehan also wanted to show a correlation between past and present.
“I’m not sure if we accomplished that, but it certainly is a moving video and at least makes you think,” he says.
While Meehan says only time will tell what the future will bring for Me and Mae and Trigger Mafia, he is content just to play.
“I just love playing music,” he says. “I love recording music and am just going to go with the flow and see where each band takes me.”
That flow for now, at least, includes a ten-song Trigger Mafia album. To be completed in January, the band plans to release a song off the album on Spotify each month through 2022.
“Then we’ll spend the next year working on promoting the album, and near the end of all that, we’ll release a full-length album with a limited run of vinyl for our fans,” he says.