The Macks, determined to leave their mark

Contributed by The Macks
Band members Sam Fulwiler, ben Windheim, Joe Windheim and Bailey Sauls

Samantha Lopez Arts & Entertainment Contributor

For Ben Windheim the desire to make music began when he received his first guitar on his tenth birthday.

“I’ve been playing music ever since. I come from a very music-oriented family — music was always playing and it’s been embedded in my mind,”  Windheim said.

Windheim is the guitarist for the Portland based band, The Macks. They are a self-described alternative and blues rock band.

The band consists of Ben’s brother, Joe Windheim on drums, Sam Fulwiler on vocals and Bailey Sauls on bass. The four are childhood friends with the passion and drive to create music and the aspiration to go far with it.

“Ben and I met in the fourth grade playing basketball. His father was our coach. Joe, our drummer, is Ben’s little brother and me and Bailey, our bassist, met in middle school,” Fulwiler said.

The Macks’ soft spot for blues rock runs deep, as the influence for their band name stems from blues pop culture, according to Windheim.

In the early 1900’s there was a gangster who went by the name “Stack Lee.” He became an icon of toughness and style in the minds of early folk and blues musicians after murdering a man for stealing his hat.

“The Macks was the name of the gang he was a part of and they were founded on being badass,” Windheim said. “I read that and liked the name for the band”

The Macks draw their inspiration from blues, rock and psychedelia with influences such as The Black Keys and Cage The Elephant. They re-hash the American blues tradition through raw and amplified guitar riffs, drums and bass. These sounds are held together by the dominant vocals of Sam Fulwiler

“I’ve always been into music because of the bands that my parents would play on car rides and around the house like Pearl Jam and the White Stripes. My dad used to sing ‘Jeremy’ and ‘Better Man’ to me before bed when I was little. Music is my favorite form of human expression,” Fulwiler said.

The band has two EP’s: “Nightcrawler” (Feb. 2015) and “Cha Bunky” (Feb. 2016). The also performed a “Live Session with KBVR FM”  which is available on their Bandcamp.

For their process of creating, the band each brings something of their own. According to Windheim, it begins as a personal experience, being in the studio alone to gather an intimate sense of creativity and ends with the four collaborating.

“I find themes from movies or short stories and take them in my own direction. Every song is different, some take weeks of staring at paper and others are last second before or during recording,” Fulwiler said.

For The Macks, being on stage together when performing is the most rewarding part of being in a band. Whether it’s musically in the way they play their instrument and the lyrics the vocalist provides, or their presence on stage, the aim is to be vivid storytellers through their music.

“It’s the best outlet of all. It’s a way to communicate without really having to talk — I don’t really like to talk, Windheim said. “It’s just about the energy you receive from the crowd that you’re able to give right back.”

The Macks just recently received a $500 check for winning second place at Battle of the Bands on March 11. They have a show in April at The Black Forest Tavern in  Portland and will perform live on the KBOO 90.7 FM radio station in May.

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More videos of the live performances and winning announcements are available on KBVR TV’s YouTube page.

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