Media Life: Ex-Auburnite drums up new album “Pay to Play”

By: Gus Thomson/Media Life
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High-intensity drummer Jason Mackenroth is blistering the bandwidth this coming week with the digital release of his band Mack’s second album “Pay to Play.” The ex-Auburn-area resident – and former Downtown Auburn Big-O Tires employee – will release the follow-up Tuesday to the band’s self-titled debut album on Wrecked Records. The Mack camp is reporting the physical CD release will come early next year. Mackenroth left Auburn after getting the call to provide the percussion anchor for the touring version of the wildly successful Blue Man Group show. From the international Blue Man Group Megastar World Tour, Mackenroth took over the drums for the Las Vegas version of the show at the Venetian. He’s recruited fellow Blue Man Group musicians bassist MK Kelly and guitarist Billy O’Malley for Mack. They’ll be joined for live shows by ex-Slaughter drummer Blas Elias to allow Mackenroth to be up front on lead vocals. Elias is also part of the Vegas Blue Man Group band. Mackenroth kept a fairly low musical profile during his time in Auburn but wowed local audiences at a State Theater benefit six years ago that featured Robert Conrad of “Wild Wild West” fame. For several years before that, he was based in L.A., first with the hard-rock outfit Mother Superior and then backing Henry Rollins in the Rollins Band. Mackenroth – the son of Auburn attorney Dave Mackenroth – also recently toured with Grammy-winning producer-musician Daniel Lanois as drummer for his U.S.-European shows in support of the album “Shine.” The upper reaches of Placer County has its share of world-class drummers and one of the best is “Wild” Mick Brown. The Colfax High grad first gained fame in the 1980s with nu-metal band Dokken and for the past few years has been the go-to drummer when rocker Ted Nugent goes on tour. Slippery subject Media Life reader Glenda Freeman is asking for some help from some old-timers in tracing the history of the Old Town July 4 favorite – the greased pole contest. “As a youngster growing up in Auburn, my brothers were always excited to try their skills at climbing the greased pole in the Old Town square,” Freeman writes. “As close as I can come to the date, that would have been in the mid-1940s.” Freeman’s primary question is "When did the event begin in Auburn?" She’s also wondering whether the pole is an original that is brought out year after year. And she’s curious about any Pacific Gas & Electric Co. involvement early on. The assumption is that if anyone was going to have a spare pole lying around, it would be the power company. Afterburners on full Speaking of reasons to rubber-neck in Auburn, the Burning Man gathering in the desert of Nevada is now history for another year but one of the more incredible highlights is owned by Auburn’s Scott Birk and Mo Murphy. The Berserker is a giant winged tricycle that spouts flames. One of those things you have to see to believe, the pedal-powered wonder will be parked and blowing a 30-inch head of fire for all to see this coming Thursday, Oct. 13 during the final evening Art Walk of the season in Auburn. The Old Town merchants have agreed to welcome the contraption and – because of the propane fire effects – are pulling a permit or two with the city to make it happen. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at (530) 852-0232 or