Next Saturday, April 29, Paul Mahos will perform in Southampton Sessions: Tribute to Lost Legends Featuring New Life Crisis beginning at 8 p.m. at the Southampton Arts Center. Expect the dulcet sounds of David Bowie, Prince and George Michael—big names who left the stage, but not our hearts, in 2016. Complete with elaborate costume changes, multimedia displays, sing-alongs and relentless energy, this isn’t your everyday concert. Mahos took a break from preparing for this show to talk about the inspiration of these legends and why nobody will want to miss this epic performance.
Please tell us how the famous musicians you’ll be portraying in “Lost Legends” have influenced you professionally and personally?
I grew up when these artists were megastars. I hadn’t decided to become a musician yet. “Space Oddity” is the most perfect song ever written. Back then I sang it in the mirror. I’ve been performing it ever since. I was just up until 8 a.m. today, working on the video. We’re going to incorporate video images. We’re looking at this as a theater piece.
What are you most looking forward to at this concert?
Paying tribute to this music—not messing anything up. I’m excited to play this amazing material. It’s a labor of love.
Are there songs that, when you’re performing them, make you feel especially close to their originators?
Last January I watched Black Star over and over again. It was incredible. Then David Bowie was dead. Then I watched Lazarus. What brave and revealing work—so many messages—I don’t know who else would have done that. Last April it snowed and I [was moved to] record a rendition of Prince’s “Sometimes It Snows in April” mixed with a version of U2’s “Stay.” The chords are similar and I ended it with “Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination…” Eerily, two weeks later [April 21, 2016] Prince died, and Gene Wilder a few months later. No more covering living idols.
How do you honor these artists by performing their work?
By putting my heart and soul into it—it means that much to us.
Do you find audiences request songs by famous performers more once they have passed on?
No, actually. We’ve always had “Ashes to Ashes” and “Let’s Dance” in our repertoire—since we started. We do stuff that moves us. “Ashes to Ashes” is such a study—such a funky song, but so un-funky at the same time. I marvel at that song. It’s an individual, unique song that’s 100% David Bowie. He did this in so many genres. I don’t know if his characters dictated the music or vice versa.
[In the band] the biggest Bowie fan is a toss-up between me and our guitar player, Jeff. [New Life Crisis bandmate] Rob is the biggest Prince fan. I’m probably the biggest George Michael fan because of his voice—because I’m a singer first. But he doesn’t get the respect he deserves as a lyricist.
What would you say to potential concertgoers?
The NLC band is a much bigger one. We’ve added a sax and some great vocalists. If you’re a fan of these artists, this show is a must-see. If you’re a fan of any of this music, this show is a must-see. You’ll see it done with lots of love and care.
Come to Southampton Sessions: Tribute to Lost Legends Featuring New Life Crisis Saturday, April 29, 8 – 11 p.m. in the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton. $50 per person includes the concert, open bar and appetizers provided by Union Cantina! Visit SouthamptonSessions.com for tickets and details. Official After Party starts at 11p.m. at Union Cantina, 40 Bowden Square in Southampton, unioncantina.net.