This local legend has been dubbed many titles including celebrated singer, rock guitarist, renowned musical artist and perhaps his proudest – grandfather. We sit down with Keith Mack in preparation for the release of his new album with Ed Shockley, “What Happened”, due out July 29, to talk stardom, celebrity, and the things that really matter.
Your rock career took you from Rehoboth Beach to New York City, to Los Angeles and back to the Delaware coast. What brought you back to the area?
I moved to New York City in 1982 to pursue music and moved to L.A. in the mid-90s. I loved living in these cities, but the music business started to change. I think I might have ended coming back to the area regardless, but meeting my wife Jeannie was a huge part of it. This is where my family is; it’s home.
Who are some of the biggest stars you have played and toured with during your career?
I have toured with Joe Cocker and Cyndi Lauper, and I played with Patty Smyth for 40 years when I joined the band Scandal. I met a lot of people through her, including Earth, Wind & Fire and Hall & Oates.
Do you ever get starstruck?
Not really, except when I had the chance to meet Paul McCartney about 10 years ago. I met him at Lorne Michaels’ house, (the creator and producer of “Saturday Night Live”) after playing a gig with Patty and Scandal out in the Hamptons. Patty and her husband John McEnroe are friends with him, so he invited us over to his Hamptons house after the gig. I was sitting on the couch talking to Lorne when his cell phone rang. I happened to look over and saw the name Paul McCartney on his phone. As it turned out, Paul had a place in the Hamptons, too, so Lorne invited him over. I had a chance to chat with him for about 10 minutes. Oddly enough, we didn’t talk about music, but instead about how the names of many southern Delaware towns come from England, like Sussex and Seaford.
“I might have ended coming back to the area regardless, but meeting my wife was a huge part
of it. This is where my family is; it’s home.”
— Keith Mack
Was there a specific point in your life where you felt like you had made it?
I think I got very lucky when I moved to New York. I moved up in January and by May of that year, I was playing on Scandal’s first record. I got lucky very quickly, getting good work, and it lasted for a while. I never really thought about making it in this business, I’m just fortunate to be able to do what I like to do.
How did you learn how to play the guitar?
I had a cousin from Pennsylvania who used to come down every summer. One summer she brought a guitar down with her when I was 8 years old, and I just picked it up and started messing around with it. I would listen to records and try to figure out how to play songs.
What do you like to do when you aren’t performing?
Take care of my pool and try to keep it clean. I’m a grandfather now, so I spend a lot of time hanging out with the grandkids.
Where can people catch you performing?
You can catch me every Wednesday at the Pub in the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel (not during the summer, though), Big Oyster Brewery, Bluecoast Seafood Grill and Grain on the Rocks.