Perhaps the most challenging part of being an artist or self employed weirdo, is not the skill. Not the practicing everyday, or the sacrificing of social time to gain skill, or the struggling to make rent. As a martial artist, it’s not fighting or the pain… Out of all this, the real challenge is the moment where you’re asked, “could you send me your bio”
This is when I squirm at my computer like I’m treading water in the middle of the ocean and something just bumped my leg.
Do I write a serious one? Should it be funny?
Do I write it in the third person?
It’s the resume for the jobless. A completely unobjective list of opinions and fun facts about you in order to get butts in seats. Now that I think about it, if I’m ever in a position to write a resume, I’m going to add a “Fun Facts” section.
The Bios range from heart felt, to grandiose, to humorous, to factual. Quotes, testimonials, lists of venues and other artists we’ve played with.
Today, I’d like to write some bio’s and get to the bottom of some of the hype.
Now I will enter into talking about myself in the third person, which is hard to do when you’re not on speed or wearing a headset microphone. On the computer it’s a bit easier, however, I don’t have a “company man” bone in my body, thus even my loyalty to myself is just something I have to trust, and not try and stifle my progress by flying the Matt Flag.
First lets get serious and heartfelt… keeping this is all factual, I’ll explain in parenthesis as we go.
Matt Lucas (I will now put up some pictures I like these for a couple reasons…. Mainly because I was in LA, and a few people were mentioning how I have a very “unique” fashion sense. For a very long time I wear sweat pants and fancy shirts, everything is torn and resewn with other fabrics, I love leg warmers, flip flops because I kick things all day and shoes just don’t fit right. So as I left feeling that my style was unappreciated, I was walking down Melrose, and a fashionista man came out of his store and just had to tell me that I had a great style. This evolved into meeting friend and they took pictures of me. I said I won’t feel comfortable with myself unless he photoshops a moustache one. Thus here ya go… btw, I can not grow decent facial hair. I just look like I’m tired after spending 30 days in Juvey.)
“As an outsider in my community, Music is what connected me to others” (I start with a quote that shows that I’m relatable so you’ll trust that I’m just like you and you’re not alone in this life… BTW… this is true, I do play music to connect with people. Music, food, and movement is my formula. Funny thing about the “outsider” label to make yourself relatable… Now that I work with countless youth, I realize that most humans feel like outsiders. Thus the message in a bottle song nailed it. I love you sting, but screw you and your turtlenecks)
Matt Lucas started writing songs at age 12 (True, but the songs sucked and weren’t really worthy of being called songs, but parents think their kids art is worthy to hang on the wall so hey, continue…) Being raised in the south with a father in radio he was surrounded by music. (I mention the south in CA because well, most folk singers wish they were southern, especially the ones out here… just look at how many musicians put on fake country accents or attitudes while on stage. Perhaps this is the universe getting even with west coast artists for all their assumptions of southerners being racist nascar fanatics. Yes, some are, but some are also great thinkers and musicians. John Fogerty, I love your poser ass, he’s one of my personal heros) Matt started his first band at age 13. Through middle school and high school they did regional shows around SE America. Performing with acts such as NOFX, Green Day, and The Melvins. (yes. Why? because these bands were nobody, so “nobody” that well, a shitty band of middle and high school kids could draw somewhat of a crowd at the time, although most of the shows were on weeknights, of course these bands sold their 7 inches, and inspired the shit out of me, and became icons… I’ll never forget the feeling of experiencing these bands in an empty room. This is why I still love live music in small clubs, you’ll never be able to recreate that type of energy, it’s true alchemy) Being a part of the punk/hardcore/experimental music world at such a young age put Matt on a path to pursue and support honesty in songwriting. Removing his expectations of pleasing the crowd through “derivative” songwriting or playing covers. He saw that the fearless spirit of the bands he grew up watching to write music that was unique but also relatable and had it’s own signature and identity.
“Tom Waits inspires me to be myself, not to be like Tom Waits”
From 1996 through present day Matt has spent his time writing, touring, music directing, recording, and performing nationally and internationally. (I like to say that because it’s true, however, I really only toured Europe once. It was on a trip to Europe that was only supposed to be for a week, then some agents signed me and I stayed and started touring. It was amazing, and it went nowhere however, I did get a lot of good practice onstage and I travelled for about a year. I have not toured internationally since 1997. I’ve worked with a few labels that didn’t pan out, then a pretty good deal that I left in order to pursue a deeper spiritual martial arts path that seemed like a more unique once in a lifetime opportunity. Now as far as music directing goes, this keeps me busy, however, I’m way more into just writing simple songs and playing them with friends, no where near the level that I did through the early 2000’s when I was gonna “make it”.) Matt focuses on simplicity and honesty in his writing with a strong emphasis on groove and lyrical storyteller-esque
performances. Shows tend to have many sing a long moments and banter if necessary. (this is true as of late, I realize that I don’t want to be on stage to be seen, and if you’ve never heard an artist before, why the hell should you care about them if you can’t relate or they don’t reach out. I love the sound of a crowd singing. This keeps me having to simplify and get out of my sensitive artist songwriter bubble and reconnect with the good people that paid to support original music… the secret to a sing a long is, keep repeating the same thing for a crazy long time as you beg a bunch of strangers to join in, it gets less challenging the drunker they get, however, I haven’t been playing bars, thus earning their trust is even more rewarding)
Great artists that Matt has shared the stage with: (these are artists that I’ve been billed with at festivals that in no way did we talk or support each other, I admit, some of them were really cool and we did, however, it was just cordial. Bonnie Rait was an exception, very busy, no time and sent her people to reach out in her name and she was a wonderful person, wish I could’ve hung with her. Most of the other artists, were a handshake or a “good job” then we went on our way.)
Dismemberment Plan (one of my all time favorite moments and one of the best bands around, and of course, it was perhaps one of the worst shows I’ve ever played… funny how that happens, still grateful)
Mike Doughty (a hero of mine, and the reason I had the courage to get on stage… he was a friend and asked me to play with him at a friends party, this turned into a few more shows… these were my first shows as a solo guy and as a singer, they were horrible, no one listened, that’s a good thing, and that’s how FL punk clubs treat songwriters anyway.)
Sean Mullins (blew me away as a solo guy, taught me a lot as a songwriter…. not personally but just watching him. I got it wrong for years after. He went on to fame and hits, I went on to practice more humbled and with a new respect for a solo songwriter… nice guy, no one was there.)
Dave Donderro (a hero to me and to Conor Obherst of Bright Eyes, who is quoted to have based a lot of his sound on this guy. A true american treasure and a dear friend. I’ve played countless empty bars with him and still to this day listen to his music regularly)
Morris Day & The Time (for the first time my dancing went unnoticed)
Hottie & the Blow fish (I admit… I was getting food when they were on)
Kid Rock (not a good night)
Jason Newsted (actually jammed at a kids 2 yr. old bday party, we were not hired, it just happened, we went from there, a bucket list moment, so this is a complete lie, we were never on a stage, but people did watch… hot moms watched, and we all know that one hot mom is equal to 20 apathetic bar patrons.)
Neil Schon (it was amazing until he got awkwardly forward towards the “ladies”, but that’s what older men do in Fairfax so It was a complete honor, I was in awe the entire time of this guys skill)
Stroke 9 (not cool!!!)
This side note, I hope this doesn’t come off ungrateful, however, I don’t really remember many of the bands while on tour. There have been many other great legendary people, but really we have to realize even larger acts are often so consumed in what they’re doing, and the work it takes to sustain, there is a very insulated energy on tour. Especially busy bands that have production but still a little DIY. There are a lot of moments where I wanted to meet the bands or hang out, but they’re busy getting up with old friends and people they rarely get to see because they’re always busy, and me too. This is the reality of working musicians. They know a lot of people, and when they’re small, they really connect with them. When they get big, they have a ton of work to do, thus, they just show up, say hey, and get back to work.
The other side of this is that, I’m a non drinking, non drug using health nut, so if you really want to be alone after a show, simply go up another band or group of fans and ask them if they’d like to do some yoga, or go into the park and throw around the kettlebell. Perhaps jump some rope and eat some superfoods. This usually will ensure that you’re completely alienated from any future activities, unless they’re really really drunk then one person will commandeer you and talk to you about their health problems or how they need to turn things around. Just hang in there, this will only last for about 1 hour, then their friends will show up and hand them a shot, “There you are!!!” they’ll leave shortly after, and usually don’t sign the mailing list.
Matt’s music has been compared to Violent Femmes meets Counting Crows, Willie Nelson meets Live (that was a long time ago. Basically, just take a rock band and find another band that’s kind of nasally, and you have me. Not much melody, but lyrical and obviously a fan of punk, metal, and dirty swampy funk. My favorite comparison was at a metal show where I was described as if Dave Mathews joined Korn. This was actually a really fun show.)
He has a new CD coming out this year. You can find him on itunes, Cdbaby, spotify, and soundcloud. (I haven’t put out a recording in a while due to the nature of my life. It’s not a money thing, it’s not a time thing, I guess it’s a too much to record, and not enough energy to promote it along with everything else that I’m into. As of late, my efforts have been to welcome art into a space that I built to harbor the upward spiral that music has always provided for me. I took about a year off to submerge in the art of “holding space”, and if you know me, to also dive deeper into the other stuff… Martial arts, healing arts, combatives, stress innoculation, meditation, etc… it was great.
Music will always be there, I write constantly and have about 4 full length cds worth of material ready to go. Really though, it’s not about that, it’s about the current of creativity that this lifestyle creates right? The more I throw away the better the results become, and using music as a way to emote is what gives me great joy, it’s not therapy, it’s a dear friend that balances out a life of exertion and chaos. This goes back to alchemy. Music takes pain or joy, or any experience and gives a way to connect and share it with others while welcoming others into that experience…. Nice job music, thanks. Every wolf needs a guitar.)
Matt has watched the “it’s always Fair weather” rollerskate tap dance scene more times than any other thing on earth.
(as a person that has devoted himself to movement and has had to work very hard at basic coordination. To watch Gene Kelly move is a spiritual experience for me… Along with the other great… Lou Wills Jr.)
Matt ran up the stairs of the Empire State building for fun because he was sick of having to stop every block and just needed to get a little cardio in after all that driving.
Matt was yelled at for a saying the word semen at a show he was doing where CMT was there filming. Perhaps he secretly wanted to be the first man to say that word on conservative TV. The song was about killing hookers. Perhaps another first.
Matt’s first 3 recordings were so bad, he just cut his losses and hasn’t mentioned them until now. He really takes the chorus to “the Gambler” seriously…. You got to know when to fold em.
Matt was finally able to successfully catch a frisbee by age 30, and now can do it on a pretty consistent basis.
Matt has a culinary degree and describes this decision as “yeah whatever, who gives a shit… I love food”
The more Matt types his own name and refers to himself in the third person, the more guilt he feels for being a blow hard douche.
This is the battle that rages inside, and why we all need a little help. Pay someone to write for you, or find someone you trust. I have a formula that I feel would create the most success for me. I just need an older Gay gentleman with one of those amazing perfectly groomed beards, you know… And, of course, a third generation to this country academic powerhouse asian gal to handle the behind the scenes of my life. I mean, to guide me and whip my butt into shape. Nothing would ever fall through the cracks with this power duo.
Now back to work… Till next time.