Quick Matt Facts
BA Berklee College of Music
Guitarist for 26 years
Singer/Songwriter-Written 100+ songs, recorded four cd's
23 years performance experience
Teacher of private lessons for over 10 years.
Influences: Sting, John Scofield, Dave Matthews, Freddie King, Trey Anastasio, David Gray, and so much more.
They say things change when you turn 30. It’s harder to keep that waist size down, the greys start appearing, hair starts leaping off your head, and you “just can’t do it like you used to". For some 30 brings welcomed changes and thus is the story for me. 30 was the year I stopped trying to become a “rock star" and decided to be what I’ve always been, a writer and musician.
For as long as I can remember music has been a major part of my life. Both my parents played instruments and I grew up in a house where it was a sin not to have music playing in the background. As a family we played "Name That Tune" and huddled around the piano on holidays singing in four part harmony. Anyone who’s ever heard a Happy Birthday rendition in my house would understand. I started with piano, learned a little sax, and then found myself in love with the guitar.
One of my other loves is sports and in high school you could find me in one of three places. On the baseball field, on a hoop court, or in my room practicing guitar or singing with a pretend microphone, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, or Dave Matthews being the typical choices (trying to leave the days of Bobby Brown and Bel Biv Devoe out of it). Not blessed with the size of a typical athlete (Pedroia’s a hero) I turned to music as my focus. After a couple years at the University of Vermont studying history, or at least going to history class, or at least not going to history class and studying guitar in my dorm room I decided it was time to move on. It was in the middle of a cool November night after the Pats had lost to Denver (for some reason I was particularly crushed at the loss) I decided to drive the four hours south to Scituate, MA to tell my parents I was leaving. Best decision of my life.
The next summer I was enrolled at Berklee College of Music. I’m not going to lie and say everything was amazingly wonderful. There were a couple semesters where I thought that a trip to Europe or South America might be better than learning what scale should be played over a V of flat II chord. It was when I met the original members of Matt Chase Group that everthing changed. Immediately we jelled as musicians and I had an outlet for what I was learning in class. I was writing tunes for songwriting class and then performing them in clubs.
For the next eight or so years I recorded three albums, wrote a ton of tunes, and played countless gigs. I enjoyed all those moments but I was continually dogged by the feeling of failure. “Why am I not on the radio? Why am I not signed? I thought when you graduated Berklee they handed you a contract." Ha! I think this is a battle that most musicians and artist fight at some point or all their lives.
My epiphany came when my wife and I went in for drinks at an Irish pub in Nashville, TN on my 30th birthday. (We always end up in Irish Pubs wherever we go, Nashville, California, France, Aruba. It’s in the blood I guess.) Anyway we started talking to the bartender who was, as everyone is in Nashville, a musician. We were talking about the struggle and I remember him saying something like this, “I hated my twenties. I spent the whole time as a musician thinking about what I wasn’t doing right and everything I was doing wrong. Why wasn’t I on that tour bus, why wasn’t I on MTV. All that thinking really wore me out. But in my thirties it all changed. I let all of that go and starting really enjoying every moment of playing or writing. It wasn’t about being famous it was about living as an artist, creating and feeling music."
Since then I have tried to live by that creed. I try to relish every time I get to perform music whether it’s onstage in front of a crowd or jamming with friend or family. This life is about being who you are and I am a musician and writer and will be till the end. Although a stadium tour would be nice.
Quick Matt Facts