Matty O BTD Artist Interview
Written by Matt Zin on December 7, 2020
Welcome! I am eager to get into this interview, but before we get started, could you let our listeners know where you are from?
Hi Ti it’s great to be here!
I’m from Worcester Mass. I’ve had to move around a lot, but that will always be where I’m from.
So you are a Metal Bluesman. What exactly does that mean?
Well when I called myself a Metal Bluesman, I was more looking forward to an ideal, that will be the tone of my second album. I think the blues and metal have a huge connection if you look at how Zeppelin and Black Sabbath approached their music and most would say they were the first metal bands. I just like the idea of playing the blues in a metal format and that’s where I’ll be going with the songs on the second album.
How can you best describe your music in ten words or less?
Ten words or less? Ok let’s see, Irish American sarcastic alternative rock with some blues and metal
I listened to your track, “The Ballad of a Rock Star,” what a cute fun song. I also went on to Youtube and checked out your lyric video, did you write this song?
Yes I wrote Ballad of a Rock Star!
How did the song “The Ballad of a Rock Star” come about?
Ballad of a Rock Star was inspired by a song The Count Joe Viglione wrote called Are You A Rock Star Yet? It was about someone who put on airs acting like a rock star, without being one. However in Ballad of a Rock Star, I decided to make a sarcastic joke making fun of the whole music business and what it’s like to try and be one,. It presents the moral that if you try hard enough and pay enough dues, you may be one. It’s more of an opposite sketch of Joe’s song. I think my life is kind of laughable so it’s good material to make fun of, as is the typical life of a struggling musician. In a sense it’s kind of a Spinal Tap type song. Also in the ending I present the other possibility that you could end up in an alley with nothing but a cheap old guitar and some kid will wake you up and demand you play for him by waking you up with a kick to the nuts, which is why there’s that crazy high note on the end. I’m just hoping everyone gets as much of a laugh out of it as I have.
Did Keith Richards get a chance to hear this song? Tell us more!
Mr. Keith Richards did not get to hear Ballad of a Rock Star. What he did hear and approve of us a demo for a song I’m working on which will be on my second album which will be called The Ghosts of The Insane, and the song he heard is called The Rolling Stone. It’s similar to Ballad of a Rock Star in that it’s in the key of G, but it’s more thrash metal/punk styled. He loved it so much he wrote me a thank you note for it!!! I’m hoping the second album and that song will be out by the end of 2021, but we’ll have to see.
So this track is #21 on the new Boston Rock and Roll Anthology Chapter #21 album. That’s awesome! How did that come about?
The way I got Ballad of a Rock Star on the Boston Rock and Roll Anthology #21 is that Joe and I have been friends since I think 1989! I met him then and worked for him for a year and a half as his assistant for his label Varulven Records. I was helping him out with finding bands to be on the Anthology then and I always dreamed of being on one, so I asked Joe about #21 last year and if I could be on it and he said yes!!! It’s such a huge honor for me to represent Boston Music with my song on this album!!! I’m also hoping that The Rolling Stone will be included in a future Anthology after it’s finished next year.
I hear there are some top engineers and producers that worked on that track,could you elaborate on that a bit more?
The producer I worked with on Ballad of a Rock Star is Jeff Moleski, who produced over 30 songs for The Smashing Pumpkins. He also played drums on the song! Jeff is extremely fun to work with and we had a blast recording that song that day! Also Rob Fraboni one of the Rolling Stones producers mastered the song for the Anthology Album!!! Having those kinds of names and that kind of sound quality on a song I recorded is a laurel I could just rest on if I did nothing else with my life and I’m incredibly thrilled with that!!! I just wish I could talk to Mr. Fraboni and hear what he thought of The Who who backing vocals on Ballad of a Rock Star which of course I was inspired to include because of the Stones song Sympathy for the Devil. I would really love to hear what he thought of that!
Who are your musical influences?
Who are my musical influences?! That could take a really long time to answer and I’ll probably hate myself for leaving some people out because there’s so many, but here’s a list of some. Here’s a short list, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth, The Dead Milkmen, Ronnie James Dio, and Black Label Society. There’s so many more, but I figure that’s all we have time for.
I see you have been blogging since 2004 on https://mattolyrics.blogspot.com/that’s amazing! That’s a lot of writing. What article would you say is your most favorite article you wrote? Which one had the most replies?
Well as for the blogging I haven’t done that much of it really. The first main blog is a complete lyrics site of all my lyrics for current and future songs and some ideas that may not be developed. They’re not all winners lol! In terms of my favorite blog I’ve written it would probably be either The Story of Ballad of a Rock Star or The Story of The Rolling Stone. I do like to write a whole story of how a song happened because it could be really interesting to anyone who’s into the song it’s about and I really like to give the most for my fans.
When did you first star singing and playing the guitar? Do you play other instruments?
I started relatively late in music. I originally wanted to be either a violinist or a drummer, but my mom said no to both instruments. I then tried to learn keyboard and didn’t do so well at that although my right hand can play one ok. There were two types of kids in my neighborhood in Worcester, the musicians and the jocks. I’m not that great at sports so I spent most of my time with the musicians and one day when I was 15 and at a band practice they asked me to sing and they liked it, so I was a singer from that day. However when I started to write songs, no one wanted to try to learn them off of lyrics on a piece of paper, so I started learning guitar at 18. It took me three years to learn to sing and play guitar at the same time, and now those are my best instruments I’m most comfortable with. I’m also pretty good on a harmonica, but I don’t have one right now.
Do you consider yourself a band or a solo artist?
Am I a band, or a solo artist? This is a question I fought with for a very long time. After trying to get 6 bands together and they all broke up, I have learned that I am destined to only be a solo artist. In fact my debut album Gullible’s Travels that Ballad of a Rock Star is from is a Matty O’ album. That is because it took 14 years to finish that album and bands and musicians came and went during that time and I was the only constant on the whole album, so I figured I’d better just face it and accept that I’m a solo artist and that’s it. Getting and keeping a band of 4 or 5 people together on the same page is a whole lot harder than it looks on paper. Getting more than one person to agree on anything takes a miracle sometimes let alone 4 or 5 people and so far that just hasn’t worked out for me so if I form another band going forward it will be billed as Matty O’ and the, something, or just Matty O’. This is all to be worked out in 2021.
In these ever so changing times of COVID, are you finding yourself needing to change the way you do your music as well?
Well about the virus it just means that solo recording or working remotely is the best and only answer. I’ve been recording vocal and guitar tracks at home for the second album and the other instruments will have to be added later. I’m totally ok with that because it means my time and what I decide to put on the album are my own decisions which at least eliminates someone taking over the whole process and telling me what to do. I really enjoy that and I think it’s the only good thing about this nightmare we’re all in.
What other projects do you have coming up in the near future?
In terms of what I’ll be working on it’ll be the next Matty O’ album The Ghosts of the Insane. I will also be playing some guitar on some songs for a girl named Barbara Celeste Macz I went to Los Angeles City College with. What’s up in the air, that I’m really excited about is I was in a punk band in 2001 called Matt 7 on guitar with a guy named Andy Panik who was the bassist of the Los Angeles band The Rock City Angels. We recorded an album then, and if our producer from then Lloyd Stuart Casson can find the master tapes from that session, I will be doing vocals on that album and releasing it in 2021. However if Stuart can’t find the tapes, that album will not be completed, so keep your fingers crossed everyone!!!
Well we are coming to a close of this interview, have I left anything out that you still want to talk about?
Well in terms of last words I would just like to say to all the struggling musicians out there to just keep doing it because you love it and not for any other reason, and believe. Believe, that a well written played and sang song that sounds good will get heard and liked and that’s all that matters and it’s the best we can do. Believe in yourself and your music, no matter what happens, and do your best until the wheels fall off and tell the haters to fuck off!!! This is the meaning of your life, not their’s so nothing they say matters, only the music and your happiness matters.
Where can people find your music?
You can find Ballad of a Rock Star and all the other songs off of Gullible’s Travels on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/album/1NKRf4RNAt2C84zXr2XJBc
You can buy the album which benefits me a lot here on iTunes or Apple Music here: http://itunes.apple.com/album/id972109344?ls=1&app=itunes
You can also enjoy all my demos for upcoming songs here: Soundcloud.com/mattoconnor and here: soundcloud.com/ghostsoftheinsane
It’s been a pleasure talking with you!
Thank you so much T. Dawn and BTD Radio for having me on the show you rule!!!
T Dawn and the BTD Radio crew!