Matt North's first music release comes out Feb. 24th and you can read it about it in our news section: Watch the video - hilarious.
NSMD doesn't usually do CD releases, but this one has a song about vintage drums! Matt has a unique mixture of talents: drummer, song-writer, stand up comedian, screen writer and actor - his role as Jason Alexander's William Morris agent on Curb Your Enthusiasm makes him a prime target for any kind of punch line. So I asked him, "what the heck does vintage drums have to do with all this and why do you think we would care?" It took him months to come up with an answer:
NSMD: What role did vintage drums play in turning a lifelong drummer into a singer/songwriter?
MN: I went far enough down the vintage drum wormhole to see that my drum-addiction was cutting into priceless hours where I should be practicing or writing. After an obsessive (albeit joyful) period in Los Angeles where I collected way too many drums after way too many hours on eBay, I deliberately shut the drum community out to focus on nothing but writing and recording when I moved to Nashville in 2010.
NSMD: What did that look like?
MN: It was extreme. I stopped going into drum shops, stopped watching DVDs or YouTube, didn’t go near eBay, and didn’t renew subscriptions to drum mags. It wasn’t “against” the drum community at all, but as a songwriter, I wanted to see what would happen if I closed those doors and spent all of my time elsewhere – and the unexpected outcome was a ten-song debut LP, “Above Ground Fools.” Who knew?
NSMD: Your song, “I Sold It All,” is maybe the first song out there about a guy selling his drums. Tell me about the inspiration for that.
MN: Every bit is true. I literally “sold my yellow Gretsch drums to some guy in Quebec” on eBay. I won’t get down in the weeds, but I have a child with special needs. Like many families in our shoes, we’ve had to hire attorneys to ensure he receives his developmental services. This song came from when I sold most of my vintage drum collection to pay legal fees. At heart, it’s a song about things we have to give up to keep going forward, how sometimes we have to dig a hole before we can fill it.
NSMD: So tell me about the drums you still own that you would never sell.
MN: It’s the two kits on my record. 1965 Sonor Phonics (13”, 16”, 20” beechwood shells) with teardrop lugs. My parents bought it for me in 4th grade and I still use it on sessions in Nashville. My other kit is a custom 4-piece Radio King repro. Stan Keyawa built it for me at The Hollywood Pro Drum Shop and I wrapped it in black glitter. For maybe a seven-year period in Los Angeles, I had a side business called “This Old Drum” and re-wrapped vintage drums for local guys and clients who shipped to me from all around the world.
NSMD: Do any projects stand out as memorable?
MN: I refinished Denny Seiwell’s 60’s Round Badge Gretsch kit that he used on all of the Wings recordings like “Live and Let Die,” “Band On The Run,” “Silly Love Songs,” and also Paul McCartney’s “RAM.” I remember Denny handing me the shells like a parent handing an infant over to an orphanage, “Matt, look, I have no words to express the intrinsic value of this kit.” And he could see that I knew exactly what he meant so I’m glad that he trusted me.
NSMD: What’s next for you?
MN: My drummer’s really affordable so I’m back in the studio working on new songs.