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Interview with Matt Nathanson on

Updated Fri, Mar 18, 2005 - 7:03am ET

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Tori's opening act for her April 2005 solo tour in the U.S. will be Matt Nathanson. You can currently read an interview with Matt Nathanson at In this interview he talks about the upcoming tour with Tori. Thanks to Berry for telling me about the interview.

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You can read this interview with Matt at or below:


Our latest interview is with San Francisco based artist, Matt Nathanson. Enjoy !

JAS: Humor is a big part of your act. How do you find that it helps you reach the audience? Is a lot of it improvisational depending on the audience, or do you tell a lot of the same stories & jokes ?

Matt: Humor is a huge part of who i am ... but I've never been a fan of humor in songs. I feel like songs are a place for every other kind of emotion ... but humor doesn't translate well, unless you're Adam Sandler or someone like that ... my funny side comes out live, because the show ends up just me being me. The songs are the serious, cathartic side. And the in-between song stuff is where I can crack jokes or do a whitesnake cover ... it's all about the balance. If I just got up & played my songs straight through, I think people would throw things at me. It would be so heavy & serious ... so the humor adds another facet to it ... makes the show more of an experience, rather than me singing 'woe is me' crap all night, [smiles] & I feel like the jokes & stuff really help break down the wall between the performer & the audience. And it's essential to remove the distance between the crowd & the performer ... If you're U2, you do it by being totally badass & playing songs that people grew up with & have a great emotional connection with. For me, the humor is a way to get a connection ... to break through & if the crowd is engaged & involved, the show then transcends what I'm capable of on my own. And that's when it becomes an amazing time, that's when the show really lifts off. But it can't happen if there isn't that connection.

And most of the stuff I say ... at least the funny stuff, is off the top of my head ... sometimes I might repeat a few story ideas or jokes, but most of it is just kind of riffing.

JAS: Your live show goes from one end of the spectrum to the other ... from hilarious to sad love songs ... how do you do this & still remain focused ?

Matt: It just feels natural to go between those emotions ... on stage i'm very much just being me ... & I definitely have no trouble focusing on me [smiles]

JAS: Word is that you're happily married. How do you find the inspiration for some of your songs (particularly those on Beneath These Fireworks) that seem to reveal someone who has had a little less than good luck in their love life ?

Matt: Dude, that well is bottomless. No matter how great things are now, I never ever seem to have any trouble recalling my many years of shit, failure relationships ... it's amazing, actually. It's like they are just sitting there waiting. and then they come back in real time. like they just happened.

JAS: What's the deal with the "Jesus" song ?

Matt: That song was a total on the spot joke. I forget exactly what inspired it, & I haven't heard any of the bootlegs since I did it ... something about 'lepers & whores..' & I remember, 'move that rock' was the chorus ... but if it's that popular, I'll dump my 'no funny songs' rule & re-record it for mass consumption. There's a lot of money in Jesus, that is for sure ... look out Mel Gibson, this half-Jew is coming for your profits !!!

JAS: What do you hope that somebody that has not seen or heard you before gets from your live show ?

Matt: I hope they get a CD from the merch booth. [smiles] I mean, I don't know ... what I want, really, in my insecure heart of hearts, is for everyone that sees the show to say, 'that was the best show I've ever seen, hands down ... I'll never enjoy a show as much as I enjoyed this one.' That's what I'm always shooting for ... not super realistic. But a boy can dream.

JAS: You play small venues & colleges across the country ... any favorite places to play ?

Matt: It's funny, but the places you play don't really matter all that much ... it's the people who come. I know that sounds hippy ... but it's totally true ... man.

JAS: For Beneath These Fireworks, you worked with a great bunch of musicians ... how did that happen ? Also, did they influence or affect your original direction at all ?

Matt: As any true music geek would, I had a wish list of people who i've always admired, & always wanted to have play on my album if i ever got the chance. So when I did the deal with universal, it opened the door to reach out to my list. I was able to get most of my heroes to come down & play & sing ... & it was the shit. Totally like being at rock & roll fantasy camp or something ... so that ruled. And they totally influenced the record ... because I repected them so much. It was like, 95% of what they played I loved & exceeded anything I had thought up ... so the tracking of the record was pretty much me freaking out at how amazing everyone was. And then 5% of the time, it was me cracking skulls & telling those motherfuckers to play better ! [smiles]

JAS: You have put out several CD's, is there one that you take the most pride in ?

Matt: Oh it's too tough to pick a favorite ... I mean, I love my lead guitar playing on Abbey road ... but my rhythm playing really came into it's own on Thriller ... specifically on the song "The Girl Is Mine." So I'll always have a sweet spot in my heart for that one. And who could forget my color period; The Black Album, Purple Rain ...

JAS: You have a massive grassroots following, how does it make you feel to go from town to town & still play for a packed house ?

Matt: It is the best. The absolute greatest thing in the world. To have the kind of support I have from the folks that come out to the shows ... it floors me. And I am completely humbled by it, for real.

JAS: How did the tour with Tori Amos come about ? What are your expectations for the tour ?

Matt: I'm not sure how the tour came about ... but I am super-psyched. I've been a Tori fan since Little Earthquakes & she just rules it live. And her solo is going to be a total treat too ... & I can't wait to be able to play in front of her audience. I think it's gonna be a blast. Her fans are so incredibly loyal & respectful. I can't wait to be able to play these beautiful rooms with a crowd of folks who are there to listen. I just got through touring the West Coast with G love. And even though I totally had fun, they're kind of a good time, beer drinking, feel the groove kind of band. Not the best fit for me opening solo acoustic ... so every night felt like I was going out to battle ... kids would throw shit. Or talk shit ... or whatever. So every night I felt like I was having to fight extra hard to win them over ... or to not get torn apart. And even though I dug the challenge & it was rewarding, it's going to be nice to be able to play to people who aren't gonna throw entire bottles of water on me when I'm "intro-ing" a song.

Posted by: Mikewhy

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