MATT WALKER


1.0  Who was your favorite drummer growing up? Hard to pick one! Stewart Copeland, Stevie Wonder, Neil Peart, Bill Bruford, Steve Jordan.

2.0  Does playing guitar also make one a better drummer? Yes and vice-versa , anything with harmonic/melodic qualities will help a drummer think more musically, and playing drums can certainly help inform other instrumentalists about feel and good time.

3.0  Do you have a favorite stage kit? I like to change it from band to band , tour to tour. My old standby is any good ol’ 4 piece a la Charlie Watts , but sometimes I take it to extremes…last Morrissey tour was a Gretsch USA Custom 6-piece kit, but with and orchestral Bass Drum and a massive 8-ft Paiste Gong as well…oh yeah and about 10 cymbals, all Zildjian.

4.0  Is it okay to be nervous before a show? Definitely, nerves can help step your game up, but to be fair they can also stiffen up a performance. It goes both ways. I don’t really meditate but before a show – I try to find a minute or two to close my eyes and focus my energy…really visualize how I want to play. It really works.

5.0  When you write a song, where does it start for you…. as a riff, a beat, a melody, a lyric? Anywhere and everywhere. I get more song ideas when I am out walking or riding my bike than anywhere…which usually results in me racing home to record it before I forget it. I write more on piano than any other instrument, but when I have the time my favorite writing technique is to spend a few hours going back and forth on the instruments. I might have an idea on guitar, but before I finish writing it I’ll go over to the drums and play with the song in my head, because I’m more comfortable on drums than the other instruments I’ll come up with dynamics and arrangement ideas that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Then it’s always back to the piano to really figure out harmonically what is happening with the song.

6.0  What’s up with MDR? TheMDR is still happening, but a couple of the members have left town so we are focusing more on finishing recording/mixing our last EP. I have been working on a kind of solo project called of1000faces. Its based on my writing but the idea is to record and perform in a variety of contexts with different musicians from all genres. We just played our first show in Chicago a couple of months ago and will be playing again Nov12 at The Bottom Lounge.

7.0  How did the Morrissey gig come about? A few of his band members live in L.A. and are friends with my brother Solomon and ex-Cupcakes band mate Greg Suran. When Morrissey found himself in need of a drummer to tour for “Ringleader of the Tormentors”, my old Chicago pals put my name in for the job which got me an audition….ironically, a year after I became his drummer, the original bass player quit and my brother joined Morrissey’s band as well.

8.0  Any tunes in his repertoire that were more difficult to learn than you may have expected? Some of The Smiths songs are a challenge. Not from a technical stand point, but trying to capture their essence which is largely dependent on the style of drummer Mike Joyce, and the way the drums and bass interacted. Additionally, there was a certain sound they had that lent itself to Morrissey’s vocals – In a live situation, with a catalog as expansive as Morrissey’s, it’s challenging to go from one era to the next in a single set, it’s almost like time travel.

9.0  Who was your favorite 80’s act? Again, how do i pick one?!! Adam Ant, Gary Numan, Icicle Works. Talk Talk, Split Endz, Tears for Fears….its a long list.

10.0  If you could be anybody else in history who would it be? I see this question in some magazine….what is it…GQ? Cosmopolitan? I would be David Bowie because no one can touch him.

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SCOTT BENNETT


1.0 – What led you to move to LA? After losing my Warner Bros. record deal, and my 3rd band breaking up, I needed a change. Although I had had a great run doing commercials in Chicago, I thought that I might get a chance to do more album work, and more specifically, after playing on Brian Wilson’s “Imagination” album, I thought that I might have a shot at writing with him if I lived in CA.

2.0 – What are you working on now? Well, I did get the chance to not only write with Brian, but co-produce and mix his most acclaimed post Beach Boys album last year, “That Lucky Old Sun” (**** Rolling Stone, Spin, MOJO, Uncut) which lead to him asking me to help finish 2 songs for his soon to be released “Brian Wilson Re-Imagines Gershwin” album. The Gershwin estate let Brian pick a couple unfinished works from the vaults, which he wrote new melodies and or bridges for, and asked me to write the words. I just sent the mixes of a female power trio I produced, called EZ Tiger, to Doug McBride at Gravity for mastering. And, we’re on the last mix for a project that started just before I left Chicago, that features Matt Walker, Jim Dinou, Brett Simons, Danny Shaffer and myself, called, “Shiny”. It’s great, arty stuff that still sounds fresh 10 years on. We abandoned the project when everyone got real paying sidemen offers (Pumpkins, Morrisey, Brian Wilson, Liz Phair, Fiona Apple etc)

3.0 – What is your favorite rock genre? Melodic meets artistic. The Beach Boys, Beatles, Bowie, Costello, Radiohead and many others managed to make daring, complex records that were also catchy.

3.1 – You play a lot of instruments, which one came easiest to you?  The drums. But, I’ll take a piano on a desert island.
4.0 – Any quick advice to young musicians that believe they’ve got it? Write songs.
5.0 – What was the first song you ever wrote? Was it influenced by a specific artist? How do you feel about it today? It was called “Traffic”, about a girl that wouldn’t leave me alone. It had 3 completely different parts that almost fit together. Not bad for a 14 year old, but it’s best that it was only heard by a couple dozen people.

6.0 – Did you have hero growing up? John Lennon.

7.0 – What do you like to do when you visit Chicago these days? Just breath in the great energy and look at proper architecture. And see old friends and family, of course.

8.0 – What was the most challenging gig you’ve ever had?
Opening acoustically for Tower of Power at Cubby Bear. They liked me for 13 of my 25 minutes, but then wanted to shake their butts to a 12 piece funk band.

9.0 – In the studio, do you record the same way today as you did starting out? When it’s just me, playing everything, nothing much has changed since I got my first reel to reel, except better mics and a bit better knowledge of how to place them, and how to mix. But, with a band in a proper studio, it’s nice to have engineers so you can focus on the music. Having said that, I do believe that each project requires different techniques. Sometimes I want a great, quality recording, and sometimes I want to put the drums in the bathroom and the amp way down a hallway with mics far away etc.

10.0 – Which song of yours do you think Spock would like most and why? Infinity Begins. First, because of the title, and second, because it goes in and out of time signatures without sounding obvious.