EPITPAH REOCRDS HAS BEEN DOING the independent punk rock thing since before you were born. Okay, that might not be true if you're out of your teens, but still, you have to respect the label's longevity and admit that they have the right to celebrate their success with the first ever Epitaph Tour.
Sure to be one of the highlights of the tour is one of the label's fastest growing new bands Matchbook Romance. Though the band were discovered via their popularity on mp3.com and punknews .org only two years ago, they have built a strong fanbase and were recently named "A Band You Need To Know" by Alternative Press. I recently managed to catch up with guitarist Ryan "Judas" DePaolo just before he played to packed house.
AXIS: Who is Matchbook Romance and where are y'all from?
DEPAOLO: Matchbook Romance consists of Andrew Jordan on vocals and guitar, Judas DePaolo on guitar, Ryan Kienle on bass, and Aaron Stern banging on the drums. We hail from Poughkeepsie, NY although I now reside in Jacksonville, FL.
AXIS: Why did you decide tp change the band name from The Getaway to Matchbook Romance?
DEPAOLO: Actually, it turned out there's a band in Canada named The Getaway. So, courtesy of some lawyers and a cease and desists paper, we promptly decided we needed to change the name rather than do with a legal battle. Prior to the release of our last EP, we still didn't have a damn name. So, while chilling at one of our watering holes, we all tossed 10 possible names onto a napkin, and narrowed those 40 down to 3, and thus Matchbook Romance was born.
AXIS: What were the influences that led you in the direction of wanting to become a musician?
DEPAOLO: I think a major contributing factor of wanting to be a musician was having my parents listen to a lot of classic rock. I think what sealed the deal was when I first heard Nirvana. After that day I picked up a guitar and taught myself. I also learned some stuff by listening to other artists suck as NOFX, Bad Religion and many more.
AXIS: What are some of the advantages or disadvantages of being rock stars?
DEPAOLO: Haha. I would so not classify us as rock stars. I'd simply say we're a group of people who are lucky there are so many people out there digging our music. Some advantages would be free beer, traveling the globe gaining recognition for what are set out to do, which is produce quality music. The disadvantages would be the major lack of privacy, we're always together, (we) don't got to sleep in our own beds, people don't even give us time to put on a dry shirt after a gig before hounding s for photos and autographs. (Note to MR fans, seek these items before the show.)
AXIS: What do you guys like to do in your "downtime" whether it is on the road or at home?
DEPAOLO: We all do different things in our free time. I personally like to play my guitar and learn new riffs. As for us as a group we always are playing Halo or some game on Xbox, we tend to hang out at bars or on the bus and simply chill- hell once on this current tour we played kickball. As for when I'm at home, I like to surf, skate, snowboard and simply chill with my friends.
AXIS: Who would you absolutely love to perform with and why?
DEPAOLO: Refused, the band is no longer together, but if they were I'd sacrifice children to play with or simply open for them.
AXIS: Any advice to all our local bands trying to hit the big game?
DEPAOLO: All I can tell you is from experience, you have to get out there and
bust your ass. If you don't work your ass off you'll get nowhere. Also you have to make sure you write good songs. Last but not least network your ass off. We didn't do too much networking, due to being signed through the internet. But that's one thing were working on to get even more recognition.
By GEOFF DELLIGER