They're Only Human
Even though Matchbook Romance is big enough to be headlining this year's Epitaph tour, they're still allowed to forget the rules of dating.
Touring in a band doesn't sound that hard. "You wake up, you do sound check, you do some interviews, you play the show and afterward you have fun," said Matchbook Romance drummer Aaron Stern. So then what are all those bands whining about? Oh, that's right, they're emo.
Technically, the story of Matchbook Romance starts in 1997 with bassist Ryan Kienle and singer/guitarist Andrew Jordan. However, it wasn't until 2001, with the additions of guitarist Ryan DePaolo and drummer Aaron Stern, that Matchbook (then called The Getaway) was officially born.
The Poughkeepsie musicians uploaded some of their songs on the 'net to get the word out about the band. It was only a matter of time before the head of Epitaph Records (and guitarist for Bad Religion), Brett Gurewitz, downloaded a Matchbook track and subsequently flew the band out to California to cross the t's and dot the i's on their spanking-new recording contract.
With an EP (West For Wishing) and a full-length (Stories And Alibis) already in the bag, word from our source inside the band is that Matchbook is aiming for 2006 for its next release. But right now, the guys are concentrating on the task at hand: headlining this year's Epitaph Tour.
Of course the young band is honored to be at the reigns for this tour, but Stern reminisced with us about the drunken sing-alongs and backseat mosh pits of the Taking Back Sunday tour (Matchbook and TBS have been friends since before the days of indie-label contracts). Once we got him back on track, the stories were flowing like sweet, sweet wine.
PULSE WEEKLY: Hey, Aaron, what's going on out there in Cali? Are you partying it up, or what?
AARON STERN: Brett had a party last night for the Epitaph bands. The tour was in L.A. at the House Of Blues on Sunset. Brett's house is right down the road, so everyone just picked up and went to his house.
PW: You're talking about the owner of the biggest indie label in the U.S. throwing a party. Tell us more.
AS: It was nice. He didn't want to have too huge of a bash and have tons of alcohol and all that. They had food and cocktails, and everyone kind of schmoozed. Brett's got the best house in the world; it's in the Hollywood Hills, and there's this amazing view off his front porch.
PW: We heard you got to stay with him for a while back when you were recording your first EP. Is his place really like the places on Cribs?
AS: Yeah, it's like that, but it's still very modest for him. It could be a lot more pimp if he wanted to it be. But it's still the pimpest house I've ever been to.
PW: How does it compare to your house?
AS: Well, first off, he doesn't live with his parents. [laughs] My family just moved into a new house, and I have the whole basement to myself.
PW: Do your parents nag you when you come home?
AS: They just ask that I keep the basement somewhat clean after we play beer pong or whatever. My parents are so supportive and so loving. A week before the tour started, we had the four guys on our crew [and the band] all staying at my house, and my mom ended up cooking for us every single night. That's cooking for seven people in addition to the six people in the immediate family.
PW: Does she have a cooking specialty?
AS: Nah, she does everything. My mom and my sister are on this whole Food Network run right now; they're into nutrition and new recipes. Every day I'd come home, and my mom would be watching Iron Chef.
PW: She should be watching MTV2 for her son's band!
AS: She does. It goes between Fuse, Food Network and MTV2.
PW: How about the other girls in your life? We heard that Andy wrote the song The Greatest Fall based on a relationship you were having. Was that the worst one?
AS: At the time, yeah it was. I had a relationship with my best friend's kinda ex. She and I started this whole thing while he was gone at school and kind of kept it quiet - that's where we set ourselves up. Eventually shit gets around, so I had to come clean to my best friend and tell him what was going on. Then I had to tell the girl, 'We just can't be [together].' That's kind of where 'The Greatest Fall' comes from, 'cause I totally set myself up for some shit.
PW: Before I let you get back to enjoying the sun in San Diego, do you have any good stories from this tour?
AS: We've been having a lot of dance parties in our bus; everyone squeezes in, and I hook up my iPod and put on my gangsta trunk-bumpin' mix and we all get down. Aside from that, our bus and the Motion City [Soundtrack] bus have been having Halo 2 wars.
PW: Who's winning?
AS: Well, Ryan D., from our band, is the best, so we always win.
By Jenny Poust