Matchbook Romance: Youngster's Paradise
Epitaph has seen its share of progressive punk rock bands, bands like owner Brett Gurewitz's Bad Religion, NOFX, Pennywise, Rancid and Dropkick Murphy's, not to mention the most comprehensive laundry list of contemporary punk bands to date. Its no wonder why a four piece out of Poughkeepsie, NY, managed to get the attention of the label owner through the Internet. Gurewitz had been searching the World Wide Web to find his next new band and came across a post on www.punknews.org. According to Andrew, "I got this email from Brett and I thought it was one of the other members of the band playing a joke on me."
The boys all had started playing music around the same age. Drummer Aaron Stern began playing, "when I was in sixth grade. Although when I was in fourth grade I played cello in school. But I started playing drums in the sixth."
Bassist Ryan Kienle began playing, "if you want to get all technical," he quips, "I started playing the French horn in sixth grade, then started playing bass in seventh grade."
Andrew (vocals, guitar) had his start early in life as well, referring to his beginnings in school, "It opened up a whole door to music. I took music theory and music classes and stuff. Its like when you don't have music introduced to you, you miss out on that world. I had music introduced to me at a young age. Learning how to read music in school also added a lot, making more creative things easier." Andrew also sung in choir as a youth and his mother is musically inclined as well.
Aaron adds, "You learn how to play music and use the tools to being able to express yourself."
Ryan also adds, "I took music classes and theory classes in high school and in college so being able to read music and read staph made it better. It is a big part of my playing because you know three part harmony off the top of your head, and you say well he's playing the third fret so I need to play here."
Their influences range from Billy Joel to Glassjaw to Phil Collins, with every conceivable punk band in between.
Aside from the non-sequitors and sophomoric comical banter between the band members, Matchbook Romance has partially paid their dues. Most of their success stems from their work ethics, practicing and playing over and over again while maintaining their website and promoting their own shows.
Andrew muses on the interesting email he received from Bad Religion Guitarist and Epitaph Records mogul, Brett Gurewitz, "One of our friends posted an update on MP3.com sending people to our song that was on punknews.org. What happened was that Brett Gurewitz who always goes on the site, downloaded the song and emailed me and was like, "I'm Brett Gurewitz, I don't know if you've ever heard of me before but I'd like to talk to you guys." Course I thought it was a joke and I wasn't a Bad Religion fan or anything but I thought this has got to be so fake. So I gave him my cell number and kept the email from the guys because I thought they were messing around with me. I went to band practice and asked them again and they didn't have any idea what I was talking about. So a week later Brett called me and told me he wanted to sign us for a six song ep."
Talk about the amazing world of the Internet! Matchbook Romance's debut ep is available now from Epitaph Records. They are touring with the extravaganza known as the Warped Tour, so you'll be able to catch them this summer.
The boys left themusicedge.com with some sound advice; Ryan Kienle quotes the film Joe Dirt when talking about playing music. "Life's a garden, Dig It!"