Broke-Ass Band Interview: Matt Bauer (Thursday @ Viracocha!)
This Thursday, June 23rd at 8:30pm, I am performing at Viracocha with Matt Bauer, who is on tour from New York. Matt Bauer’s new record, The Jessamine County Book of the Living, which features Jolie Holland (watch video below!), Mariee Sioux, and Angel Deradoorian of the Dirty Projectors, has been in my car on repeat for the last three weeks. I’m totally in love. And even though he kinda looks like he wants to beat me up for being Jewish, dude is the nicest, funniest, and has one of the gentlest voices ever.
I mean, just check out his insane vibrato! It sounds like when a nature show does slo-mo of birds flapping their wings, all full of air and life and movement and space. Ok, I’m getting carried away. Suffice it to say: 1) Matt Bauer is a treat. 2) Viracocha is one of the coolest new spots in SF. And 3) If you’ve never been to one of my shows, we’re officially in a fight. For way more info, check out the Facebook invitation.
And now for the Broke-Ass Band Interview that you’ve been waiting for. Bauer has spent many years living in New York AND San Francisco, so this is a two-fer. Super funny. Great answers. Incredibly talented man.
I’m not the Matt Bauer on Youtube singing Garth Brooks covers with a headset mic. I’m also not the Matt Bauer that sings on Broadway. I’m not the Matt Bauer that builds robots or the one that invented some bicycle phone app thingy. I’m also not Matt Bauer the college baseball player who is apparently doing really well if how much he clogs up Google alert is any indication.
Describe your sound in five words (or less).
Orchestral dead deer folk. Kinda.
How do you prepare for a big show? What will you be doing the night before?
I don’t really have any special routine. The few times when I have played to a really big crowd and I’m kind of nervous, I watch an episode or two of “The Tim and Eric Awesome Show” right before going on stage. It’s kind of hard to take yourself too seriously after that and you feel like you can just go have fun.
What can people expect at your shows?
A guy with an oversize banjo not moving very much. It’s pretty exciting!
What do you do during downtime on tour?
I really like looking for good regional food around the country. My guitar player, Alex Foote, calls it a “hamby” when you find a good place. Long story involving a foodie trumpet player. Anyway, we pulled a rare triple hamby a couple days ago: killer coffee place on the way out of Minneapolis, and two different amazing creameries a few miles off the highway in Wisconsin. Amazing cheese curds, elk jerky, local root beer, ice cream sandwiches and super cheap and fresh because we were buying from where they made everything. Well, not the elk jerky I guess.
What’s next for the band? (i.e. plug your next show!)
We are a couple weeks into about a three-month tour. Viracocha on Thursday the 23rd. Woohoo!
Three things you’d take to a desert island?
Does everybody say a boat to go back to the mainland? I don’t know. A banjo, a smoke monster, and Tom Hanks’ little volleyball friend from Castaway.
What movie can you watch over and over and never get sick of?
Waiting for Guffman.
Favorite season or time of year?
Late spring in Kentucky is lush and gorgeous and you can go to the races. Pretty nice.
Three things that are in your fridge right now?
I don’t have a fridge! All my stuff is in storage and I don’t have an apartment. I have a cooler in the van. Let me check what’s in there…ok 1. Honey from my mom’s bees in Kentucky 2. The aforementioned cheese curds 3. A melted bag of ice. Which I guess you could also just call water.
Anything in your sock drawer besides socks?
I don’t own a dresser!
Favorite thing about San Francisco?
People!!! I have so many good friends here that I miss so much. And I love pretty much everything else about it. Except muni.
Favorite SF restaurant?
That is the toughest question ever. Pagaloc is a serious jam. The thin sliced raw beef appetizer is sooo good. But Saigon sandwich might be my favorite place. I don’t know, though, there are so many great places.
Favorite SF bar?
I love the rite spot, and it holds a ton of great memories for me. It’s where I first met a lot of musicians that I became close friends with. Nathan and Nigel from Last of the Blacksmiths, A.J. Roach, Ryan Henry from El Capitan.
Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty, i.e. money:
Have any tips for aspiring musicians trying to make it on their craft?
A money saving thing that i don’t think many people do on tour is, if you don’t have a free place to stay with a friend, camp at a national or state park instead of getting a cheap hotel. It will only cost five or ten or 15 dollars and you will wake up in a forest or a desert or something instead of waking up in a Motel 6 next to a gas station and a Denny’s.
Best money saving tip in general?
I’m terrible with money. I’m a bad person to ask.
Where do you live now and what are some good cheap/fun things to do in that area?
Well before I put my stuff in storage I lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. At Lulu’s Bar you get a free mini pizza when you buy a drink. So a beer and pizza for four or five bucks is cheap. Also, at champion coffee, their pastries are only a dollar after 5pm.
What is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought and how did that feel?
I bought a really nice preamp that cost over $2000. And I felt like I might vomit. But it was worth it and has paid for itself a few times over by now.
What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten?
Wolf t-shirt and a jalepeño corn dog for under five bucks combined in New Mexico.
What is your favorite free thing to do?
If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?
My own place to live. To not rent, to not have roommates, to be able to record undisturbed. I would weep with joy.
What’s one GOOD thing about not having a ton of money?
People don’t borrow money from you.
Any last words?
If you are sad, look at movies of kittens on Youtube. I’m not kidding. It really works!
*First photo by Mikael Kennedy, the rest via Facebook