I moved to Nashville several years ago. I didn't move here with the intention or desire to ever try to "make it" in the music world. I'm not even sure what that means anymore. I have some friends who have reached various levels of financial and emotional success in the music industry in this town. And, yes, it is an industry. Some incredibly talented friends of mine put out this record last year. Some other incredibly talented friends of mine put out this record a few weeks ago. Another incredibly talented friend of mine released this song a few months ago and is going to be huge by this time next year. I mean HUGE.
But you know what I care about someone being huge? Nothing at all. That's not to say that I don't wish all the success in the world for my friends. I do. I want them to play and play and write and record and play and record and tour and see the world and play and write and play some more. And I want them all to make a decent living while they're doing it. I know I'm not musically talented enough to do that. I know I don't have the drive to do that. I know that I never moved to Music City, USA, with the intent to do any of those things. What I did do, however, was several years ago, fall into something (because really that's all it is... falling into something) that some people liked. This was a band called death comesto matteson.
I remember the first show that I played with the band. It was at Wall Street in Murfreesboro and I remember throwing up in the alley before the show behind the venue because I was that nervous. I remember the first show that I played in Nashville when we opened for Bob Nanna (he of Hey Mercedes and Braid (!) 'fame') when my amp stopped working with a song and a half left in our set and trying to plug in to our keyboard player's AUX input with mixed results just so I could finish the songs. I remember hearing from a girl one night while playing a show when she was dating me only to find out that she was drunk and making out with someone else that very night. I remember getting into a shoving match someone asshole after his set but before ours because he thought I was hitting on his girlfriend. I wasn't hitting on her, by the way. I remember the pure absolutely unadulterated joy of the first time that I ever heard a song of ours on the radio. Sure, it was college radio, but it didn't matter to me. I remember the sinking feeling of playing the last show in New York City and the 20something hour ride back to Nashville when I knew that I wouldn't be playing these songs ever again. I remember all this and so much more.
We all have and, to a finer point, had different expectations of what we want out of something that we create. Some of us wanted to take the world by storm. Some of us wanted to change the world. Some of us just wanted to meet (read: make out) with girls. I was in the latter of the three groups mentioned. And you know, by that measurement, I was a success.
I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir with this post.
During the final days of death comesto matteson, I knew I would never play those songs again. I stopped talking about the band after I stopped playing in the band. I still have no idea how much of an impact the band had. Some people around town still come up to me and ask me "Hey... didn't you used to play guitar for Peter Matteson?" My answer is always a sheepish "yes". Being the narcissist that I am, I googled the band name. Someone once wrote that the band was "the founding fathers of the Nashville indie rock scene". I'm not sure if I was flattered or just felt old when I read that. I suppose I should take that as a compliment.
I never made any money off of being in the band. I didn't mean to. Remember? The girls and the making out? If anything, I lost money. But I didn't care because I was a success. I'm not sure if I am contractually obligated to help pay back Speak Music Media because of the thousands of unsold copies of CDs (remember those) that are hanging out at Billy White's house. I'm sure I'll never make any money off of whatever records end up selling. I just checked amazon.com and the "Ship of Fools or Ship on Fire" LP is up about 400,000 spots from the last time I checked. If it rises another 400,000 spots, I'm gonna be rich. I mean I'm gonna have as least as much money as Adele. And Taylor Swift. Combined.
I thought that Peter, Joe, Wayne, Mike and I were done being friends. Fate has a funny way of circling around and kicking my ass. And here we are, 5 years later. Peter, Joe, Wayne, and (to a lesser degree) Mike (who, last I knew, lived in Texas) are friends once again. Joe and Wayne are still full steam ahead with The Protomen. Peter is still wicked talented and is making a living writing and recording. Mike and his wife have a couple of kids but I'm not sure if he is playing music anymore. Every once in a while, I get prodded into doing something musically although Andy Smith and I are eventually going to get the Warfield drone recordings going -- he's got a wife and kid and a job and I work, well, all the time... But back to the point of this paragraph and really the point of this entry...
Yes, death comesto Matteson is doing a reunion show. No, we don't have a date set for it. Yes, I would love to see you there. No, my feelings won't be hurt if you think I'm a shitty guitar player. Yes, Peter, Joe, Wayne, and I are all on board to this. Yes, we really are friends again despite our wildly different views on music, art, the world, life, and everything in between. No, I have no animosity in my heart towards any of those dudes. Yes, if you would like to sit with me and talk about the band sometime, I am finally comfortable enough to talk about it. No, I still have no idea what the band meant to anyone outside of it. Yes, I finally realize what the band meant to me.
In the meantime, if you would like any of the music that the band released, you can get it here. Remember, I'm not making any money off of any of these.
Here we are. One last show. A little older. Maybe a few BPMs slower. One last time. Leave the money on the nightstand on your way out.