Matt Butler from Reckless Sons Interview with BrooklynRocks ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Matt Butler from Reckless Sons Interview with BrooklynRocks

I caught Reckless Sons at Lion's Den on the last night of the CMJ Festival. (Here is a link to a review and pictures from the show)

Reckless Sons @ Lion's Den, October 28, 2007

Last week, vocalist Matt Butler was kind enough to do an interview with me...

BrooklynRocks: What is the history of the band? I first heard of The Corsairs a couple years ago but never caught the band live. How did The Corsairs become Reckless Sons?

Matt Butler: The Corsairs had a cool thing going for the year we played together, but it wasn’t going to last. Our drummer and lead guitar player at the time had some other priorities in their lives, which is totally respectable. I am 110% about making music a career and getting my sound out there. I think it takes a great deal of work by the entire band in order to gather the attention it needed to make it work. Me and Emiliano, the Corsairs bass player, both had a vision together and were willing to commit. Emiliano wanted the chance to do his thing on lead guitar and we decided we’d find a new rhythm section.

BrooklynRocks: Who is left from the original Corsairs lineup? Are you still playing Corsairs songs?

Matt Butler: Emiliano was the bass player for the Corsairs, but now he is comfortably on lead guitar. Our current drummer, Jake, and I actually played together in a punk band called Naked Riot back in early high school, which is how we knew each other. As for Corsairs songs, We still play two songs from the old catalogue, mainly because they are songs that I wrote with a Reckless Son attitude, so they have a good and fit with the new material. In any case, I feel that anything from The Corsairs could be recorded with a Reckless Son sound, the ethos of the music, my and Emiliano’s ethos is still the same; we are into true American high energy rock n roll.

BrooklynRocks: Looking at your MySpace page, it looks like you are only playing sporadic gigs. Have you done much touring outside of NYC and what do you do when the Reckless Sons aren’t playing?

Matt Butler: Well, we recorded eight tracks in Austin Texas in July, we all got back in to town in August and started auditioning for, and then found, a bassist [Mr. Jacob Sloan]; since September, along with the school year starting (three of us are still in college) we’ve been rehearsing like crazy and filling out our set with sporadic gigs. We’ve been working on getting the local crowd, reuniting the Corsairs fans, and getting new fans rallied and into a good rock party scene. To that end, we have been throwing some pretty cool underground rock shows in loft and warehouse spaces around the city; keep an eye out for the announcements of future parties.

We definitely want to tour, and are currently planning to go back to Texas for a stint of the big Texas cities [Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Austin]. We have just secured management and are developing our strategy to hop in a van and get on the road.

BrooklynRocks: How did the current band lineup come together?

Matt Butler: Initially, me and our current drummer Jake played together in a punk band called Naked Riot. He split to Miami for college, but he’s back now in perfect time. We knew Emiliano because we used to play gigs with his old band, a sort of 80’s inspired pop rock band called The Sellouts. The three of us got together this summer. Emiliano was the one who introduced us to Jacob. He knew Jacob as the bassist for another NYC band called Surefire, and only had the best things to say about his playing and abilities, so instead of doing a long complicated audition process, which definitely isn’t fun, he showed up and played perfectly, and then we begged him to play with the band.

BrooklynRocks: I have your 3-song EP and listened to the other two tracks on your MySpace page but your set at the CMJ/Lion’s Den show seemed to be about a dozen songs. How many songs do you currently have in the set?

Matt Butler: Oh, I’d say or average set is about eight or nine songs. We’ve always got works in progress, and I’m always trying to write, so I’d like to think the set is consistently expanding, I guess in an organic kind of way. It also depends on whether or not we have to clear the stage for the next band or we have some time to play. We have a deep repertoire and can sometimes go-off into guitar jam land that will stretch things out on a Mars Volta-ish level.

BrooklynRocks: What’s the deal with the “Recording in Austin, TX” photos on your MySpace page? Should we expect a full-length soon? (I was real impressed with the 3-song disc that Emiliano passed out at the CMJ Lion’s Den show)

Matt Butler: When The Corsairs played SXSW last year, our Manager Eric Ervin introducued us to Paul Soroski. He’s a producer/manager down in Austin, he’s basically a rock guru and one of the coolest guys ever. We made plans then to record at his studio at one point, and this summer it all finally came together. We recorded eight songs down there, and we’re looking to do five or so more somewhere here in the northeast. We’d like to put out a fill length of our strongest material sometime around March, hopefully coinciding with our SXSW 08 dates.

BrooklynRocks: What’s the biggest show you have played? Where is your favorite place to play?

Matt Butler: Reckless Sons are pretty new to the stage and we’ve only played a handful of gigs, about 6 to be exact. The Corsairs in the summer of ’07 played The Bamboozle Festival at Giant’s Stadium to a few hundred people, which was great. So far, I think Reckless Son’s favorite spots to play would be The Union Pool in Brooklyn, where we played with Reno Bo of the Mooney Suzuki and The London Souls, and The Lion’s Den in Manhattan. Union Pool has great sound and a really cool, sort of cabaret aesthetic and Lion’s Den is right in the heart of NYU territory and they let 16 year olds or 18 year olds in on nights when we play, which is great.

BrooklynRocks: What is the last band that you have paid to see play?

Matt Butler: I saw a band called Medium Cool at Pianos a little while ago. I would have paid a lot to have seen Bruce Springsteen when he came through New York in October, I just didn’t get on the ball in time and the tickets were all gone. You snooze you lose. On the other hand, we end up seeing shows all the time though by just watching the other bands we play with.

NYC Scene:
BrooklynRocks: Do you have any favorite bands in the NYC scene? (Either that you like playing with or that you think are going to break out)

Matt Butler: We’ve had a relationship playing gigs with our friends Say Hello To Symphony for about a year, the Corsairs used to play with them all the time. This year, Reckless Sons have played gigs with a young band called The Bones Royal, which is always fun, they put on a great show. We’re also friends with a hard rock band called General’s and Majors. One thing we like about a healthy rock scene, is when the bands come together to support each other and stimulate the party rather than just show up, play and then take off to their own haunts.

BrooklynRocks: Any thoughts on the media cries of “end of an era” with the closure of CBGB and the Continental turning into a beer bar?

Matt Butler: Overall New York is pretty lacking in enthusiasm for its music scene, or lack thereof. It sucked when CBGB closed because they had that constant 16+ age policy, and that helps bands out a lot. It was a ton of fun to play as well, and had great sound. Naked Riot used to play there. The Continental was the first club I ever played, so it was a bit of a shock when they ripped the stage out, but it is what it is. People in New York need to go out and see more live music, and bands need to support each other more. New Yorkers like to act a little “too cool” for your basic rocknroll bands it seems these days. It’s their loss, we’re young, we’re fun and we play good music for cute people so it’s only getting better.

Bands Reuniting:
BrooklynRocks: With every band known to man reuniting this year (Smashing Pumpkins, The Police, Sex Pistols, etc.), are there any that you are into and any that you wished stayed “gone”?

Matt Butler: I think the Sex Pistols reuniting is a joke. The one that really got me though was Rage Against The Machine. Pretty mercenary I think, and Tom Morello is in Guitar Hero III! I guess they’ve stopped raging. . .

BrooklynRocks: Do you think Guns N’ Roses “Chinese Democracy” will ever be released? Do you care?

Matt Butler: I’m more or less curious to know what an album that’s taken so many years to finish sounds like? Isn’t Axel sick of all the songs by now? I hope it’s good. I am open to hear it, I trust that Axel can rock, now he just has to follow through. I’m also a fan of their bassist, Tommy Stinson, from The Replacements. Bumblefoot the GnR guitarist came by a show at the Lion’s Den and I had a chance to chat with him after we played. Cool guy.

Tribute Bands:
BrooklynRocks: I always thought bands had to be broken up and have members dead before one could pay tribute. What do you think about all the “tribute bands” playing around NYC? Do you think the Van Halen tribute band singer plays David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone (or all three)? If Sammy, Dave and Gary got in a fight, who do you think would win?

Matt Butler: Its crazy how successful good tribute bands can be. I had friends in high school who loved The Machine, the Pink Floyd cover group. And I always liked the story about that guy, Ripper Owens or whatever, who took over singing for Rob Halford in Judas Priest for a little while. I don’t know what the rule is about when its ok to pay tribute, so I encourage any and all people out there who might want to form a Reckless Sons tribute band to go for it! My favorite tribute band, however, is Little Kiss, the dwarfs in makeup, or maybe the Misfats, the big fat dudes doing Danzig and Jerry Only. As for Van Halen, David Lee Roth would probably knock out Sammy with some crazy leg kick while singing Jump.

MySpace Pages:
BrooklynRocks: I noticed that only Emiliano and Jacob have individual MySpace pages.

Emiliano Ortiz & Jacob Sloan @ Lion's Den, October 28, 2007

o Question for Emiliano -- It looked like you were interested in starting some side projects. Do you have any fear that you are going to get compared to people like Jack Black’s Dewey (School of Rock) or Barry (High Fidelity)?

Emiliano Ortiz: No I am not worried about that at all. I think it’s a bit more John Lennon or David Bowie. I am an artist, I have aspirations to do art in many ways, forms, sounds, sights etc. I am hipper than Dewey or Barry, not that I am immodest. Additionally, so much of what is cool about an artist these days is the ability to be successful in multiple mediums, music, film, print, canvas, stage etc.

o Question for Jacob -- The Belly tune on your MySpace page was a real blast from the past. To show my age, I think I saw their show in Santa Monica 15 years ago. Is there any significance to the tune and how did you get turned on to Belly?

Jacob Sloan: With the Reckless Sons, I think that we're all still attuned to the music that we listened to growing up (with indie rock from the '90s like Belly being an example in my case). That's what gives rock'n'roll its emotional impact: you listen and you think of the music your parents played for you, the music your older brother played for you, the music your middle school friends played for you. Those nostalgic elements are definitely present in the Reckless Sons' music, but hopefully reconfigured in a way that could only have been done right now.

What’s Next?
BrooklynRocks: What’s next for Reckless Sons? What are your plans for 2008?

Matt Butler: Right now, we plan to keep gigging locally, including the Northeast colleges, for a bit and tighten up some more new tunes. We’ve also started a regular monthly loft party; keep an eye out for announcements as the venue changes. We are currently speaking to a couple producers about recording about five more tracks to get ready for a full length. We’re also planning on going back to Austin and doing a short tour of Texas in January. We’re really looking forward to playing in Austin during the SXSW festival this year as well, which is when we intend to release our full length record. Truthfully, skies the limit, we are keeping our heads up for the opportunities and our fingers nimble for the music.
That's it for the interview - Reckless Sons are playing Club Midway tonight (November 16th) with Say Hello to Symphony.

Reckless Sons' MySpace page