Matt Hock AKA Million
Dollar Matt, talks about the Good Charlotte boys and how they managed
to bag the tour.
"They're fans of punk rock and I think they're fans of our band,"
he begins. "We did Warped Tour with them a few years back and we
became friends with them on that tour, so we've always wanted to tour
together. Luckily they asked us to do it and it's happened. I'm assuming
it's because they're fans of our band. I hope that's why. I think that's
probably the case."
Drummer Andrew Black actually lived in the same area, used to work in
a bar that the Good Charlotte boys frequented and has known them for
a while, while guitarist Dave Walsh tells us about the invite to a show
they had; "They actually played Providence, Rhode Island, where
I was living for a little while and Matt was up visiting me and they
asked us to come down to a show that they were playing there. That was
maybe a year or so ago, something like that. We stay in touch with them."
The UK tours that The Explosion have been doing have been awesome according
to the band, with the guys even spotting a long-haired rocker in the
front row at one Good Charlotte gig headbanging along to their music.
"The biggest tours we've done have probably been AFI and Social
Distortion," says Matt. "AFI's fans were really good to us.
Social Distortion's fans were good to us but not amazing because they
were really there to see Social Distortion, which is totally understandable.
New Found Glory's audience really liked us."
They're all happy that so many fans are getting into the music and despite
being heavier than both Good Charlotte and New Found Glory and having
a more old skool punk rock following don't care where the fans come
from or where their musical tastes lie.
"We were here with Sick Of It All," remembers Andrew, "who
blow us away in terms of being heavy. I think it's nice being in a band
that's versatile to tour with all these different people. It kinda pays
off. We've got fans in all these different places."
"And maybe some will get married to each other, and they can combine
their CD collections,' laughs Matt.
One thing the band
don't have in terms of fans, is a message board for fans to congregate
online. Not on the official site anyway. In fact, they've never ever
had a forum. "I'm not a big fan of message boards," reveals
Matt. "I'll go on and I'll read it and it'll make me fucking nuts."
"It seems like an open invitation for people to talk a bunch of
shit. It's really easy to hide behind a keyboard," adds Dave.
Prior to the release
of 'Black Tape', the 12 track Virgin debut album (I guess you could
call it the Virgin virgin), a lot of demoing was done to really bring
out the best in the boys. "We spent a lot of time demoing, that's
for sure," says Dave. "Virgin really wanted us to go for it
on this record, to the last point, always writing until we get to the
"Most of the demos were done at my house on my computer. Then we
did a few demo sessions; one in Boston at a small studio. We did some
in San Francisco at another small studio, a really small practise space
kinda studio. By the time we were done doing all that we were ready
to do our record."
"But it was a different change from any records we'd ever recorded
before. We're used to writing a record and going to record it. We're
not used to being told 'write more, write more'," continues Matt.
The sound on this album is more melodic - on the whole - to their first
full-length album, 'Flash Flash Flash', released in 2000 and other past
discs. In the past the band have had a slightly harder, punkier sound.
On 'Black Tape' there's a lot more melody, a lot more to sing along
to, although still a lot of energy. Matt says that it wasn't Virgin's
influence that changed the sound though.
"All the songs we wrote were songs that we wrote. They came from
us just like all the other things we've done in the past. I think if
anything's changed it's because we've been a band for seven years. You
grow up and change a bit in that amount of time."
One of the key
band members, Sam Cave, left the band at the tail end of 2004, around
the time of the album release. Sam was pretty much in the band from
the beginning, being an integral part for a long while. Chris Gonzalez
formerly of the band Let It Burn, has taken his place.
"The thing that was troubling him was being on the road so much,"
says Dave regarding Sam's departure. "He just couldn't hang with
it. It's a really difficult life, especially if you have a lot of stuff
going on personally at home, if you have girlfriends, friends or commitments
at home it's really difficult to be on tour for 6-9 months out of a
year. That was the main problem with him, the tour schedule and stuff
like that. "
"It's better that he decided to leave than his heart not being
into it at all," adds Matt. "It's better for everyone."
The split was amicable, and the band are adamant that the spirit the
band had with Sam in it, will continue.
"He was a really good songwriter as is everyone in the band. There
is one fifth of it gone but now we have Chris. He was hired on as the
guitar player for the tour but now he's gonna join the band and it's
been really good with him, so that brings something new to the next
album I think, 'cause he's going to help write it. We've already started
doing some of that."
Chris, who's vegetarian, as is Damian Genuardi, bassist (with Dave being
a pectarian), is described as being a little nervous but a really good
"He's a great friend," says Dave. "He was a fan of the
band before he joined our band."
Going back to the
beginning, the band was formed purely for fun. Matt says, "We didn't
know what the fuck was going on. We wrote some songs and we played some
shows and it was like day to day."
"We were really bad when we first started," admits Dave.
Now the band are touring their asses off and are much improved. Other
things have changed slightly since the early days too. Not just musically
but for the guys are individuals as well. Dave himself has gotten married
while Matt will shortly be also. "I still act like I'm still 16
a lot of the time though," jokes Matt.
"As far as the way we are in the music industry, touring and playing
music, those are the coolest things. We've met so many great friends
and so many cool people and gotten to so many cool places that that's
cool. And also the fact that we're able to live at least somewhat off
our music is also cool."
When the deal with Virgin was signed, Matt was overjoyed at the prospect
of being able to survive for a year working full time with the band.
He says his parents also seem to take things more seriously now that
there's a recognisable major label name behind their product.
One thing that
usually comes with success though is rumours and untruths. It turns
out there's actually an article online that states that Matt didn't
write a song before 'Here I Am' off 'Black Tape'.
"I wasn't too fond of that article," says Matt. "There
was a lot of misinformation such as that little titbit there."
Proof that you shouldn't always believe everything you read online.
That minor annoyance
aside, the band are having a blast doing what they love to do. With
an awesome new album under the belt (as well as past work), the boys
are city and country hopping in a bid to get their music out to anyone
and everyone. They're down to play Warped Tour again in the Summer,
which will no doubt be another excellent adventure, and then they hope
to start working on the follow-up to 'Black Tape' in the Autumn. Things
are looking mighty fine for The Explosion. Mighty fine indeed.
Visit www.theexplosion.net for more info.
Questions Questions Questions
Velvet asked The Explosion five quick questions using parts of their
songtitles in them
Us' - If you could have anything delivered to you right now what would
Matt: "A burrito from Anna's Taqueria in Boston.
Insane' - Who's the most insane member of the band?
Matt: "It used to be me but then Chris joined. He's the most insane.
He's the most nervous, paranoid person I've ever met."
All Fall Down' - When was the last time you fell down?
Dave: "I fell down onstage at the beginning of the tour.
Matt: "When we went on tour with AFI I fell offstage for the first
3 shows but they were big stages so people thought I was seriously injured.
Dave: "He used to fall off the stage at every show."
Matt: "It was usually my schtick!"
- How do you feel signing signatures (autographs) for fans?
Matt: "Oh it makes me feel famous!"
Line' - What dotted line would you most like to sign on?
Matt: "One for Playgirl saying that they'd approved my photo session."