Matt Simmons is the singer-songwriter for Melbourne rock band The Barebones, soon to be celebrating the launch of their long-awaited self-titled debut EP at The Phoenix Public House. The EP is a seamless blend of country, 60s pop and driving rock. Expect explosive keys solos, tasty guitar riffs, signature sibling harmonies and poignant lyrics – songs that move you and make you move. Influenced by greats such as Wilco, Neil Young, You Am I and Augie March, The Barebones have been delighting audiences with their live shows throughout 2011, shifting from pared-back acoustic to stomping rock’n’roll, these lads make you want to shout, dance and cry all in one evening.
What’s your earliest memory of performing and who inspired you to start?
My earliest memory of performing would have to be flinging food at my brothers from a high chair, and entertaining the family dog. After that, rocking out as a little kid in my pyjamas, playing some serious tennis racket. Inspiration came from my family and their love of music and perhaps because it was an acceptable pastime in our house, not like fighting or wrecking stuff. I come from a family of four brothers and one sister, so one day when my eldest brother got a guitar and a few lessons, we all kind of started learning music at home.
You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What and where was the first gig you went to?
The first gig I went to involving a ‘notable’ performer was Johnny Diesel in Mornington – it was free but unfortunately he’d just split with The Injectors. I also grew up sneaking into venues underage to watch my older brothers play in bands around Melbourne and Frankston.
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?
The Best of Roberta Flack – because of tracks like ‘If Ever I See You Again’ and ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. It also reminds me of returning home from school and hearing my mother’s singing – smooth, sad and always slightly out of tune.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory. ‘Travelin Band’ is 2 minutes and 7 seconds of pure rock’n’roll and better than good whisky. John Fogarty in his prime, need I say more.
What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
I don’t know I’ve lost it, damn. But it would have been Okkervil River lately. Great music to wash dishes to.
How do you find new music?
I talk to friends, strangers, colleagues, young and old, listen to the radio, read album inserts and follow the cues – and I listen very carefully.
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
I don’t take lucky charms with me on stage, they break – ask Kenickie. My ritual consists of a short vocal warm up – usually in a toilet cubicle because it’s the only place you can get some quiet, and channelling myself to be in my body and not somewhere else.
If you could curate your own festival, where would it be, who would be on the bill, how many people would you let in and what features would it have?
If I could curate my own festival, it would be held on a farm away from the pressures of the city/suburbia, with an array of established and up and coming quality acts, it would be kept to a manageable size and feature things like cocktails and great food…Hang on, that’s Boogie!
When you’re Rolling Stones Big, what are you going to request on your rider: don’t be shy. We want specifics!
If I was Rolling Stones Big I’d have to request a blood transfusion, right? A Yoga teacher, some green tea and a slab of choice beer.
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
Tim Rogers would have to be one of Australia’s most talented living songwriters along with Glenn Richards of Augie March, but I’d probably most like to collaborate with Davey Lane for his feel, versatility and chops on guitar. He’s got serious chops.
What is your band’s music the best soundtrack for?
Your Saturday night, your car, your home stereo. I’ve heard its great for jogging.
Where we can see you play next, what releases do you have available and where can we get them?
Our next gig is @ The Phoenix Public House (Brunswick) Saturday 3rd March. We’re launching our debut EP so come down and purchase one on the night. There will also be some very rare silkscreen T-shirts.
Joining Barebones for their launch on Saturday 3rd March is a stellar line-up of Melbourne’s finest: Leena and The Bones, Wilding, Fraser A Gorman and DJ Sean M Whelan.Tickets $10 or $15 at the door.