Interviewed by Joe Manno
Date: November 2006
Some guys have luck, some guys have money, but only a few guys have skill that can really play the blues!
Matt O’Ree a New Jersey native was crowned King of the Blues in the Guitar Center’s Guitarmageddon hosted by the great B.B King along with John Mayer in Chicago June 2006. Matt has been kicking ass and leaving his mark around the country establishing himself as the real deal guitar slinger!
I had a chance to speak with Matt at the Asbury Park music awards in New Jersey were Matt was nominated in four categories and walked away with two, Best Guitarist and Best Blues Band- Nice !!
Hi Matt! Thanks for taking sometime out with Rockeyez before you hit the stage.
Did you come from a musical family?
My dad actually played the guitar and I started taking lessons from him when I was nine, but it only lasted a few weeks, taking lessons from your dad is hard. I always wanted to play guitar and when I was 13 my older brother came home with Jim Hendrix “Are You Experienced “that really made me want to play.
What was the first concert you attended?
The first was Neil Young. My sister was a big fan. Neil Young really got me going with playing; learning cords and stuff, trying to play Hendrix when you first start out isn’t the best way to do it. Neil Young was a good start for me.
I read that Rory Gallagher is one of your biggest influences, how did that come about?
Yes, he is one of my influences. I was renting an apartment from a good friend Bob Butterfield and he said to me one day,” You know who you look like? Rory Gallagher” I said Rory who? Bob dug out the record and showed me his picture. I did look like him just a little, but then I listened to the record and was like WOW!!
Who else besides BB King and Rory Gallagher are big influences on you?
Government Mule. Warren Haynes is a big inspiration to me. He was recording a slide solo for someone in a studio in Hoboken where I had a chance to speak with him for a little while. He remembered me from a few years back were I had a chance to open for him. He was just the nicest guy and very humble. He gave me good advice and great encouragement.
Is there a person or group not signed or discovered that you feel deserves it?
Yes! BB and the Stingers!
Ah, yes local legend and guitar hero Bernie Brausewitter!
I took a few lessons from him when I was younger, (I am mostly self-taught) and went to see him play. He had the power trio thing going. They played a few Hendrix tunes and that just blew me away. That’s where I got my direction to get my trio started. Bernie offered to help me get that going back in 1991. He is a definite influence and deserves to be signed.
What do you think of today’s music?
It’s back and forth. There’s always a mixture of decent bands putting stuff out and then there’s you know!!!
What is in your CD player right now?
A couple of songs that I wrote, I am going over because we are leaving for California to go record with Pete Anderson... I also I have a bootleg of ZZ Top from 1980, that’s really good!
What projects are coming up besides California?
We are writing new material. Hopefully, we will start recording a new CD in February… for release soon after that.
I know its tuff playing original music all the time in some of these clubs. The demand for cover tunes is always asked. What is one of your favorite cover tunes to play live?
Probably one of our favorites is Robin Trower’s “Day of the Eagle”! Another one that’s a lot of fun is “I Put A Spell On You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. I love that song!
If you had a preference to open for a big name act, who would that be?
I would say the Allman’s that would be a great honor or The Black Crows!
What advice do you have for young players?
Practice and listen to all music and practice more... As far as the business, don’t sign anything and get a good lawyer!
Matt lets do some good old word association!
Underrated - John Paul Jones
Overrated - Poison
Gary Moore - Awesome
Matt O’Ree - Out there doing it.
Pizza - Great!
What is one thing besides music that you really enjoy?
Kung Fu… it takes my mind off everything!
Last one. If there were one thing, you would like to say or plug what would that be?
Get out there and see people play, buy there music, check out there website. You have to go see live performances to appreciate the time they put into their craft!
Put the rock back into rock and roll!
Thanks for the time Matt we wish you the greatest success!
Check out Matt’s website where you can sample his music for free! Listen and I’m sure you will buy his CD!