Matt Shaw - MUSICian / Senior features writer at surfer Magazine
Name: Matt Shaw
Rad Gig: Bass and shares vocal duties in the surf-garage trio The Mother Gooses and SURFER Magazine as a Senior Features Writer
JAX IS RAD because of local bands like The Mother Gooses.
We caught up with Matt Shaw who plays bass and shares vocal duties in the surf-garage trio The Mother Gooses. Alongside being a musician, Matt is a Senior features writer at SURFER Magazine. Come check out The Mother Goose's playing January 12 at 7pm for our first JAX IS RAD party.
Member names: Ed Gil (guitar, vocals) Matt Mattox (drums), and Matt Shaw (bass, vocals)
Where are you from?
We all grew up in Jacksonville. Ed and I at the beach and Mattox in town.
Whats your background in music?
Collectively, we are all fairly novice musicians. We might of a had a handful of guitar lessons between the three of us. I started playing guitar when I was 17 or 18 and started writing songs shortly thereafter--mostly singer-songwriter-y, acoustic, cheeseball stuff. I think I can speak for Ed when I say we both wanted to be Bob Dylan at one point or another. He and I would share songs with each other every now and again when we were in college or when he'd visit me in California, but we never really did anything with the songs. In San Francisco I played guitar and banjo in a folk outfit called The Shelby Foot Three. It was fun, but pretty mellow. When I moved back to Jacksonville a few years ago, Ed was psyching on starting a band. Ed was marginally better than me at guitar, so I started playing bass. When Mattox moved back about 8 months later, we asked him to be the drummer because he was marginally better than Ed and I on the drums.
How did you start The Mother Gooses?
The three of us would play music together when we were all going to UNF some years ago--nothing official, just messing around in a jam room at whoever's house in which we were currently storing the hodgepodge of equipment we'd accumulated from pawn shops and trash heaps. We all moved away for different periods of time after college. Mattox was in Santa Cruz, Ed was all over the place, including Japan for a spell, and I was in San Francisco. We kept in touch and Ed came to California a few times and we'd all hang and play music. When I moved back to Jax, Ed turned me on to these "Back from the Grave" compilations of 60s garage rock. It blew my mind--just teenagers banging away in their garages in like rural Minnesota and other random places. Really primal stuff. So we just wanted to write songs that captured that energy. I think, originally, we just wanted to stick to that '60s approach of simple chords and superficial lyrics, like "Oh, baby, why'd you do me like that," in the key of E. It's kind of fitting because we are such average players, we can just thrash around on that stuff and it can sound, relatively, listenable. As we've tried to dial in our sound, I think more influences has come to light--retro garage stuff like The Sonics, The Cramps and The Gories, and Dick Dale surf-y stuff. Beatles and Stones, of course. Whatever it is, it just has to have energy and not be too serious.
For me, personally, I think I've grown to realize that Jacksonville (or, more broadly: Northeast Florida) offers a balance that's really hard to achieve anywhere else. When I was younger I couldn't wait to get out of here. But living elsewhere gave me a lot of perspective. I'm not somebody who thrives in a traditional nine to five work environment, and the relatively low cost of living here has allowed me to scratch creative itches that I wouldn't necessarily have been able to in another big city, like SF or New York, where you have to grind so hard just to afford your 400 square foot apartment.
I'm really bullish on Jax, right now. Although I feel like the beach has lost a little bit of its eclecticism due to rising rent prices, its still the beach and will always attract people who are drawn to the ocean--typically good people. Aside from Riverside, which has always been cool, we also have a resurgent urban area around Downtown and Springfield, teeming with radical people, doing wildly creative things. Beyond that we are surrounded by water and bucolic, expanses of natural beauty. It all makes for a really pleasing balance. I don't know of many cities in America in which could you pop into a DIY art space hosting nationally recognized artists on Friday night and then hop in the warm ocean the next morning.
What is your favorite thing to do in Jax?
With Jax being so spread out, there are always opportunities to have a day full of dissonant experiences. It's pretty special when the surf is good and you're able to catch a few waves, then head into Riverside or Downtown and catch one of your homey's bands play.
How are you making a mark in the city?
I'm not sure any of us would presume to be making a mark with this band. We play music that--at its core--is at least half a century old and write songs with superficial lyrics. Nobody needs to hear The Mother Gooses. We are having fun playing music and we certainly want people to enjoy it. If we can provide a respite, or reason to let loose on a random evening, we are stoked to do so.
We just started working on our first full-length. We are recording a bunch of songs we've been playing live for a couple years now, so we're, in a way, stoked just to kind of move on from them. We are psyched to have Glenn Van Dyke (Boytoy) running the controls. Aside from playing guitar and singing in her radical band, Glenn is a garage-rock sage. She's got a really magical ear. Beyond recording, we've got some fun shows lined up for 2018, including some out of town dates around Florida--tell your friends!
Where can people find your music?
We have two EPs that we recorded at Warehouse studios with Ryan Turk and Daniel A. Brown (Royal Trux, '68 Comeback) available on our bandcamp page (themothergooses.bandcamp.com). We also have an FB page, but don't check it that often. And an Instagram account that we check relatively more often.
Why is Jax Rad?
It's a beautiful city full of very neat people.