Matt Riddle opens up about the new Implants EP, giving up music after Tony Sly died, and sharing the stage with face to face after so many years apart
M A T T R I D D L E
I am going to be the first to admit that this one had me a little star struck. As a long time fan of face to face and No Use For a Name, a new (big!) fan of Implants and someone who has Pulley's Esteem Driven Engine on her top ten list, I can say that this interview had me super stoked.
Matt Riddle has been playing music for most of his life, and if any of you have had the privilege of seeing him play live, you know it's a treat. Now we provide a little insight into the guy behind the bass. Trust me, having met this amazing guy in person, and now getting to know him even better in the course of doing this interview, you'll never meet a nicer punk rocker. And, you will wish you could sit down and play some Nintendo with him. - Jessica
You have been playing guitar since the early 80's and list Iron
Maiden, Ozzy, and Judas Priest as some of your influences.... what led
you to playing more punk rock than metal and were you drawn to punk
rock in the 80's as much as you were metal?
When I got into music, I was all about the metal. Back then, out in the
High Desert, there wasn't a lot of people. We didn't have access to very
much punk, aside from the occasional CHiPs episode or Star Trek movie.
There was a few guys at my school that said they liked punk, but their extent
of liking punk was bashing metal, which is the stupidest thing in the world.
It wasn't until I met my first girlfriend that I was truly introduced to punk rock
and a lot of what I call the 'darker side' of alternative music. My first dive
into punk was pretty crazy, from Toy Dolls and The Adicts to Rudimentary
Peni and Antisect, with a million bands in between. I guess that was
around 85-86, and from there my influences expanded. Still heavily into
the metal though. :)
What is the first song you remember hearing that you connected
with, something you heard that really made you feel something?
This is weird, but for some reason when I think back to my earliest
times of connecting with music, Alice Cooper comes to mind. When we
finally got any kind of stereo it had an 8 track and we had an Alice Cooper
tape (Lace and Whiskey) that I would listen to. He had a song called
'You and Me' and it always kind of drew me in. He had a few songs on
that album that tripped me out. 'King of the Silver Screen' was another.
I was like 10 years old or something. We literally had three 8 tracks: Alice
Cooper, John Denver and Connie Francis.
Your Facebook page states that you consider yourself a "gamer" what is your specific console of choice? Or are you more of a Dungeons and Dragons gamer? Have you been into gaming since you were a kid?
Man. well, I'm old enough that my folks bought us the original Pong
system, then we got an Atari, then a Commodore VIC 20. One year
for christmas my brother asked for a Nintendo, and I thought why?
We have an Atari, same thing. I was wrong. Legend of Zelda ruined
me for life. I've been pretty hardcore ever since. I did get into D&D for
a while, but consoles and PC gaming always appealed to me. Now I
mainly stay with console gaming. Xbox 1, Wii, 360, and I have a
modded original Xbox that has every Nintendo, Super Nintendo,
Turbografx 16 and Sega Genesis game, including the Japanese versions.
Pretty rad actually. I still have my Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn as well.
I'm not a great gamer, I don't like playing online too much, but I'm
definitely an obsessive gamer.
We’ve also heard that you are skilled at automotive repair. Were you a shop kid in high school?
I'm ok I guess. No autoshop in school. Just at home. My dad made me
help him on every car we've ever owned, whether I wanted to or not.
So I'm pretty handy on anything without a computer in it. Most things pre-90's.
I really love it, but since we moved back to California, we're renting a place
that doesn't have a garage so it's killing me. I need to get back into it.
Where did you grow up and what was it like growing up there in regards to the music scene and what influenced you?
Born in Riverside in '67, moved to Hesperia in '72. There was no musical
influence until later on. When I got my first KISS record, I decided I wanted
to play a giant axe like that demon guy. Didn't even know what a bass looked
like in person until I got one and thought, damn. This thing is a beast.
You have toured all over the world with the bands you have played
in over the years. Of all the cities you have visited, which is your
That's a difficult question. There are so many amazing places. Beijing,
Tokyo, Prague, Berlin, Kuala Lumpur, NYC, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, pretty
much anywhere in Canada... I usually find something about any city
that's rad. I have never ever been able to take what I do/did/may do
again for granted. Even if it's a shithole, there's something about playing
in a random city that's really cool. There are so many people I know that
do this and are so jaded, I just can't figure it out. Almost every city
has some kind of charm to it for me, even if that charm is just knowing
I'm there because people in that city want me there.
You have been playing with Implants now for about a year and a half
and are about to release a new EP The Olden Age, can you share with
us your favorite track from the new EP? Which one are you most
excited to play live for the fans?
This will be a lame answer. All of them. I haven't played on a record
since No Use's "Feel Good Record Of The Year." I never thought I
would again. I tried not to actually. Music has been an extreme
rollercoaster ride for me, and after Tony passed, I was done. But, as
always, my wife Stephanie was like "Look. You're good and you should
be playing. Just go see what they're all about. You know most of them
anyways." Fuck. Ok. And yeah, turns out it's totally rad. She did the
same thing with Pulley after I split with F2F. She was right then too.
Implants have been called a "Punk Rock Super Group." How do you feel about that label?
Wow. Well, hmmm. It's a bit over the top, and we don't call ourselves that.
I kind of understand it in a way. Pretty much anyone into this style of
punk would know all these folks. Rob from Strung Out, Ken from The Tank,
Jim from Pulley, me from F2F, No Use & Pulley and Chris from Authority
Zero, Death by Stereo and Pulley. Not name dropping, it's just what it is.
But where I think it's most fitting is the actually talent level of these dudes.
It's ridiculous. When we get together and jam, it's like one of those VH1
shows. Like "Live From Chris's Mom's House." We push ourselves to the
limit. We even started doing this thing where we'll pick a random epic
Iron Maiden song, not practice it together at all, and see if we can pull it
off at one of our drummer Chris's Labor Day parties. Well, we only did it
twice now but it's a total blast. These guys are amazing musicians, and
Speaking of labels... you guys are part of the Cyber Tracks
family. They speak quite a bit about sharing music in this new
digital age and how it is so easily accessible to the masses. How do
you listen to you music... are you a vinyl person, or do you carry
around an iPod, downloads or mixtapes?
There's still a few bands that I buy physical copies of. Usually CD's,
sometimes vinyl. But I normally just download stuff and throw it on my
phone. Personally, as rad as it is to get any music at any time, I miss
the days of going in to shops get records, tapes, and CD's. When it was
the only way, it was like, "Ok. I got 15 bucks. What am I going to take a
chance on?" I'd read reviews in magazines, borrow stuff from friends,
etc. It's sadly different now. Like I said, I'll still go in and buy stuff from
time to time, but music stores are few and far between, and now it only
feels nostalgic and not necessary anymore. That being said, I will always
love that new vinyl record smell.
We here at Mable Syndrome try to bring together female punk rock
fans, and we like talk about real life things like kids and marriage.
You have been married for 15 years and you definitely show your love
for your wife on social media often (love!)... what is your best
marriage advice for the readers out there?
No joke, marry your best friend. Steph is my best friend. We talk about
any and every thing. Even arguments are like the kind you'd have
at a bar with your buddies. Quick and funny. No matter how mad I get,
she'll say something or call me a very unique & colorful metaphor that
immediately has me cracking up. Make sure you like the same stuff, or
at least enough of the same stuff to have rad conversations about. We're
both into music, UFO coverups, government conspiracies, etc. And she's
cute which helps a lot. So to sum up, if you're going to get married, marry
your hot, smart, funny, compatible best friend...I have a feeling that did
not help at all
Another aspect of Mable Syndrome is talking about what it is like to be a girl in a music scene dominated mostly by guys. Are there any kick ass women in the punk rock scene you want us to know about?
When I first started playing to people, it really was a male dominated
scene. It has changed so drastically over the 20 some-odd years I've
been doing this. I still see that there's more guys than gals playing
in bands, but the scene itself has a more even playing field than ever
before. As far as women in punk bands, man. Cinder from Tilt is super
kick ass. Stacey Dee from Bad Cop Bad Cop is rad. The remaining
guys in No Use got together a few months back to play this massive
festival in Belgium and when we started On The Outside, she just
jumped up without warning and started singing Karina's parts. Takes
some pretty big balls to do something like that in front of thousands
of people. So cool. Karina Denike will also always be one of my all time
favorites. Sandy Miranda from Fucked Up is rad too. My friend Jazz
Limbo from the Bitchfits is a killer bass player and singer. If you would've
asked me 15 years ago, I would have had less to choose from. There's
way more, but on the spot that's what I came up with. But I do remember
back in the day, if we did a show and there was a girl in one of the bands,
I'd kind of trip out. Like "Wow, that chick is hard-core." It's not like that at
all now. I think it's definitely heading in the right direction. I don't let the
girl or guy thing influence my decision to like or respect a band. If it's
good, count me in.
You've recorded many albums over the years. What is your most
memorable recording session?
It might always be the first Pulley album, Esteem Driven Engine. We recorded
with Ryan Greene, and when it came to laying down the bass and drums, Ryan
let Jordan Burns and myself just go for it. Jordan is an exceptional drummer,
so it was literally like, "Ok guys. Ready? Go." We got the drums and bass down
in less than day, like 6 hours. Jordan pretty much nailed everything, I had to go
back and punch in a few things. It's rad to know when I listen to that record,
drums and bass are pretty much live. Best recording experience of my life.
We here at Mable Syndrome are also big fans of face to face, and we have seen you jump on stage and do some amazing cameos with them lately, and the fans go nuts for it.
Yeah it's a good time when that happens. It was only ever set up once, during
the 3 shows they did in Santa Ana, at the Conservatory. Trever asked if I'd come
down during the first 2 shows to play a song since I recorded on those two. I declined the first one because my pancreatitis was acting up. But the next one I made it down for. Normally it's just an on the fly kind of thing. Scott's a rad dude for letting me do it too. For him it's like watching your significant other hook up with their ex. For me, watching Scott with them is like watching my ex hook with some dude that's way better at hooking up than I am. Lol.
Face to face's EP 'Over It' is dedicated to Donna Riddle. Donna was your mom, right? Can you tell us a little bit about her and why that album is dedicated to her?
As far as the dedication goes, man. I totally forgot that was on there. It wasTrever's idea. My mom Donna died right around the time the band started doing well. It was 1994. It broke me. I was ruined for quite awhile. When you grow up in the middle of BFE, with just your immediate family (there was 4 of us), then one is suddenly gone, man. It was weird. The guys knew how hard it was on me so they did that dedication for my mom.
What is the best advice someone has ever given you?
Stay in school, be nice to your parents, give when you can, say please and thank you and for fuck's sake ALWAYS hold the door for people. Actually, that's MY advice to people. The best advice someone gave me is use a socket instead
of a crescent wrench whenever possible. You'll save nuts, bolts and knuckles.
Big thanks to Matt for the interview. Photos by Billy Skelly. Contributions by Jack Cohenour.