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HIGH ON FIRE's Jeff Matz Talks Parents' Influence, Arthur Brown And 70's Rock

Jeff Matz of High On Fire really likes Arthur Brown, so instead of talking about his band we just discussed his dad and 70s rock.

Psycho Las Vegas Day 2, Hard Rock Casino, Nevada

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High On Fire are of course legends in their own lifetime and fit in perfectly at Psycho Las Vegas. Jeff Matz, the man responsible for the groups trademark bass rumble was over the moon to be hanging out at this festival to end all festivals and was extremely open with us, sharing all sorts of interesting tidbits about his youth, father and musical taste. It was enlightening to have this kind of look into the mind of a man behind so much music we all love. Photos provided by Dante Torrieri 

How the hell are you?

Doing really good, we played so I can relax and hang out. Psycho has been awesome. Arthur Brown was amazing, I've been a fan of his since I was five years old. I got to interview him yesterday and that was a really cool experience.

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How did you get into Arthur Brown at five years old?

My dad has been listening to him since the 70's. As a little kid I was just bombarded with that music and I inherited my dad's musical tastes early on. He was one of those guys I never thought I would get to see. It was a huge deal and I was stoked t see how many people showed up and were enthusiastic about it. It was surreal, like 'there he is'

We saw him at the bar after…

Nice! “Hi, God of Hellfire!” He's the nicest guy. We talked for two hours and I only got a quarter of my way through the questions and we are going to continue over Skype!

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How has he impacted your playing?

The Kingdom Come records are really the ones that made a big impact on me from an early age. It's hard to say it since it's been with me for so long. It has totally dictated my musical tastes.

August 28th, Psycho Las Vegas Fest Day 3, Hard Rock Casino, Nevada

What else was your dad into?

A lot of good bands. Some of his favorites were The Groundhogs, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Atomic Rooster, Cream, Humble Pie, Jethro Tull, there's too many to name! He was into a lot of eighties music and punk and new wave that was coming out. It all came from my dad and his buddy Dale, they got me into all of this at an early age, I was sort of spoon fed all of this underground rock. I feel pretty fortunate in that record.

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Did your dad and Dale play music as well?

My dad is a bass player and an organist, Dale isn't a musician but he is kind of the guy who got my dad into a lot of this stuff from that period.

It's fascinating to talk to someone who already had the veil pulled back early on – when you have a dad into that kind of music how do you rebel?

I know right? When I started getting into the modern metal stuff that wasn't really my dad's thing and I think that was my way of being my own person. Once I started listening to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest that was really mine. It was the same with a lot of punk rock like The Dead Kennedy's and Black Flag.

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How did you go from Humble Pie and Jethro Tull to Black Flag?

Easily, actually! I heard about it from friends at school. My dad was into Sex Pistols and Plasmatics, he was into some pretty crazy stuff!

How does it feel to bring your dad to this big freakout of a festival?

He comes to my shows all the time. He's aware of the scene I roll with. It's a little intense for him at times but I think just the sheer concentration of people and music and this whole place is just a sensory overload. It's been really cool. He primarily came for Arthur Brown but we watched BOC last night and he stuck around for a bunch of Electric Wizard and he and his buddy were like, “Wow this is cool!”

August 28th, Psycho Las Vegas Fest Day 3, Hard Rock Casino, Nevada

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So with my own father I've been able to help him go from his favorite bands of Motorhead and Black Sabbath to bands like Pallbearer and Sleep…do you see that with your dad?

Totally! It makes sense. There's a direct line. I think there's potential for cross generational pollination. My dad grew up on Arthur Brown and Iron Butterfly but his musical tastes have ever stopped evolving. He's very open to new bands and artists.

Do your tastes keep evolving?

Definitely. My tastes are all over the map. It goes in phases for me. Right now I'm delving back int oa lot of 70s rock and classic metal but I listen to a lot of world music like Turkish and Middle Eastern folk music. I get a lot of inspiration listening to that stuff from the phrasing and timings they use and it's totally applicable to metal if you just replace the sound of the folk instruments with electric guitars its metal! I listen to a lot of classical music also and some jazz. The hard rock from the 60s and 70s is kind of my thing. That's the stuff I keep coming back.

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Why do you think you keep going back to it?

I don't know. Maybe it's because I was exposed to so much from an early age. It seems like home to me. Something about those bands just speaks to me.

Do you have any final words of wisdom?

Watch Alice Cooper tonight and have a good time for the rest of the festival!

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