Friday, September 10, 2010

Big Fish in a Small Pond: Matt Mullarkey

Matt Mullarkey grew up in what he calls the "barren wasteland that is Norwalk, CT"... but it wasn't all bad. In his angsty teenage years, Matt discovered the legendary Anthrax club, which became a home-away-from-home, and a ticket to [local] fame. Although he has considered leaving CT for sexier pastures, a combination of laziness and success has kept him here, keeping punk alive and well in CT. His band, The Midnightmares, just won "Best New Band" and "Best Punk Band" in the Fairfield County Grand Band Slam.

JS: Is it still exciting to get that sort of recognition?

MM: Yes, it IS still exciting to get that sorta recognition. This is now the 4th or 5th time and the 2nd band I have been in that won the "best punk" band category, so I guess I /we are doing something right, haha!!

The Midnightmares

JS: Which other band won? Is this the first win for The Midnightmares?

MM: The other band that won was Elvis Mcman. We won from 2004 to 2008, even after we had been broken up for a year, the last time! Yes, first win for The Midnightmares. We had our first show February 2009, so I guess we are still pretty "new".

JS: What is the first album you ever owned? What were some of the first punk bands that influenced you?

MM: I think the 1st LP I ever owned was either Pink Floyd "The Wall" or maybe a late 1970's Kiss album. (They all kinda blend into one, haha!!) All the usual early punk suspects had a big influence on me, but if I had to cite one, it would have to be the Sex Pistols. I didn't know shit about England or the queen or whatever, but that one album and their whole attitude just screamed volumes at me, ya know??

JS: What first drew you to punk music/culture?

MM: A lot of the early appeal of punk I must admit was the look. A lot of these bands I was discovering as a "wee lad" all looked like extras outta "The Road Warrior" or "Bladerunner".
(Science Fiction and Horrow movies also being a heavy influence on me.) I thought Johhny, Wattie, Sid, etc. all looked WAY cooler than the dirty hippies in Pink Floyd!

JS: Where did you grow up? Was punk part of your high school experience, or was it an escape?

MM: I grew up, and still live in, the barren wasteland that is Norwalk Ct. By pure providence, I happened to live in the same town at the time as the now (...AND then) legendary Anthrax Club.
A perfect place to live and deal with my teenage angst.

Matt playing with Blanket of Ash in 1994

JS: You've been part of the CT punk scene for awhile. What changes have you noticed (musically, socially, culturally) over time?

MM: There have been so many changes in the 1,000 years since I've been in and involved in the Ct. punk/whatever scene. Back in the mid-late 1980's it was a lot of the whole straight-edge hard-core scene, that even then I thought was lame. (A bunch of preppy "tough" boys with magic marker- "x"'s on their hands, telling me not to drink?? Fuck that...).

I'm not really sure how to describe the "current scene"... I do still see alotta the same people, if not playing a show, then certainly in attendance at one.

JS: We met when you were playing with The Injections... can you give us a time-line of the bands you've been a part of?

MM: The 1st real band I started playing bass in was Blanket Of Ash in 1994. It was "kind of" a punk band, but more strait forward "rock". (Sometimes I really hate that word, haha!!)

Then The Injections ran from late 1995 until 2000. As you know, we were the un-official Ramones / Screeching Weasel / Queers rip off band from Connecticut.

Next came Elvis Mcman, from 2000-2007. Female fronted punk rock, kind of hard to pin a specific type of "punk" on that band.

After that was the CT punk "all star" band; The Problematics. Me on bass, Mike Cooper (Def Con 5, Dead Beat Dads) vocals, Kevin Mackenzie (No Image, Disaster Party) drums, and the "legendary" Pugz Licitra (Iron Cross, Lush Life, The Spoilers, Forced Reality, Lost Generation, etc, etc) on guitar. Lasted all of 6 months and 6 shows. (Bummer...)

Now there's The Midnightmares...

JS: Fairfield is basically a suburb of NYC, do you feel the CT music scene is heavily influenced by what is going on in NY?

MM: I wouldn't know if any NYC "scene" has any influence on what goes on in Fairfield County or any other part of CT. I'm pretty oblivious and "un-hip" these days, haha!!

JS: Have you ever wanted to move somewhere like NYC? What has kept you in CT?

MM: A very long time ago I had considered moving to Boston or Los Angeles, because many of my friends had migrated to both cities, but I guess my "laziness" has kept me home-bound in CT.

Matt at gallery opening of Even More F*cked Up and Photocopied, an art show of Matt's show flyer art

JS: What would you say is unique about CT punk music and culture?

MM: What's unique about CT is that it is such a small state, geographically and population-wise, that anyone with the right mind-set can become the big-fish-in-a-small pond. (Which has always made this "small fish" feel special, haha!!)

JS: Do you think punk can still be considered a "subculture"? Or has it gone too mainstream? Do you think this is a good thing or bad thing?

MM: Punk has NOT been a real subculture for many years now. However, if some 14-year old kid who feels alienated and wants to start a band with his friends can discover the Ramones or whoever through some of the new(er) Warp Tour bands or whatever, then go make his or her own cool music, can ya say that's wrong?? (Sorry about the run-on sentence, haha!!)

I gotta admit, when bands like Rancid, Green Day, et. al. got big, I was like "Good for them!!"
I was at a small show in Danbury Ct, X-mas 1992, some band I had never heard of, Green Day, were on the bill, but had to cancel 'cause their piece-of-shit van broke down somewhere that day. I think they can afford a proper one now...haha!!

JS: Thanks Matt, we look forward to the next 1,000 years!


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