By La'Trish Mack
Matt Walsh is no stranger to perseverance. At 19 years-old his uncle passed away and in March of this year he lost his best friend and bandmate, Austin Hicks. I am grateful that I was able to catch up with Walsh for an interview. Despite of his most recent lost, he stays busy on the road performing shows.
Walsh’s uncle was a big influencer in his career. At the age of 12 years-old his uncle exposed him to the sounds of Jimmie Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. “At that point I started telling my mom and uncle that hey I think I want to get a guitar,” said Walsh. To get closer to his desire he started going to the music shop downtown, and driving the guy crazy by asking if he could look at the same guitar over and over again like he was going to buy it. “I didn’t have the money, I was a little kid so I would just sit there and hold it to see what it sounded like through an amplifier,” said Walsh.
Walsh and his mother were spring cleaning one day and gathered some household items they no longer needed. “We went to the flea market, something we had never done and some guy came by and said something about a guitar; he ended up having a cheap, old, used electric guitar that he sold me for like 25 bucks,” said Walsh. Surprisingly the guitar was in decent condition.
Although Walsh had brought a guitar at an early age, he didn’t learn a guitar chord until he was 17 years-old. Afterwards he took a break from playing the guitar right before his uncle passed away. “I think that really kind of kicked my butt into gear,” said Walsh. This is when he made the decision to go all the way with his music.
Walsh taught himself the basic principles on how to play the guitar and the remainder of his skills developed through listening to music. “I never read music and I never really been good at tablature but I can hear something and most of the time just play it,” said Walsh.
At 21 years-old he started recording in a studio, and in 2007 he released a record commercially, called A Hard Ruck. The record did really well; it made Number #1 on a pick to click segment on XM Radio. It then premiered on other various radio stations, including stations in different countries. This was just the beginning of Walsh's career.
Life was going well for Walsh until another tragedy occurred that hit home, and pushed his career and performances to a staggering halt. Walsh learned that his bestfriend and bandmate, Austin Hicks, had passed away unexpectedly.
"When you lose a friend like that, that’s the worst thing really that’s ever happened to me in my life,” said Walsh. This was the first time Walsh had experienced the tragedy of losing someone who was close to his age and also his bestfriend, therefore he had a difficult time dealing with the loss. It started to take over him emotionally and physically make him sick, because he was sitting around thinking of his friend and dwelling on the fact that he was no longer around.
After about a month Walsh’s engineer contacted him and invited him to the studio to work on music. This is when Walsh begin to finally start the healing process which materialized into his new album, Life After Rock-N-Roll. The album is now available for purchase on mattwalshmusic.net. “The time in the studio took something really bad, a tragedy, and turned it into something positive,” said Walsh.
The name Life After Rock-N-Roll signifies a new beginning to a new chapter in Walsh’s musical career. The new album is dedicated to Walsh’s friend who passed away. “It's also a way to imply he lives on in my music too,” said Walsh. The new album brings something new to his listeners instead of focusing on loud rock and roll music as he had done before.
Life is not a fairytale; there will be times when we will fall into a state of disappointment but then we will be reminded of our purpose. The engineer reminded Walsh of his purpose, during a time of hurt, pain and confusion.
It only takes for one person to reach out to re-direct another person's destiny. We weren’t built to break, but to persevere and that's exactly what Walsh did. He persevered through the tough times to allow his light to shine once again through his music. So when you see someone going under from the weight of the world on their shoulders remind them of the wonderful gift they were blessed with to share with the world.
I hope this is a blessing to someone.
Love Trish xoxoxo
Matt Walsh performs one of his songs from his new album, Watch below: