At 19 years old, guitarist Matthew Curry has already played on stage with such music icons as Peter Frampton, Steve Miller, and The Doobie Brothers. He’s quickly becoming the next big thing among the rock scene, and Shakefire had the opportunity to talk with Matthew before he goes on a string of concerts as part of the Fender Accelerator Tour this Spring.
Shakefire (SF): At what point in your life did you start playing guitar?
Matthew Curry (MC): I was about four years old when I got my first guitar. I would sit around the house, watching my dad play the acoustic, and it just really caught my interest. I think my mom started to notice that, and so they went out get me this little, oh what were they called, “First Act” like Walmart, miniature, cheap-o acoustic guitar. And my dad handed me on Christmas or my birthday or something a guitar. First thing I did was turn it upside down, being left-handed, and he’s like, “No, no, no. You don’t play it like that.” He tried to get me to play right-handed, but I wasn’t having it. He would just sit around and play the old Skynyrd and ZZ Top and some Cream, Stevie Ray, and all this kind of stuff. I would learn anything I could off him and sit there and watch every little movement his fingers made. Then when I was maybe five or six I started taking lessons at a local music store. Took lessons for a while and then just kinda started teaching myself after that and just then kept on playing.
SF: At what point did you ever think to yourself, “Hey, I could really make a career out of this?”
MC: I think I had my mind made up probably from my very first guitar about what I wanted to do. I kinda always knew. I was really glad that my parents would tell me that I needed to finish school first, because there’s never a guarantee that this is going to work out. At the time, I just wanted to play. I didn’t want to go to school. But I’m really thankful they made me finish school. But yeah, I guess from right then and there I decided that that was what I wanted to do.
SF: Your parents must have been supportive of your decision then.
MC: Oh yeah, man. Just incredibly supportive. My mom and dad would drag me all over to go sit in with local bands and make calls throughout the local music connections and stuff and just try to get me into sets with this band, this night, or whatever. I definitely couldn’t have done it without them.
SF: Speaking of bands, you’ve played with Peter Frampton, Steve Miller, the Doobie Brothers; all these big names. How did those opportunities come about?
MC: When I got to jam with all those guys, it was out on tour with them. Really Paradigm, our agency, hooked that up. They would put the book in Steve Miller’s ear, and he decided to take us out on tour and got me up to jam every night on the tour. He’s an incredibly nice guy. Also, with the Steve Miller thing, he really came from the same kind of place; being young and growing up on blues and wanting to play with all the blues guys and getting into songwriting and that kind of stuff. The Doobies and Frampton and all these guys; it’s been just a huge honor to be on the road with them, let alone share the stage with them.
SF: You’ll be joining some of them again later this Spring on the Fender Accelerator Tour. What can we expect from that?
MC: That’s huge for us. I’ve been a Fender guy literally ever since I can remember. I like playing other guitars, but my go-to has always been a Fender Strat. It’s always going to be. There’s just something about those guitars. They chose 10 bands to give their support to and decided to give them a van and gear to help and stuff like that. We were lucky enough to be one of those bands. It’s a huge honor. We’re absolutely thrilled to work with Fender and to be on the Steve Miller Tour.
SF: How vital is it, as an emerging artist, to have this kind of support so early on in your career? It must be nice to not have to worry about your equipment or how you’re going to get from place to place.
MC: Yeah, it takes a little weight off our shoulders as well. It’s really cool of Fender to do this, because I think they understand bands trying to get their feet off the ground, like us and the bands that are on the tour, and how much of a struggle it can be sometimes and how stressful it can get. It’s funny because a lot of people think it’s just this glamorous life and stuff. Sure, when you’re Peter Frampton or Steve Miller, haha. I think they really get that and they just want to help. It’s going to be a great promotion for us. It’s going to be a great promotion for them. It’s just really awesome of them to do that.
SF: Do you find time to be creative and come up with music while you’re tour, or do you tend to focus more on the show?
MC: It’s a little bit of both. Obviously we’re focused on that show and putting on a great performance every night. Speaking of which, we’ve been in and out of the studio getting a bunch of new material recorded. A lot of that stuff is more recent stuff and the majority has been where I start writing out on the road, and when you have so much time out there to mess around with stuff like that, but then you get home and pull out the recording. So yeah, it’s a little mixture of both.
SF: As young as you are and with the amount of critical acclaim you’re already receiving, how do you stay grounded?
MC: Well you have to. Even being young, I’ve seen it happen to friends and fellow musicians. There’s a lot of things you can do to screw everything up. I want this to continue to build and hopefully someday be selling out stadiums and arenas for myself. Be able to do this 40 years from now.
SF: What do you still hope to achieve, whether it’s five years down the road or like you said, 40 years?
MC: To be honest with you I want to be a rock star! I want to be remembered for something. Not really for myself, it’s just kind of a dream. It’d be great to have several hit songs and records and get to continue playing music really. And maybe someday make a little money at it, too. That’d be good.