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Raised on an equal dose of Hee-Haw and Soul Train, North played gigs in Champaign, Illinois from a young age alongside the late Jay Bennett of Wilco and former John Coltrane bassist, Rafael Garrett. He became house drummer for The Sunshine Dinner Theater at age 14 where he worked until college and, after winning the Illinois All-State Drum Set Competition, received a scholarship to study drums at the University of North Texas with world-renowned instructor, Ed Soph. Following his freshman year, University of Illinois jazz band director, John Garvey, invited North to join his band for a summer tour of Russia alongside bassist Viktor Krauss (Lyle Lovett).
North’s entry into songwriting was atypical. Working as a fact-checker for Mother Jones Magazine in San Francisco 1994-97, he unexpectedly began working at The Punchline Comedy Club as an opening act for Mitch Hedberg, Marc Maron, Jimmy Fallon, and Dave Chappelle. North was roommates with comedian Patton Oswalt in Haight-Ashbury for two years before moving to L.A. where he began writing songs, answering “Drummer Wanted” ads, and writing an original screenplay Best Western that won multiple awards, resulting in regular work as a story analyst – skills he now transfers to songwriting.
His great uncle is novelist and Kentucky poet laureate, Jesse Stuart, and his father's family were Scotch-Irish coalminers in Harlan County, Kentucky.
In 2000, North starred opposite James Woods in the Golden Globe winning movie “Dirty Pictures” directed by Frank Pierson (writer of Cool Hand Luke and Dog Day Afternoon) and was soon cast by Larry David for seven episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as Jason Alexander’s agent. After shooting the first episode of Season 2, Alexander left “Curb” to star in his own NBC sitcom “Bob Patterson” and North was abruptly written out.
His last years in L.A. focused entirely on drumming, songwriting, and raising his son who was born on the autism spectrum while North worked as a valet at Century Plaza Hotel and Beverly Hills City Hall as a custodian.
Before moving to Nashville in 2010, he produced “I Can’t Die In L.A.,” by L.A. band, Hail The Size, featuring vocalist Maria McKee of Lone Justice. Vintage Guitar Magazine later called it “one of the best albums of the year.” As a new Nashvillian, North began learning guitar, piano, and recording “Above Ground Fools” in his garage. North will release what he calls his “punk-rock-special-education-protest-single” about the Tennessee Department of Education, “Tennessee IEP” in Spring 2022.
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For Extended Bio, Hi-Res Pics, or to schedule an interview: mattnorth.net
Rock | Americana/Roots | Indie Rock
Nashville Songwriter Matt North's Debut, Above Ground Fools
Matt North’s Debut “ABOVE GROUND FOOLS” Out FEB 21, 2017
Throughout Above Ground Fools, Matt North delivers ten original songs of doomed romance, the death of newsworthy news, male jealousy, legal battles, and other upbeat tales of personal failure – all of them true.
- Featuring Nashville’s A-list: bassist Chris Donohue (Elvis Costello, Emmy Lou Harris), keyboardist Michael Webb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton), guitarist Stuart Mathis (Lucinda Williams),...
- Innocent Words, Article, 10/11/2016, Exclusive Premiere: Matt North's "Cronkite and Cosell"