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  • Ben Province

Podcast - Ep. 14: Matt F Basler (Middle Class Fashion) Interview

Defining Matt F Basler is not easy. The shorthand is that he is a solo artist and the drummer for the St. Louis, Mo. band Middle Class Fashion. (Both projects feature the same personnel, but the instruments they play vary depending on which act it is.) Also, he is the host of Matt F Basler's Podcast.

While that intro paragraph would give the gist for most, it is patently insufficient here.

For example, Basler once performed the Santana & Rob Thomas song "Smooth" 22 times in a row at a 2019 concert.

"The show was 20 for the 20th anniversary of the song, and then we did an encore two for the encore," he recalled. "We did do it 10 times first, two years before that. I think we did it 10 times for no reason."

Though the 1999 single was a commercial success and won two Grammys, it's become a favorite in the world of internet memes (and Thomas, himself, has played along).

In 2017, Basler did a show where he performed singing and playing acoustic guitar, but in between each song he would eat a hot wing, each one hotter than the last. And while performing, he can be seen wearing a retro blue jean jacket and tight gold shorts and no shirt. So is that the real Matt F Basler?

"I don't know. I had never thought about it. Well, let's see. Is it a persona? I guess it has to be, right?"

His performance art and humorous branding decisions (like his colorful website and publicity photos) might give the impression Basler considers himself a comedian. But, not only has he found standup comedy is not for him, he doesn't even use humor in his songwriting.

"It's just not a thing that interests me that much, to write, like, a funny song," he said. "I don't think I would write very good funny songs. I think I write good serious songs."

His most recent two are called "Waste of Time" and "I'll Try and Think of You," which are available now on streaming platforms.

The latter track came about after Basler witnessed a fatal car-wreck from his front porch, and he began wondering about the levels of sadness people experience.

Contrasting the humorous with the sincere, in his overall output as a creative, makes Basler quite a unique artist. And it's clear it's not a marketing strategy that's coming from a dishonest place. Despite some level of persona, this really is him.

"I'm just throwing things out, and however other people interpret it is fine," he said.

Basler said the internet age has given artists more freedom to show different sides of their personality, which is culturally different from the early-'90s.

"I feel like if Eddie Vedder made a goofy TikTok when they were putting out "Ten," it would have been like 'whoa, no, I can't listen to this anymore,' but now there seems to be a bit of more freedom to just kinda do whatever you want."


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