Saturday, December 21, 2013


Matt Backer is an American guitarist and songwriter, which has played with some of the best bands and single musicians in the world, including Joe Cocker, Sinead O'Connor, Cher, Elton John, Alice Cooper, Bob Geldof and many others.
He also composes music for ads and soundracks, including "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". 
Here's our interview! 

GuitarNerdingBlog: Hello Matt and welcome to Atoragon's Guitar Nerding Blog!

Matt Backer: Hi Atoragon!

GNB: Tell us about your career. By visiting your website ( ) it appears that you've already had an impressive career, and have played with a lot of stars, included Alice Cooper (which is one of my all-times favourite artists), Elton John, Sinead o'Connor, Joe Cocker and many more.
Which are the ones that you consider your career highlights? Which are the artists that influenced you the most? Is there still some collaboration that you'd wish to do?

MB: I've enjoyed working with them all in different ways - you'll get different inspiration from Tony Hadley and Martina Topley Bird and ABC, but all good. I'd love to collaborate
with Bowie!

GNB: I've heard that you are a guitar collector! Tell us about your love for this instrument and about your favourite models!

MB: I'm in the studio playing my 50's Les Paul right now. I have a 1963 Stratocaster that I love, a 1933 National, a 1946 Gibson LG 1 and many others.

GNB: What do you think about the state of the music business? What are your thoughts about today's underground and mainstream music scene? 

MB: There will always be good independent music. I think the mainstream business is struggling.

GNB: What do you think about the digital music distribution? And what about the file sharing? How do you think the music business will evolve in the future?

MB: Digital is the future, but if we don't find a way to reward creators, there will be no future of the music business.

GNB: Let's talk about live music! Which have been the best gigs you have ever played? Do you consider yourself more a live musician or a studio one?
MB: There have been many. From Perugia at midnight with Sarah Jane Morris to Primo Maggio with Julian Lennon, Singapore Grand Prix with Banarama... all good. Live and studio feed each other.

GNB: Tell us some funny story: which one has been your best/funniest experience as a musician? And your worst one?

MB: One and the same. The time when I was joking with the singer, Suzanne Rhatigan by playing the guitar behind my head. She pulled my trousers down... And took my
underwear as well!

GNB: Since many readers or our blog are interested mainly in the technical side of the guitar world, can you tell us your studio and live equipment? Can you tell us about the recordings of your latest album?

MB: It varies enormously. As airlines have made it more difficult to travel with equipment, I've had to scale things down. When I flew to Key West the other week, I threw a Boiling Point and a T.RexReptile 2 in my suitcase because I knew the lovely Darryl Brooke at The Grateful Guitar was going to lend me his beautiful 1957 Telecaster. The cost of flying my GigRig pedalboard would be prohibitive, so I can only use that when things are being trucked. In those situations, I like to use
two amplifiers, particularly if there is 80's splang involved. I use an old Boss GT 5 - I have 4 of them with specifically whooshy 80s-tastic sounds programmed in. 
I normally have an early 90's Fender Vibroverb and late 60's Vox AC30 for those gigs - they warm up the digital side of things. 
I have a Fender Master Built Custom Shop Strat which lives in the truck (with a Flying V as a spare)

The nature of the gig determine the nature of the gear. 
I used my 50s Les Paul through a TwoRock amp I have under the stairs (like Harry Potter, only different) the other night. 
I used a 1950s Maestro amp (with a 4x8 cabinet) on stage and in the studio with Rumer. 
Most of that stuff was done with the 1959 Gretsch Jet Firebird or 1963 Fender Strat that are pictured on the front and back cover of "Idle Hands" I used the Strat and my 1933 National Steel on Laura Mvula's album.

Most of "Idle Hands" was recorded in London. 
We had a variety of amps and guitars - my Matchless Chieftain, Ian Shaw's Blackstar Artisan and 1970s Marshall Combo, my 1949 Fender Deluxe. 
Ian's Gretsch Electromatic got used a lot, as did the old Strat and the 1963 SG you can see in the "Man Who Stole My Life" video. 
Acoustics include Taylor 6 and 12 strings, my 1957 Martin 0017 and Ian's Guild whatever it is.
"I've Fallen" was recorded in LA. 
I had my Bastardcaster, and Gibson kindly lent me an arsenal of acoustic and electric guitars. 
Phil Jameson lent me a Matchless combo - I can't remember which model. 
"All That You've Wanted" was recorded in Julian's studio in France using...gasp...a Line 6 guitar through a Pod! Just goes to show. 
Ian, Julian, Grant Ransom, Julian Simmons and Tom Weir all make me sound good.

GNB: Is there any advice that you'd like to tell to our fellow guitar players?

MB: Play what you feel.

GNB: What does the lyrics of your songs talk about? Do you think that on a song it's most important the lyrical side or the musical one?

MB: I like both live and studio, one serves the other.

GNB: The interview is over! Tell us about your latest album, projects and tours! 
Thank you very much and we hope to see you soon live!

MB: I've just been nominated in four catagories by the Independent Music Network.
Favourite Single for Let's Art, Favourite Video for Let's Art, Favourite Male Artist and Favourite International Artist. 
Awards will be announced the second week of January 2014.

I contributed to Everything Changes by Julian Lennon. I spent eight years as Julian's band leader and he and I are good friends. I also contributed to his new video project "Through the Picture Window".

I'm finishing a new blues record with my producer Ian Shaw at Warmfuzz Records in Key West Florida. Hopefully be putting the finishing touches on it January 2014.

I'll be touring in 2014 with ABC and doing solo shows in and around London. You can keep up with me via facebook at twitter at @mattbackerworld,
reverbnation at and my website is now being update very regularly at
Thank you!

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