Interview with Matt Minglewood

Over the course of his career that started in 1969, Matt Minglewood has sold more than 350,000 records in Canada; has two Juno Award nominations; two Canadian Country Music Award nominations; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the East Coast Music Association; and Canadian Country Music Songwriter Of The Year Award for "Me And The Boys". With the recent release of his first solo album in several years titled Drivin' Wheel, a tour of Europe and two East Coast Music Awards Nominations, it appears Matt is now getting his second wind. This interview was done in March of 2000

GB- Why the ten year gap between albums?

MM- I was doing other things. I was busy playing a lot with my own band playing the country, touring back and forth. I produced a couple of albums, one for Summertime Review and one for Wayne Nicholson. I've been busy and haven't been idol. I just haven't been recording any of my own stuff.

GB- Are you getting much air play with the new album?

MM - We're working on it. They are playing the hell out of it in Sydney. It went to number one for about three weeks there, Q104 is playing it in the Halifax/Dartmouth area. It's being played in Saint John, Moncton but we're not getting anything in Fredericton though.

GB - Any possibility of making a video for the new album?

MM - We are talking about the possibility of that. It costs a lot of money to do a video. If you don't get air play on it then itís a lot of money out. It would cost me as much to do a video as it would to do a whole record. I went through that with the Promise record. They (Much Music) didn't play that hardly at all. That one did get air play as soon as the Country Channel (CMT) came on. They were looking for Canadian content and it was there, but five or six years too late.

GB- I understand your heading to Europe soon?

MM - We're doing a tour of Europe in a couple of weeks. Just a promo tour. We're looking for distribution over there and we think we will get it. I got distribution with the last two I did over there. It's just finding the right company. I went there after the Promise record, doing some promo work. Some TV and Radio. I did a TV show, a big rock show but I never had my band over there actually touring and playing. That's what we are gonna do this time, a lot of cities in Belgium, Germany and Holland. Playing outdoor free concerts. They say we will be playing for anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 people each night and there is a few club dates worked into that as well. The people I've talked to feel there is a strong market for me over there and it would be nice to find another one outside of Canada.

GB- Any plans to head to the US and has the Cd been released there?

MM - Not really, not as this point. The US is different, different that Canada even thought were neighbors it's totally different. I may go down there and tour. I may have a distribution deal down there through the blues market. If anything I think it's tougher now. It was pretty tough when I started with no industry so to speak. When I started, especially down here everything was in Toronto. I don't even think there was much in Vancouver at the time as far as record companies and things. It's changed today but everything is so visual now and all owned by conglomerates. It's mostly people putting a band together, good looking young people and getting songwriters and making a whole image package and taking that and selling it. There were no videos when I started really. I've been fortunate enough to have a fan base that's pretty loyal throughout the country, simply because I've toured it non stop. I got a loyal following that way. Now I get their kids coming out.

GB - What do you think about the ECMA'S ?

MM - I'm not a big fan of award shows of any kind but it's good for the industry in the Maritimes and it's helped to promote Maritime music. It's good for the business down here.

GB- Great Web site, did you have much input into that?

MM - That actually is all my wife Babs's work. She took computer courses, not web design but in programing and she just grabbed a book and learned it on her own and she works at it herself.

GB- Any plans on releasing the back catalogue on CD?

MM - The only one I have control over is the very first one, the red album which is out on CD. We just basically sell it at the shows and it's in music stores too. I've been trying to get my catalog from RCA and the CBS one. If I could get them I'd release them on CD format. Other than The Best Of.. That is put out by BMG and I don't have control over it. I'd like to buy the masters from the record company but they don't like to give them away.

GB- Do you think some day you may release a live recording?

MM - We do have a live recording made. After hearing it and seeing all that is involved if I was to do a live album I'd put a lot of work into it. Augment the band a little bit with a few players and sit down and really work it out and record it over a period of more than two days. You got to put it into different halls as one night a song will work and the next night it may not, so you have to record it over a period of time.

GB- One song on the new album, Black Spruce River, is written by Lennie Gallant. How did that come about?

MM - When he was writing it, it reminded him of me but he never recorded it. He has a demo of it and he played it for me and when I heard it I knew he was right.

GB- What do you think of the Celtic Music explosion now out of Cape Breton?

MM - I think it's great. As far as I'm concerned it's long overdue. That music has been going on for years and years down there and I've always been a big fan cause I grew up with it. My parents and my grandfather were all fiddle players.

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