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Thirty Epic Years of White Collar Crime

Thirty Epic Years of White Collar Crime

Thirty Epic Years of White Collar Crime

White Collar Crime present singer/songwriter rock delivered with purpose and memorable melodies.  Now celebrating their 30 years of existence, founding member Matt King and company has been known as the “Lawyers band” due to the chosen occupations from most of the membership.  With a revolving door of creative musicians and a vivid collection of tunes to tantalize the imagination, White Collar Crime has unveiled their latest album 30 Years In The NY Rain.  A collection of dazzling songs and live performances, 30 Years In The NY Rain is sure to captivate all whom encounter White Collar Crime’s spirited reveries.  Highwire Daze caught up with Matt King prior to their February 29th show at The Bitter End to find out a whole lot more of the Thirty Epic Years of White Collar Crime. Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in White Collar Crime, and how long the band has been together.
Matt King here. I am I guess the driving force of WCC, being the principal writer lead vocalist who started this craziness 30 some years ago. I keep things on the rails in all practical respects with substantial help from extremely talented people who have played in WCC whether it be songwriting, digital tech, marketing or something I can’t think of right now equally important.

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are based in Manhattan NYC! Over 30 years answering that question has varied–when we started out NYC was a focal point and our quirky band was on the bill in dangerous, shitty areas of the city where you could literally get killed with embryonic Spin Doctors, Curtis Steiger, God Street Wine, Barenaked Ladies, Tracey Chapman etc and as with all things there were golden periods and not so much–now the scene is just as creative just as vibrant as it does what art does in larger cities where economic forces collide–it has spread out from Manhattan to Brooklyn (Williamsburg) and now colonizing the Bronx– the physical reality is amazing but the struggle is more difficult–so the scene is edgier a little darker and creative about getting itself out there–no record company is scouting to sign and sponsor–so any night you can see anything–techno, classic inflected rock, singer songwriter, open mic, whatever–its just not in touristy places– more in questionable shitty areas—the more things change 😉

Is there any overall story or concept behind the CD title 30 Years In The NY Rain? I understand you’ve been doing this band for a remarkable 30 years…
30 years–the night we started the Berlin Wall fell to give a historic reference point. We never were looking to get signed–just former touring, recording guys and published writers who had gotten off the road but never let go of playing.  This is the 7th album–it is partly new recording, partly live and partly a handful of songs from years gone by–we have a bunch of friends on this as well which was fun too.

The concept? Well, you get to 30 years by the shark theory…keep moving forward–so that is the new part. We are a live, writing vehicle who only really functions as half of a dialogue with an amazing following we have–the stories we have shared together and with each other. So there are a few unvarnished let em rip live takes and the last few are from years past, feature players who pushed this forward, stories of NY, the glistening rain and the reflection of its magic–I think the thread of this band, those years and stories and city–its appreciation for being a part of its magic for so very long.

Select two songs from 30 Years In The NY Rain and what inspired the lyrics.
NY Rain–
New York is a magical place–I grew up here. Its like living constantly on a movie set and if you aren’t inspired by living here you might want to check to make sure you still have a pulse. Anyway, I love NY in the rain, the glitter on the street and how the light moves. The song is about that magic–romance blossoming in the night on the glittering streets during the New York Rain.

Reason to Leave–
A song that happened fast–watching someone close to me go through a situation–trying to step into their shows while giving some advice–don’t ignore people when they are going out of their way to tell you who they are. life is pretty simple–people know what they should do–it only gets complicated when its not what you want to do 😉

What could one expect from a live White Collar Crime show?
To be part of the ongoing party without feeling left out of an inside joke–quite the contrary. Very inclusive dialogue with a band that genuinely like each other, love what they are doing telling stories inside music that is all at once familiar and fresh. A good time for sure.

If White Collar Crime could open for any band or artist either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Nice question–different question from who you’d want to write with, have a beer with–its a synergy, spirit animal inquiry. I think 2 bands come to mind–the Counting Crows and The Gin Blossoms–the stories, imagery, melodic phrasing–the reliance on guitars colored by keys–fearless romanticism and sentimental notions without being cloying–always a sticky hook you remember–being on the same bill with either band we would deliver a great show for that crowd

What are you looking forward to the most about your February 29th show at The Bitter End?
There is a good vibe on this one–band did a really good show the last two times out–personally we have never been better and that says a ton becausee we really are a great family. Folks are reaching out online a bit so I am looking forward to a good crowd and a fun very upbeat party

White Collar Crime has become known as “the Lawyer band.” How many practicing lawyers are currently in the band and does it help you navigate through the legalities of the infamous music industry?
We were the lawyer band 30 years ago–all of us practiced at big firms–my principal writing partner Scott Warren is the last one still at a law firm doing very esoteric stuff–biomedical patent law in the Redwood City–I had a firm but for the last 15 years I have been in house practicing as needed for that business. Alan is still doing entertainment artist sportscaster representation—I think we don’t encounter a bunch of things or maybe we don’t feel it as part of any tension because its sort of everyday? I am the frontline for the band and for better or worse after all the years as a litigator doing solids for the music community (hey my landlord is giving me a hard time can you help sort of things) its a reputation of firm and fair.

What do you think has kept you so passionate about White Collar Crime for 30 years and counting?
Hard question–at different times different things–I guess that happens over any extended period–sometimes its obvious. a place you run to with people you’ve built an unquestionably safe place to unsafe things asking unsafe questions hoping for answers because that’s where you are. Other times, you’re in a passionate place and thankful so you want to share it with the people who inspire you–then there is the world in between–the band I think is a reflection of the lives of a number of passionate, very talented people–as I write the answer or try to it becomes clear…we keep each other going both musically and in life.

What’s up next for White Collar Crime?
The album is out Feb 29–booking shows to support that–do some PR–coordinating the various schedules is always a challenge so there will be a version of WCC folks see that is stripped down which is very cool in addition to the full bore band–with Scott in SF there will be west coast activity–let’s see where all of this goes. Things present themselves and we are pretty mobile surprisingly.

Any final words of wisdom?
I work with a bunch of younger writers and artists (teen songwriters etc) and we talk about things. I show them craft things I wish someone had been there to show 17 year old me–or I try to do that. They seem to distill into general concepts (not the technical stuff).

1. Life is around 90% about showing up–getting off the couch to go to your friend’s show/the jam/seeing your family or whatever–you don’t know what’s going to happen–maybe nothing–but go! I can’t begin to recount all the unexpected magic that happened from just me showing up

2. Be honest and give yourself when it comes to your art–people are great at knowing honesty and bullshit. Don’t “try” to write a particular thing. Create from what you feel and trust your audience felt or feels it too–

3. Think about and get ok with vulnerability. sure some will shit on you for it–but whatever…you need to hear that for possible constructive information–but remember and hold on to the notion there is no way for people to connect to you without it–

4. Don’t defend–listen. stop thinking about what to say when people tell you what they think about your stuff–just hear what they are saying

Not sure that is wisdom–but there ya go…

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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