Who Says You Can’t Read Punk Rock? Interview with Author Matthew Ryan Lowery -By: Rob Smittix
Written by Staff on September 4, 2021
If you’re looking for a great read about the music business from the stand-point of a young band just trying to earn their stripes then Matthew Ryan Lowery’s newest book “Trouble Bored” is for you. It also will make a great gift for the music lover in your circle.
RRX: When I received the package with your new book Trouble Bored, in retrospect I wish I would’ve done one of those YouTube unboxing videos. Just opening it up, I was impressed with all of the little extras, it was a nice touch and the book has such a soft feel to it.
Matt: That’s exactly what it is, a soft touch cover.
RRX: Really proud of this book for you, tell us about the story.
Matt: The story is based on a bunch of small experiences that I had growing up playing in punk rock bands in the Capital District; all of the trials and tribulations that come with that. A while back I was interested in writing a screen play, the book started out as a screenplay. All of my favorite movies usually either take place in a day or a weekend… So I was trying to piece together this idea taking different stories from my history with bands and piece it together as a collage for a one weekend all-out banger.
RRX: That would be one hell of a weekend.
Matt: That was the premise for Trouble Bored. Started as a screenplay. I went through all of the learning process for that and it was my first attempt at writing fiction. I was happy with the screenplay but I had no way or ins to the movie-making industry, so I decided I would push out a novel with it, I added more and I’m pretty happy with the result.
RRX: I love the localness to the story as well, you talk about Rotterdam. I haven’t read many books that mention Rotterdam.
Matt: Yeah Rotterdam is a town nobody really ever mentions. I think if you’re from Rotterdam you tend to tell people that you’re from Schenectady. It’s rare enough you find somebody that can even pronounce Schenectady properly. And if I am ever out of town I’d say I’m from Albany.
RRX: And if you’re over seas just say you’re from New York or you could even say you’re from America.
Matt: If you want to.
RRX: I am aware of at least one other book that you’ve written.
Matt: I did, I wrote a book called Abominous. It was a collaboration I did with my friend Drew Kline who owns Bloodmoon Collective Tattoo in East Greenbush. He owns a brand called Abominous which is his take on abstract horror, usually black and white. I pitched the idea that I could write abstract narratives to go with his abstract art and by putting the two together it could create a Pandora’s Box type book. I want to make you uncomfortable while reading it, same as how some people are off-put by Ouija boards, they may not want to even touch it. So we did that and it went well.
RRX: But with your new book (Trouble Bored) I am so happy that the story revolves around music and the punk rock scene. After all you were in some pretty cool bands. Hijinx of course comes to mind.
Matt: My other bands were Radiation Squad & The Addison Boys (which both had members of Hijinx).
RRX: I imagine the book has some loosely-based experiences from from Hijinx?
Matt: Although the book is based on my time growing up and playing shows with Hijinx, it is certainly not a biography of Hijinx in anyway. The stories are based on true things that happened but I don’t want to get into what’s true and what’s not. There’s a lot of embellishment and creative aspects that make it work for the weekend tale that I am trying to tell.
RRX: Even The Bible embellished a little bit.
Matt: Well you know it’s fiction.
RRX: Right! Your book, your book is fiction.
Matt: It’s a fictional memoir, a punk rock American Graffiti or Stand By Me.
RRX: The main character 19 year old Grayson Winters. Could he be based on you?
Matt: Yeah, he’s a bass player and I was the bass player. He’s at a crossroads basically, the band can go far but also like so many bands they face roadblocks. How are they going to get it together? He’s starting to notice other members of the band looking for an out or a back-up plan, if things don’t take off. Grayson in the book much like I was in real life is a work-horse grinding, looking for shows, looking for label support and all of that. The conflict starts to become that Grayson doesn’t know anything else, what could the back-up plan be if there was one? And when do you kick that plan into action? Things are going well for the band but there’s self destruction at the same time.
When you’re in a band you might be at a show until 2AM because you’re waiting for the bar to get done so you can get paid. Then you’re get home, you sleep all day, wake up, go to work some dishwasher job and it looks like you’re slacking around. You start to face the societal pressure. Is this guy a loser or is he working his ass off?
RRX: Well that’s what’s great about the age of Grayson (main character), he’s 19. He doesn’t have a wife or kid or a mortgage to worry about. It’s the best age to chase dreams.
Matt: The guys end up getting a chance to get on a show with a huge band that they grew up listening to, a chance to play with their heroes. So they have to drop everything that they’re doing. Grayson has to round the boys up, get them in the van and get them a couple hours away for the show. That’s where we enter that territory, the real behind the scenes, meeting those bigger bands and getting to know your heroes or perhaps you shouldn’t meet your heroes.
RRX: Well we don’t want to give too much of the story away but I did want to make sure people knew where they could get their hands on a copy.
Matt: The book is available at my website matthewryanlowery.com, on Amazon and at the Barnes & Noble in Colonie Center you can find signed copies. I hope people give it a shot, I would love to know what people think.