Monday, March 25, 2013

The Preamble: A Personal Bio

My name is Matthew Sudduth.  I am a 28 year old college graduate with a BA in political science.  Today is my first day of seasonal unemployment.  I have been working as a Chairlift Operator and Rental Technician at Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area in Bloomington, MN.  I truly enjoyed the work I did there and being able to snowboard for free, but now I must search for a new job.  Additionally, now that I have extra time on my hands I have decided to start blogging about the local music scene here in Minneapolis, MN.  I have been involved with the music scene here for about three years now.  I could start with my entrance into the scene, but I think I should introduce myself first.  This will be a preamble about the musical experiences in my early life that form the center of my appreciation for music. 

I grew up in the southwest Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, MN.  My parent's instilled in me a sense of music appreciation from a very early age.  They mostly listen to either mellow easy listening, or upbeat fun music.  I heard music while growing up ranging from the classical music of Beethoven, beautiful old musicals like Guys and Dolls, and Jazz on one side of the spectrum to popular artist such as Enya, Tori Amos, and Fleetwood Mac on the other.  

In addition to having background music on regularly, my parents also started me into music with piano lessons at a very early age.  Unfortunately, I didn't appreciate those lessons nearly as much then as I do now in retrospect.  So, after battling my parents regularly about practicing piano, they finally gave up.  I had gotten pretty good, but I grew tired of practicing and my interest in it was waning, so my parents stopped paying for me to take lessons.  However, that was not the end of my musical education.  

Of course we still had music class in grade school then and I enjoyed those days.  I learned to play the recorder, sing, and play basic percussion instruments.  In addition to the school music program, my parent's got me involved with the internationally renown local youth coir Angelica Cantanti.  We sang wonderful choir pieces and traveled to fun places for performances.  I now relish having had the opportunity to be a part of a group devoted to music at that early age.  Beyond that, I have recently joined their new Alumni Choir called the Angelica Cantanti Encore Choir.  I have sung in four concerts with them in the past two years.  But back in grade school I grew tired of singing after a couple years and quit. 

When we started formal band class in 5th grade at Hillcrest Community School, I wanted to be a drummer, But instead, I was sorted into the trumpets based on my ability to buzz my lips when prompted.  Then, in addition to learning to play in the school band, my parent's bought me a trumpet and enrolled me in private trumpet lessons.

In junior high my world shrank as I became heavily invested in playing a litany of Nintendo 64 video games and neglected my friendships.  I became a loner, reclusive in my music and video games.  None the less, I had fun when I took jazz band in Middle School.  I attended a small, arts focused, alternative, Junior High School named Bravo Middle School.  

I was the smallest boy in school at Bravo.  Additionally, I was smaller than all but one girl.  I was the epitome of the shrimpy little kid who got picked on for being small and weird.  However, it wasn't because I was nerdy, but rather because I was a loner, that I got picked on.  But then I got involved with Swimming and Diving in my 8th grade year after the substitute teacher for one of my classes happened to be the diving coach for the High school I would be attending the next year, Bloomington Jefferson Senior High School.  I thought I would enjoy jumping on a springboard then flipping and spinning in the air and splashing into water as a sport and I did.  I know that is not related to music, but it was a formative part of my life that helped me become focused, athletic, and energetic through all my years.  In a way it also gave me some of the spatial recognition that I use when dancing at live shows.  It certainly influenced directly some things I did in my earliest years of dance experience, when I got into break dancing in High School. 

The first CD I ever bought was in Junior High.  I fell in love with the pop hit The Way by Fastball, so I bought their album All the Pain Money Can Buy.  Soon I had a small collection that included Weezer, Papa Roach, 3 Doors Down, Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Tori Amos among others.  Yes, as you might have noticed, the last artist in that list did not fit in.  I must admit, I took a few CD's I liked from my parent's collection when I was a child. 

In High School I took band class and joined the well renowned Jefferson Senior High School Marching Band.  Thankfully, the football marching band season didn't conflict with diving for the varsity swim team in the winter.  I was in Marching band every year I was in high school. Yet, I only dabbled with being an integral part of the band friendship clique for a short time my freshman year.  I remained mostly a loner during my high school years in spite of being active in a variety of additional extracariculars from the chess team to the Man Club (The Man Show was huge when I was in high school  The closest friends I had were considered "the dirties", think the "freaks" from the TV series Freaks and Geeks, but I literally never drank, smoked, or did any drugs. 

I began my high school music career in the freshman symphony band playing trumpet.  Going into my sophomore year I did not qualify to progress into the middle band playing trumpet.  I had no intention of stagnating in the same band, so I was planning to quit.  However, the head band director Doctor Orzolek suggested that if I switched to the Baritone Euphonium, which has valves similarly to a trumpet but plays in a lower range like a mellow trombone, I would be able to move up to the middle of our three High School bands, the varsity band.  I took his suggestion and progressed the rest of my years in High school playing the Euphonium.  

By my Junior year in high school I was in the highest band in the School, the Concert band.  That year we made a trip with the concert band to Japan.  It was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had in my life.  I had already taken Japanese class because I was heavily into Dragon Ball Z and other Japanese Anime at the time.  However, all that really gave me was a basic understanding of the culture, knowledge of their phonetic alphabets, and a few basic phrases.  None the less the dramatic difference I encountered in their daily life left me humbled by the awesomeness of how thoroughly our culture defines our existence. 

In high school my music interests fluctuated.  I started downloading songs on Napster and Kazaa when it was still cool.  Eventually I had a horde of techno remixes.  Later I found Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall Live which blew my mind musically.  I also got very deep into Radiohead's Kid A, OK Computer, and Amnesiac albums.  Both bands remain in my favorite bands to this day. 

After High School I went to the University of Minnesota Morris.  I didn't continue playing instruments in college.  I did however stay involved with music by getting a late night time slot on the college radio station KUMM.  If you are not aware of this station, I assure you they take full liberty of the various connotations related to their name. This included their catch phrase "we put KUMM in your ear"and their KUMM splotch logo.  It was as crude and sophomoric as any college student could hope for.  I occasionally took out new music from the walls of CD's they had, but mostly I brought my own music or played requests.  However, after a year and a half of college dorm life at UMM I dropped out and started working for a living.

Music fell out of my life's priorities until I started to get back into the local music scene about three years ago when I enrolled at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities to finish my undergraduate degree.  I moved into a house near dinky town close to the Minneapolis campus and that brought me into the proximity of focused musicians again.   I was soon drawn into the world of the local Twin Cities music scene.  But as I said before, that is a story for another time. 

1 comment:

  1. Please visit my website:
    Where you can listen to my debut EP album, SHADE. I would love it if you could write an album review or even just a song review. I'm a Minneapolis based, born and raised, artist.

    Thank you,
    ALI V