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Matt McJunkins

Nov 1, 2019

Matt McJunkins picked up his first bass at 13 years old and hasn’t looked back since. After attending Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles, McJunkins has gone on to contribute to a diverse set of projects across the rock scene, including current supergroup A Perfect Circle, Ashes Divide, Eagles of Death Metal, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and Puscifer. In this episode, we speak to McJunkins about going to school for music, the backstory of his most recent band The Beta Machine, and much more.

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Transcript

Speaker 1:
Welcome to an Ernie BallPodcast. It starts now.

Evan Ball:
Hello, this is Evan Ball. Welcome to Striking A Cord, a podcast presented by Ernie Ball. In today's episode, I'll be speaking with bass player Matt McJunkins. We discuss how Matt landed the job playing bass for Ashes Divide, a band led by Billy Howardel, who is also the guitar player and founding member of A Perfect Circle. Matt eventually also joined A Perfect Circle, which, of course, is fronted by Maynard, the singer of Tool, who also has another band Puscifer, which Matt also joined. So, we need to figure out what Matt's secret is.

Evan Ball:
Luckily, Matt's going to give us some tips on making it as a professional musician. We'll also get the backstory on his band, The Beta Machine, which he founded with drummer Jeff Friedl. We'll also discuss going to school for music. If you get to schooled in your instrument, do you run the risk of losing your mojo? Matt's got some thoughts on that. Matt will also talk about growing up playing music in the desert. He'll give us some music recommendations and much more.

Evan Ball:
So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Matt. McJunkins. Hi, everyone. I'm here with Matt McJunkins, bass player of A Perfect Circle and The Beta Machine. He's played with many other bands, Puscifer, Eagles of Death Metal, Ashes Divide, 30 Seconds to Mars. Matt McJunkins, welcome to the podcast.

Matt McJunkins:
Thank you very much for having me.

Evan Ball:
I'd like to start in the beginning, when did you start playing?

Matt McJunkins:
I was born.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, how did your grandparents meet? Yeah. So, when did you start playing bass and how did it come about?

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah, so I started off, I was a drummer. My older brother, Eric, got into playing drums. I think, for him, it was maybe during junior high school, I think, is when he got into it. So, this is out in Palm Springs, that's where I grew up for the most part. So, he got into it, he just dove in. He was in drumline and doing the whole thing, playing in all the bands that you could play in school, in middle school, Raymond Cree Middle School. And he had this really good friend, Andy Fraga Jr., who is an amazing drummer, so they were drum buddies. They're just fucking... They were just super into drums, super into music, and Andy comes from a very musical family. So, I think, my brother Eric was around that a lot.

Matt McJunkins:
So, that just rubbed off on me, and I was like, "Oh, that looks fun." Like, "My older brother doing stuff, playing music." I've always been super into music since I remember being like five years old hearing The Beach Boys in the car and just having this... There was some sort of unattainable magic to it, it seemed so... I don't know. It just affected your mood, the happy songs make you feel good, the sad songs make you feel sad. I've always felt that way. I've always been very affected by music quite easily. So, I think it was just a natural... And both my brothers and my mom and everyone just listened to music all the time. It's always on. We're always talking about stuff. They're always talking about shows they had been to or my older brothers were like, "Yeah, this new record came out!"

Matt McJunkins:
I remember my oldest brother, Danny, came home with Hysteria by Def Leppard, and that was the first CD that I ever heard. And he had a little boombox, and I just remember looking at it and looking in the liner notes, it looked so futuristic and sci-fi and like... Of course, I was very into Star Wars, and still am, and so there was a connection with like that sci-fi thing. I don't know. I was just like, "Oh, you can make this music that affects your emotions, but also have this cinematic quality to it." It seemed so larger than life.

Matt McJunkins:
And then, MTV being a big influence because then there's fucking music videos on all the time. You see these people on stage, like the live videos, or you see them just like... Not only are they playing music that you like, and it affects you at an emotional level, but also they fucking look cool and you're like, "I want to do that." I mean, I don't think I thought of it in such a clear way at the time, but it certainly rubbed off on me, and I was always very much into film and television, as well. And I think, maybe, there was a time where I... I never really considered getting into it, but I just enjoyed it and I think I could have gone down that road, maybe to... I don't know, do something in film. Maybe try to fucking camera man. I don't know. Director or a writer or something. Probably not an actor. I don't think that's really in my wheelhouse.

Evan Ball:
But you had this artistic impulse?

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah. There was something about being around that, creating something that affected people.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Matt McJunkins:
Going back to the thing with my brother, so he was playing drums all the time and so I did the same thing. I ended up getting into the school band like sixth grade, so middle school, same school, Raymond Cree Elementary. Raymond Cree Middle School, sorry. And yeah, I really enjoyed it. I was like, "Cool. I get to be around music all the time." And it was in school, too, and school's so fucking boring. And you're like, "Oh, thank God I could do something that's a little bit of fun here, other than playing basketboll... Basketball. Basketboll?

Evan Ball:
Basketball.

Matt McJunkins:
Basketball, basketball. Yeah, he played a bit of basketball. Playing basketball at lunch or a recess, PE or shit like that was fun. But I don't know, I didn't really enjoy the school aspect of school, but if I could go every day and get to play music, then it just the pill a little harder or easier to swallow.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Matt McJunkins:
By the time I got into high school, I just kept going. Actually, no, but yeah, by eighth grade, that's when I got my first bass. It was for my birthday. So, around that time, or just before my brother Eric had gotten his first drum set, and that was a big deal. They were like, "Yeah, you're in school band, you're playing in the marching band, you're doing all that stuff." Like, "No, I have my own fucking drum kit." And so, I would just sit there with him while he's playing drums. And then, once in a while, he'd be like, "Yeah, I'll show you how to play this ACDC beat or this Def Leppard beat or something." So, I would play for a little bit and like, "Yeah, cool. This is kind of fun." And then, it's his drum kit, so he would get, "All right, get off the thing. I'm going to sit in there and play."

Matt McJunkins:
So, it just got old pretty quick. I think that happened a handful of times. I was just like, "Uh." I think I was probably complaining about it. And my oldest brother, Danny, he was like, "Well, why don't you play something else so you guys can play together?" I was like, "Oh my God, that is the most genius thing that I..." I just didn't think about it. I was just like, "Oh, well I'm playing drums and play drums in school all the time. I guess I'm a drummer. That's what I'm going to do for awhile until I get tired of it."And then I realize, "Oh, yeah, it could be fun to play something else." But I had never considered playing another instrument. The thought never crossed my mind. I was 13 at the time or about to turn 13, and so yeah.

Evan Ball:
I'm kind of curious about growing up in the desert. So, desert, we're talking Palm Springs area, so inland of LA Palm Desert, Coachella.

Matt McJunkins:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.

Evan Ball:
So, with the success of bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal, it's put that area on the map.

Matt McJunkins:
Sure.

Evan Ball:
I hear things like [inaudible 00:07:52] desert rock, the desert scene. So, I'm wondering those guys being a little bit older than you, as you were growing up, were you aware of a scene or like a buzz around certain bands in that area?

Matt McJunkins:
Not until a little later. I do remember hearing some of those names like hearing Kayas tossed around, and stuff like that.

Evan Ball:
Which was Josh's previous band-

Matt McJunkins:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right. Yes.

Evan Ball:
... before Queens of the Stone Age?

Matt McJunkins:
Yes, before Queens, yes. Exactly. And I think I wasn't hip to the the generator parties and all that. That's sort of the lore and all the coolest shit that was going on. I was just like, "I don't know." I was just in school being a kid and working on my own stuff. I don't know. I fucking wish to God I would've known about that stuff or could have found out about it some way and gotten into that at an earlier age. Because I missed out on it while it was happening and got into it later on.

Evan Ball:
Was there still kind of a scene in your [inaudible 00:08:51].

Matt McJunkins:
I guess so. I mean, by the time I graduated high school, Queens was already... Songs for the Deaf was out. They were already out of the desert. The Kayas wasn't a thing. Queens had already developed into this fucking rad, big, bigger thing. So, what the desert scene, as far as local bands at the time was, it was just buddies of mine that I went to high school with and stuff. But not any bands that really ever broke out of that and not part of that scene, not part of the desert scene that you're referring to.

Evan Ball:
And it gets a little extra buzz. You have festivals, Coachella [crosstalk 00:09:35]

Matt McJunkins:
Now, well at Coachella-

Evan Ball:
... obviously.

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Who?

Matt McJunkins:
Check please. Yeah. Yeah, and at the time, I didn't know about any of that stuff. Coachella, I think the first year of Coachella was '99, I think. And I graduated 2001 from high school, and I moved out the next year. So, I never went to Coachella. I mean, I never went to the festival at the time, and it was a big, new thing, but it wasn't, obviously, it wasn't what it is now. So, yeah, there was buzz around it and stuff, but-

Evan Ball:
So, was that not a hometown connection when you played with Eagles of Death Metal?

Matt McJunkins:
No, I didn't know them from there at all. Yeah, it was just the connection... Well, I guess, knowing Troy Van Leeuwen, that was the connection, Troy boy. Yeah, through playing with A Perfect Circle, and actually, even before that, play with Pusc... Actually before that, playing with Ashes Divide. That was probably the first connection because Troy, being in A Perfect Circle back in the day-

Evan Ball:
I want to backup a little bit. Before you got in those bands, you actually moved out to LA from the desert to study music?

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah. Towards the end of high school, it was very clear in my mind that that's what I wanted to do, is either Berklee in Boston or MI in Hollywood. And fucking Berklee's cold. I mean, Boston's cold, and it's far away. And I knew that, if I just moved to LA, it was only a couple hours away, and I could be closer to home in case I fall on my face, for one. In case I move and I go to music school and then what? Then if things don't work out, it's like an hour and a half drive from home, so it's not that bad. Whereas, being in Boston, I think I would've felt a lot more isolated and just didn't really know... And I had my buddy Andy, same Andy Fraga Jr. who's good friends with my brother the drummer. He lived in LA at the time, so I was like, "Okay, at least I know one guy. At least I know one guy out here in this fucking massive city."

Evan Ball:
What are your thoughts on formal schooling? Do you think there's advantages in perfecting your craft theory or just networking?

Matt McJunkins:
Sure. Yeah. I mean, if you have the time and the money or you can get a scholarship or a grant or something, whatever. If you have the means, and the time, and you're serious about music or serious about anything, why not? Why not? Because what better way to just jump into it? If you want to be a filmmaker, go to a fucking film school. You want to be an artist, go to an art school because not only are you receiving the information and getting the advice, you're also getting the experience, you're working with other people, you're learning just from your peers, also your teachers. Being in an environment where everyone was trying to do that, but also everyone's being supportive because they understand that that's what you're trying to do. It was very inspiring to be around other people.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, and your immersing yourself.

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Matt McJunkins:
Being around other people that are doing the same shit that you wanted to do, I think is very helpful, very inspiring. I highly recommend anyone who's serious about... Or maybe if you're not sure if you're serious, try doing it and see what happens.

Evan Ball:
What if someone says, "I don't want to get too schooled because I'll get homogenized and lose my edge"?

Matt McJunkins:
Then they shouldn't go, but that's bullshit. And that's okay, too. I think... Homogenized, Jesus.

Evan Ball:
Yeah, I think I heard that somewhere.

Matt McJunkins:
No, no. It's true. I just scoff at those things because you're still going to be you. Your taste and your choice as a musician or an artist is the most important thing in a person in anyone who's creating anything. That's the biggest thing is just your tastes, the choices that you make, the skills that you learn, the information that you absorb, the experience you absorb, all that's going to affect what you are capable of or what you might choose to do. But the most skilled person can still make a piece of fucking garbage if they have poor taste or what's considered to be poor taste to someone else. It's all subjective anyway. So, no, I think having training is-

Evan Ball:
You're still you.

Matt McJunkins:
... better. Yeah, exactly.

Evan Ball:
A bigger toolbox means more connections.

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah, exactly. You just have more skills. You can still write the same music, and you can make a choice to play a certain way, even if you know how to not play that way. It's not going to force you to do anything. It's still a choice. You can still decide later on to like, "Ah, fuck it. I don't want to do that." Yeah. Anyway, it's great.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. So-

Matt McJunkins:
What are are we talking about? Where am I?

Evan Ball:
So, let's see, so Ashes Divide, was that-

Matt McJunkins:
[inaudible 00:14:43] on a journey. [inaudible 00:14:45] mention.

Evan Ball:
Is that your, maybe not big break, but your ticket in to playing professionally?

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I'm very, very, very grateful for that. And that's with Billy Howardel from Perfect Circle, as well. That's his band. And yeah, absolutely. I mean, I played... So, after I went to music school, I was in that same mode that I had been in previously. It was like, "Okay, I have all this information, I have all these new skills. What the fuck am I going to do with them? Well, I have to pay my rent. I have to live. If I want to keep living in LA and I don't want to go back home and move in with my parents, I need to survive somehow."

Matt McJunkins:
So, I just started playing with whomever I could. Just go on Craigslist, like, "Who's hiring a bass player Because that's what I do now." Like, "Oh, I guess I'm a professional bass player. Someone needs to pay me to play gigs." And in doing that, I learned a lot of shit and got better, and I just kept playing with bands and also some original bands that I had joined at the time. But that was tough because if I spent a lot of time playing with those people than I literally would not be able to pay my rent. So it was like, I had to keep making these choices of like, "Okay, do I want to focus on this artistic creative side, but I will literally starve or have to move back home." And I was like, "Well, I don't want to fucking move back home, so I'm just going to try to get by and play with people and get hired to do so," until I found myself in a position where I could be a little more picky about who I played with.

Matt McJunkins:
And that's why playing with Ashes Divide was such a big thing for me because I was already into A Perfect Circle growing up in high school and stuff. So, when that came around, I had already done some auditions through Barry Squire. He's the guy in LA that you call and he helps you find that stuff. Or if a band needs a rolodex of instrumentalists or singers or whatever, he's the guy to call, and he has been for years. And I got onto his roster through MI, pretty much. Ashes Divide came up in one of those auditions. It was like, "Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?" Or I think it was two days. I think I got a call in the evening, and it was like the day after the next day was the audition. It's always how those things are. It's the worst. It gets everybody. You're like, "Oh my God, I'm out to lunch. I got to drop everything and just go home, learn these songs, and just stay up all night and like..." If you really want to get it, that's what it takes. That's the dedication that it takes.

Matt McJunkins:
So, not only was that, the Ashes Divide thing, was the gateway into me playing with other bands that led to Puscifer and that led to A Perfect Circle. I think, in some roundabout way, playing with Ashes led to 30 Seconds to Mars. Because that's the other thing, too, is like once you do play with a band like that, people go like, "Okay, this guy's like... You can-"

Evan Ball:
You can rely on this guy.

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
He's a professional.

Matt McJunkins:
Exactly. Exactly. So, yeah, I made it through that process, and yeah. And that's kind of-

Evan Ball:
And that led to A Perfect Circle and-

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah, yeah.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Matt McJunkins:
Everything.

Evan Ball:
That's amazing.

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
Let's take a quick break, and when we get back, I want to talk about this awesome new band I just found called The Beta Machine.

Matt McJunkins:
Fuck yes.

Evan Ball:
Today's episode is brought to you by the Ernie Ball Axis Capo, featuring a dual radius design that conforms to both curved and flat breadboards, ensuring buzz free play. Quick single-handed operation allows for fast and accurate key changes. Available in four finishes, get your Ernie Ball Axis Capo at your favorite guitar store today. Check out the show notes for more details.

Evan Ball:
All right, let's talk about The Beta Machine. So this is a band that you play bass in and sing, and I'm assuming write most of the material?

Matt McJunkins:
Jeff and I write the material together.

Evan Ball:
Okay. So, Jeff's the drummer?

Matt McJunkins:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Evan Ball:
You also have another lead singer, female vocalist.

Matt McJunkins:
Yep.

Evan Ball:
So, you two and a guitar player. Is this how you're spending most of your time at this point?

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah, well, it has been the focus. That's certainly my priority at the moment, as it is Jeff's. We finished the record-

Evan Ball:
Called Intruder.

Matt McJunkins:
Yep.

Evan Ball:
Yep.

Matt McJunkins:
And that's like our debut. We put out an EP called All This Time in 2017, but this is like our first full length album. So, I guess, technically, it's our debut. When we started The Beta Machine, it was all very gradual and very... There was no like, "Hey man, let's start a band together." That conversation didn't happen until years after we started started working together, which happened at the beginning because Jeff and I had to help come up with ideas for Puscifer live show.

Matt McJunkins:
And so, Jeff and I started getting together and working on ideas and sending them to Matt and Maynard, and we sent a few, maybe... I don't even remember how many, but we definitely sent more than a couple and no response. I was like, "Oh shit. This isn't going very well." And then, at a certain point, we sent one idea and they were like, "Yes. You're on the right track. Fuck yeah." They were stoked about it, and we were like, "All right, cool." So, we kept going and trying to develop different ideas and send it to him, as a sort of a mailbox thing that we're doing. But in the meantime, Jeff and I, in doing that, we had played a bunch of different things together and were recording them, and we were like, "That's kind of cool. Maybe that thing doesn't work for this band, but it was...."

Matt McJunkins:
And we didn't necessarily keep a lot of that stuff. They were just little rifts and little just bass and drums, but we enjoyed the process of just working and creating together. Eventually, got to the point we're like, "Okay, well, these instrumental versions are kind of cool. What about vocals?" And we had a little list of people that we wanted to work with that were just maybe friends and people who were like, "Oh yeah, I can actually call this person and they would maybe want to try it if they liked the music." And then, the more we thought about it, the further down the road we got, we were like, '"This is going to be a fucking pain in the ass. what do we have, a different singer on every single song? Oh my God, that sounds horrible." Just the logistics alone of arranging the time that everyone's in town and available. And so, just to get it started, I went in the room with a bottle of Jack Daniels one time to muster up a little courage, and I just started... [crosstalk 00:21:38].

Evan Ball:
Had you not sung before?

Matt McJunkins:
I mean, I sing backup with other bands, but I'd never had been a lead vocal, never ever. So, lyrics, melodies, the tone of my voice, I had no idea what was going to come out. It was really, really scary. And so, I did it by myself. I just recorded myself, and I just just sang over these songs. I think Pictures was the first one and-

Evan Ball:
Great song.

Matt McJunkins:
Thanks, man.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Matt McJunkins:
Thank you.

Evan Ball:
On the EP.

Matt McJunkins:
Yep. Insert plug here. You can find it on iTunes, Spotify... Yeah, it took doing that, getting through that, having the balls to try and do it, and fail, but also, I think just coming up with just enough of a part that I was like, "It's kind of okay. Okay, Jeff, what do you think of this? It's terrible. I know it's terrible." He was like, "No dude, this is kind of cool. There's something..." I'm like, "Oh really?" We didn't have a lot of confidence because we just didn't know. We didn't know. The idea of starting a band after playing for so long, and so many other bands. It felt almost silly in a way, or like, "Are we really going to fucking start this whole process from scratch? Like, why? Well, because it's fun. Who cares?"

Evan Ball:
You guys definitely tapped into a good lane.

Matt McJunkins:
Thanks, man.

Evan Ball:
Your voices work really well together.

Matt McJunkins:
Thanks. Thank you.

Evan Ball:
Yeah. I'm someone who definitely struggles to find new music but-

Matt McJunkins:
Cool. Well, I'm glad you found-

Evan Ball:
... it's in the rotation now.

Matt McJunkins:
Oh, awesome. Thank you.

Evan Ball:
So, I'm kind of curious, the experiences you have with these different bands. I mean, The Beta Machine's got to be like your baby-

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah.

Evan Ball:
... but on the other hand, A Perfect Circle has to be super fun. You're playing these giant, elaborately staged shows. How do you think about your different bands?

Matt McJunkins:
I mean, yeah, they're so, obviously, different in those very obvious ways of the sized shows that we play, but I mean, yeah. I mean, you said it. It's like, yeah, The Beta Machine's our band.

Evan Ball:
So, how about this, does just playing bass seem really easy now in a live show?

Matt McJunkins:
No, no, it's funny because even like right now, I've been writing a lot, not necessarily for The Beta Machine, but just co-writing with some other people and collaborating and stuff. And in doing that, I ended up... Even with The Beta Machine, it's like this, I don't play bass a lot necessarily when I'm in the writing mode. Obviously, when we play live I play bass, but because when you're writing, or at least for The Beta Machine, because Jeff and I do wear multiple hats in the band, we're not just the drummer or just the bassist of just the singer, we look at everything and develop all the parts together. So, when you're writing and you're recording, you're not singularly focused on anything at...

Matt McJunkins:
You are focused on one thing at a time, but you look at the bigger picture. And I feel like that's... It's funny, they're both equally gratifying because it's quite a lot of weight to hold when you're the one deciding everything that happens from the music, to the artwork, to the tours, whatever, to just play bass, is, I wouldn't say it's easier, but it's just different the way that like, "Okay, I could just really zone in on just this one thing."

Evan Ball:
Thinking live shows.

Matt McJunkins:
And I sing backups as well with A Perfect Circle. But yeah, I can just focus on that one thing and how that relates to everyone else.

Evan Ball:
Who are your big influences?

Matt McJunkins:
When I first started getting into playing bass, what I was listening to at the time a lot was a shitload of Rush, Yes, Primus, a lot of that, I guess you can call it, progressive. Certainly, Rush and Yes. And I guess you could say Primus is progressive, alternative. I don't know what the hell. Some of my favorite shit. And obviously, bands where the bass took on a very unique role.

Evan Ball:
Sure.

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah. But yeah, Geddy Lee, man, the king. He's amazing. Yeah, he plays, there's intricate parts or whatever, but it's very musical and very interesting. And of course, being able to play and sing the way he did, I thought, that always blew my mind. I mean, look, you don't have to be an amazing virtuoso for me to think that it's awesome, but there's got to be something there.

Evan Ball:
You've got to be feeling it.

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah, there's got to be something that tells me that you give a shit. And I got that at a young age from listening to those players, absolutely.

Evan Ball:
How about bands today that influence you or that you like?

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah, today, I mean, changes a lot more. I guess I'm guilty of this ADD culture that we're in. I can't remember that last... Sitting down and listening to a record isn't something I do all the time. I just don't. I'm just busy. I don't have time to do that all the time. But bands that I will do, like anytime they come out with something new, I got really into TV On The Radio over the last several years, which I know they've been around for a long time, but I got into them later. Same thing with LCD Sound System, St. Vincent, a band called Mellowdrone, and also a Big Black Delta, it's the same guy, Jonathan Bates. Soulwax, love Soulwax [crosstalk 00:27:17].

Evan Ball:
What if we made you choose three albums to recommend to our listeners?

Matt McJunkins:
Okay. Essential by Soulwax, Seeds by TV On The Radio. I love the newest Failure record. I thought that was great. Listened to those guys for a long time. Man, that's tough. Oh, Anderson Paack, his last record, Oxnard.

Evan Ball:
So, do you have any advice for people that want to get into the music industry?

Matt McJunkins:
Quit now. Boom. Just kidding. I mean, the first most obvious thing is to ask yourself what it is you want to do and be very clear and very honest with yourself about why you want to do it and why you want to play music so that you know, just to make sure you're getting into it for the right reasons. Or, I mean, you don't have to do that right away, but I mean, if you want to consider it as a full-time thing and you're at that point like, "Yeah, I've been playing for awhile, and it's fun." And you're like, "No, I want to do this with my life," then you need to have this fucking... Don't just jump in and do it.

Matt McJunkins:
I mean, yeah, jump in and do it. But while you're doing that, try to have some kind of goal, some sort of like, "Am I doing it because I want to have this band?" Like I was saying, that was the same thing I was... It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. And that's still ever evolving. I'm always changing but at least try to have some kind of goal in mind, even if it's not 10 years down the road, just for this three months from now or something like... Just try and go like, "Okay, this is what I want to do now because I want to be doing this in six months or a year or two or whatever."

Matt McJunkins:
Another thing, this should be obvious, but be able to put in the work. If you give a shit enough to do something, then you should do it well. And especially, we're so lucky as artists, in any artistic field, to get to do something that we love, so you're already spoiled by doing that. If you earn a living doing something that you just love to do, at least work hard for it. And I think it shows. I think things fall by the wayside, you see it all the time with bands where you see their performances kind of... or the albums kind of, "Meh, I don't think they took this one very seriously." It shows. People can see right through that shit. It's very clear. And yeah, just putting in the work.

Matt McJunkins:
If you're going to be, this is kind of the same thing, but fuck it we'll call it another tip, if you're going to be a session person who's going to get hired to play in the studio or on tour with somebody, just be prepared. Be cool. Obviously, if you're a fucking nutcase or you have a substance abuse problems or anything like that, that's obviously going to be hard for somebody to deal with. But if you're cool and just mellow, you will find yourself working. And if you just are prepared and you put in the time, sounds so obvious, but people, you'd be surprised, that people just show up for big auditions. They're like, "Yeah, whatever," because maybe they played with somebody that was a big deal or something. They have some kind of clout, maybe. They'll go like, "Whatever. I got this gig. It's easy because I'm me." Fuck that. Guess what? It's not going to get you the gig because at the end of the day, especially if you have that attitude that's just like, "I don't want to work with this guy, this guy's a dick." Just be cool. Be humble.

Evan Ball:
I know we're short on time. Let me ask you one more. What kind of strings do you use?

Matt McJunkins:
Ernie Ball Super Slinky because they're the best.

Evan Ball:
So, 45 to 100?

Matt McJunkins:
Yes.

Evan Ball:
Okay.

Matt McJunkins:
Actually, use two sets, primarily, the 45 to 100s with The Beta Machine. Anything that's standard tuning or Drop D, for the most part. And then, the Power Slinkies with A Perfect Circle, anything that's... Or Ashes Divide, as well.

Evan Ball:
So, Matt, where can we find you? Where can listeners look up your stuff, follow you?

Matt McJunkins:
Somewhere over the rainbow and also online on all the things. I'm online. I'm on the line. I'm holding it down. Living it. Loving it.

Evan Ball:
All right. Good stuff.

Matt McJunkins:
Yeah, man.

Evan Ball:
Matt McJunkins, thanks for being on the podcast.

Evan Ball:
Thanks again for tuning into Striking A Chord. If you're enjoying this podcast, we would not object to a nice rating on Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thanks again to Matt McJunkins. This was actually the first podcast we recorded, so it was very nice of Matt to be the guinea pig. If you'd like to get ahold of us, email strikingachord@ernieball.com

Evan Ball:
Okay, so I think I'll probably introduce him [crosstalk 00:32:33].

Matt McJunkins:
The Human Torch was denied a bank loan. The Human Torch was denied a bank loan. Sorry.

Speaker 2:
[inaudible 00:32:39] webbed feet.

Evan Ball:
I actually do have webbed feet.

Speaker 2:
Do you really?

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Matt McJunkins:
That's not cool, dude. What the fuck, man.

Evan Ball:
It's cool. I don't think you were saying anything bad about him.

Speaker 2:
[crosstalk 00:32:48] you were arsonist [inaudible 00:32:49] it's good to know.

Matt McJunkins:
Better that you said that you have webbed feet.

Evan Ball:
Well, just these two. Yeah.

Matt McJunkins:
Better to have webbed feet than be an arsonist.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

Matt McJunkins:
At least he's not. It's no big deal.

Evan Ball:
Yeah.

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