For Matt Martin, abnormal is normal

Psychedelic class clown
By CHRIS CONTI  |  September 14, 2011

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HIS HOLINESS Martin busts a move.

Matt Martin currently performs with no fewer than five bands, including his latest solo venture of sorts, which he calls Psychedelic Clown Car. Under that new moniker, Martin plans to release one EP per week for 52 weeks straight. With more than 10 years’ worth of tunes backlogging his brain, the Psychedelic Clown Car is just the latest vehicle in which the Rehoboth local can dust off and kick out the jams each week.

Did we mention this guy is slightly crazy? (You should see his email updates, with no regard for spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or spacing).

"These recordings have been going around my circle of friends, and now I'm just pushing them a little further out," Martin said when we caught up earlier this week. Here's the deal: he releases a run of only 12 discs every Wednesday at the Apartment during his popular open mic jam.

"Seven copies are spoken for and the other five I sell for three bucks each," said Martin, breaking down his business model.

"It's extremely personal — if you like it, you know only a few other people own it," Martin said of the limited pressing.

"This is music that was not recorded with a 'purpose,' and that's probably why it's pretty good."

Martin just hit the two-month mark on his yearlong goal, and release #8, titled Hack, is every bit as off-the-wall as the previous seven efforts (streaming at sullyscafe.com), jumping from riff-thick stoner rock ("Rope," "It's Over") to smooth grooves ("Phunk") to random bizarreness (opening cut "Mr. Useful"). It's all business as (un)usual at this point, in light of his track record with Nawlins-flavored jump-blues trio the Wippets (voted Best Roots Act in our 2009 music poll) and the varied barroom rock tales spun with Lyin' Bitch & the Restraining Orders (who entertain every Sunday afternoon at Rusty's in Newport), the Goods, and Angry Farmer, who are currently working on an album with producer Barry Martin.

The Apartment's general manager, John Massed (the man to thank for implementing low-dough live shows on a weekly basis), agreed that Martin is slightly unhinged and highly regarded within the local music community.

"Yes, he's a little crazy as well as crazy talented," Massed noted via email. "He could be fall down drunk and still rip a vicious solo.

"And the talent he draws here on Wednesdays is amazing," he continued. "Some of the best musicians in Rhode Island stop by to join him."

Longtime friends/jam partners Ephraim Lowell, Lou Burbon Jr. (on the "manjo"), and "Washboard T" (aka Tony Depoto of the Wippets) round out the Clown Car crew, but you never know who will show up and plug in on any given Wednesday.

"It's a revolving door of nobodys and half-somebodys," Martin cracked. "It's like combining the right ingredients when making beer — until you get it right, it'll taste like piss."

For the weekly EP recording sessions, Martin usually goes the solo route, cutting vocals and "usually about 80 percent of all the instruments" at his home/studio/party pad in Rehoboth, "an old, haunted golf clubhouse surrounded by three graveyards on the edge of the Bridgewater triangle.

"It's great for jamming out and bonfires, but not so much for being alone," he said.

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