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Artist Showcase: Matt Jaffe & The Distractions

Artist Showcase Spotlight on Matt Jaffe & The Distractions

Matt Jaffe & the Distractions are a trio of 18-year-olds from San Francisco.


Singer/songwriter/guitarist Matt Jaffe is something of a prodigy to Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison, who discovered the young Jaffe performing solo and decided to produce the bands music.


“I was a Talking Heads fan long before I found out that Jerry lived in the same Bay Area town as me,” explains Jaffe. “I was fortunate enough to get to know Jerry through an interview I did for a school project and through various chance encounters. One night he saw me playing at an open mic, doing some originals as well as the Talking Heads tune ‘(Nothing But) Flowers,’ and we’ve been working together since then.”


Jaffe has since been joined by bassist Sammie Fischer and drummer Alex Coltharp.


The band’s stripped down, angular edgy sound is influenced by the likes of The Clash, The Talking Heads, Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan.


“I think our sound fits under the umbrella of rock,” explains Jaffe. “But isn’t afraid to delve into folk, reggae and punk influence. I would say we have a slight retro bent to our music, but that’s less of a conscious effort and more a result of not using electronics or gadgets that would not be found in the live sets of my favorite bands from the late ’70s and early ’80s.”


Apart from Harris, Jaffe’s guitar influences include the likes of Mick Jones from the Clash, Billy Zoom from X and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.


His go-to guitar is the Fender Jazzmaster.


“I originally got interested in the guitar because Jerry’s engineer, ET Thorngren lent me his vintage Jazzmaster to use while recording,” explains Jaffe. “But after seeing it as the signature axe of another of my idols, Elvis Costello, my intrigue spiked. At first I thought it was just a great alternative to the more familiar Strat and Tele, but I’ve found that it suits my playing very well.”


Matt and his band are already something of a favorite around the SF Bay Area where they regularly play gigs at top venues around town. Currently, they’re working on making a recording that really captures the spirit of their live sound.


“We’ve done quite a bit or recording, but I don’t think we’ve quite perfected our sound in the studio, so I’m hoping that we will soon record what will be our first full-length release.”


Check out Matt Jaffe & The Distractions video for “Cosmetic Damage Blues.”


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