Radio Station 106.1 The Pond
Nick Cook: Welcome back to , That was (song name) by (artist name) and I’m Nick Cook coming at ya live grin the top of Terminal Tower right here in downtown Cleveland, the home of Rock and Roll. And boy are you guys in for a treat this morning. Here with me in studio are very special guests Matt and Barbara from North To Port. How you guys doing today?
MC: Thanks for having us on Nick.
NC: Thanks for being here! You guys are in Cleveland to play a show, right? Where are you playing tonight?
MC: That’s right, we’re at The Tune Box this evening. The show starts at 7.
BG: We insist on starting on time, so don’t be late!
NC: Hey I know I won’t be. So this is your first time in Cleveland, but you’ve been touring for a few months now, right?
BG: Yes. We hit Cincinnati earlier on but this is the first time in Cleveland.
MC: Right, and it comes just as we’re rapping up this tour.
NC: You guys taking a break?
BG: A much needed break.
MC: Indeed. Don’t get me wrong, we like doing it, but I think we both could use a little space.
NC: Uh Oh! You guys aren’t getting sick of each other are you?
MC: No, not sick of each other…
BG: No, but we’re together all day every day.
NC: I’ve always wondered how bands could spend that much time together on tour and not totally want to rip each others’ hair out.
BG: Ha! It’s a good thing to consider actually. All you bands out there thinking about giving it a go.
MC: Yeah, it’s not always easy sharing close quarters for long stretches with no break.
NC: Right. I’d imagine that would be difficult.
MC: This has nothing to do with Barbara, everyone needs their space.
NC: So what do you do about it? I mean you’re performing, so you have to look excited to be together on stage.
MC: THAT’s not too hard to do.
BG: Right, that’s are favorite part, so we can usually get excited to perform.
MC: And it’s not like some bands who hate each other – it must be really hard for them.
BG: Oh yeah, Van Halen back in the day.
MC: Or Fleetwood Mac had an entire album written about their disfunction.
NC: Rumors right?
MC: I actually saw Van Halen in like 2010.
NC: With David Lee Roth?
MC: Yeah – that’s the only Van Halen. But when I saw them, on stage at least they looked like they were having a great time.
NC: And yet I heard the fought constantly.
MC: I think so, but on stage Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth were even hugging between songs. It was the damnedest thing.
MC: I thought it would be like eh, doing it just for the tremendous bank they we’re making, but it actually appeared they were having an awesome time. It was very cool!
BG: Wait…Eh was with them?
MC: No…(laughs), Nick, Eh is the name of our tourbus driver. He’s been around but not with Van Halen.
NC: Like, Eh “E” “H”?
MC: I think it’s actually spelled with an A with a line over it, but I’m not exactly sure.
BG: It’s not his real name, that’s just what he’s always been called.
NC: I see. How did you meet him?
MC: I knew him from college days.
BG: That’s like the first thing Matt said when we decided to tour…Eh would drive the bus.
MC: It’s something we agreed to many years ago, and I like to keep my promises.
NC: Ok, Eh’s on tour too, got it. So back to Van Halen and touring. You guys aren’t dysfunctional like them?
BG: Not at all. For one thing, I learned this from touring a lot. You need breaks. So we make sure we only go out for 2 months stretches tops, and then we take at least a month off from touring.
MC: Normally it’s even longer than that.
NC: That way you don’t get sick of each other. It’s a tried and true approach.
MC: I think if you do anything, the same thing day in and day out without any break or variety, no matter how much you love it, you’ll get bored.
NC: Makes sense. So what about while on tour. How do you guys not get annoyed with each other?
BG: Well, we both do different things.
MC: We have our different routines which I think helps, right Barbee?
NC: What are your routines like?
MC: Well Barbara is more of a night owl. I mean, I like night time too, but I like to get up early.
BG: Matt can kind of do both actually.
MC: I can a bit.
BG: He requires way less sleep than I do. What do you get, like 6 hours as night?
MC: Around there for the most part.
BG: And I could just… stay there…
NC: For how long?
BG: I don’t know, all day? I’m just used to the touring schedule from my old Pao days, I just never switched back.
NC: How late are you up until?
BG: Three or four, a lot of times.
NC: That is pretty late.
MC: Yeah, I can’t hang with that.
BG: Oh, you’ve tried.
MC: And failed miserably.
BG: Matt’s zonked out on me mid conversation before.
NC: Ah, Matt, c’mon man.
MC: It’s been known to happen.
NC: So what do you guys do when you’re up at different times.
BG: I usually play guitar, write, or do yoga, watch some shows. That type of stuff. My routine is a bit freer than Matt’s.
NC: What’s yours like, Matt?
MC: I have to be regimented or I lose all discipline. So my morning routine at least is pretty tightly controlled. Whether I’m on tour or not.
NC: So what does a tightly controlled routine look like?
MC: Every morning I have my hour of power. (Chuckling)
NC: Sounds serious.
MC: It sounds a bit cheesy I know, but it’s actually helped me out quite a lot.
NC: What is that, sounds like Tony Robbins!
MC: That’s the one!
NC: No, not Satan himself!
MC: He does have a big jaw.
MC: The idea is you always start your day the same way. There aren’t any hard and fast rules, but the goal is to make time for just for yourself.
NC: I make time for myself too, it’s just in shorter spurts and probably a lot messier.
MC: Ha! Well what I do is every day I get up, meditate, work out, and visualize my day. That’s pretty much it.
BG: He does it every day.
MC: Yeah, I realized that often I would get in the pattern of getting up and just start going right away. I’d eat, shower, and then start working. And probably many people do the same thing. They’re getting the kids ready, and then it’s off to work. I’ve found if you don’t make time for yourself, right off the bat, it just gets put off completely.
NC: I can see that.
MC: I know that if I didn’t start that way, I wouldn’t do any of those things later on. I’d just get caught up in my responsibilities and I wouldn’t take time doing things for myself that I know are important for my long term health and well being.
NC: Well it seems like you guys do have a vastly different approach. Do you find that causes tension? Would it be better if you were more alike?
BG: Not at all. I mean we share the music thing, we’re very much on the same page with that. But I think it’s Great we have different approaches.
MC: We were just discussing this what, a couple days ago?.
BG: Yeah. So, I’ve had experience with being involved with someone very much like me and it was a complete disaster.
NC: In Pao?
BG: No, actually in a relationship.
NC: Now we’re getting to the good stuff. What happened?
MC: They were exactly alike.
NC: What do you mean?
BG: Seriously, I cannot overstate this. We were exactly alike.
NC: Exactly? What, like you shared the same taste in movies?
BG: It was more than the same tastes, or even the same goals. We shared those too. We had the same sense of humor even. The same fears!
MC: Dirty sense of humor.
NC: Oh yeah?
MC: Mouth like a pirate.
BG: Don’t tell my secrets!
NC: What were these shared fears?
BG: (laughing) Well, long bridges for one. But it was so much more.
NC: Go on.
BG: We approached problem solving the same way. Often often times we would talk about something we were interested in doing. And then, unknown to the other, we would both research the crap out of it, and then surprise each other when we came up with the same conclusions. Our process was the same. We organized the same way.
NC: That sounds…kind of amazing.
BG: In many ways it was. We got each other completely.
NC: But you said it was a disaster.
MC: It was.
BG: Yeah, because we saw all the things we didn’t like about ourselves (slower) in each other.
MC: It was like looking in a mirror.
BG: I mean, we could appreciate all the good parts about ourselves of course. But what ended up happening was our shortcomings, the stuff we didn’t like about ourselves stood out in each other.
MC: Imagine if everything you didn’t like about yourself was playing out in front of you from the person you cared the most for.
NC: I can see how that would be unpleasant.
BG: It was horrible. I loved him, the same way I would love the good stuff about myself. But then I hated him for all the stuff that I disliked about myself.
NC: So what happened?
MC: It was like a comet.
BG: Yeah. We came in hot and heavy, and the end was an extinction event.
MC: You guys lived together right?
BG: Yes. He moved in after we knew each other for a few weeks.
NC: A few weeks?!
BG: I know, but at first it was like living with yourself. We were completely comfortable with each other.
MC: Until it became like living with yourself!
NC: How long did you last?
BG: Within about a month, I remember waking up one day just being completely depressed. Like, “What have I done?” depressed. We started fighting pretty quickly. And then we both sort of knew the writing was on the wall. I think within two months total we had gone our separate ways.
NC: I believe that’s hat the poets call the old flash in the pan. Do you guys keep in touch?
BG: Honestly, I wish we did.
MC: Ooo. Would Mark like to hear that?
NC: Who’s Mark?
MC: Oh, her husband.
BG: Probably not, but when someone knows you that well, talking with them really helps processing things. And just knowing someone gets you completely. I’ve never had it to that degree. And I’d love it if we still talked sometimes.
NC: So why don’t you?
BG: Well, I don’t think he’s forgiven me for our time together.
BG: It’s not like I wasn’t disappointed when it ended. And I certainly know many things I could have done better.
BG: But I see so clearly why it never would have worked. And I also know what makes the situation special though.
MC: You can see both sides.
BG: I don’t think he has that perspective. He’s had a lot of loss in his life; loss that I haven’t had, so I think that colors things for him.
NC: Maybe you should reach out.
BG: I definitely consider it. But the last time I heard from him was an email, and it wasn’t very pleasant.
MC: It made you a little gun shy.
BG: Yeah, but you never know. Maybe I’ll get up the courage and give him a call.
NC: Well thanks for sharing. You know a lot of artists that stop by are not as open as you guys. So thanks!
MC: You got it.
BG: You’re welcome.
NC: Alright that’s Matt and Barbara from North To Port. Check them out tonight at Tune Box, 7 PM sharp. Thanks again for stopping by.
BG: Our pleasure!
MC: You got it!
NC: And now hear’s Try To Contain It by North To Port.
~Matt and Barbee
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