Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Mysterious Matt Miller

Satan's Evil Twin, 4-song 7" EP
Chew Stick Records, 1991

Somewhere inside the unholy triangle of Gibby Haynes, Charlie Manson and Eugene Chadbourne resided The Mysterious Matt Miller, a one-shot 4-song 7" that was probably sent to every 25 cent fanzine in 1991. Four songs of pseudo-paranoid shock and schlock baby punk lyrics backed by manic strummed acoustic guitar and a white boy gutteral singing - perhaps what Jeff Dahmer, arrested in 1991, might have sounded like.

We still don't know who Matt Miller is although my money is one the guy who set up the original Internet shock-site ( a few years back that got geeks in a feeding frenzy. Besides, NPR Commentator Matt Miller has already denied any relation and I think we can rule out the bass player from Dreamwork indie ghetto band Sparta since this would be, like, a career killer to admit.

"I'm Going to Kill You" puts the infantilism of late '80s punk into an open mic night context. Way dated are "Let's Get AIDS" and "Amazing Disgrace" - what with refs to Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker and homophobic (probably pseudo but who cares) AIDs ranting, all those easy punk targets and anti-PC shock tactics from way back. But let's give Matt some credit for the clever "Goin' to Hell", about as good a summation of life in Lee Atwater's America. Substitute Ashley Simpson for New Kids on the Block and Desperate Housewives for "Steve and Marcy" (a Married with Children reference, I guess) and its just as current. And as Matt so rightly points out, at least in Hell they won't play Springsteen (or will they?). And anyway, if anyone deserves to go to Hell, its the guy for searing that image in everyone's mind.

But I have no proof he's the guy but Internet forensics (thank you, Wayback Machine) do suggest that the real Matt Miller morphed into a full-up Chicago band by the mid'90s and played shows with anarchist bands. Somewhere in the 90s, he formed a follow-on band called Catharsis and a record label (Fifth Column Conspiracy) that was releasing metalcore records as late as 1999 before it folded. Current whereabouts unknown.

"Goin' to Hell"
"I'm Going To Kill You"

The controversy (also here) tribute because we can never get too many variations of the original image
Wayback Machine's capture of Matt Miller's website


Anonymous said...

If you didn't know, Catharsis is one of the biggest names among CrimethInc's bands. CrimethInc. is an anarchist collective releasing books, music, magazines and they have a whole lotta revolution going on.

-Jari K.

Jim H said...

So, what are you saying? That he probably is the guy?

Anonymous said...

I have no idea. I just wanted to point out that Catharsis has been active after 1999 and the collective that has evolved around the band is alive and kicking.


Jason said...

everytime I see "goatse" I cringe.

Jim H said...

Sorry, JK, was being facetious, bantering, tongue in cheek... but your comment raises an interesting point. Do you think the FBI might be interested in bidding on this record?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I was vanity surfing and stumbled across this. How in the hell did you get my record?
To help clear up a few things you mentioned, I was never in a band called Catharsis, what sounds like "Steve and Marcy" on the record is actually "Steven (or is it Stephen) Morrissey", and I don't know nothin' about any goatsex.
Your comments are more than fair - I was never terribly happy with the way the record came across compared to the live shows. The record sounds a lot meaner than I had hoped, although the brainlessness level is about right. My original intention was to show that it's possible to offend just about anybody without resorting to obvious dirty words - it wasn't my intent to be anti-PC for its own sake. The stuff on the record was written during the heyday of the PMRC - a scary bunch in my view and I clearly wasn't alone on that score. Unfortunately, I wasn't the most sophisticated writer in the world - oh well, I did the best I could. As far as "Let's Get AIDS" and homophobia goes, I think at the live performances, the feel of the song was a little different and the make-up of what little audience I managed to attract supported my contention that it wasn't meant as a homophobic rant. Eventually, I got sick of dealing with the rockhead types who thought I was on their side, so I just stopped playing the song live. Besides, my gospel tunes "Jesus Probably Didn't Smell Too Good" and "The Devil is Comin' in Your Mouth (When You Lift that Bottle to Your Sweet Parted Lips)" were a lot more fun for people to sing along with. Anyway, it's been a long time since I've played any of this material, and finding this brought back a lot of memories - most of them good. So, thanks for including my record and thanks for bothering to comment on it.
- Warm Regards, Matt Miller.

Jim H said...

Thanks Matt for clearing that up and sharing some background on your band. Are you still playing about?

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to get my hands on this record for quite some time. I had a radio show in the early nineties and I had this record, but it has gotten lost in one of my moves. I would love to even have the MP3s of the songs, but they seem to be disabled or the links are broken.
If there's any chance someone reads this and can help me out, please do.

Anonymous said...

I'm the Matt Miller that was in Catharsis and whose website was captured by the Wayback Machine...
I have the Satan's Evil Twin 7-inch by the other Matt Miller and took took an old screen name from that not knowing that the real evil twin of Satan was still running around, much less on the internet. I found the record in a store in Albany, NY and it was too much to resist.

Anonymous said...

I, too, had a radio show in the early 90's and this record just showed up in my mailbox one day. It was sort of in with a box from eMpTy Records that had been opened but I never really was sure where it came from. I played "Let's Get AIDS" and "Amazing Grace" relentlessly along with the other two songs on occasion. Never getting any response to this record just proved to me that nobody was listening. I wasn't a very good volunteer DJ so that was probably some of it but there was also the fact that the station had/has the worst FM signal in the country (why was it ever granted?) and almost no audio processing, leading to a thin, puny on air "sound". Anyway, I love this record and still do. I currently operate a 4 watt pirate station and this was one of the first vinyl records I transferred into the computer and put into the iTunes automation that runs the station. Unless the real Matt Miller objects, I will happily send a CD-R of these songs just for the asking. And Matt- any way we can get a copy of those other two songs you mentioned playing live?

Radio 33

Anonymous said...

Wow, I never thought I'd bump into another soul who shared my love for the Mysterious Matt Miller. Much like all of you, I had a radio show in the early ninties and played Matt to death on that show. I'm not quite sure how it all came together at this point -- it was so many years ago -- but I ended up corresponding with and talking to Matt over the phone and even attempted to set up a meeting with the Mysterious Matt Miller when I was visiting Chicago but it ended up not panning out.
Much as this would probably be to Matt's shegrin he was a great inspiration to my short lived musical career in a band called Nothing Heavier Than A Car on My Head. We even made a habit of covering one of Matt's other songs (not on this 7") when we played out.

On a personal note, Matt if you happen to read this again -- it's great to hear that you are still out there. If you feel so inclined, drop me a line. chris at teodorski dot com.

Chris Teodorski

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

Yes, I remember you. From Erie, right? Your cartoon of a preacher cookin' up a baby on the grill is still one of my most prized possessions. I'll drop you a line soon.


Anonymous said...

I'm from Alaska, so forgive me for not knowing there was anyone else on the planet that had actually heard of this guy -- or just be impressed that a copy somehow made it all the way up there.

Personally, I liked all the songs on the record. And if there's a better link for the mp3's, I'd love to get a copy. My record is sitting in a box somewhere in Anchorage.

Anonymous said...

there's some Elvis covers by Matt Miller at I think the same Matt Miller was in the cheezy-sleezy surf band the Go-Go Devils

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege to play on the same bill with Matt Miller a few times. He would walk in looking all Southern Baptist like with his acoustic and this big piece of plywood with belly dancer bells nailed to it which he would stomp on as he played. (you can hear this on Satan's Evil Twin) Veins bursting out all sweaty like. Fucking Awesome!! There was also a Matt Miller a 2 song demo cassette.(songs-Trashcan of My Heart & Love)
... goose step on your broken heart with it's bloody flag unfurled. The third reich of love with a heavy metal fist. it permeates the air you breathe, the food that you munch and like an iron fist in a spiked leather glove, that's love - from "Love" by Matt Miller

rudy de ventura said...

I bought this record in 1993 in the used punk bin of a store called Wild Planet in ventura CA. I took this and a few other gems home and played it not thinking it would be great but perhaps good. Damn was I wrong, I was played over and over again in my house. All my friends freaked out and loved it. Although I tryed writing to the label for more info and records for years even trying to get info to repress it but nothing till now. If matt Miller sees this, PLEASE CONTACT ME!!!! It is a classic which will be on a killed by death comp in the future for shure. I am glad some one else enjoyed this as much as I did. Now to find more copies for my pals, HMMMM.

Anonymous said...

I have known Matt for many years now and have played with him in two bands (the Go-Go Devils being one) and supported him solo. If you like the songs mentioned in this post you ain't heard his best stuff. Ugly Stick, Lesbian from Kankakee, Five and Dime... too many to list here. Our instrumental trash band, Go-Go Devils, truly morphed into something you'd hear on a Las Vegas Grind comp. Matt is a fantastic guy to play with and a really good guitar player. We've had alot of fun. We joke about coming out of retirement as a true middle-aged lounge band in jump suits like Don Knotts wore on Three's Company. Dare to dream!

OliveCorps said...

hi- i found this site cause I too, had some contact with the Mysterious Matt Miller. His song "Love" appeared on the mixtape a girl gave me in march '94 which got me in to the punk rock thang. I was surprised that there would be any connection with Catharsis.. but I guess that turned out to be bunk.
Where can I find more MMM songs / mp3s etc...
Also I am looking for a band called "Buried" a straightedge band from around or pre-94' they and a band called "NAR" were the only other bands on the tape that I have yet to find out about.
bradley adita

Anonymous said...

I started doing my radio show at WNHU here in CT. in 1992. I still do it to this day. When this record was first released, I used to play "I'm Gonna Kill You" as the intro to my show every week for many many months. Totally brilliant!!! I should get this entire 7" on CD and use that song now as an intro just to see if any of my listeners remember it from that time.

~Damon Lucibello~

Anonymous said...

Matt Miller!! OMG, I LOVE this record!! Found mine in a box of 7 inches in Nuggets in Boston Ma, waaaay back in 94, 95 or 96.. Over the years I have put it to tape, CD and now mp3, all from the vinyl copy, which I still have and will never sell.

I would love to hear more of Matt's songs or even talk to him personally.

Please email me at
metalmattnews at yahoo dot com
if you have any helpful info!

Also, someone posted the 7" as mp3's here:

-Metal Matt

Anonymous said...

WOW! i saw this guy about a week ago at an open mic. he played one song called 'pinkeye' about his mom. her doctor told her she had pinkeye but turns out its really cancer and she dies. it was crazy dark funny awesome! i sort of remember one line at the start that got my ear '...and the room smells like poo, yeah, all the comforts of home...' and it just got darker and funnier from there. i swear to god there were maybe 15 people there and by the time he was done half were in stitches and the other half were in tears. i will never forget it. he did his one tune and then took his guitar and left - not a word to anybody. i talked to one guy there who knew his name and thank god for google. the songs off the 7 inch are on emusic. anybody know if theres anything else this guys done?

Anonymous said...

Well, hey - looks like it's on iTunes now:

Anonymous said...

Got a demo tape of his from a friend who lived in Chicago around '91 or so. I loved that tape! There was a song about drinking a lot of coca-cola that got stuck in my head recently. Dismayed to be unable to find a copy of this anywhere! And now I have Jesus Christ Probably Didn't Smell Too Good stuck in my head after reading this.

Jesus Christ probably didn't smell too good, and he didn't use deodorant as often as he should
And he didn't wash his hair, and he didn't brush his teeth...

Damn, 20 years later and I still remember.

Anonymous said...

the ladys arm in the back of the picture belonged to the love of my life - his aunt. picture was taken in 1970. found a copy in with her stuff. she bought him his first guitar and loved him like her own. RIP Kathy - all my love, Roger.

Unknown said...

I love the internet. I had a tape of this album back in the day, it is still one of my favorite discoveries of all time.

There is a copy of "Lets Get Aids" here you can listen to online:
-as of 31 Jan 2014

and a place to download it here:

If MMM see this, or any other fan who has the tracks (or please god other work of his) send me a line at : alan.p.roberts @ I will happily trade just about whatever you want.

Anonymous said...

Ha! wow.. the internet is amazing. I was just idly searching for references to old friends and tried looking for Matt and found this.

"We still don't know who Matt Miller is..."

That probably is the real guy who responded in 2005 above. I performed with him on and off for a few years. I am 99.99% sure he wasn't responsible for goatse (though it never occurred to me to ask :), and I think the Catharsis link is a coincidence.

Matt was actually a really great guy. A clark kent sort of character... mild mannered brilliant electrical engineer by day... escaped mental patient on stage. You could not help but like him if you met him in real life.

Shock?... not so much exactly... not really just to upset people or get cheap attention... more just the freedom to be wack and sing whatever the hell you want to when people try to tell you what you can't say. anti-PC... kind of. "pseudo"-phobic... yeah.

He said something once that was sort of enlightening to me about the freedom of performing... I can't do it justice, his wording was simpler, but it was essentially something like, "you're the only person in the room with a microphone and everyone is listening. How could you not just take the opportunity to say whatever the hell you want to?"

He did play in various outfits in Chicago... at places like the Lounge Ax before it was shut down.
The shows were more fun/singalong kind of affairs than you might guess from the record.

He had good taste in music... Tom Waits, Screamin Jay Hawkins, as you might expect... and lots of different kinds of things too. He had the most easy-going wedding reception I've ever been to... just a nice garden café at night and lots of good old louis armstrong.

And he had a lot of other songs better than what's on the little album. I don't recall whether he ever released good recordings of them. I'm sure I've got a few rehearsal tapes in a storage locker somewhere... not sure if the quality is any good though. He had a couple of songs that I especially liked and I prodded him a little to try to perform them more "seriously" (I remember he'd wail so full out emotionally into the mic that it would start clipping and distorting and it was a dramatic effect that would give me shivers), but we would both always bust out laughing like kids if we tried to play anything "straight", so that didn't really work.


"lurch" said...

I had the privilege of hearing mmm as I sat right next to him on a friend of a friend's porch at a party in 91 or 92. I remember the stompboard with the tambourine bells. Mmm did hank snow's "ninety miles an hour down a dead end street" and my girlfriend at the time, who is how I met mmm, just couldn't get around me knowing all the words...but then,she was a leftist city girl living in a very politically and demographically odd neighborhood and I'm just a pseudointellectual country boy engineer biker on a white Harley...Matt, give me a shout if you want

soniklife said...

I came here because I randomly got "I'm Going to Kill You" stuck in my head my head for the first time in a long, long time and I was itching to hear it. That song always made me laugh. As a side note, I noticed that above a contributor to this string of comments, Damon Lucibello, posted about playing that song as the intro to his show on WNHU. Damon if you happen to see this I just want to say thank you for introducing that song and many others that helped shape my youth as I used to listen to your show all the time from my bedroom in eastern Long Island where the only sounds worth a damn that could be found on my radio dial were coming from WNHU.