DR. DAN MATRAZZO & THE LOOTERS
At 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9
Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $7
"I'm half Japanese and half Italian," says jam-band keyboard wizard Dr. Dan Matrazzo. "But I'm a redneck at heart."
Matrazzo's father is from Baltimore, his mother from Tokyo, and it was in that Japanese capital that he learned to play and had his first taste of success. "I was in a rock band - we had a few hits, I was on TV three days a week and I had nine girls chasing me every day," he says. "It was a whole different wacky world over there."
At the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he formed the band Winter with Steve Vai and Jeff Sipe.
Marriage brought him to Atlanta in 1982, and Matrazzo spent two years in the touring and recording band of blues legend Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. Eventually, like every musician who spends enough time in Atlanta, he fell in with guitarist and bandleader Col. Bruce Hampton. Matrazzo first played with Hampton in the Arkansas Florists (later the Aquarium Rescue Unit), and was a founding member of the Fiji Mariners, with whom he toured between 1994 and '99.
He made a "space funk" album (Dan on the Moon), and cut a jazz/bebop set that was never released, and has performed with the Allman Brothers Band, Drum and Bass Society and Widespread Panic.
This year, Matrazzo renewed a friendship with Joe Layton of the Richmond Hill band the Looters, and together they've started touring Georgia clubs.
As for his gear .... "I'm an old vintage player," Matrazzo explains. "I don't have enough roadies to carry a B3, but I have a D-series clavinet, which is made in Germany and it's got real guitar strings in it - it's like a guitar, but with keyboards. It feeds back and everything. And I have a 1968 Wurlitzer, which is the choice of electric piano for rock keyboard players."
Matrazzo hopes to eventually get back to Japan; he still has family there. "The Imperial Family used to stay at my grandpa's in Himeji," he says. "They would move around during World War II because they didn't want to get bombed by the Americans at their palace in Tokyo, so they moved them around constantly with their relatives and such. We were somehow connected to the Imperial Family."
GEORGE PORTER JR. & RUNNIN' PARDNERS
At 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10
Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $12 advance, $15 day of show
The smokin' hot weekend at Live Wire continues with one of the funkiest Big Easy bands. A founding members of the Meters (with Art Neville and Zigaboo Modeliste), bassist Porter has been the bedrock of New Orleans R&B and funk since the 1960s. In the early days, he was a seminal part of the city's studio scene, playing with Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas and Lee Dorsey, and over the years he's been called for session work with the likes of Paul McCartney, Jimmy Buffett, Patti LaBelle, David Byrne and Tori Amos. He's also done a lot of work with Grateful Dead alumni Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart.
The Runnin' Pardners include Brint Anderson (guitar), Michael Lemmler (keyboards), Khris Royal (saxophone) and Terrence Houston (drums). See georgeporterjr.com
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