Talk The Talk With The Rentals' Matt Sharp, Part 1

Back to the future.

ATN San Francisco correspondent Clare Kleinedler met with

Matt Sharp, leader of The Rentals, last Monday (Jan. 29). Here is her report:

It's one hour before showtime and Matt Sharp seems a bit nervous. His band, The

Rentals, who will open for Blur tonight, had to speed through soundcheck and I

can tell that it's bothering him. He walks around the club with a worried look

on his face, making sure everyone in his band knows the time schedule. "OK,

warm-up in about a half an hour," he says to the others, trying to be heard

over their chattering. "In the bus, OK? About a half an hour, OK?"

Matt is

a perfectionist and an over-achiever. His other band is the very successful

Weezer, yet he doesn't seem to mind devoting just as much time and effort into

The Rentals. We meet in his dressing room, and he's figity. Sitting with his

hands folded and eyes focused on the floor, he looks a little like Dustin

Hoffman's Rainman character. Just as we're about to start, I notice that

something is still bothering him. He mutters something about coffee, but no one

seems to know where he can get any. I tell him he can buy coffee at the

restaurant upstairs, and I can wait for him to get some. He leaves and dashes

back in seconds later, coffee in hand, but still seems unsatisfied. I think I

hear him say something about cream or sugar as he darts around the dressing

room searching. After no luck, he plops down on the couch, defeated.


Sharp is the type who usually gets what he wants, and settling for anything

less doesn't come easy for him. He wanted to be in a band, and now he's got

two. If there was a trophy for the hardest working person in music, my guess is

that he'd have to be considered for the prize.

Here's the interview portion of the Rentals


Addicted to Noise: How long do you think you can keep up playing

in two bands?

Matt Sharp: I don't know...for as long as I can. I just want

to write some better songs and see where it goes from there. They're both

pretty much half-time gigs.

ATN: When you toured with Alanis Morisette last

year, you said you felt like you were playing to "her" crowd. How has it been

touring with Blur?

Sharp: It's good. We played Portland and it was really

great. I definitely think it is because the record has been out a little longer

since we played with Alanis. But I think that people who would come to a Blur

show would be more open to something that's not as straight-ahead.


The Rentals is a pretty good match with Blur?

Sharp: Yeah, it's great. I

like them a lot. I like just watching them. It's really nice to tour with a

band you can watch and respect and I think there's some mutual respect for each

other on this tour. It's cool to know the people you're touring with are

watching and all that.

ATN: Who requested who?

Sharp: I requested it

and Blur OKed it. When Elastica was in Los Angeles, I pretty much begged

Justine to take us out with them, but she'd never heard us before, so I went

out and got a CD and gave it to her. So she told Damon about us. Whenever you

go out with an English band, everyone says it's going to be a nightmare...and

all the English bands we've ever toured with have been really nice. Weezer

toured with Lush, and then The Rentals did some shows with Radiohead, and those

guys were great. Everybody thinks there's going to be that stereotypical

snootiness, but so far, it's been great.

ATN: But you're leaving the tour

early to play with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which seems like an odd pairing.

How do you think that tour will be?

Sharp: Yeah, that should be weird. But

we usually do pretty good. We go over all right. Even with Alanis, it wasn't

bad, even though the crowd wouldn't necessarily be people who would buy our


ATN: So it's not like they were just standing there staring at


Sharp: Well, about half of them were like that. It just depended on

what state we were playing in. But with Blur, I think everything will be OK

because their crowd is mostly young people who like music. They're open to

hearing different instruments.

ATN: Well you're both into


Sharp: Yeah. They have a few nice ones. On the first day of

the tour we were both kind of eyeing at each other's keyboards, going


ATN: The Rentals have become quite a staple on MTV and radio,

but I got the impression when you first started the band with friends that it

was more of a fun project.

Sharp: It was, but I really wanted it to do

well, so I'm pretty much going to do everything I can to get people to hear it,

then they can make their own decision. But I do want it to be successful. The

more successful it is, the more I'll be able to do whatever I want because

people are easier on you at record companies and management and such if you are

successful, because then they figure you know what you're doing and they let

you sort of do what you want. Which is pretty much the case anyway, I guess. We

never had a problem with Weezer or The Rentals doing that.

To be