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Perpetual Groove: The Angelica Interview

article by John Powell

Perpetual Groove fans will know that keyboardist Matt McDonald is back after a three and a half year hiatus. John Ruby had sat in, played with the band on tour, and recorded Heal, a different stroke for the Georgia jam band. Heal had more of a songwriter feel, but live the band “perpetually” keeps up high energy jams, melding influences and killer light show into an awesome live experience.

Tonight, Matt and singer/guitarist Brock Butler sit outside to enjoy a pair of smokes after their soundcheck. While on stage, at the end of a practice jam, Matt turns to Brock, bassist Adam Perry, and drummer Albert Suttle, and comments that he had the chord changes written down incorrectly. “It’s fine,” he says. “We’ll fix it.”

This sums up the band, good people with pure love of music, a decade of playing live shows form club gigs to the festival circuit- including their own Memorial Day weekend fest Amberland- and when Matt and Brock sit down to talk about their lives as musicians, everything feels groovey.

Brock Butler | Perpetual Groove

You were born in Georgia?

Brock Butler: I was born a poor black child. No, none of us are from Georgia. I’m originally from Virginia. Albert’s from Oklahoma, Adam’s from Ohio, and Matt’s from Florida.

Matt McDonald: We didn’t grow up knowing each other. Maybe we didn’t completely grow up [Laughs].

Brock: I’ve always thought many of my biggest advances, and I use that word loosely, have been from college on. I was seventeen when I moved to Savannah and went to college. Adam and I both went to Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2001, when we graduated, the persons that had been drumming and keyboarding up to that time made a decision that they didn’t want to chase the band dream. Matt and Albert entered.

How many shows do you pull off in a year?

Matt: One year we went to 240. It was early on, when we’d be home for four or five days, like 2004. A little too much. We definitely tapered down. The run we’re on now is only 12 days, the longest one we’ve done this year. It’s smarter, more mature, the way we do it now.

Brock: That, and as far as Matt having a child, and Adam and his wife having a baby, and all of us have things at home, be it other musical interests, other ways of income- besides that it’s nice to have it broken up like that and not drive yourself into the ground. I mean, there’s an admirable quality to bands that go out there and kill it. You look at their tour schedule and it’s admirable, but it best serves our morale to do it as it is.

What were you going to be when you were younger?

Brock: I had some different ideas. When I went to Savannah College of Art and Design, it was to be a cartoonist. Everybody else was more Spiderman, and some of the stereotypes that coincide- the Kevin Smith comic book guy. Adam and I found ourselves hanging out with film people, that I was gravitating towards without noticing. I switched my major to video because I thought that had more practical applications in a world of technology. I ended up making music for people’s films, and using the studio time to my own advantage. There was a different Pgroove CD that was never out and about, in the manner of the definitive line-up.


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