A quick word...with Matt Stroobant

By GRAHAM REID

Matt Stroobant of the fiery Rock'n'Roll Machine, is the man who set alight his guitar at the recent b. Net awards and trashed the stage. The Machine churn out raw'n'raucous garageband rock, have released a vinyl single, Rock'n'Roll Disease, and play tonight at Cafe 223 with Brother Love.

You set your guitar on fire. Is that what the Who called "auto-destruction" or do you just like smashing stuff?

It's just spontaneous. You just go with it and don't want to plan anything, really.

Although you took lighter fluid on stage.

You can have something up your sleeve. You don't just pull it out though; people can tell if you are just acting it.

Are you an angry young man?

Not at all.

You recently smashed your ankle.

Yeah, four months ago I jumped off the top of the PA and smashed my heel and was in a wheelchair for three months. The b. Net show was only the second we'd played since the accident.

It's been a long road back.

Got good life insurance?

I need to get some. It taught me something, that an unplanned moment is not all it's cracked up to be. And to tie my shoes on better.

How's the single doing?

Good, we've sold out the first pressing of 300, most of that overseas in places like Las Vegas and Japan. A certain amount went to collectors who like the format of seven inches. But on the internet you can get soundbites.

Why did you want to do a vinyl single?

Vinyl's better to hold. It's bigger. If you buy it you feel like you've bought something. And it sounds better. Some people are vinyl addicts, I'm one of those although not as bad as some. I've got CDs as well.

An album soon?

Yeah, but we've got so much touring coming up. In about a week or so we are doing a few shows around the North and South Islands, we record the album, have a week's break then it's the North Island again with White Stripes from Detroit in November. Then we are off to Sydney and Melbourne for a few shows. It's busy, I don't quite know how we can pay for it, not when you've got the bills we get.

For?

Damaged equipment, guitar repairs.

Do you just smash up the cheap Korean guitars?

Sometimes I'll borrow other people's and then avoid them for a few weeks. I've got heaps of guitars so I just take bits off one and put them on to another to keep them going.

With all due respect, having a top quality guitar wouldn't make that much difference to the sound of Rock'n'Roll Machine, would it?

I've got my Gibsons and things, and my $70 guitars. It's surprising what sounds good. Sometimes expensive guitars sound like crap.

Is there a cure for the Rock'n'Roll Disease?

There's no cure, no cure. It just gets worse and worse.

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