Matt Shultz talks about overcoming his drug addiction
Catch them live: The quintet — Matt, 26; his brother Brad (guitarist), 28; Lincoln Parish (guitar), 19; Daniel Tichenor (bass), 29; and Jared Champion (drummer), 28 — brings its gritty, frenetic sound to the Stone Temple Pilots‘ tour starting Aug. 10.
Modest beginnings: Growing up in a Pentecostal household, the Shultz brothers were allowed to listen to gospel music only. But their father, a freight truck driver, was once a musician and occasionally would play a Joe Walsh or Pink Floyd album for the kids.
Dumpster diving: The family lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Bowling Green, Ky., so it wasn’t easy to slip music past their mother. But that didn’t stop them from trying. “We found a drum kit in a dumpster and dragged it into our apartment,” Matt Shultz says. “We used coat hangers as drumsticks.” Brad bought his first guitar from a neighborhood kid for $20. “The back had fallen off, so we duct-taped it on,” his brother says.
From Kentucky to London: Cage came together in 2006 and started practicing in Champion’s mom’s basement, eventually signing with a U.K. indie label. The band moved to London, where they lived in an area nicknamed “Murder Mile.” “One night, we heard someone getting strangled,” Shultz says. “We didn’t know how to call the police, and we were afraid to go outside. The next day, there was all this (crime-scene) tape. I will always feel terribly about that.”
Musical inspirations: Shultz wrote the band’s breakout hit, Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked, during a two-year stint as a plumber for a construction company. “One of my co-workers was a drug dealer (on the side) and always talked about wanting to quit that business,” Shultz says. “I asked him why he didn’t and he said, ‘There’s no rest for the wicked.’ I ran out to my car and wrote that down on this old crusty paper plate. I wrote the lyrics on drywall at work. So somewhere in Bowling Green, those lyrics are written behind someone’s toilet.”
Love and loss: Sadly, Shultz has lost a lot of childhood memories to methadone use. “I started very young,” he says. “Opiates gave me this warm, fuzzy feeling, like lying on my father’s chest, watching Saturday morning cartoons. And when I cleaned up a year and a half ago, I was worried that I’d lose my creativity. But the opposite happened. It opened the floodgates.”
Forging ahead: With his mind clear and open, Shultz and the band are finishing up a second album. He’s looking forward to the new memories that are waiting for him: “I don’t think being sober makes me a better person, but I definitely have a better life.”