TOURED OR RECORDED WITH
When Matt Starr plays the drums, he's not just keeping time.
To him, it's all about the groove and putting his own unique stamp on the music, delivering solid backing and great feel to those he's playing with.
Growing up on the classic rock of the Beatles, The Band, Led Zeppelin, The Who, CCR, Queen and Pink Floyd, Matt is also carrying forth the teachings and techniques of drum legends Joe Morello and Jim Chapin, long-time mentors who have entrusted Matt with their legacies.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Matt started playing music at the tender age of five when his parents insisted he study the violin.
At 13, he fell in love with the music of The Beatles and drummer Ringo Starr, prompting him to take up the drums.
Primarily self-taught until the end of high school, he went on to study privately with Toronto drummer Vito Rezza who instilled in Matt the importance of maintaining his identity as an artist.
Around this time, Matt began his formal music education at the University of Toronto, but felt constrained by the program's strict stylistic parameters and teaching methods.
In search of inspiration, he traveled to New Jersey and began a formative mentorship at the feet of drumming legend Joe Morello, best known for the drum solo on Dave Brubeck's Take 5.
Matt continued to make regular pilgrimages to visit Joe until his passing, soaking up everything he could from the drumming icon.
"Of all the people who have studied my technique," Joe once told Matt, "I can't think of anybody who understands it better than you."
During that time, Matt also took lessons with studio legend, Bernard Purdie, who changed Matt's perspective on time and groove forever.
Next, Matt moved to Los Angeles to take his career to the next level.
He has divided his time playing live and recording in the pop/rock world and has also been producing music in his own studio.
He has worked with artists and producers such as Canadian icon Buffy Sainte-Marie, Chris Shiflett (from the Foo Fighters), Christopher Cross, Lisa Loeb (with whom he recorded a grammy winning album in 2018), Deana Carter, Glen Ballard, Alphonso Johnson, Lucy Hale, Kiki Ebsen, Kevyn Lettau and Inbar Starr.
"Matt is an an extremely intuitive musician who seems to read my mind when we perform together," Ebsen says. "No matter what the song is, whether he's heard it before or not, he nails it every time with the right feel and vibe."
Matt, who endorses DW Drums, Vic Firth Sticks, Zildjian cymbals, Remo Drum Heads and Beato Bags, has also done live dates in the U.S. and South America with prominent Latin artists such as Aleks Syntek, Pablo Montero and Pamela Cortes.
In the mid 2000s, Matt established a mentorship with the late Jim Chapin.
As with Joe Morello, Matt would pay regular visits to Chapin at his Florida home, absorbing the teachings of this drumming legend, the Moeller technique in particular.
Matt has taken what he's learned from Morello and Chapin and used it to form the basis of his own voice, a unique blend of style and sound for a new generation.
Before he died in 2009, Chapin left Matt with simple but poignant instructions: "Pass it on."
No doubt he will.
& many others