Throughout Matthew Sweet’s long career, one thing has remained constant: his uncanny ability to create memorable melodic rock. After spending the 80’s in relative obscurity, soaking in the fertile scenes of Athens, Georgia & Hoboken, New Jersey, Sweet finally hit his stride with 1991’s Girlfriend. Two years later, he followed that with Altered Beast, a darker affair.
He put together a supergroup called the Thorns with Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins. He also teamed with Bangles frontwoman Sussannah Hoffs for a trio of covers albums, while continuing to issue albums on his own.
His latest project is the closest he’s ever come to a true “solo album” – everything except drums was played by Sweet, he also produced and mixed the album himself at his home studio. Called Catspaw, it shows off a heavier, darker side of Sweet, something we haven’t seen since Altered Beast.
We talk with the Nebraska native about handling all the lead guitar for the first time on an album, and how an obscure band inspired the title of one of his new songs. Plus, he talks about how he became a part of the Athens, Georgia music scene fresh out of high school.