Matt "Money" Smith is one half of the nationally-syndicated Fox sports radio show Petros and Money. Music has had a major impact on his life, from digging into Jazz growing up in Chicago to his time as Music Director at KROQ, where he discovered Sublime. Matt calls play by play for the NFL, college basketball and football in addition to his daily radio show.
1. West End Blues- Louis Armstrong
2. Friend of the Devil- Grateful Dead (Live)
3.Rat Patrol- Naked Raygun
4.Boss DJ- Sublime
5.Waltz #2- Elliott Smith
EJL: Hi I'm Eric J. Lawrence and I am here with Matt "Money" Smith, one half of the nationally-syndicated Fox sports radio show Petros and Money. Today we're going to talk about songs he has selected that have inspired him over the years as part of our Guest DJ Project. Matt thanks for coming down.
MMS: Thanks for having me, I appreciate it Eric.
EJL: What's the first track you've got for us?
MMS: The first track is Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues".
In my first introduction to music I played the organ when I was a kid. My parents didn't buy a piano, I don’t know why. They bought an organ. Then I started playing the cornet, when I was seven, because my older brother played it. So I would just pick his up and play it around the house. I started playing and, in Chicago, there's great history. People don’t quite realize the history in that city for jazz, they just immediately associate blues with Chicago. But I grew up on the south side, so I was close to the original site of Lincoln Gardens and the Sunset Café where Louis got his big start.
Song: Louis Armstrong -- "West End Blues"
This song, written by Joe Oliver, nobody played it like Louis Armstrong. From the opening notes you hear the power and what separated him from anybody else. But this particular version with Louis Armstrong's Hot Five, with Earl Hines, and there's just great piano, but it's the end.
I almost equate it to like that perfect electronic set. When you have a good DJ and he knows -- and this is a horrible comparison, I'm really not doing service to West End Blues -- but when that bass drops and you're like ‘yeah, he hit it, he felt the crowd’ that is what this particular version of "West End Blues" is. You'll hear Louis hold this note, very hard note to play, real high note and no one can do it like him, before he closes and he's just pushing those notes so hard you can't help but get your fingers tapping and then it's over. And you're like ‘whoa wait no no the song can't be over yet’. It's really the perfect song.
EJL: That was Louis Armstrong with "West End Blues" as selected by our guest Matt "Money" Smith. Well, what's the next track you got for us?
MMS: Some Grateful Dead. I'm a big Dead fan. A huge Dead fan.
EJL: A Dead Head?
MMS: A Dead Head, yeah. Probably20 to 30, probably closer to 30 shows. You know the Dead have a couple songs that everybody knows "Truckin'", "Casey Jones", Sugar Mag ("Sugar Magnolia") and this "Friend of the Devil". But there's a reason why I picked this particular song. This was at a place called World Music Theatre in Tinley Park, Illinois and it was my first Dead show.
I thought I fell in love with the Dead but I wasn’t sure and then I experienced it, I mean I really experienced it. I really embraced everything you embrace at a Dead show.
The one thing that jumped out at me that I didn’t hear on the tapes was Brent Mydland who was probably their fourth or fifth keyboardist. They really went through them. I remember this particular song and "Fire on the Mountain" where Brent, just the way Brent interacted with Jerry was different then anyone else, you know than Phil or Bill or anyone. There was something about the way his voice worked with Jerry's and you'll hear it on this song. And the sad thing is Brent passed away, accidental overdose I believe they called it, like three days later.
Song: Grateful Dead-- "Friend of the Devil"
MMS: I just remember, you know this was my first show, and I remember that having this great impact on me like ‘man, Brent's never gonna do that again, man, that's heavy.’ You know, and I'm this 17 year old kid or 16 year old kid that's trying to process this and the Dead are just, they're brilliant musicians. Brilliant lyricist, Robert Hunter. You know people I think maybe sell them short because of the culture and they don't realize how great the Dead are musically.
EJL: That was the Grateful Dead with a live version from 1990 of "Friend of the Devil" as select by our guest Matt "Money" Smith. What's the next track you got for us?
MMS: The next track, wow, talk about going to the other end of the spectrum. So Naked Raygun was kind of the first band I really found on my own. A lot of times you'll hear Minor Threat and Bad Brains and that D.C. hardcore scene, but Chicago was just as important - if not more - because they were almost a little bit more mainstream hardcore, a little bit more palatable for people that didn’t want it to be too, you know, aggressive.
This is from “Throb Throb”, that’s their hallmark record. This is arguably their best song off it, but you'll hear sort of the foundation for what a lot alternative rock, and I'm sure that’s not a god thing for a lot of people, but I think there's something to be said about the guys who did it first.
EJL: Well, here's a catchy hardcore song from Naked Raygun, it's "Rat Patrol".
Song: Naked Raygun – “Rat Patrol”
MMS: Jeff Pezzati is as good a front man as I've ever seen, just really owned the stage, commanded the crowd. They reunited, they did some shows, and they haven’t lost it, they’re still something special, something electric because they wrote very catchy hardcore songs.
Song: Naked Raygun-- "Rat Patrol"
EJL: That's "Rat Patrol" from Naked Raygun as selected by our guest Matt "Money" Smith. Well, what's the next track you got for us?
MMS: Sublime was one of the first bands I got introduced to. I got here in 1991, went to Pepperdine for college. So I'm17 going on 18, just a couple years down the road after I had been here and I'm now interning at KROQ. They've said ‘well, you're a young guy, bring us some music, feel free to bring it in’. And I happened to remember going into my friend Joe's dorm room and he was playing this particular song, this song "Boss D.J.".
Song: Sublime – “Boss D.J.”
This song, this is just Brad and guitar. You know and lyrically this speaks to his roots, this pays homage to the Dance Hall, to the Reggae that was the bedrock of what he wanted that band to be.
To me he'll always be one of the greats, one of the great singer/songwriters that became arguably one of the most successful bands in the history of that station. And I guess I'm sort of associated with that just a little bit and it really helped, clearly, my career.
EJL: That was Sublime with "Boss D.J." as selected by our guest Matt "Money" Smith. So the last track you got for us is from your time working in the music business at Dreamworks, something from Elliott Smith "Waltz No. 2".
MMS: Elliott was special, I don’t have to say that. But, you know, you wouldn’t think that we would get along just 'cause I'm kinda this sports guy, you know worked at KROQ kind of thing and here's Elliott arguably one of the most important artists of his generation, a singer songwriter, an introvert.
But there was something about him. We just really got along and I really enjoyed my time with him. I was part of the XO record, that was the first record he released on DreamWorks and it was coming off the Good Will Hunting soundtrack. So we had already experienced some success and he was trying to reconcile that and he's put with this idiot kid pushing his new record trying to become commercially relevant and mainstream radio relevant. And he didn’t know if that’s what he wanted and I didn’t know if that’s what he wanted. So basically Elliott and I hopped in a van. When you get away from a record label, when you get away from your managers and you get away from their agenda, they'll open up. And those are the things I really appreciated about the music business.
You know I never got the sense that Elliott was upset that he wasn’t accepted more widely by commercial radio but that’s kind of one of the themes after he passed away, that that was one of his great disappointments. And that was kind of put on me a little bit because I was running that department that was responsible for his either success or failure. And that kind of hit me hard, you know, I mean that was pretty heavy. When I think about Elliott and I think about that era and what he meant to music and to me as a person, it's kind of cool to have had that ‘well you can say what you want but I've got this kind of time.’
That’s probably the one artist and that one moment that I appreciate more than anything.
EJL: Well here it is, Elliott Smith with "Waltz No. 2"
Song: Elliott Smith-- "Waltz No. 2"
EJL: Well, Matt I want to thank you so much for coming down and sharing your selections with us.
MMS: Thanks for having me, I appreciate it. I enjoyed it.
EJL: For a complete track listing and to find these songs online go to kcrw.com/guestdjproject and subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.