Matt Thor (or Matt Thorne, as this is his real name) is one of the finest producers/engineers in the music business. In addition, he was once a member of Ratt, Rough Cutt, Jailhouse and other bands of that era. He is now playing with Platinum Overdose so we thought it would be a good opportunity to send him over a few questions and ask him all about these endeavors. How do Ronnie James Dio and Motley Crue connect with Matt…? Read all about it… Interview: Sakis Nikas
Rockpages.gr: Matt, I wanna start by asking you about Platinum Overdose. So far, it’s one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises in the hard rock world. How did you end up working with them?
Matt Thorne: I have known Lance since the late 90’s recording and mixing some of his projects. Since then Lance has found a niche for 80s metal on his Record label and I have been mastering and recording some of the artists on the label, so we have stayed connected. About two years back Lance asked me if I thought I could play guitar with an 80’s metal flair for Platinum Overdose. This sounded challenging and a nice shift from the bass.
Rockpages.gr: I truly believe that if those two albums would have been released in the 80s under a big label name, they would have been smash hits. Does it leave you with a bittersweet feeling that pure hard rock music does not gain the commercial success like it used to do back in the day?
Matt Thorne: Not at all, I’m a music fan and love new music as much as the classics. As long as music is a lucrative means for me to exist, I’m good and grateful.
Rockpages.gr: I am sure that every single Ratt fan is fully aware of your input in the band not only for the co-writing credit of “Back For More” but also for the recording credit of the excellent version of “Tell The World” on the first Metal Massacre compilation. Did you think, in those early days, that Ratt would become such a great and successful band?
Matt Thorne: I believe Dan Tarsha was the engineer on that version of “Tell the World” on Metal Massacre. I was the bass player back then not the engineer or producer…that didn’t begin till the mid-90s. Yes I did write some of the music to “Back For More”, the main riff or the so called chorus. Stephen wrote the rest. The day I believed Ratt would appeal to the masses is after the first time I heard “Round and Round” on KMET.
Rockpages.gr: Why did you leave Ratt?
Matt Thorne: Jake E. Lee was leaving the band and I had another opportunity to join a band called Sarge.
Rockpages.gr: Up next came Rough Cutt with the amazing Paul Shortino behind the mic. Not that many people know that you were managed by Wendy Dio. In fact Ronnie James Dio co-wrote with the band the opening track (“Take Her”) on the debut album. Tell us how did this management deal come up?
Matt Thorne: One of the players in Rough Cutt had a good relationship with Ronnie. RJD was introduced to Paul’s voice via demo and he believed it was very unique and from there it developed into him producing and his wife managing.
Rockpages.gr: I had the pleasure and honor of doing a couple of interviews with Ronnie and what I truly remember of him is that he was a true gentleman and a really down to earth guy. What do you remember from him?
Matt Thorne: He was a very intelligent, generous and talented individual. He took care of people. He let Craig Goldy and I live at his house in Tarzana for a good year while he was on the “Holy Diver Tour”. In addition, as the opening band for Dio, he graciously permitted Amir (Derakh) and I to ride on his tour bus during the majority of the “Sacred Heart Tour”.
Rockpages.gr: In hindsight, why didn’t Rough Cutt become even more popular among the hard rock fans?
Matt Thorne: Songs and timing.
Rockpages.gr: In the 90s, you started MT studios and followed a career as a producer. Why did you decide to go down this path? Was it due to the fact that the music scene has significantly changed for hard rock music?
Matt Thorne: It had nothing to do with the music scene, I have always gravitated toward electronics, ham radios and CBS as a youngster, so engineering and producing married the technical with the creative and it was a natural progression.
Rockpages.gr: I was browsing your website and I noticed that you had produced –among other artists- Eels. I am not a fan of that band but I am a huge Steve Perry fan. I had read stories that he used to drop by the studio when The Eels were playing and add vocals and stuff. Were you there and if yes, how was the whole experience?
Matt Thorne: No, I wasn’t there when Steve Perry played with The Eels. That might have been in later Eels records, but wasn’t the case on “Beautiful Freak”, the album I participated on.
Rockpages.gr: I was talking with Lance V. from Platinum Overdose and he told me that you used to hang out with Motley Crue back in the early 80s. Lance also noted that you moved to L.A. with Jake E. Lee and Warren DeMartini. Would you care to share with us some stories from those early days?
Matt Thorne: Yes, I moved to L.A. with Jake, we rented a house in Van Nuys in 1981 I believe. Later Warren would move in and we would attend Pierce College together. Motley was the “look up to” band at the time; we would later become close with them and they would give us (Ratt) opening spots at the Troubadour and the Country Club.
Rockpages.gr: Matt, I wanna conclude this interview in the same way that I started our conversation; what does the future hold for Platinum Overdose?
Matt Thorne: I think we will just continue to make music.