This is a Ghoul’s Night Out!
An interview with Matt Feltwater
The Ghouls Night Out Festivals started out in 2001 and have been a huge success since their inception and though the festival dropped out of sight for a few years, it is back, and this time it is back with a vengeance that has been hyped to an insane degree and has it being one of the most anticipated festivals of the year and with tickets selling out almost as soon as it was announced it’s safe to say that Ghouls Night Out is fucking back! I have the pleasure of interviewing Matt, the brains and creator of the beautiful monster we all know as GNO and he has some very important news that he has chosen to share with Technicolor in this interview! So goodbye to the waiting, let’s get on with it!
Justin – So Matt we both already know each other, but for the readers and fans could you state your name and your connection to Ghouls Night Out?
Matt – I’m Matt Pathetic, and I have AIDS. Living with AIDS is a terrible thing, it’s sort of like being the Incredible Hulk, all this rage bottled up and you just want to cut your arm open and bleed all over everyone. Oh wait…this is a Ghouls Night Out Fest interview? FUCK! Anyway, I’m Matt Pathetic the commander in chief behind Ghouls Night Out Fest, a celebration of all things horror especially horror music.
Justin – Tell us how Ghouls Night Out started out. How did the idea come about and when did everything start to come together?
Matt – GNO started in 2001, while I was in attendance at the first Misfits 25th anniversary show in New York City. At that point the “resurrected” Misfits had broke up and this show should have been called watched the greatest horror rock n roll band of all time become a walking carnival in front of your eyes. I stood there in literal disbelief of what a joke that band had become. I thought to myself that night on the way back to where I was staying in New jersey, what if I organized a fest that showcased the best horror rock bands out there without the Misfits involvement. So I got back home to North Carolina and got to putting it together. I’ve been booking shows since I was around 15, so I had the know how so to speak but I’d never taken on something large to this scale before. So it was a learning experience. The first year had A LOT of headaches involved with it, like the emcee and my co-headliner dropping out in the days before the show, as well as the venue bailing on me shortly before the show was supposed to happen. But I’ve grown and learned from there, after all life is one constant project of trial and error. But it’s my baby, and I’m proud of it.
Justin – What was your “horror defining” moment Matt? What was your first experience with horror wether it was a book, band, movie, etc. and what started your love of horror-punk?
Matt – HA! This is a great question. My first horror defining moment comes at the age of five, it was July and my mom was getting ready to take our Siberian Husky for a walk to the park. I threw a huge SHIT FIT because I wanted to wear my devil costume from the previous Halloween to walk the dog in. Keep in mind, again, it’s JULY. So just to appease me and stop my 5 year old rage from going any further she put the costume on me and a proudly paraded my happy ass to the park. So there you have it, Matt Pathetic has been obsessed with monsters since at least age 5. There’s also the fact I was a rotten little shithead as a kid, I used to go stay with my Grandmother once a week while I was younger and I had this habit of sneaking into the kitchen opening the refrigerator putting all my monster toys in it (giant spiders, rubber lizards, giant rubber snakes, skeletor, godzilla, the wolfman etc) in the fridge quietly. Then sneak out to the porch and ask my grandmother to get me a drink, she’d open the fridge and freak out. I would die laughing at it because she would freak out and make this hilarious shriek that still to this day echos in my head and gets a chuckle out of me. So yeah, trick or treat since 1980! I think I was born defective or something.
Justin – How does it make you feel that you have Blitzkid playing their last North American show at this upcoming festival? How do you feel about Blitzkid? What do they mean to you personally and what do you think they have done for the horror-punk genre?
Matt – Wow. Blitzkid first got in contact with me to play the very first Ghouls Night Out Fest, but the line up at that point was full. But that did not turn Goolsby away from bombarding me with an onslaught of getting onto this show. He sent me a HUGE press pack, some of which to this day I have pieces of laying around. He emailed me like twice a week to find out if someone had dropped out and if Blitzkid could take their spot. Finally as the show moved closer, Blitzkid’s chance came as Red Reaction had informed me they would not be able to make the show. That day, I remember meeting Blitzkid for the first time and being taken back by just how polite they were and how into the concept of GNO they were. This was also the first time they met Mister Monster. Tracy and Goolsby where the BIGGEST supporters of GNO out there. In fact after the first one, they maintained in steady contact with me and I built GNO2 the next summer around them and Mister Monster. The third year was kind of rough waters, a certain other festival showed up on the scene and basically caused a rift between Blitzkid and I. But by the time GNO rolled around we both agreed to the fact that GNO is a part of Blitzkid and Blitzkid is a part of GNO forever. So they played the third year. After that year a lot went on and GNO became less of a priority in my life, I never intended to never do it again but I wasn’t running out getting ahead of myself for the next year like I did in years past. Last November, I was doing a show with J.V. Bastard’s metal project THE DOOMSDAY PROPHECY, and J.V. and I were talking about GNO. He basically told me, GNO needed to come back because there was nothing like it anymore. It was run out of town by copycat festivals, but it’s the original. Shortly after that Blitzkid announced their intention to cease being a band at the end of the year. At that point, I was like FUCK THIS these guys are my friends and they supported me HARD back in the beginning. Granted they took off to their own well deserved success, and we hadn’t spoke in years but I knew if the world needed GNO it was now. As a celebration and sendoff to Blitzkid, they earned this one. So I started back at it. Here we are now one month away from the biggest GNO EVER and it’s thanks to people like Blitzkid in the early years, and now the success is due to people like Technicolor Terror, horror-punks.com, Gore Noir Magazine, and the Graveyard Greaser Gang who help make this show what it is. Ten years ago a lot of people used to say Blitzkid sounds like the new’Fits, well being involved in this scene for a decade I can say nowadays there’s a lot of bands that sound like BLITZKID. And that’s a testament to just how far they’ve come not just as musicians, but as people. They are charismatic and they genuinely care about their fans, which is why they’ve left a mark on so many people. Blitzkid means more to me, over the course of my 20’s then I could ever find words to describe. I’d like to think I’m a tiny part of their success and their history, and to give them this sendoff is my pleasure. Thank you Blitzkid, thank you.
Justin – So can you shed some light on some bands that have caught your eye recently? I’m wondering if there are any bands that you could possibly tell us that you would like to see on the hopeful next GNO Fest XI?
Matt – Oh man being in this spot, I’m FLOODED with bands wanting to play the show next year. I’m definitely not going to lie and say I hear a lot of good bands, I hear a lot of bullshit. It’s weeding through the bullshit to find a band that is not only unique and doesn’t try to sound like someone else, but also is catchy or are great musicians so on and so forth. That being said, there’s a few I found after I filled out the initial line up to this year that I think will make perfect additions to GN0’13. The Renfields are an awesome power pop horror rock outfit that I don’t think get nearly the exposure to this scene that they need. There songs are catchy like the Ramones and Teenage Bottlerocket. The Curse Of Sorrow from PA are amazing musicians that will definitely be associated with the festival going foward check them out! And there’s Black Cat Attack out of Canada, they’re just completely original and I love them and what they do within the confines of this genre. I’m not gonna let all the cats out of my bag as far as what I’m looking at next year, but I’m trying to make GNO come “home” so take that for what it’s worth and look into it as you will.
Justin – This question could have gone along with the last one but whatever, but obviously this question is about GNO XI. Is there going to be one? Will it be next year? Will it reside in New Jersey? Is there any information you can share with us about it?
Matt – When I first started GNO my intention was to do it in a different location every year, so that way people who traveled far didn’t have to travel as far the following year. This is still my plan with the festival going foward. It’s never been in the same location twice, and it never will. There’s been a very vocal online movement to bring GNO to Cincinnati next summer, I’ve also looked into Philadelphia as well, New York is obviously the dream that has to this point eluded me but the more I keep going the more I think it’s a possibility. The more noise you make so to speak each year, the less you can be ignored so the bigger the show gets the sky becomes the limit for it. That being said I know I hinted above at GNO coming “home” next year, and that’s personally where I’d like to see it happen. But plans are always evolving and nothing is set in stone at this point, but there has been small talk about next years fest between me and certain members of the GNO crew. Everything will be revealed in good time.
Matt – Absolutely, later this year I’m going to be launching GNO Records a label that will cater to this genre of music.. There’s some other talk between myself and some bands about potential releases going foward who I’m currently not allowed to mention by name due to negotiations sake at this point but I can say one certain band I’m working out an agreement with is also playing the show this year. I’m looking foward into this new venture and hoping all the fans of horror rock get behind this label and help make it a success.
Justin – That’s fucking awesome! So how long have you had this idea of a GNO label for? Was this something that you had in the back of your head from the very beginning or was this something that picked up steam more recently?
Matt – I’ve always wanted to start a label, I’ve been involved in everything in the scene from being in bands, to writing for a fanzine, to booking shows I feel like this is the last and biggest conquest I could ever challenge myself with. I never knew a good name for my “dream” label and one night I was sitting here at my desk and I basically facepalmed myself and was like WHAT THE FUCK it’s been sitting here right in front of me this WHOLE time and I never realized it. Through the past ten years there’s been horror rock labels before, but they flopped. Ten years later I’m still entrenched in this scene, and I’m not going anywhere this is home to me so why not help some of the smaller bands out and help return some luster and deserving credit to the bands who haven’t made a huge name for themselves yet. There’s strength in numbers, and I truly feel like this is my mission to rally the troops to make ourselves even more known. Collectively we can take over and carve out our own niche even bigger then it currently is.
Justin – Now it may be a little soon to ask but with the label just starting out are there any bands that you wish to sign? Have you signed one already and if so could you share with us who it is?
Matt – The first official GNO Records release is going to be a re-recorded, repackaged, version of Boneyard’s debut album from 2004 called Back To Coney. Boneyard is one of those bands who I feel are an unnoticed gem in this scene. Until now, I’m backing these bands up and I’m going to help bring them up to the level of attention they absolutely deserve. Boneyard subsequently will also be releasing a new E.P. further down the line on GNO Records called Sometimes They Come Back, but for now we’re focused on the first album. Boneyard is one of those bands that need to be recognized because I feel like they’ve gone unnoticed by this scene for far too long, hell they even broke up until I managed to talk them into doing a reunion show this past May. Now they’re back, and I hope they stay around for awhile to come. They’re such great guys and their music is fun it needs to get out there more so then what they had the ability to do previously, and I feel if I can help them out to get their name and music out there even more then so be it. I’ve been given this show and the masses have rallied behind it, now let’s do something responsible with it and help push horror rock to the next level.
Justin – Getting a little off topic but still staying on track, I have heard of your desire for a pre-party for GNO. Is this something that will be happening this year and if so is there any info you can share with us? Bands, events, location?
Absolutely, the preparty show will be taking place in Secaucus NJ at a venue called the Blue Room the night before GNO on August 3rd. The line up currently is: Rictus Grim, Boneyard, The Casket Creatures, The Curse Of Sorrow, and The Children Of October. 10 bucks, over 21 (sorry underagers I went out on a limb for ya at GNO I can’t work every miracle in the book) and start around 6-7pm. There’s also one more potential band that I’m currently trying to have return after a long absence. We haven’t 100% been able to iron a deal out yet but hopefully something comes through soon. So the last band will remain undisclosed until very soon I hope.
Justin – Matt I sincerely want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview and especially grateful for choosing to announce this incredible news through Technicolor Terror! It means a great deal to us and again we thank you for that and for your time. Before we end this interview is there anything you would like to add or share with the fans?
Matt – GNO RECORDS/GNOFEST/TECHNICOLOR TERROR/GRAVEYARD GREASER GANG/WHB RECORDS/GORE NOIR MAGAZINE/ HORROR-PUNKS.COM
We’re taking over. And there’s nothing anyone can do to stop us.