He was addicted to drugs. He lost his faith. Finding his faith helped to get him clean but for him it was Hasidim.
He stood out at performances, his dress didn’t match his music. But he sings happy songs of triumph, with a twist almost like Sublime. His name is Matthew Miller but you may know him by his stage name, Matisyahu – popular reggae performer.
He is still close to his faith but doesn’t practice it in the same way, he’s dropped the garb, it was a way to help him find stability again; he’s found himself again and he’s comfortable to be himself.
When Matisyahu first started touring to packed clubs more than eleven years ago, it was prior to the release of Live at Stubbs, the now Gold record, and prior to that record’s single “King without a Crown” reaching #1 on the alternative rock radio charts. His performances were a raw expression of his spirituality at that time and were supported by musicians who played a foundation of roots reggae augmented by the energy of a rock trio. Fans latched on quickly for a variety of reasons, but in August of 2005, just months after the release of Live at Stubbs, Matisyahu found himself on stage at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival with the de facto leader of improvisational rock-n-roll; Phish’s front man Trey Anastasio.
Many early fans of Matisyahu remember that moment clearly not because of the songs he played in front of the 80,000 person crowd, but because of his seemingly unfettered confidence (or perhaps naiveté) in helping lead Trey and his band through an improvisational display of beat boxing and lyrical gymnastics during the two songs performed. It may have been unrefined, but Matisyahu’s passion for full band improvisation was laid bare.
You may not know his whole story and how his music is created, but in this episode we dive into all of it.
“Listen oh Israel the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”
Matisyahu’s Favorite Books:
The Politics of Experience
Links From Today’s Show: