I WANT YOU (to be in my next YouTube video)!

Hey wizard kids!

Summer is the time of year when Harry Potter fans give it all they’ve got, especially when there’s a new HP film on the horizon. To celebrate yet another amazing summer of wizard rock party times, I’d like my official tour announcement video to be a group effort. No restrictions, everyone’s invited, and all you have to do is send me a short clip of yourself shouting “TOUUUUUUURRRRR!!!” or “WIZARD ROCK!!!” You can either send the clip directly to thewhompingwillows@gmail.com or send it to that email address via sendspace, yousendit, or another similar file sharing website. The deadline for these clips is THIS WEDNESDAY, May 25! Short notice, I know, but this assignment is pretty damn easy. Feel free to wear silly costumes and make your clip as obnoxious as possible! The only requirement is that you limit your clip to just yourself (or a group of friends, if you wish) shouting either TOOOOOOUUUUUURRRR!!! or WIZARD ROCK!!!

Thank youuu! Hope to see you soon on the YouTubes!!

Love,
Matt

Giving Back To St. Louis

St. Louis is a city that has supported wizard rock in a way that’s incredibly unique, and St. Louis Area Wizards are some of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met. Sadly, the city and its surrounding area have been ravaged by severe storms and the damage is significant. St. Louis Red Cross is in the process of assessing damage and providing help to the people who need it, and they need our help to complete this process.

In light of this situation, I’ll be donating 100% of profits from all online CD sales from now until Saturday, April 30 at 11:59 EST. Head over to my merchandise page and buy one or more of my CDs, all of which are available for just $5 plus shipping, and that money will be forwarded to people who truly need it!

Love,
Matt

Whomping Willows (Self-Titled) Anniversary Re-Release: I NEED YOUR HELP!

I’ve mentioned that I’m planning on a five-year anniversary re-release of my first full-length album, which includes classics like Your Flying Car, When You Touched Me In That Special Place, and I Killed My Owl. I know three things about this re-release: 1) It will contain the entirety of the original album plus several original demos that aren’t currently available anywhere else, and these songs will come in the form of a seeded digital download card that will grow into wildflowers if you plant it into the ground (SO COOL!); 2) It will come with an accompanying booklet that will include exclusive, previously TOP SECRET information about the making of the album, including details on the recording process and also my own thoughts about the beginning of my wizard rock career; 3) This will be a limited release — only 200 copies will be made!

My one remaining question is the format for the accompanying booklet: Should it be electronic and included in the download package that comes with the dropcard, or should it be a physical booklet that fans can hold in their hands and keep forever?

There are pros and cons to both scenarios. I really like the idea of an entirely eco-friendly release, not only because I’m a tree but also because I feel bad about all the physical waste that the music industry creates. However, I realize there’s more perceived value in something physical, and some fans will see an entirely electronic release as less interesting/desirable.

SO, I want you guys to offer your input, and I’ve created this convenient poll for that very purpose! Thanks for your participation!

No matter what I decide, I expect this re-release to be ready in time for summer tour on June 10!

Love,
Matt

Which format for a re-release of WWI would you prefer?
Seeded download card and electronic booklet.
Seeded download card and physical booklet.
I don’t really care. I’ll buy it either way!
I don’t really care. I’m not going to buy it either way! Sucka!
  
pollcode.com free polls

Old Music, New Music.

Fact: I’ve released five full-length albums, three EPs, and two live albums within a span of five and a half years.

Time has a way of clarifying things, and it’s become clear that I probably won’t release a new Whomping Willows album in 2011. This is mostly because I’m very focused on releasing a non-wizard album this year. I’ve been writing songs about my real-life experiences in high school, and I plan to start recording these new songs in coming weeks. I think that wizard rock fans will be able to relate to these new songs, mostly because most wizard rock fans are (or started out as) teenagers and are also quite nerdy, and I happened to be a teenager AND a nerd in high school. If I’d had a community like wizard rock back then I would’ve been a much happier person, but alas — I had little more than a ragtag group of misfits for friends and four years of misadventures.

The other reason I probably won’t release a new wizard rock album this year is that I think it’s time I take a break from frantic touring and album releasing. For the past four years, I’ve been touring and releasing albums non-stop. Most bands give themselves several months to record and release an album, but it always seems like I’m squeezing the process into 6-week breaks between tours. I have big plans for my next wizard rock album, and I want to give it the time it deserves and not rush it for the sake of releasing it at the most financially advantageous time (i.e., summer tour and LeakyCon). There is a sliiiight possibility that I’ll have the next Whomping Willows album done in time for Wrockstock 2011, but then again I’m getting married in September, so… probably not.

Realistically, I’m looking at summer 2012 for my next Whomping Willows release, and since I’m not planning on extensive touring between fall tour and next summer, I’ll basically have about six or seven months to really focus on it. The thought of having that much time to make a new album actually gives me butterflies!

In the mean time, I AM planning on anniversary re-releases of old albums, specifically in the form of seeded dropcards (when you plant them, they grow into flowers!) and accompanying booklets, which will tell the story of the making of each album. I plan to re-release my debut album in time for summer tour. I’ve already written the text for the booklet, and it contains a lot of information that has never been revealed about the process of writing and releasing that album. I think hardcore wizard rock fans will really enjoy reading about what goes into this process, both on a technical and personal level.

Finally, I’ve decided that ALL of my albums released before 2011 will be on sale, permanently, for just $5 at shows and $5+shipping online. Hop on over to my Merchandise page to check out what I have available. In most cases, the price averages out to about 50 cents per song! SUPER CHEAP!!! 😀

Love,
Matt

PS. In case you missed it, I’ve posted my summer tour dates HERE!

Top Ten Reasons To See Us In April!

You should come see us at one of our shows in April.

Not convinced? Here’s a list of the top ten reasons why this statement is true!

1. Awesome Deals On Whomping Willows Merch! You may have noticed that I have a few great deals on merch right now at my online merch store. Throughout April tour, you’ll be able to take advantage of these awesome bargains IN REAL LIFE, and you won’t have to pay for shipping! In particular, I’ll have Whomping Willows Eagle t-shirts for just $12, as well as a buy-one-get-one-free deal on CDs! Holy balls! I’ll probably have additional deals that I haven’t thought of yet! Attend a show to find out what they are!

2. House Party Shows Are Unique! Everybody loves crazy sold-out club shows, summer library shows, and huge wizard rock festivals. I have a feeling everybody would love house party shows too, if only they had an opportunity to attend one. In 2008, I blazed a new trail with JFF and Catchlove when we embarked on a two-month, nationwide tour that was dominated by small house party shows. We played in the living rooms and basements of many people we’d never met before, and in the process we forged friendships that will last a lifetime. House party shows provide for a more intimate setting, and traditional boundaries between bands and fans are stripped from the experience. This gives us an opportunity to directly respond to the energy of fans and improvise in a way that’s impossible during bigger shows. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed!

3. House Party Shows Result In New Friendships! Do you feel like a lone HP nerd in your community of muggles? Attend a house party show and you’ll find yourself surrounded by wizard rock fans who also happen to be your neighbors! Use the opportunity to start a meetup group, or just make new friends who like the same nerdy stuff you like. We see it happen all the time and it’s wonderful!

4. Exclusive Tour Poster!! Our April tour is the ONLY place where you can get your hands on our exclusive April tour poster! We’re using proceeds from sales of this poster to help us cover our travel costs. But the best reason to buy it is that it’s AWESOME. You can get a sneak peek at this poster in my tour preview video.

5. Justin Finch-Fletchley Will Be Doing Something He’s Never Done Before! You’ve probably seen JFF’s trademark chaotic acoustic sets, where he destroys guitar strings like it’s his job (I guess in some way it is?). This time around, Justin will be performing with backing tracks as a thumb injury will prevent him from playing guitar. This will be 1) probably really effing weird and cool, and 2) an opportunity for fans to request ANY SONG FROM HIS ENTIRE DISCOGRAPHY. So cool!

6. From April 8 Through April 15, We’ll Be Playing With Snidget And Kwikspell! That’s right — if you attend any of our shows beginning April 8 in Chicago, you’ll be able to see Snidget and Kwikspell! Snidget is one of my oldest wizard rock friends and her music is unlike anything else in wizard rock: She plays a hammered dulcimer! Kwikspell writes passionate, energetic, and downright catchy songs, and you are sure to fall in love. Don’t miss these awesome people!

7. Winter Is OVER And It’s Time To Party!!! If you’re like me, you’re ready for Spring. The warmer weather is nice, and the promise of summer is encouraging, but is that really enough to lift your spirits? Add some wizard rock to the mix and shake off those winter blues! We’re ready to party and we hope you are too!

8. Lauren Has New Songs! My sweet ladyfriend is working on a new album, and she’ll be playing these new songs at all our shows in April! What’s even cooler about this is that Lauren is working on a new wizard rock album that examines the relationship between Snape and Lily. This is one of the more fascinating and mysterious subjects from the HP series, and her new songs do a fantastic job of expanding on the source material. You won’t be disappointed!

9. We Love You! For some, wizard rock is something that happens in the summer. For us, wizard rock is a year-round labor of love. We love playing shows and seeing our friends across the country, and the best way for us to do that is to tour! We’re touring in April! Come see us! 😀

10. There Are No Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Attend! If you live within driving distance of our shows, there’s no reason to skip out! Obviously we can’t play everywhere in a two-week tour, but we are covering a lot of ground and hitting up some awesome cities. We realize the house party thing might confuse/intimidate some people, but seriously — how do you think we feel? Not only are we going to be there, but we’re also going to perform music! You have only two obligations: 1) Show up; and 2) Have a good time. 😀

We hope to see you in April! Bring some friends and let’s have a party!

Love,
Matt

Marriage Equality In Rhode Island — How YOU Can Help!

I’ve been a resident of Rhode Island for 32 years and I’ve been a supporter of equal marriage for as long as I can remember. I’ve also been raising money for Marriage Equality Rhode Island for the past two years via proceeds from Wizards and Muggles Rock For Social Justice Volume 2 — so if you bought that comp, you basically donated a couple bucks to Marriage Equality Rhode Island. Thank you! 😀

I grew up in a small town in northwestern Rhode Island, and there were only a few kids in my high school who were openly gay. One of these people was a close friend of mine. Witnessing the harassment and hatred they had to endure was pretty horrifying. While I don’t think the legalization of equal marriage will necessarily eliminate homophobia in Rhode Island, at the very least it’ll help to validate the love that same-sex couples feel for each other, and allow them to pursue the family life that they desire in a more normal fashion.

In my opinion, it will also prove to non-supporters that equal marriage poses no threat whatsoever to the sanctity of marriage, and that more people entering lifelong, loving bonds is a GOOD THING. I think it’s a shame that equal marriage hasn’t already been legalized on a national level, but I also recognize that progress in the area of civil rights is always a slow and grueling process that requires a lot of work and a lot of unity. I would be extremely thrilled if Rhode Island legalized equal marriage, not only because it would allow good people to pursue their relationships more fully, but also because it would represent the next step in a much larger movement. So…

Right now the Harry Potter Alliance is organizing the second installment of Wrock For Equality! This effort was a huge success in Maine last year, and we’re using basically the same formula for our effort in Rhode Island. Specifically, on Saturday, February 26:

*There will be an awesome Livestream that will tell you how you can participate. This event will begin at 10:30am EST and end at approximately 9pm EST.
*There will be wizard rock.
*There will be an organized effort to contact Rhode Islanders about this issue via phonebank.
*There will be official Deathly Hallows Campaign House Cup house points awarded to those who participate.
*Most importantly, there will be a major contribution to positive social change!

Please join me in the fight to secure equal rights for same-sex couples in Rhode Island!

For more information, please head over to the Wrock For Equality 2 Website!

Love,
Matt

DEAL OF THE WEEK update!

Hey folks!

If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll know that I’ve been offering crazy-awesome deals on Armoured Bearcub merch for the past couple weeks. As much as this promotion is supposed to be about The Whomping Willows, we do have a fair amount of Bearcub stuff hanging around the inventory closet and we want it to find a good home! Our Armoured Bearcub t-shirt is straight-up adorable, featuring bear versions of me and Lauren drawn by Jake of The Nifflers. We’re including six Bearcub buttons in this package deal, including:

*Edward Cullen Gives Me The Wiggins button
*Two buttons with adorable bearcubs on them.
*Two buttons featuring slogans inspired by The Hunger Games
*Let’s Get Our Masters Degrees In Love button

That’s $21 of merch and we’re selling it for just $12+shipping!! Who does that?! We do! 😀

I’m also keeping The White Album available for just $4, which is an incredible deal. The album includes eight songs about topics ranging from Hunger Games to Buffy to Harry Potter to His Dark Materials. It’s a simply-recorded debut album that serves as a nice introduction to Armoured Bearcub, and if you don’t own it yet, now is the best time to get it as it’s 50% off the regular price!

Finally, I’m extending the $12 deal on Eagle shirts for the foreseeable future! I should mention that I’m beginning to run low on larges and extra larges, so swoop in now if you want one. I don’t plan to repress these — when my current stock runs out, they’ll be gone forever!

Make sure you head over to my Merchandise page if you’re interested in any of these lovely deals!

Much love,
Matt

Introducing Whomping Willows DEAL OF THE WEEK!!!

Hey wizard kids!

Being a full-time wizard rocker is a weird combination of celebrating literature, playing a lot of shows, partying with fellow nerds, and paying the bills. Oftentimes, the desire to share my music and merchandise with everyone is impeded by the reality that I need to make money off this stuff. That is why I don’t just give it out for free, and I generally sell things at prices that fall just below market standards. That said, I really WANT every wizard rock fan to own my latest albums, Demons at the Helm and Wizard Party Forever!!!. They aren’t my most popular albums, but they are certainly my BEST albums, and the thought of anyone skipping either of these records because they don’t have ten bucks is kinda depressing.

SO, in comes my next bright idea: Whomping Willows DEAL OF THE WEEK. The purpose of this promotion is twofold: 1) To get my music and merch into the hands of wizard kids who have yet to purchase it, and 2) To reduce my inventory so I can walk around my apartment more freely. 😉

I thought it would be appropriate to offer Demons at the Helm first in this new line of incredible deals. Demons is my worst-selling album of all-time, and I believe it’s the subject matter that has kept some wizard rock fans away. It’s an album about REAL LIFE, specifically my life, and while I admit that my life isn’t terribly interesting, I do think it made for some decent music. Demons features AMAZING guest appearances from EXCEPTIONAL musicians, including Jarrod Perkins, Bradley Mehlenbacher, Lauren Fairweather, Mark Jennings, Georgia and Victoria Minnear, and Jeff Zentner. Demons also features the impeccable artwork of Frankie Franco. It’s an all-star album and it’s one that I’d love for every wizard rock fan to own.

AND NOW IT’S AVAILABLE FOR FOUR DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. 😀 😀 😀

Check out the Merchandise page for more details!

Love,
Matt

Holiday Sale Ends January 10 + Other News!

Hey wizard kids!

FYI: Lauren and Matt’s Holiday Sale will continue until January 10, at which point the amazing package deals and specials will DISAPPEAR FOREVER!! If you haven’t taken advantage of the deals yet, head on over to the Holiday Sale website and check it out! We still have most everything in stock, but certain sizes/designs are beginning to run out.

In other news, I’ve added a Music page to this website! You can listen to the entirety of Wizard Party Forever!!! and Demons at the Helm on the embedded widget. Also, I’ve included a FREE DOWNLOAD of the Rock n’ Roll Redux version of Song For Luna! Free stuff rules! Check it out by clicking the “Music” tab above this blog entry!

Finally, I’ll be playing some shows this winter! Here are the highlights:
Read more »

Massive Holiday Sale Begins NOW!

Hey wizard kids!

Before you go shopping for Whomping Willows stuff on this website, please be aware that I’ve teamed up with my sweet ladyfriend Lauren Fairweather to offer the biggest, craziest wizard holiday sale in the history of everything! We’ve created our own Diagon Alley over at the Lauren and Matt’s Holiday Sale Website, and the deals are some of the best you’ll find in the wizarding world! We’ve got package deals that feature t-shirts as low as $14 and full-length albums as low as $6! I’ve even brought back the fan-favorite I Believe In Nargles shirts for this sale! Individual shirts and CDs are on sale too, if you’re just looking to round out your collection. The bottom line is: You don’t have to leave your home and deal with traffic jams, long lines, and cranky muggles. Shop like a wizard this holiday season!

Love,
Matt