Bullet Backstory with Matt “the Knife” Goldpaugh of Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones


Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones are joining us on the Blue Plate Special with host Red Hickey on October 17th at noon. This event is free to the public and will be held at the Knoxville Visitor Center. In the meantime, enjoy this Bullet Backstory from Matt “the Knife” Goldpaugh of Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones. He was gracious enough to answer our questions for this regular feature on the WDVX blog.

  • Biggest musical influences? Our musical influences are vast and can even vary from year to year, hour to second, or state of mind. I listen to everything from Johnny Cash to Balkan Brass. I try to inject my love of early Rhythm & Blues and Jump Blues into our songwriting and feel. Our sound sort of stands at the crossroads of all American Roots music genres. Rockabilly, Early, Rock N Roll, Blues, Soul, Hot Jazz, Surf Rock, Hillbilly Boogie, Country, and then lays down in traffic or maybe dances across the intersection as a pedestrian.
  • What made you decide to pursue music as a career? After trying to make it in the job world, I realized I couldn’t pursue my passions for art and music while slaving away for someone else. Worked tons of crap jobs throughout my life, went to college, still worked crap jobs, worked halfway decent jobs. I even had what I thought was a real “career” “in my field” when I worked as a photographer for the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner, (photographing autopsies) If that was all I wanted, I was there, and that would have been OK. I’m even a Licensed Master Barber, and still cut hair occasionally. Fortunately/Unfortunately, I was also beginning to get into touring a bit with my band the Arkhams at the time. It was almost impossible to juggle both. I realized a lot of people only get further (without being independently wealthy) in the arts by diving head first into it….total immersion. Though as with diving head first into a pool, it is wise to know the depth. It is worth getting honest feedback from people other than supportive parents or partners (though they are great to have) and seeing if head first diving is worth doing or worth putting up with the grueling amount of work you have ahead. This view of artists and musicians as lazy slackers needs to go, so let’s not perpetuate it by being that way! I have always had to do all my own graphic design, booking, promoting/marketing, merchandising. I even used to print all our T-Shirts. I use the skills learned in Art school, so I don’t completely consider my degree useless. I moved back upstate to my hometown of Kingston, NY when I met Lara and we have been pursuing music first ever since and scraping by. But go ask anyone with a good career or high-paying job and they will also tell you they are scraping by.
  • What’s your favorite thing to do in Knoxville? When we come to Knoxville, our favorite things to do are playing the Blue Plate Special and hanging out with our friend Cindy Lou, proprietor of Chop Shop Hair Studio, and Bean the Basset Hound.
  • If you could work with any musician (living or deceased) who would it be? SO MANY! I’ll name a few of each? Cab Calloway, Les Claypool, Hendrix, Wynonie Harris, Rushad Eggleston, Dick Dale, Mojo Nixon, Howin’ Wolf.
  • Anything else you would like to share? Favorite WDVX memory, etc? Can’t wait to come back. Favorite WDVX memories are made every time!


This Bullet Backstory is brought to you by one of our great WDVX-Travaganza sponsors, Ullrich Printing!

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