Playing With Matches

Playing With Matches


Playing With Matches corn-fed hybrid of rock 'n roll generates enthusiasm from listeners who are looking for a smarter and craftier brand of rock. Frontman Derek Luna is a bonified blue-collar philosopher, and his band backs him with a brand of Rock/Pop that is all candy without the coating.


When I finally caught up with Playing with Matches, I found them not hiding in a green room but scattered throughout the crowd at their show Friday night at Remington’s. Listening to opening bands, handing out drinks, cracking up with friends, one thing was obvious from the start: this band loves their job. It was all I could do to pry them away from the sold out show to have a word with them in the downstairs bar. The five-member band has the personality of a sketch comedy group. Personality oozes from this five-member band making five minutes without a laugh or a joke almost impossible.

“We’re like an old family vaudeville act. We live together, we work together, we’re a pretty tight unit,” Luna says of his fellow band mates. The band, consisting of brothers Adam and Jacob Showalter (guitars), Jake Richardson (drums), Andy Marshall (bass) and Derek Luna (vocals) has been playing in its current lineup for about a year and a half.

Last spring the band’s sound caught the ear of Jeff Smith, engineer and producer at Studio 2100. Playing with Matches worked with Smith, who passed them on to Jim Wirt, chart-topping producer behind Incubus, Fiona Apple and Hoobastank. The band worked with Wirt through April and ended up with a demo of three songs slated to be on their next album. The band toured through summer and fall with a few dates on The Warped Tour, raising funds for their next full length while, while handing out the three songs like candy and gaining a hoard of faithful fans.

Smith says it is Luna’s lyrics that always stood out to the producer. “Nowadays, vocalists and lyricists don’t really write like that. It’s a little more intelligent rock.” The fact that the band eats, breathes and lives music doesn’t hurt either. The band just finished recording sessions for a full-length album, which Luna says will be “a story…from front to back, a story. Somewhere in between a radio drama and a rock musical.”

The band has been working with Producer Brandon Sammons and engineer Kevin Gates for months now and is eagerly awaiting the debut of the album, which they promise will be “unlike any album you’ve ever heard before.” Playing with Matches will then hit the road this summer, hoping to grow their already booming Midwest road following (they outdraw many local bands in Omaha, Kansas City and St. Louis), most likely playing another couple gigs on the Warped Tour and drumming up support for the new album. They way everything sounds (and I say this having gotten a sneak preview of the new album), the “Next” in the Next Big Thing, should be very short lived.


"Momento Mori" 5 song EP/ 2004/ Riat Records

"Playing With Matches" 13 song LP/ 2007 / Workers Unite

Set List

Any where from 15 - 100 minutes.