Terry Matsuoka

Terry Matsuoka

 San Diego, California, USA

“He can belt out a soul-felt growl as effectively as a heart-touching melody. The guitar playing is clean and refined” - Jason Riggs, 91X “Matsuoka’s effect on the audience is akin to that of a cool cousin you only see twice a year, yet wished would never leave” - Fernando Ramos, Daily Aztec


Terry began his solo music career while fronting his band- The Urchin. Playing solo/ acoustic allowed Matsuoka to concentrate on his songwriting and play songs that were a little more laid back than the ones he was playing with his alternative rock band. He began by playing consistently at the Innerchange Coffeehouse in San Diego as his primary venue (at the same time as singer-songwriter Jewel- who eventually recorded her first album there live).

The Urchin eventually broke up and then resurfaced with a different line-up as an even harder edged- Blue Elder. After representing Southern California in the Musician Magazine/ Ticketmaster Showcase, Blue Elder disbanded. Matsuoka's solo acoustic gig represented a more consistent artistic outlet than the band dynamic. Even still, Matsuoka has much experience being a band member. In addition to the aforementioned bands in which he sang and played guitar, he has also done the same in indie rock band- Scapegoat, has rapped and human beatboxed in various acts, played just guitar in the hip hop gospel group- Chosen Generation, bass in punk rock band- Halfwit and drums in punk/ funk band- Funkapotimus and funk/ soul band- Blackmilk.

In 2000, Matsuoka released his first solo CD. Appropriately titled, Raw Acoustic Stylee was recorded “indie-style” in Matsuoka's bedroom with an analog tape machine with no electric instruments (acoustic guitars, upright bass, toy accordion, maracas, cardboard boxes, human beatboxing, etc.). In addition to this, no effects (such as compression or reverb) were used in the recording. Jason Riggs of The Weekly described Raw Acoustic Stylee as "...a handmade piece of art. The warmth and craftsmanship offers a direct connection to its creators... damn refreshing in this age of computer-generated beats and over-dubbed sample and guitar riffs".

On Matsuoka's new album Totally Rad, he takes his alterna-pop to a new level. He uses influences from his love of music like 60's soul, dub reggae, rock-a-billy, and folk blues as stylistic touches to make his own brand of indie pop. Matsuoka brings together his skill and experience performing and recording with different bands by producing and playing all of the instruments on the album (with exception of guest percussion by former Alfred Howard and the K23 Orchestra percussionist Aaron Irwin and human beatbox on one song by longtime collaborator JNav).

Whether solo or with his 5-piece band, Terry Matsuoka's live show is an entirely unique experience in itself. In addition to performing his songs with enthusiasm and passion, his shows can sometimes enter the realm of a variety show. In past performances, Matsuoka has performed stunts like drinking poison, getting possessed by Elvis' ghost and doing dances choreographed by audience members. He also delivers hip hop spoken word and human beatboxes with remarkable ability. He has shared billing with artists as diverse as Steve Poltz, Patricia Barber, The Furious Four, Gregory Page, Carol Bui, Tim Flannery, Vienna Teng, The Far East Movement and Jewel at venues like LeStat's, The Viper Room, Java Joe's, Twiggs and the Casbah and events like the San Diego Asian Film Festival, Kollaboration, Street Scene and the San Diego Music Awards Acoustic Festival.


You'd Be Surprised

Written By: Terry Matsuoka

You’d Be Surprised (Matsuoka)

You’d be surprised
what I’d believe
when I think I’m in love
the things I’d conceive
My world is blind
to myself it’s unkind
and still sign after sign
I’ve made up my mind
First you want to be her star
and you think that you are
You give what you got
but you know that you’re not
and you know
honey you know

You’d be surprised
the things I deny
what I already know
and still I give it a try
I’m feeling just fine
like chardonnay wine
still without you by my side
I’m aware of the time

You’d be surprised
she’s one of a kind
above all the rest
her smile is sweet and divine
I follow one way signs
she’s making me feel
I’m running in place
forcing a dream
that it’s already gone

Black Mountain Road

Written By: Terry Matsuoka

Black Mountain Road (Matsuoka)

Black Mountain road off the canyon side
Kickin’ up dirt makes a boy fell alive
With the sun beating down
take a break in the grass
in the shade of the tree
in the park down the pass
Outside the home where the rubble lies
throwning wiffle balls underneath blue skies
Burning tan, ice cream man
in a van, melt in hand
Catching air on the swing,
sprain the ankle, land in sand
Give me three months of the year, all of my life
to let my mind unwind with time outside
to run and hide and slip and slide and bob in the sea
Where’s my vacation, my summer vacation

Catch the number ten bus UTC to the shores
skate to the stop with backpack and my board
Spend the day at the beach
at the point out of reach
between sets wait afloat
slight breeze, all at ease
Lay in the sand and rap with my friends
about who likes who and your personal top ten
Take in the smell of the sea,
the break of the waves
the wash of the shore
the length of the day
Where’s my vacation, my summer vacation

They're All Busy Now

Written By: Terry Matsuoka

They’re All Busy Now (Matsuoka)

There’s seven people I like hangin’ with
but their all busy now
And there’s one gal I been searchin’ for
but she never returns my calls

Everyone’s looking like a surfer
but nobody surfs
Everyone’s looking like a gangster
but nobody gangs
Businessmen are looking like businessmen
Boyfriends are looking at other girls
Idiots are looking like people
I wanna sock in the face
Walking all around people stop to say hello
They ask to be loved but nothing comes out right
They boast fiction of unknown myth
and unintentional lies
Running away from themselves, they stumble to and fro

Everyone’s trying to tell someone else
about some crap they don’t know
Impressing everyone else in their own mind
Everyone’s talking to everybody
No one’s listening to anyone
Nobody’s thinking about anything but themselves



Raw Acoustic Stylee- indie pop recorded with only acoustic instruments, no electric and no effects

Totally Rad- soulful alternative with the full band sound, sounds like San Diego

Set List

Usual sets are 45 minutes with the band. Terry can play up to 2 hours acoustically.

sample set list

If I Could
There Goes My Baby
Black Mountain Road
Penny Cup
80's Rap
Mama Says I Can't Have the Blues
They're All Busy Now
Grin Like the Buddha
You'd Be Surprised
Sour Cream and Chives