Rich Mattson reached a key status in Minneapolis music during the 90’s with his band The Glenrustles, and around the calendar indication of our current millennium, Ol’ Yeller. During those same years he became known as a relentless DIY guy, which played out in his sound engineer work in the recording studio he built in Northeast Minneapolis, Flowerpot Studios. Brian Herb, a brick in the Twin Cities music landscape, responded to my inquiry about Mattson, “He’s the guy that’s proven you don’t need the million dollar studio that everybody seems to be clamoring to spend all their money in, in order to make a record that sounds good.”
In 2005 Mattson moved himself, and his operation, back near where he grew up on Minnesota’s Iron Range. A former Lutheran church in the mine location community of Sparta became Sparta Sound. Ever since he’s been a musical catalyst for the area. A key figure in establishing IROMA (The Iron Range Original Music Association), Mattson helped the talented musicians in the area interested in creating original music to believe that their audience was out there. And he showed them how to make it happen.
In terms of both productivity, and more importantly, quality, Rich Mattson is the second best songwriter with ties to the Iron Range. His body of work is daunting, and constantly growing. His current projects include a reformed Ol’ Yeller, Junkboat, The Tisdales, Rich Mattson & Germaine Gemberling, The Bitter Spills (w/ Baby Grant Johnson), and most recently, Rich Mattson & the Northstars. By far, the most difficult aspect to conveying what Rich Mattson has done for, and in Minnesota music, is that even the most succinct version would still be epic in it’s length. For most avenues one feels like what’s left out in the name of the space they have to make their case would add up to several more notable careers. In this edition of Centerstage Minnesota, Rich Mattson joins Charlie Pulkrabek. Music also from a variety of Mattson’s projects, Prudence Johnson & Dan Chouinard, Prudence Johnson, The Replacements, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers, and Dylan Hicks.