Fuse Rock Feature: Burnin’ One Down With Matt Bunsen

Matt Bunsen and the Burners proves that comedic music can not only be funny but also be well-crafted and artful commentary.

By Kathleen Burke.

Matt Bunsen and friends cavort. Photo: Whitey Bunsen.

Last week I was living my own personal Gonzo experience on the west coast with some friends, and on the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (bat country!), I stopped in North Hollywood to visit my old friend Matt Bunsen of Matt Bunsen and the Burners.

Matt was not always known as a Bunsen, and in fact was not always a resident of California. In his former life, Matt was known as a Silbert and played bass in well-known, Boston 90’s and early aught band Seks Bomba. A self-described “fun retro surf-spy-lounge dance rock band,” Seks Bomba spied and lounged their way through sold-out shows all over New England and New York City. Matt Silbert, bassist, web designer, and entrepreneur virtuoso relocated to LA after the final Seks Bomba release Thanks and Goodnight in 2005 (lead singer Chris Cote went on to become an aristocratic dandy as part of The Upper Crust) and five years later emerged anew from the twitching, musical womb of Hollywood as Matt Bunsen.

Matt Bunsen and the Burners’ first release, boldly titled Greatest Hits is an expertly written collection of hilarious fun, self-aware “folk-rock party” tunes with songs like “Beer,” “Drugs Make Me Happy,” and “Ode to Mila Kunis.” Bunsen proves that comedic music can not only be funny but also be well crafted and well arranged artistic commentary. There are refined musical chops on all the Bunsen albums, and Greatest Hits sees guest performances by Chris Cote and Boston Music Royalty, Kay Hanley.

But I wasn’t at Matt’s house with his four black cats to talk about Greatest Hits, though after a few beers on his porch, I sort of forgot that, which you will see in the video. The new Burners album Porch Party–Volume 1 was recently released, and in true Bunsen fashion, Matt has once again proved he is a pioneer in songwriting by crafting the verse melody of “I’m Yosemite Sam” from lyrics solely taken from Wikipedia. Naysayers and doubters, do not besmirch the technique until you listen to the song. Lead singers Vickie Lynn and Promethea Bunsen intertwine country and blues to create lush vocal harmonies, and along with them, the Burners typical live lineup includes acoustic guitar, bass, cajón (percussion), mandolin, and keyboards/pedal-steel/accordion.

Check out the quick and dirty video recording for a taste of Matt Bunsen. I and my videographer spent the day on the beach in Malibu (such is the life of an Arts Fuse writer), so I may look a little sun shocked. I promise a HD video next time, but this is a good depiction of Matt and the day as a whole (Read: a bit dark and sometimes blurred).

After we recorded, Matt gave me a tour of his back yard, which included a giant, loaded lemon tree. I was able to pick and take a lemon about the size of a softball, but he assured me the lemons he’d picked prior were the size of cantaloupes. Matt Bunsen and the Burners play on October 20th at the Oyster House Saloon in Studio City, CA, so you have ample time to make travel arrangements.

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  1. Vickie Lynn Bunsen on August 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Awesome video and write up!!

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