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Manthers versus the fight-or-flight response

“I had to take a dump before every gig”

Manthers: Who needs to have a mission when you can have fun?
Manthers: Who needs to have a mission when you can have fun?

Matt Casper was bandless for around eight years before Manthers came together. It was an unusual gap for a gentleman known for fronting a lot of groups. “I’ve cobbled together so many things over the years,” Casper says. “I briefly had a band called Snake Babies. Then I had a band called The Fabulous Prizes. Then I had a band called Hunter Country. It was all basically the same tune and the same vibe, just different casts of characters. We started off just playing [South Park’s] Porchfest. We were the Pre-Existing Conditions. People were like, ‘That’s kind of a mouthful.’ I had a song called ‘Manther’ from Snake Babies, and my wife said I should call the band Manthers. After that, I learned that it’s the male equivalent of cougars. I didn’t know that. That’s just a happy coincidence, because we’re all that age. We’re manthers; we’re on the prowl for young tail, I guess.”

Manthers follows in the grand tradition of Casper’s guitar-based rock. He brings in the songs, assembles local players, and lets it rip. Their recent five song mini-album You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Manthers shows hints of influences such as The Pixies, AC/DC, Neil Young, and Pavement. Lyrically, Casper describes the album as being “half-dumb and half-smart.” “Beta Male” explores the idea of not worrying about status, living without self-doubt. “Pot Shots” focuses on online feuds with strangers, while “The Big Bang,” according to Casper, “is obviously a love song.” But whether or not album closer “Rock You in The Hole” is also a love song is up for debate. The track feels like an unreleased Spinal Tap single, with verses such as “Maybe if she knew that by ‘you’ I mean mankind/ Eight billion holes in a row and they’re all mine.” The gigantic chorus finds Casper belting out “I’m gonna rock you! Rock you in the hole!”

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One non-fan of “Rock You in The Hole” is Casper’s wife, as the lyrics make clear in the first verse (“Got a lady and she hates this song in a big way”). According to Casper, “I had a different set of lyrics there and she was like, ‘I hate that song. That song is stupid and beneath you.’ I said, ‘It’s not beneath me. It’s right even with me. We are tied. Me and ‘Rock You in The Hole,’ we are the same height.’”

Manthers have been gigging out around town as a trio, playing a set that averages 35 minutes. They perform songs from the mini-album and various tunes from Casper’s past projects such as Hell Yeah, formed after moving back to San Diego in 2002. One track, “Pitch A Fit,” dates all the way back to Seamless, a New York City-based outfit he fronted in the late ‘90s. “Seamless was the most success I’ve had in a band,” he explains. “We drew the most people. We came the closest to getting any kind of label stuff. But the most fun was Hell Yeah. By the time I had Hell Yeah, I didn’t give a shit anymore. With Seamless, I would get so uptight before gigs. I would practically crap myself before every gig. It was literally fight or flight response, and I had to take a dump before every gig, because I would be so nervous. The band was uptight. We would argue with each other and all kinds of shit. With Hell Yeah, I just decided I was done with that.”

Looking back, he muses, “In your 20s, you are driven. You are kind of an ideologue. You haven’t been put to the test in many ways, and I think you see it more as like a mission. They are more mission driven.” Hell Yeah “was kind of when I gave up on the mission of being in a band and just started having fun with it. I just started making up songs about shit I thought was funny, rather than stuff I thought would” — here, Casper pauses for a moment — “resonate. You know: ‘This song is gonna change their lives when they hear my magic words.’ Now, I just want to go out there and scream at the top of my lungs and make some people laugh, and hopefully jump around a little bit. That’s enough for me.”

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Manthers: Who needs to have a mission when you can have fun?
Manthers: Who needs to have a mission when you can have fun?

Matt Casper was bandless for around eight years before Manthers came together. It was an unusual gap for a gentleman known for fronting a lot of groups. “I’ve cobbled together so many things over the years,” Casper says. “I briefly had a band called Snake Babies. Then I had a band called The Fabulous Prizes. Then I had a band called Hunter Country. It was all basically the same tune and the same vibe, just different casts of characters. We started off just playing [South Park’s] Porchfest. We were the Pre-Existing Conditions. People were like, ‘That’s kind of a mouthful.’ I had a song called ‘Manther’ from Snake Babies, and my wife said I should call the band Manthers. After that, I learned that it’s the male equivalent of cougars. I didn’t know that. That’s just a happy coincidence, because we’re all that age. We’re manthers; we’re on the prowl for young tail, I guess.”

Manthers follows in the grand tradition of Casper’s guitar-based rock. He brings in the songs, assembles local players, and lets it rip. Their recent five song mini-album You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Manthers shows hints of influences such as The Pixies, AC/DC, Neil Young, and Pavement. Lyrically, Casper describes the album as being “half-dumb and half-smart.” “Beta Male” explores the idea of not worrying about status, living without self-doubt. “Pot Shots” focuses on online feuds with strangers, while “The Big Bang,” according to Casper, “is obviously a love song.” But whether or not album closer “Rock You in The Hole” is also a love song is up for debate. The track feels like an unreleased Spinal Tap single, with verses such as “Maybe if she knew that by ‘you’ I mean mankind/ Eight billion holes in a row and they’re all mine.” The gigantic chorus finds Casper belting out “I’m gonna rock you! Rock you in the hole!”

Sponsored
Sponsored

One non-fan of “Rock You in The Hole” is Casper’s wife, as the lyrics make clear in the first verse (“Got a lady and she hates this song in a big way”). According to Casper, “I had a different set of lyrics there and she was like, ‘I hate that song. That song is stupid and beneath you.’ I said, ‘It’s not beneath me. It’s right even with me. We are tied. Me and ‘Rock You in The Hole,’ we are the same height.’”

Manthers have been gigging out around town as a trio, playing a set that averages 35 minutes. They perform songs from the mini-album and various tunes from Casper’s past projects such as Hell Yeah, formed after moving back to San Diego in 2002. One track, “Pitch A Fit,” dates all the way back to Seamless, a New York City-based outfit he fronted in the late ‘90s. “Seamless was the most success I’ve had in a band,” he explains. “We drew the most people. We came the closest to getting any kind of label stuff. But the most fun was Hell Yeah. By the time I had Hell Yeah, I didn’t give a shit anymore. With Seamless, I would get so uptight before gigs. I would practically crap myself before every gig. It was literally fight or flight response, and I had to take a dump before every gig, because I would be so nervous. The band was uptight. We would argue with each other and all kinds of shit. With Hell Yeah, I just decided I was done with that.”

Looking back, he muses, “In your 20s, you are driven. You are kind of an ideologue. You haven’t been put to the test in many ways, and I think you see it more as like a mission. They are more mission driven.” Hell Yeah “was kind of when I gave up on the mission of being in a band and just started having fun with it. I just started making up songs about shit I thought was funny, rather than stuff I thought would” — here, Casper pauses for a moment — “resonate. You know: ‘This song is gonna change their lives when they hear my magic words.’ Now, I just want to go out there and scream at the top of my lungs and make some people laugh, and hopefully jump around a little bit. That’s enough for me.”

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