Matt Iwanusa of Caveman on In N Out, Cali Weed, and Being Ignored by Blue Oyster Cult

Matt Iwanusa of Caveman on In N Out, Cali Weed, and Being Ignored by Blue Oyster Cult
Jim Wright

When Matt Iwanusa and Jimmy Carbonett first met at The Churchill and Center in New York City, they were only teens. Though the private school was in Manhattan, it was nothing like Gossip Girl. Their sound has been described as equal parts chamber pop, dreamscape, and horror film score, if you can imagine such a thing.

The outfit's first local appearances begin tonight, and they have high expectations. "There will be people out there who are excited to listen to music and excited to hang," Iwanusa said. "We're gonna have a good time the entire time we're there." With the band's album, CoCo Beware (no, not an ode to former WWF wrestler Koko B. Ware) being praised by outlets ranging from the New York Times to Fadar to NPR, we decided to heed the hype.

There's a very familiar, British-sounding tone to your voice. Do you feel like you channel anyone when you sing? Not sure really. I used to listen to The Beatles all the time so it could be that. When I was younger, I sang at the Metropolitan Opera and that had a lot of influence on my vocal training in general.

The band has performed with a number of big names in music, from Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes to White Rabbits to Blue Oyster Cult. What's it been like to share the stage with those artists? Have you taken anything away as a singer from watching the frontmen of these particular acts? Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes are great performers, which makes them exciting to watch, which I think is always a good thing. It's been great being able to play with a lot of cool bands. They're all doing their own thing, so it's good for us to observe and translate into us trying to figure out what our thing is as well.

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When you played with Blue Oyster Cult, did you have the urge to play "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" using more cowbell as the SNL skit dictated? We got offered that show last minute when we first started. It was literally the day before and it was all the way out in Brooklyn and they didn't even talk to us, which was pretty fun. But we had a good time.

Then you definitely should have mocked them then! I know, I know. Had we thought of it then, probably yes, however, we were partying too hard by then already.

Since this is Caveman's first time playing L.A., what are you guys looking forward to the most, besides the flight of course. The flight is the only thing I'm looking forward to actually (laughs). We have a lot of friends there so we're doing a lot of cool promotional things and I'm excited to play The Echo. I played there once before with my old band.

You aren't excited to scarf down a greasy In N Out burger? Oh yes, we were just talking about that. I just said about 10 minutes ago, instead of eating now, we should all wait for In N Out and of course, we couldn't wait and just ate at Taco Bell.   Isn't that like going from royalty to recycling? Yeah I know. Taco Bell is pretty quick and in this case, convenient.

In addition to The Echo, you guys are playing Santa Ana and Costa Mesa. During your free time, are you planning on hitting up Disneyland? I don't know if we have time to do that this time around.

What about the beach? That seems more likely.

What's the one thing about being in California that's superior to anything that New York has to offer? Easy, looser marijuana laws.

Caveman will be playing three area shows beginning Thursday night at The Echo in Los Angeles, Friday night at Constellation Room in Santa Ana and Saturday night at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa.


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