Ex-Smashing Pumpkins, Filter Drummer resurfaces with Cupcakes

Matt Walker, who has recently played drums for Filter, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Ric Ocasek, has a new band called Cupcakes, who made their Los Angeles debut recently with two shows at the Viper Room. At the second show on Friday (May 8), a mix of executives from DreamWorks Records -- which recently signed the band after a short and modest bidding war -- and curious locals (as well as a few clueless tourists) turned out to hear if Walker's new band is of the same caliber as his previous projects. All dressed in matching gray overalls, Cupcakes -- which also features vocalist Preston Graves, guitarist Greg Suran, and bassist (and Walker's brother) Solomon Snyder -- played a 10-song set of intense, modern rock that blended the sounds of such expected influences as Nine Inch Nails, Led Zeppelin, and the Cars with more ambitious, artsy strains that were reminiscent of PJ Harvey or Portishead. The band's hour-long set started with "High Speed Cake in the Hole," a deranged tune with a long, slow instrumental intro that morphs into a dramatic, crashing crescendo. From there, hard- driving songs about passive- aggressive friends, lame rock stars (anyone we know?), and robots ("Kill All the Clones") were different one from another, showing an impressive range of musical ability from the members (three of whom were in a band called Trouble Opera before Walker joined Filter). In an interview over the weekend with allstar, Walker said that despite the fact that the band has spent much more time together recording than playing live, Cupcakes do plan to soon expand beyond the eight or so shows they've done in Chicago (where the band is based) and L.A. "We haven't done many shows, but I don't want to call it a studio thing, either, because it's not like we're some studio creation," he says. "There's programming, but it's only supportive. It's mostly live playing." Aside from Walker's inventive and engaging rhythmic style, the band's ace- in- the- hole may be singer Graves, a bit of a Stephan Jenkins (from Third Eye Blind) look- alike who effortlessly hit all of his high notes at this show. "We're pretty lucky there," says Walker. "It's nice to have a singer who can actually sing, which is rare these days." Next up for Cupcakes (Walker says he thinks the name is ridiculous, by the way) is to record their debut album, with a release probably sometime early in 1999. "We've talked to a couple producers who we're interested in, so we're just going to have to make some decisions," he adds. Walker also played drums on six of the songs on the upcoming Smashing Pumpkins album, Adore, including the new single "Ava Adore" ("They asked me to do a double-drummer thing in the video with new drummer Kenny Aronoff," says Walker, "but I couldn't do it."), as well as Ocasek's upcoming, Billy Corgan- produced solo album. Of his oft- debated relationship with Corgan, Walker says that despite his unexpected replacement as Pumpkins drummer, the two are still on good terms. "Heand I are still friends. I would have done that video if I could have, but Cupcakes is my priority."

-Troy Augusto

Source: AllStar Magazine