I was "stricken" with another birthday last Sunday. I don't really think it's that bad creeping closer to 40, but I have been thinking about a few things in a dim, nostalgic light for a couple days.

I decided to start the laborious task of ripping all my CDs and stowing them away in boxes. It is no coincidence considering the nostalgia kick that the first stack contained recordings from a long since forgotten Denton, TX band called Mandarin that I was in from 1998-2005. It's a reminder that I have been running into musical brick walls for nearly 15 years now (more like 20). On one hand, I look back and shake my head at some of the decisions we made along the way, on the other I remember a great time in my life with great friends with a collective purpose (albeit at times totally botched and improperly handled).  I had a tough time coming to terms with how this band ended- I felt much to blame for this.  Let's just say it was an "artistic differences" type of thing.  I spent years dwelling on those times around 2005-2006...
But the world didn't end.  In many instances, I kept in contact with those old friends.

back in the Fast>Future>Present days

I had a coworker come up to my desk this morning and look at these CDs while I was ripping them for this post-
"hey, these are all your old band?"
"yeah it is" he then asked "did you guys SELL?"
"I'm not sure how many we sold" - "so you guys didn't MAKE ANY MONEY then???"
"Not really" and then he put them down and said "hmm."

towtruck stranded in Illinois

I'm positive we didn't make any money, we spent/lost more than we ever made. Maybe it was a little bit more difficult to tell if an album was even being heard back then, especially with the types of record deals we had... I think we had a touch of entitlement and really believed we should have been more recognized than we were, but does it really matter?

My sister recently told me that music is "my hobby"- I don't exactly agree, but she is on to something here.  What has it all been for? Personal sanity or insanity? Perhaps it's simply the "need" to create. To stay perpetually broke? Was it for the free drinks? Obviously not success or fame or money.

I was planning on posting all of the recorded material I could find but I felt like the first album didn't stand the test of time to my ears very well at all...  It has its moments, but I think that one should just hang around in the ether out there by itself... maybe sometime I'll get around to posting it someday.  or not.

So I need to take some photos or find some images... but here's some links.


  1. www.m-a-n-d-a-r-i-n.com

  2. Koodley Koddley Koodley Koddley Koodley Koddley Koodley Koddley

  3. If I may say, Driftline is an amazing album. It really is one of the best-sounding albums in my collection of music. I could listen to that album for the snare sound alone. I fell in love with the dynamic that you guys either chose, or were force to leave alone. No over compression. The sounds of the guitars were what came from the amps. To me, since I first came across Driftline back in the mp3.com days it has been listened to hundreds of times. I remember coming across Life in and Iron Lung and being blown away.

    I won't go as far as saying the album is perfect. Most albums aren't. Even Dark Side of the Moon and OK Computer aren't; but I do love the writing on this album. Its subtleties and hints of musical foreshadow, whether intended or not captivated me. I still hear new things to this day! I'd love to have the opportunity to play with musicians that write this way. Again, the arrangements are so well done.

    As I speak I trying my best to share this lost music with some friends on facebook. It really broke my heart that you guys parted ways. I've enjoyed Jayson's newer material, but I don't feel it reaches me like his work with Mandarin did. But I still enjoy it. I've even reached out to listening to Centro-matic in hopes to hear that Echo Labs Studio sound. Good, but not the same, though South San Gabriel's "Not Until the Operation's Through" is a favorite.

    Being a musician myself, writing, recording, playing out when I can, I know it's difficult. There's a lot of questioning. I question my musical purpose everyday. Being 30, I realize I'm just in it for me. Looking around today's industry, you have to realize that it's a throw-away industry of personalities. No more rock gods. No more radio. Just a bunch of companies doing their thing to exploit. Music listeners aren't stupid. They know this and they've accepted it. So even if something like another Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Radiohead, or whatever come across their speakers, they'll probably just shrug them of knowing they don't stand a chance, just like Mandarin did.

    Matt, thanks for bringing two great albums to this world. I wish I could've heard more from you guys. Hit me up on facebook if you ever feel like chatting about music. I promise I won't bug you for an autograph. :)

    Not a creepy guy, but just a old-time fan,

    Miami, FL