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Tahoe-Truckee high school graduate’s band OPM hits the big time

NIK DIRGA, Sierra Sun Editor

From Truckee’s school bands to major record label success may seem a long road to take, but it’s paying off at last for local musician Matthew Meschery, whose band, OPM, is releasing their first CD on Atlantic Records this week.

OPM, a punk/skate rock hip hop band, premiered Menace To Sobriety Aug. 15, when it was released nationwide to record stores on Atlantic, home of Jimmy Page, Sinead O’Connor and the Black Crowes, among others. OPM is the featured band on the label’s web site this week.

The video for the album’s first single, “Heaven Is A Half-Pipe,” has also been getting play on MTV.

Matthew, known as “Shakey Lo the Kreation Kid” in the band, is the son of Tom and Joanne Meschery of Truckee, and a 1989 graduate of Tahoe Truckee High School. His bandmates are his brother-in-law John e. Necro and Geoff “Casper” Turney.

“The music is aimed at young people between 15 and 20,” said Joanne.

Matthew is the lead singer for OPM, and co-wrote the album’s songs.

“I’d say Matthew probably wrote 90 percent of the CD,” said Joanne. “Matthew plays the trumpet but there is no trumpet in punk, so he’s just singing and probably hopping around a lot.”

Matthew graduated from TTHS and later went to Brown University in Rhode Island.

“Essentially he spent all of his formative years here,” said Joanne Meschery. The Mescherys are well-known in the Truckee literary community, and Joanne’s history of Truckee is considered a standard in many circles.

Matthew’s musical past includes a lengthy tenure with an acid jazz band. The move to hip hop punk may seem surprising, but his love for music has included all genres, his mother said.

“He’s always loved music, since he was a little boy,” Joanne said. “He’s been in all kinds of bands over the years.”

“He took piano lessons in Truckee and then he played trumpet in junior high and high school band,” she said. “He just kept at it.”

OPM first officially formed in early 1999, when Matthew and John e. Necro began collaborating at Matthew’s home in Santa Cruz. Necro eventually ended up as Matthew’s brother-in-law when Matthew married his sister Heather.

“White man’s hip hop is what I call the style they work in,” said Joanne. “Matt has always loved reggae and that beat, and incorporated a lot of that into the mix.”

The three band members got together for the first time in January of 1999 at an art opening. It was that night Matthew presented the guys with a tape of some rough song ideas. Within a few days, the trio had completed work on the four-song demo that would eventually bring them to the attention of Atlantic Records.

Joanne said that she hopes OPM’s CD turns into a big success for the band.

“I feel a lot of sympathy for other parents [of musical kids]; because we all think they’re going to have a band,” she said. “Of course I always took all of this with a grain of salt – but he taught me a lesson that he was dead serious about it and wasn’t going to stop. I hope that this does all happen for him.”

“You might think of these guys as overnight winners but it’s just not true,” said Joanne. “It’s just all such a gamble. You just don’t know how much of it is luck and how much is talent.”

Out on the road touring to celebrate Menace To Sobriety’s release this week, Matthew couldn’t be reached for comment by the Sierra Sun, but in a studio press release he expounded on his musical style with OPM.

“California is a weird place,” said Matthew in the press release promoting the album. “As much as it’s laid-back and everyone’s mellow, there’s also this looming police presence and pervasive unease that exists. It’s the oddest contrast.”

“The songs usually start out as a concept,” said Matthew. “I don’t want to say high concept, because there’s nothing too complicated going on. I’ll come up with a beat or a little melody, John e. and I will come up with the words, and Geoff will write the guitar parts. It’s that simple.”

The album’s first single is the skater’s anthem, “Heaven Is A Half-Pipe.”

“We wanted to write a song that felt good,” said Matthew. “But if you really listen to the lyrics, there’s something dark about it. There’s something kind of twisted – ‘At least in heaven I can skate.’ It’s a morbid thought, right. It’s this kid thinking, ‘I’d rather be dead than living in this sh–y world.’ Still, it’s kind of a goofy song.”

“When we first wrote ‘Heaven Is A Half Pipe,’ we were thinking, ‘Hey, this song could be good,’ Matthew said. “We weren’t thinking of getting signed or getting … on the radio.”

Menace To Sobriety was completed at the band’s studio space in L.A. with producer Michael Patterson, whose credits include working with Beck and Lil’ Kim. The band also did some recording in New York City with producers Josh Deutsch and Craig Kallman.

Musicians who contributed their sound to the album included Eric Avery of punk-art legends Jane’s Addiction, Angelo Moore of funk group Fishbone and jazz bassist Melvin Gibbs, formerly of the Rollins Band.

“I’ve known Matt forever and think it’s a great album,” said Ruth Hall, a longtime friend of the Meschery family. “It’s kind of adult in some of the language but it’s also really light-hearted and fun.”

OPM will be celebrating the release of Menace To Sobriety with a concert in Reno at the Little Waldorf Saloon Tues., Aug. 22 starting at about 10 p.m. For details on that show, call (775) 323-3682.

Menace To Sobriety will be on sale at Musaic in Truckee this week, and samples of the album can also be heard online at http://www.atlantic-records.com.


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