Posted in music on May 8, 2008

Neil Diamond & Matt Sweeney @ the Bitter End
Neil Diamond and Matt Sweeney

Just to confirm what has been floating around the comments this week, it is Matt Sweeney of Chavez/Zwan/Superwolf that plays on Neil Diamond's new album, and who played with Neil at the Bitter End in NYC last night.

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Comments (26)

He does a great job on Neil's new cd too.

The deluxe edition of the cd has a dvd of 4 performances,and it is interesting to see how
into the music Matt and (Heartbreakers)Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench are.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:33 PM

AND GBV!

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:36 PM

I got to give you credit BV. You are a very smart guy. No wonder you get so much traffic to your site and stay on top. Good work

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:39 PM

hanger-ons' gotta make a living too...

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:42 PM

matt sweeney's awesome. does he still tour with cat power? i saw him play opposite chan on her second hiro night.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:45 PM

wanna hear Neil cover some Chavez! "Better days will haunt you / they will see he wants to own you / find the other ways / to slip the light through..."

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:46 PM

the quantity (1/"Zwan royalties") approaches infinty.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:50 PM

Why would anyone want to see this lug? I saw him on 'American Idol' (yeah, you know you watch it too...) and, he looked so out of place and irrelavant it was almost distracting. His songs blow too. Alright, I've sang along to 'Sweet Caroline' at a wedding also..Rick Rubin produced, doesn't mean it's a reason to like no talent.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 4:52 PM

"I saw him on 'American Idol' -- and, he looked so out of place and irrelavant (sp)"

...and that is a bad thing?

Posted by drewo | May 8, 2008 4:54 PM

no tallent?.One of the most distinctive and unique (and often copied,especially in indie rock) voices for one.A great songwriter for two.

It is the American Idol losers who blew.One who sounds like Nickelback (like that is a good thing).The other looks and sounds like a little kid.The other who's only tallent is in his dreadlocks.

Not to bag on American Idol,but even the big winners careers last for only one album.That is why that stupid host asked Neil repeatedly how to have a long career.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 5:06 PM

Matt Sweeney is fairly popular 4:39, it ain't rocket science

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 5:07 PM

I was going to suggest you to listen to his two most recent albums instead of judging him by his publicity appearance at American Idol. Then I realized if I have to make that suggestion, then it probably won't make a difference.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 5:08 PM

"Not to bag on American Idol,but even the big winners careers last for only one album.That is why that stupid host asked Neil repeatedly how to have a long career.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 5:06 PM"

Not to bag on you but Kelly Clarkson? Carrie Underwood? Daughtry(im sure his next album will be huge as well)? I mean i think these records are crapola but cmon now. These guys have been having more than a 1 album career.

And cmon Neil's last 2 albums have been very good but great? amazing? No way. The new one plods in the middle.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 5:13 PM

Go Sweeney!

Posted by Steve K | May 8, 2008 6:14 PM

How dare ANYONE bag on American Idol? In a post-9/11 world that's goddamn grounds for a one way trip to Gitmo!

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 6:53 PM

big fucking deal

Posted by anon | May 8, 2008 6:54 PM

superwolf. nuff said.

Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2008 11:11 PM

I saw him on millionaire&celebs dating site "LovingRich.com" with profile and blog .what does she look for there? Don't u want know?

Posted by jhdf | May 8, 2008 11:30 PM

Bullshit. Everyone knows that SugarDaddie.com is the Web site where all the rich bachelors and classy ladies hook up.

Posted by Joe Francis | May 8, 2008 11:35 PM

Ride The Fader = genius.

Posted by greg | May 8, 2008 11:42 PM

should've took months, but it only took hours....

Posted by wrathchild | May 9, 2008 12:44 AM

wHAT'S next? Nate Farley plays with Barry ManilOW?

Posted by Anonymous | May 9, 2008 8:33 AM

My name is Matt Sweeney too.

Posted by Matt Sweeney | May 9, 2008 9:18 AM

i'm matt sweeney and i play in daft punk.

Posted by Anonymous | May 9, 2008 8:38 PM

May 13, 2008, 10:45 AM ET

Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Neil Diamond has worked with a wide range of musicians throughout his legendary career, but perhaps none with as much of an indie rock pedigree as Matt Sweeney.

The Chavez frontman wound up playing a major role on Diamond's new Columbia album, "Home Before Dark," and performed with him last Thursday during a surprise MySpace-sponsored club show at New York's Bitter End.

Sweeney, who was brought onto the project by producer Rick Rubin, spoke to Billboard.com about the experience and what else is new and exciting in his musical universe.


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How much were you involved in the recording? Just a few songs, or the majority?


I played guitar on all the songs, I think. We did them live in the studio, with no drums. Neil played a Martin guitar from the 1800's, Smokey Hormel played guitar and/or bass, Mike Campbell played guitar and Benmont Tench [was] on piano and organ. Mike, Benmont and Smokey are so great to play with -- such cool people. And Rick Rubin is an incredibly sensitive and attentive listener who makes great suggestions for musical moves. I then threw on some electric and acoustic overdubs by myself, but I'm not sure if they made it on the final mixes.

On the first album Neil made with Rick [2005's "12 Songs"], there was a lot of talk about Rick forcing Neil to play guitar on the songs. Did this happen this time? Do you feel like this made a difference with the material?

We would all push to have Neil lead us with his guitar to set the tempos. He's very self-effacing about his guitar playing, which is funny because he is one of my all-time favorite guitar guys. He was also completely open for suggestions about how the song should feel.

You are playing with Neil on the video for "Pretty Amazing Grace" that's up on Amazon.com and you played the Biter End show. Do you have any plans to play with him beyond this?

No plans, but I would play with him in a heartbeat. I really was sad when the record was done; it was a summer camp-like experience.

In general, I'd love to have your thoughts on the experience. Were you a fan of his music before you started working on the album?

I've been a fan of Neil Diamond since before I could talk; my mom still always plays his music. In high school my friends and I would freak out to [Diamond's famed 1973 live album] "Hot August Night" -- my friend Lee Hetfield could lip-synch the entire album. I am a giant fan.

Here's the mindblower: Neil Diamond is so funny, low key and open. He sees every song as a chance to, in his words, "make a great record." He'd encourage all of us to come up with cool parts and feed us delicious food. He was so encouraging and excited about making music. Every day was awesome.

He simultaneously maintains a mystique and gives himself completely over to the song. He totally exposes himself to such a degree that he becomes almost invisible. His words and music come from such a private place, and still become songs that so many people can relate to.

I never imagined I'd play music with him, so the experience was really wild. It felt like jumping off a cliff. I'd tell myself, "OK, just pretend you are doing this." -- like a dream.

What else are you working on? Any guest appearances on other albums? Are you working on any of your own stuff? And I'd be remiss if I didn't see if there was anything percolating in the Chavez world...

Thanks for asking. I [was] on tour in Europe playing guitar with Baby Dee and Current 93. We just played in Moscow. Within the last year I've produced, co-wrote songs and/or played on records by Endless Boogie, Baby Dee, Sightings, Dax Riggs, Cat Power, Mike Bones and other stuff that I'm sure is good but am too fried to remember at the moment.

I'm also working on new Superwolf (that's Bonnie "Prince" Billy's and my collaboration team) songs to follow up the album Drag City put out in 2005. We'll have a song on a Kenneth Anger tribute album that's coming out on Dutro Records. I think maybe another new song of ours is gonna be in a movie. I hope to do Chavez stuff as well.

Posted by Billboard Today | May 13, 2008 10:11 PM

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Posted by Sarah Carter | December 20, 2012 12:12 PM

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