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// Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Music to Howl to: Moondog Matinee

Moondog Matinee is Pete Barnato (vocals/keys/guitar) Adam Carpenter (bass/sax), Ben Ingle (drums), Steve Widmer (guitar/keys), and Drea Ballard (guitar). Moondog Matinee is Pete Barnato (vocals/keys/guitar) Adam Carpenter (bass/sax), Ben Ingle (drums), Steve Widmer (guitar/keys), and Drea Ballard (guitar).

Reno-based band Moondog Matinee is a bit of a happy accident. Formed four years ago, their story starts like most creative endeavors; the boys were just having fun. 


“The band was mostly a jam band, we would get together and play the same song for 45 minutes,” says Peter Barnato. Peter, who was primarily a guitarist, didn’t even know he could sing until the band came together. And, that's shocking. This fellow can really belt out a perfect, fiery tune.

Their sound? A raw, gritty, sexy mashup of varied audible influences. Blues? Pop? Soul? Rock? Check, check, check, check. There’s a bit of everything for everyone, here. It feels old (in a good way), but incredibly original at the same time. We could try and lump these kids into one musical category, but that would be over-analytical. We’d rather just sit back and sway to their sounds.

Thankfully, these fellas will be playing at RAW:Reno's premiere showcase. Be sure to check them out at the Reno Underground on June 7th for RAW:Reno presents SOLSTICE 

We chatted with Pete Barnato, lead vocalist and guitarist. 

How would you describe your sound?

I think we all have a love and roots in the blues. From there, we all branch out. Ben (drummer) has a love for the Allman Brothers, Lynard Skynard and loves metal and funk. Steve (guitar) brings the pop sensibility to the band,. He's a massive Beatles fan and borrows a lot of his songwriting chops from them. Drea (guitar) is a bluesman through and through. Adam brings the strange into the band; he loves Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. I am all over the place. I'm a massive David Bowie fan as well as Tom Waits, Otis Redding, Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, the Animals, The Kinks, Muddy Waters and, most importantly, The Rolling Stones. I think the reason we have such a unique sound is because we all have different types of music we love. 

What are some artistic goals you set for yourselves as band mates when cranking out songs?

As far as artistic goals, we strive to create a sound that seems familiar to the listener, but completely unique. We want our sound to be timeless, making it unable for the listener to pigeonhole which decade it came from.

If there was one sentiment you are constantly aiming to achieve through your music, what would you say that was?

Sincerity and nostalgia.

Describe the moment when, as a band, you all realized you were heading down the right track.

For me, it was when we picked up Ben on drums. At that point, I began to focus completely on vocals and Steve began to play guitar full-time and move away from the keys. This is when we decided as a band to go 100 percent and make this band as good as it could possibly be. We began to make massive sacrifices in our personal lives to focus wholeheartedly on Moondog Matinee.

How would you describe the chemistry and relationship between the five of you? 

We all hang out quite a bit, when you have as much time and effort involved in a project as we do, you develop a sense of camaraderie and family. Steve, Drea and I also work at the same bar. Ben and Adam frequent there, so we spend most of our free time with each other at St. James Infirmary.

Moral of the story? Get together, artists. Make art just to make it. If it’s done right, as is the case with Moondog Matinee, good things organically come to those who collaborate. 

What to hear more of this band? Check out their page and purchase their album Vacancy on I-Tunes, Amazon or

Watch the video below!