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The Matches are an American pop punk band formed in 1997 in Oakland, California, United States. The band is composed of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Shawn Harris, lead guitarist and backup vocalist Jonathan Devoto, bassist Justin San Souci, and drummer Matt Whalen. The Matches have released three studio albums and are currently unsigned after their contract with Epitaph Records expired.

The Matches
The matches.jpg
Background information
OriginOakland, California, United States
GenresPop punk,[1][2][3][4] alternative rock[4]
Years active1997–2009, 2015–present
Past members
  • Shawn Harris
  • Jon Devoto
  • Matt Whalen
  • Justin San Souci
  • Dylan Rowe
  • Matt Esposito
  • Henry Dietzel

On July 9, 2009, the Matches announced on their MySpace and Facebook pages that they were taking a "hiatus", saying that, "our time to start new projects has come".[5] On June 17, 2010 Shawn confirmed to Triple J that he had left the band. The Matches announced a one-time reunion show with the original lineup in May 2014.[6] The show sold out, as did an additional eight shows and a following tour in Australia.[6] The band announced additional reunion dates and new songs in 2015.


Beginnings (1997–2002)Edit

The band was formed as "The Locals" in 1997 by Justin San Souci, Matt Whalen, Matt Esposito, and Shawn Harris. At that time, all four members of the band were at Bishop O'Dowd high school. Matt Esposito then left the band to enroll in the US Naval Academy, and Henry Dietzel was recruited to take Matt's place. Dietzel remained with the band until late 2001 and upon leaving he was replaced by Jon Devoto. In those early years, the band played ska music—creating songs like "People on the Block", "Studio 5866", and others.

Gradually, their style started shifting towards alternative rock. Their influences included fellow East Bay punk/pop-punk bands like Green Day and Rancid, as well as more mainstream bands and musicians like Elvis Costello, David Bowie, The Who and Joe Jackson. The name "The Locals" soon led to copyright infringement complications when Yvonne Doll, the frontwoman for the Chicago indie rock band also called "The Locals", contacted the band and asked that they change their name.

The band gained notoriety for "commo-promo", or commotion promotion, in which they would bring their acoustic guitars and play outside various Bay Area venues as concerts for larger acts were letting out. In conjunction with Oakland's (now defunct) iMusicast venue, the band started producing their own shows called L3 (Live, Loud & Local), which became a launchpad for many other Bay Area bands, as well as attracting such headlining acts as Link 80, Sugarcult, and Zebrahead.

E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals (2003–2005)Edit

Eventually, under the new name "The Matches", they self-released their debut album, E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals (this was assumed as an effort to publicly resent Yvonne Doll while avoiding libel). Then soon after they landed a record deal on Brett Gurewitz's Epitaph Records, although they had already previously released the album E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals without a recording contract, Epitaph Records re-released it. The version released by Epitaph lacks the song "Superman", but adds the songs "Borderline Creep" and "More Than Local Boys" instead. As well as slight changes to lyrics on "The Jack Slap Cheer", and the last untitled track (often referred to as "Track 11", "Abraham's Song", or "Scratched Out"). "Audio Blood" was featured in the video game Burnout 3: Takedown. The band also worked with rapper MC Lars on the song "Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock".

Decomposer and A Band in Hope (2006–2008)Edit

The Matches' second album, Decomposer, was released on September 12, 2006. The album features work by nine producers, including Tim Armstrong, Nick Hexum, Mark Hoppus, and John Feldmann, among other punk rock mainstays. The albums also marks a change to more experimental alternative rock sound, as opposed to the pop punk sound of their first album.

The Matches were on the Vans Warped Tour 2007 supporting the new album. The Matches played the entire AP tour 2008 with other bands such as All Time Low, and The Rocket SummerLive Photos from AP Tour. Also, The Matches were one of the many bands who played on the Soundwave tour in Australia late February and early March 2008.

The group finished their third album titled A Band In Hope and released it on March 18, 2008. This album again featured the collaboration of multiple producers: Nick Hexum, John Feldmann, Tim Armstrong, Miles Hurwitz, Mike Green, John Paulsen, and Paul Ruxton (Paulsen and Ruxton of the San Francisco producer-collective Talking House, to whom the album is dedicated in the CD liner notes).

The album was leaked on February 11, 2008. Harris wrote the following on the band's Blog in response to the leak.

On July 9, the band posted a bulletin on their MySpace saying that bassist Justin SanSouci will be leaving the band. The Matches asked people to send in demo tapes of themselves in order to audition for the recently opened role of a new bassist.[7]

On August 7, 2008, The Matches announced that Dylan Rowe of Nashville, Tennessee, whom they met 5 years prior, would be their new bassist. He replaced Justin SanSouci at the Oakland Art and Soul Festival on August 30, 2008.

Songs "The Arm" and "Wake the Sun" were featured on the Urban Outfitters Summer 2008 Soundtrack. "Wake the Sun" was also featured on SideOneDummy's 2008 Warped Tour Compilation.

The Matches were also winners of the 8th annual Independent Music Awards Vox Pop vote for best Music Video "Yankee in a Chip Shop".

Side projects and hiatus (2009–2013)Edit

The Matches are officially on hiatus as of July 9, 2009.[8] They played their final show to a sold out crowd at the Fillmore on August 23, 2009.[9] Some members of The Matches have embarked on personal side projects. Jonathan Devoto performed as a solo artist on May 17, 2009 at Berkeley, CA, playing three cover tracks and four originals. Devoto then formed the band Bird by Bird, which played their first live show at Blakes on Telegraph on August 21, 2009. Shawn Harris, along with Jake Grigg from Something with Numbers, started writing for a project called Maniac. Maniac has released several covers, a self-titled EP and, in 2010, they released their first full-length album, entitled Mania.[10] Dylan Rowe is currently touring with several bands as bassist, including: We Shot the Moon, Backseat Goodbye, and Bad Cop. On August 7, 2009, the band announced that they would be releasing a digital rarities album titled the Matches album 4, unreleased; graphics? title? or not needed? on August 12.[11]

Reunion shows (2014)Edit

In February 2014, the group began posting old photos under the hashtag #oldschoolmatches on their previously inactive official Facebook[12] and Twitter[13] accounts, leading fans to speculate about a reunion in the comments.

On May 12, 2014 the band released a YouTube video and announced a one-time reunion show at Slim's in San Francisco on November 8 in honor of the 10 year anniversary of E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals. Upon the show's quick sell-out, additional shows were added in Oakland, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and West Hollywood. In addition, Justin San Souci returned for the shows.[6]

Reunion and tour (2015–present)Edit

The band completed an Australian tour in honor of the 10 year anniversary of E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals.[14] Later in the year they also released a two-song EP titled "Life of a Match"/"Crucial Comeback (Mary Claire)" and performed two shows at The Fillmore in San Francisco.[15] On February 1, 2016, the band announced a four-city tour during the summer covering their sophomore album Decomposer.

Band membersEdit


Former membersEdit

  • Dylan Rowe – bass guitar, backing vocals (2008–2009)
  • Matt Esposito – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Henry Dietzel – lead guitar, backing vocals


Studio albumsEdit

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Ind.
E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals
  • Released: September 11, 2006
  • Label: Epitaph
  • Formats: CD, digital download
A Band in Hope
  • Released: March 15, 2008
  • Label: Epitaph
  • Formats: CD, digital download
179 24 99


Live albumsEdit

  • 10YearsEVDKTL (2014)
  • Recomposer (2016)


Compilation tracksEdit

Year Album Contributed track Originally from
2003 A Santa Cause: It's a Punk Rock Christmas "December Is for Cynics" No previous release
Agent Records Presents the NorCal Compilation 2003 "Audio Blood" E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals
2004 Warped Tour 2004 Tour Compilation
Punk Rock is Your Friend: Kung Fu Records Sampler No. 5 "Chain Me Free" (live) No previous release
2005 2004 Smartpunk: Music on the Brain "Got the Time"
Warped Tour 2005 Tour Compilation "Dog-Eared Page" E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals
Dead Bands Party: A Tribute to Oingo Boingo "Violent Love" (Featuring Zebrahead) No previous release
Takeover Records 3-Way Issue#2 "A Girl I Know", "Sick Little Suicide" (acoustic), "Shoot Me in the Smile" (acoustic)
2006 Greetings from Norcal - The Northern California Compilation "Didi"
Punk-O-Rama Vol. 9 "Sick Little Suicide" E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals
Warped Tour 2006 Tour Compilation "My Soft and Deep" Decomposer
Punk-O-Rama Vol. 10 "Shoot Me in the Smile"
Unsound Compilation "Little Maggots"
2007 Warped Tour 2007 Tour Compilation
Punk The Clock Volume 3: Property of a Gentleman "Their City" A Band in Hope
2008 Warped Tour 2008 Tour Compilation "Wake the Sun"
A Foggy Holiday - Carols From the SF Scene, Vol. 2 "Happy New Year" No previous release


Year Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock
2006 "Chain Me Free" E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals
"Papercut Skin" Decomposer
2007 "Salty Eyes"
2008 "Wake the Sun" A Band in Hope
"Yankee in a Chip Shop"
2015 "Life of a Match"/"Crucial Comeback (Mary Claire)"

Music videosEdit

  • "Chain Me Free" (2006)
  • "Papercut Skin" (2006)
  • "Salty Eyes" (2007)
  • "Wake the Sun" (2008)
  • "Yankee in a Chip Shop" (2008)
  • "Life of a Match" (2015)
  • "Little Maggots" (2016)

Audio and videoEdit


  1. ^ [1] Archived 2011-06-17 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "The Matches - E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2009-08-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b "A Svengali tends the red-hot Matches' flame". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Featured Content on Myspace". Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Exclusive: the Matches announce 'E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals' 10-year anniversary show - News - Alternative Press". Alternative Press. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2009-07-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Guest Blog: Looking Back at The Locals". 21 August 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Maniac Mania". Archived from the original on 2011-12-16. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-04. Retrieved 2010-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Security Check Required". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  13. ^ "The Matches (@thematchesband)". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  15. ^ Heisel, Scott (30 September 2015). "PREMIERE: Hear the Matches' first song in six years, "Life Of A Match"". Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  16. ^ "The Matches – Chart history: Billboard 200". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  17. ^ "The Matches – Chart history: Independent Albums". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  18. ^ "ARIA Report: Week Commencing 24 March 2008" (PDF) (943). Australian Recording Industry Association. Pandora Archive. March 24, 2008. Retrieved February 24, 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External linksEdit