The Space Between

Phillip Gelb writes:

The Space Between (Pauline Oliveros, Philip Gelb and Dana Reason) is proud to release the third CD in a trilogy of recordings with a world class bass player (Barre Phillips and Joelle Leandre are featured on the other releases). This CD is released as a tribute to honor our dear friend, Matt. The label, 482music is donating all profits from this CD to Matt’s family.

Pauline Oliveros- accordion
Philip Gelb – shakuhachi
Dana Reason – piano
w/ special guest Matthew Sperry – bass

The recording has not officially been released, but advance copies will be available at Thursday’s Benefit Concert. Interested listeners can also check out Philip Gelb’s recordings page.

Hedwig Stars, Tom Waits To Perform at Matthew Sperry Benefit Concert

If you haven’t yet purchased your tickets for this Thursday night’s big Matthew Sperry tribute concert at San Francisco’s Victoria Theater, time is running out! The benefit show, which supports the family of talented Oakland bassist Matthew Sperry following his untimely death this June, is shaping up to be truly special.

The show provides a final opportunity to hear music from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” whose San Francisco cast, including Sperry as the bassist, concluded a highly praised six-month run earlier this year. The cast, joined for this special performance by “Hedwig” composer/lyricist Stephen Trask, will reprise songs from the show, giving the audience a taste of the hit production described by one reviewer as “seamless and miraculously compelling,” a “theatrical bonanza of drag, rock, cabaret and burlesque.” More reviews here.

Legendary songwriter and performer Tom Waits will also make a rare live performance at the benefit show. Matthew Sperry performed on Waits’ two acclaimed 2002 albums, “Alice” and “Blood Money,” and appeared with him on a memorable David Letterman Show performance.

The remaining performers at the benefit show are also intriguing and innovative. Reflecting Matthew’s pioneering efforts in creative improvised music, veteran composer/improviser Pauline Oliveros will perform with her Quartet. Oliveros promises to be stirring and contemplative. More on Oliveros here.

Gino Robair’s “Orchesperry,” which consists of artist/musicians with whom Sperry played frequently, has been assembled just for the occasion, and features an all-star cast of brilliant improvisers.

Matthew’s interest in Jewish Klezmer music is represented by the Red Hot Chachkas, who brought much-needed levity to Matthew’s June memorial service — those of you who saw Matthew’s daughter Lila being hoisted on someone’s shoulders to clap hands and smile at the Chachkas performance that day have a wonderful memory to keep.

Together, these performances portray the staggering range, intensity and wit of Matthew’s musical personality, and promise to make for a great musical evening even if you never knew Matthew.

Again, the Memorial concert will benefit Matthew’s wife Stacia and his two-year-old daughter Lila.

Tickets are available in advance at

Tickets are also available at the door.

Date: July 31, 2003 Time: 7:30pm

Location: Victoria Theater 2961 16th Street (@ Mission) San Francisco

Ticket Prices: $30-100.

For more information about Matthew and the concert, visit or

Please distribute this announcement to SF individuals or groups.

Death of a Mensch

Two very nice pieces on Matthew in the San Francisco Bay Guardian:

Death of a mensch by Kimberly Chun is on the impact Matthew had on the musicians he played with, including Gino Robair, Phillip Gelb, Wolfgang Fuchs, and others.

– John Shiurba wrote a June 18 tribute to Matthew’s life energy, musical virtuosity, and wonderful cheer.

Maximum Wattage

Maximum Wattage, a fan site following bassist Mike Watt, has a brief entry on Watt’s June 7, 2003 show in SF, the encore of which Watt dedicated to Matthew. Geoff and Evan have generously offered to burn a CD of the evening’s performance for anyone who is a fan of both Matthew Sperry and Mike Watt. To receive a copy, contact the webmaster at the Maximum Wattage web site.

I posted this to the Mike Watt mailing list the day after the show:

Myself and six other close friends of Matthew Sperry went to the Secondmen show at Bottom of the Hill last night, in Matthew’s honor. We’re all longtime minutemen/Watt fans, and figured Matthew would want us all to go see some good bass. Matthew came along – got in free. The show was motorbooty incredible, astral maritime kickass grinding fun. Watt just keeps outdoing himself, and the secondmen are… wow. On the way back to stage for encore, I grabbed Watt and told him quickly about Matthew Sperry’s death. Mike gave Matt props onstage and, in our minds, the whole encore was for Matthew. And it was amazing. Just what we all needed, to get out there and be carried away by great music and a great spiel, rather than sit around mourning. Watt signed a poster for us, “bass and bikes.” Right on. Watt, if you’re reading this, just wanted to say thanks for your music, and thanks for last night. It meant a lot to us.

Watt signed a copy of his tour poster “bass and bikes..”

Obituary in Bass Player Magazine

An obituary for Matthew will appear in the August issue of Bass Player Magazine, which should be on stands soon. The obituary was written by Assistant Editor Greg Olwell:

Matthew Sperry, 1969-2003
San Francisco Bay Area bassist Matthew Sperry was struck and killed by a truck while riding his bike June 5. Best known for his work in the free jazz and klezmer scenes of San Francisco, Sperry also recorded and toured with singer/songwriter Tom Waits (including an appearance with Waits on the Late Show with David Letterman in May ’02), saxophonist Anthony Braxton, trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, and Italian saxophonist Gianni Gebbia. Sperry also performed the role of Jacek, the bassist in a San Francisco production of Hedwig & the Angry Inch. A fund has been set up at to help his wife and child.

Matthew Sperry Tribute Concert at Victoria Theater

(Click) | (b/w printable PDF for flers)

Date: July 31, 2003
Time: 7:30pm

Victoria Theater
2961 16th Street (@ Mission)
San Francisco

Ticket Prices: $30 – $100
Tickets available at and the Victoria box office on day of show.

Stephen Trask
Hedwig and the Angry Inch – San Francisco Cast, featuring Kevin Cahoon
Pauline Oliveros Quartet
Orchesperry conducted by Gino Robair
Red Hot Chachkas

Proceeds will benefit Matthew’s wife and daughter.

For more information visit or

Volunteers needed for July 31st concert!

We need ushers, people to help set-up on the 30th and 31st, volunteers to distribute flyers, etc.
If you’re interested in volunteering, please email your contact information to Paula Larsen Moore at

Full press release below.

Continue reading

Benefit Recordings Available From Limited Sedition

John Shiurba and Limited Sedition have assembled two CDs of unreleased Matthew Sperry material. All proceeds from these releases will go directly to the Matthew Sperry Memorial Fund to benefit Stacia and Lila.

The recordings:

Matthew Sperry
Solo Bass Vol.1
recording date and location unknown
5 tracks, 33 minutes

Meehan Rosenberg Shiurba Sperry
Portland and Seattle 1999
recorded in Seattle 4/28/99 &Portland 5/4/99 by John Shiurba
10 tracks, 79 minutes
Sean Meehan-percussion; Scott Rosenberg-reeds; John Shiurba-guitar; Matthew Sperry-contrabass