Exclusive: "Papa Buck" Matthew Lee Massie on The Young Bucks, The Elite and more
As of this article's writing, the most popular tag team in professional wrestling today is undeniably The Young Bucks. This fact can not only be backed up by merchandise sales numbers, but also the fact that brothers Matt and Nick Jackson have been a major part of some of the biggest wrestling events of the past few years, including ALL IN, Starrcast, Wrestle Kingdom, and the Chris Jericho Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager At Sea.
One of the things that makes The Young Bucks so popular is music associated with the duo. But what many people may not realize is that the music of The Young Bucks -- and The Elite as a whole -- has been overseen by Matthew Lee Massie, whom many refer to as "Papa Buck." Massie/Buck was part of last month's Chris Jericho Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager At Sea, performing two sets on-board with some of your favorite Ring Of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling stars on-stage beside him.
I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Matthew Lee Massie himself about his musical past, present and future. Simply put, Massie is not only talented and prolific, but also humble and a pleasure to speak with.
More on the California native can be found at www.matthewleemassie.com, while Matthew Lee Massie also has some exclusive merch for sale -- including his Being The Elite album -- at www.youngbucksmerch.com.
A lot of people first learned about you because of your theme songs for The Young Bucks. When did you first start writing and performing music?
Matthew Lee Massie: I’ve been doing music since I was about 12 or 13 years old. I grew up doing music in church. My mother was a piano player. She never taught me anything musically, but I enjoyed watching her so I wanted to take up keyboards! I also did music for schools and some nightclubs, but mostly grew up in church.
Who were some of the artists that first inspired you to play music?
Matthew Lee Massie: I grew up in the classic rock era when classic rock just started in the 70s, so I was definitely into bands like Black Sabbath, Styx, Kansas, Journey, Led Zeppelin and Queen. Also some Christian bands.
I had the pleasure of seeing you perform live twice on the Jericho Cruise. Had you performed any of the Elite-related songs live before?
Matthew Lee Massie: The first time I performed the Elite songs were at Starrcast right before All In. The music of The Elite started to get hot in the last couple of years!
On the Jericho Cruise, you were joined by Frankie Kazarian on bass and Flip Gordon on drums. Who usually performs live with you?
Matthew Lee Massie: I am a solo artist pretty much so I really haven’t had a band with the Elite music. Me and my brother used to jam together a lot. We got really busy so I just pretty much recorded in my studio myself doing most of the instruments and at Starrcast I asked Frankie Kazarian to join in on the bass.
Such an amazingly talented guy on the bass and a singer so full of energy. Also, Dylan Spears who did a remix of my song "Warrior's Cry." He’s an amazing guitar player and musician! At Starrcast we had an amazing girl drummer who literally learned the songs overnight -- Wendi Freeman from Chicago!
On the cruise, we learned that Flip Gordon was a drummer this whole time. He came on the drums right in the middle of the concert and started playing and the fans ate it up. So here we were on the Jericho Cruise jamming with Frankie, Flip, then my boys The Young Bucks came up with Christopher Daniels, Scorpio Sky -- SCU! Adam Page! Marty Scurll!
The fans went nuts they helped sing a song I wrote, "Too Sweet Me," which came out the same day my sons got the "Cease and Desist" from The Man. (laughs) We decided to release it anyway -- they can’t cease and desist a song! Right? (laughs)
It was a blast we did the same thing at Starrcast where Cody Rhodes was on the stage. So we had the whole cast of Being The Elite on the stage there.
You were billed as "Papa Buck" on the Jericho Cruise. When did that nickname start for you?
Matthew Lee Massie: I got my nickname "Papa Buck" from a friend of mine on Twitter. One day he said, "You need to call yourself 'Papa Buck' so people can relate to you with The Young Bucks." So it just clicked!
Are you available to write themes for wrestlers? Or are your composing services exclusive to The Elite?
Matthew Lee Massie: I’ve been asked a few times to write theme songs for wrestlers and such, but it really didn’t pan out after I gave 'em a price for my services. To be honest, man, it’s a time-consuming effort. Think about it, first you’ve got to sit down and write the song on a blank canvas, which can take hours putting lyrics with music, then hours recording and mixing down. So the hours definitely add up!
Prior to your sons becoming wrestlers, had you been a fan of wrestling?
Matthew Lee Massie: I pretty much became a wrestling fan because my sons were at a young age and I wanted something in common with them. We would go to some WWF events back in the day.
When did you first realize that your sons were two of the top wrestlers in the world?
Matthew Lee Massie: Now it’s all about The Elite, ROH, New Japan and indie federations. The WWE has gotten too commercialized for me nowadays -- too much drama for me! (laughs) It was about the time the boys went to NJPW and joined the Bullet Club that the wrestling world has finally taken them seriously!
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Matthew Lee Massie: Finally I would like to say to people of all ages who have a dream -- not only to be a pro wrestler but whatever your heart desires -- is to never stop dreaming. Keep your dreams alive, chase them down. As my song "Warrior's Cry" says: "Never look back, never say die!"