Interview with No Use For A Name bassist Matt Riddle


No Use for a Name (sometimes abbreviated NUFAN) is a punk rock band from San Jose, California, United States formed in 1987 by Chris Dodge (guitar), Steve Papoutsis (bass), Rory Koff (drums), and Tony Sly (vocals). The band's sound has evolved considerably through its career, taking on a much lighter brand of melodic punk as the years passed.

The original line-up of four added Ramon Gras as a second vocalist and Doug Judd as a second guitarist. The band was first featured on Maximum RocknRoll's 1987 Turn it Around compilation, with the song "Gang Way." A year later the band's self-titled debut EP was released on Woodpecker Records. Their second EP, Let 'em Out, was released a year later through Slap A Ham Records. Chris Dodge, Doug Judd, and John Meyers left the band after the release of "Let 'em Out". Soon after, Tony Sly entered the band.

NUFAN's debut album, Incognito, was released in 1990 through New Red Archives. Chris Dodge rejoined on second guitar, and they released their second album Don't Miss the Train in 1992 before signing up with Fat Mike's label Fat Wreck Chords in 1993. During this year Chris Dodge left the line-up, and was replaced with guitarist Robin Pfefer, who took over on lead guitar so Sly could concentrate on singing and stick to rhythm. No Use for a Name also released its first record on Fat this year, The Daily Grind, which turned out to be a highly successful album.

Ed Gregor replaced Robin Pfefer on lead guitar soon after the release of The Daily Grind. In 1995, after the release of Leche Con Carne, their fourth full-length, Chris Shiflett and Matt Riddle joined the band to play guitar and bass, replacing Ed Gregor and Steve Papoutsis respectively. With the punk music breakthrough in 1994, No Use for a Name received a larger audience after releasing this album, compliments of their video for the song "Soulmate" which was played on the MTV show 120 Minutes. This was the first video on Fat Wreck Chords to ever be aired on MTV. In 1997, after the success of Making Friends, the band went on a worldwide tour through the U.S., Europe, Australia, Canada, and Japan.

After releasing More Betterness!, Chris Shiflett left the band in 1999 to join the successful Foo Fighters, being replaced by Dave Nassie. Two years later, the band contributed to Fat Wreck Chords with the release of their live album, Live in a Dive: No Use for a Name and during the following year in 2002 No Use for a Name released its seventh studio album Hard Rock Bottom.The band released their 8th full-length studio album titled Keep Them Confused June 14, 2005. It takes a more political position than earlier releases. Roya sat down with bassist Matt Riddle to hear stories about the band and their new album.

Tell us about your new album, when did it release?

Matt: The new album, named Hard Rock Bottom, came out June18th, first day of the warp tour.

Where are you guys form originally, and how’d you start up?

Matt: California. I was in this band called Face to Face. We did the first warped tour together. That’s how I met NUFAN. When I got out of that band, NUFAN called me up and asked me to be in the band. The band has been around since 1987 with line-up comprised of singer/guitarist Tony Sly, guitarist Chris Dodge, bassist Steve Papoutsis and drummer Rory Koff. They weren’t really serious, it was kinda a joke, hence the name NUFAN. Shiflett is with the Foo Fighters now. The Line-up has changed a lot, and Sly and Koff are the only original members left. It’s pretty serious now.

How long have you been doing this?

Matt: About 10­­­­-12 years now. Before this I was in mainly heavy metal bands. I was a little metalhead.

How have you noticed that the punk rock scene has changed since the first Warp Tour?

Matt: Well when your on the Warp Tour, its so different, you have so many radio bands out here. Its really weird with bands like us, that aren’t really radio friendly. Some of the kids are really into us, and some don’t really know the songs but are into it cuz it’s energetic. So it’s fun, we love it.

What have you noticed from the first tour in 1995 to this one?

Matt: The Catering is a lot better. Heh. More stages…There used to be one or two stages, now there’s six or seven stages. There’s 40-50 bands a day. It’s huge. I really like the Warp Tour. The only thing is, If you’re not on it, it’s really hard for a band to tour in the summer, cuz you’re up against something really massive, and it’s really hard to do.

Do you think you get new fans

Matt: Yea, we definitely get lota new fans this way. Some kids just come for the radio bands, and they see us and they like it, and they come to our merch booth and we get to meet them, and it’s really great for us to be able to come in contact with our fans.

So what bands have influenced you; more Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, or Sex Pistols, The Clash?

Matt: Iron maiden is my favorite band of all times! Seriously, I just watch them and I’m blown away. They were the reason I even started playing bass, I saw Steve Parris and would try to play along with the guy listening to it or watching it or whatever. I even try to look like him stylewise, when I’m on stage. But, I don’t like any of that glam metal. I’m more into Hardcore Goth Stuff like Black Sabbath and Norweigen Black Metal like Meyhem. The Punk Rock I like is weird, like old English punk rock: Toy Doll, The Addicts, Rudementary Peni. They are so adamant about what they say. There’s so many cool bands out there that a lot of people are not familiar with.

Have you noticed the difference between the perspective between old and new bands?

Matt: Yea. The bands that are influenced by Green Day--they know like 3 chords! These kids are going to their guitar teachers and they wana learn a Green Day song--like ‘these three chords is all I need to know’. But they’re not asking to learn a Led Zeppelin song, which is far more complicated. And that’s what new bands are doing now. But it’s not an insult, cuz it’s whatever makes you happy. If they like playin it, and kids are appreciating it, then who am I to complain about that. But yea, a band like us is influenced a lot differently, we understand harmonies and melodies and that’s just how we’re influenced. Like I said, one of most commercial bands I listen to is Bad Religion. I love Bad Religion.

Are you glad Bad Religion is back to the original line up?

Matt: Yea it’s pretty close to the original line up. Their drummer is friends with our guitar player. They were in Suicidal Tendencies together. It’s pretty cool.

That’s insane you got the Suicidal Tendencies guitarist on your lineup now!

Matt: Yea.

Do you think that the Warp Tour is going to go back to what it first started as, or become more Punk Rock?

Matt: I don’t even wana guess at the future. I don’t wana even guess what’s gonna happen. But, you know the minute it drops off and it’s not fun anymore I’m so out of here. This is all for fun, that’s why I’m doing it. That’s what makes it so high energy. I don’t wana ever just be goin through the motions. I don’t wana live my life like that.


Hard Rock Bottom, 2002
The NRA Years, 2000
More Bitterness, 1999
Making Friends, 1997

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