Considered to be one of the rising stars of the San Francisco music scene, Matt Lazarus continues to win new fans with his guitar playing, performing regularly with jam band artists Stu Allen & Mars Hotel, Pete Sawyer & The Left Hand Monkey Wrench Gang, Jon Chi & The Pacific Syndicate, Mo’lasses, and with his own group. Combining rock, jazz, funk, and the blues with his own innovations, his sound and style is recognizable and current and is rooted in the sounds of yesterday. Believing that music allows the listener and performer to tap into the underlying spirit of creativity and beauty that runs through all things, Lazarus plays with soul.
Matt’s journey as a guitarist began with hearing Jimi Hendrix, Traffic, John McLaughlin, and Carlos Santana. Matt picked up a guitar at age 14 and never put it down again. He played and wrote songs and committed to music for his life. With his beloved ’78 Stratocaster, Matt traveled north to Humboldt State, where he received a B.A. in music and formed the rock group Joint Chiefs. They soon became Arcata legends and performed on the local scene for years. The more Lazarus played, the more influences – Grateful Dead, Jeff Beck, Neil Young, and David Lindley – changed and evolved his guitar style, which took center stage at the Joint Chiefs performances.
He started performing with Tom Gears, Greg Brown, and others and continued recording and performing with Motorhome, Greenlight, and as an original trio. Joining the Gluey Brothers in Santa Fe, New Mexico and touring across the country playing over 100 shows a year over a four-year span and appearing on The Penn and Teller Show allowed Matt to reach more people. Returning to California and settling in the East Bay, Matt formed the instrumental jazz fusion group Snake Plissken Quintet (SPQ) with Gears. Beginning as a trio they soon added saxophone player Michael Myers and keyboard player Adan Schwartz and recorded the album Live at Grant and Green in 2008. Later, Ari Margolis replaced Schwartz on keyboards before relocating to Denver, CO.
To showcase his talent, Matt has now formed the Matt Lazarus Band from the nucleus of SPQ, and has continued to be a part of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene with his band and as a member of other groups.