AN EXPLOSION OF CATCHY ROCK N ROLL AND SMOLDERING SLOW JAMS

Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles are an American rock and roll band that has been releasing music since 1999. A dizzying array of music rooted in classic rock tradition and modern rock experimentation with a penchant for stargazey jams and tender folk lie within their catalog. Think Wilco, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and My Morning Jacket.

Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles exploded onto the Anchorage, AK music scene in 1999; they were loud, upbeat and catchy and fueled by long winters spent jamming in basement dens and makeshift recording studios. Like most young bands, this group performed mostly in their own city, headlining all ages concerts and opening for bands like Young Dubliners, Gin Blossoms and Starflyer 59, but Hopper had his sights set on bigger oceans. They began by touring to the far corners of the Alaskan road system and eventually made their way to the rest of America...and have crossed into Europe twice. Their first foray into legit touring was in 2003 when they were asked to open for Anatomy of a Ghost (singer and bassist went on to form Portugal. The Man) and Fear Before The March of Flames.

The six-piece Roman Candles are currently based in Portland, OR where Hopper gravitated due to the wealth of musical talent available: engineer and drummer Bryan Garfinkel, pedal steel maestro Bryan Daste, folkie multi-instrumentalist Phillipe Bronchstein (who also performs as Hip Hatchet), bassist John Fauller and keyboardist Ryan Bohac. Hopper, with the help of an exhaustive list of fellow musicians, have released 11 albums of music thus far all independent of any record label help. They don’t have a manager, a booking agent, or PR, but that hasn’t stopped Hopper from penning a tune for The Head & The Heart (“False Alarm” from their 2016 release Signs of Light), recording a full length with producer Richard Swift (The Black Keys, The Shins), or touring Europe extensively, twice. Performing Songwriter Magazine refers
to him as “Alaska’s finest” and Rolling Stone magazine thought THATH’s version of False Alarm “drolly sweet...could be a mountain-scented lost track from Fleetwood Mac's Mirage – a throwback that feels cozy and stylish at the same time.”

Hopper won an Alaska Public Radio Network award for best rock song, he performed at the Miss Alaska Pageant and impressed Go Magazine enough to where they referred to him as “the Northwest’s best kept secret”. He has shared the stages with so many artists it would bore you, but some memorable concerts supporting Dr. John, Todd Snider and The Lemonheads come to mind. Hopper continues to follow his dreams of being a fully committed, unique and original artist to this day and has no intentions of stopping. Read more about Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles at www.matthopper.com. The name of the band comes from a quote in Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” ... “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

"Matt Hopper does rock and roll right. [He] has a very natural ear for memorable melodies and irresistible guitar riffs; great songs seem to pour out of him." - Ben Salmon, Bend Bulliten

"Alaska's finest" - Performing Songwriter Magazine

"With their jangling guitars, slippery basslines, smooth violin and keyboard and light, steady drumming, Hopper and company would've sounded right at home on classic rock radio next to Bob Seger and the Doobie Brothers." - B. Schulz, Here Comes The Dumptruck

"Although this songwriter recently relocated to Idaho, Matt Hopper cut his teeth in our most northern state, which would lead to the wiry, blues-flavored tracks on the 2011 album Jersey Finger. Hopper is a Tom Petty dead-ringer on “Send/Receive,” and he spends the rest of Jersey Finger drumming up nostalgia for listeners of many generations." - Taylor Kane, 9 Alaskan Acts You Should Listen To Now, Paste Magazine

Photos of various lineups of The Roman Candles over the years...


Alaskan band 2013 L to R: Derek Mangrobang (drums), Matt Hopper, Matt Brenna (bass)


2013 Touring Band L to R: Jasin Serna (drums), MH, Matthew Perkins (bass)


L to R: William Prescott (drums), Jeremy Coverdale (bass), Dylan Cline (guitar), MH



2011 Touring Band
L to R: William Prescott (drums), MH, Bryan Garfinkel (bass)


Alaska Band 2012
L to R: MH, Derek Mangrobang (drums), Eric Neet (bass)


Alaska Band 2011u
L to R: Nate Hurst (piano), Marc Bourdon (bass), MH, Derek Mangrobang (drums)


Boise Band 2010
L to R: Bruce Maurey (drums), Matt Hopper, Jeremy Coverdale (bass)


2010 Touring Band
L to R: Zack Boes (drums), MH, Jeremy Coverdale (bass)


Devil Whale Tour 2010
L to R: MH, Cameron Runyan, Jake Fish, Brinton Jones, Wren Kennedy, Jamie Timm

 


L to R Sean Hatton (bass), A. Nigel Gates (drums), Matt Hopper, James Glaves (guitar)


L to R: A. Nigel Gates (drums), Matt Hopper, Sean Hatton (bass)


The legendary Alaskan Scott Ferris played guitar for us one summer on tour along with Sonny Ogle


Got to do a few tours with the Matt Lewis Band (minus Matt Lewis) ha ha.
L to R: Jamie Timm (guitar), Matt Hopper, Cameron Runyan (drums), Chad Bates (bass)


Super fun tour with Kat Jones one time...


Doing a gig backed by The Devil Whale
L to R: Jake Packard (Rhodes), Brinton Jones (guitar), I forget on drums, Matt Hopper, Jake Fish (bass)


2009 Touring Band
L to R: Russ Lemkin (drums), Josh Collins (bass), Josh McLeod (guitar), Matt Hopper


On tour with Leeroy Stagger in 2008


Reformed The Roman Candles in Madison, WI in the Winter of 05/06
L to R: Jeff Bail (bass), MH, Justin Kunesh (drums), TJ Pedriana (piano)

 


A rare shot of a one-off band featuring MH, Dann Spohn (bass), Riana Riggs (vocals) and Noah Needleman (guitar)


Matt Hopper singing backup vocals with Richard Swift one night in Austin, TX


West Coast Tour 2003
L to R: MH, Dewey Halpaus (guitar), Nick Simon (drums), Christian Woods (bass)


2002-03 The Roman Candles L to R: Gena Gastaldi (keys), Jared Woods (guitar), MH, Erik Braund (drums), Christian Woods (bass)


Glam Rock year... Jared Woods, Gena Gastadli, MH, Erik Braund, Christian Woods


2001 (?) Band
L to R: Brandon Hafer (guitar), MH, Jon Bowen (drums), Erik Braund (bass)


With Robert Tornfelt on cello at Atwood Concert Hall
Matt Hopper, Brandon Hafer, Robert Tornfelt, Erik Braund


Brandon Hafer, Jon Bowen, MH, Erik Braund


John Lee (bass), April Cowell (keys), MH, Jon Bowen


L to R: Brandon Hafer, Mark Barnette, MH, April Cowell


This one is dated correctly...house party. MH, Brandon Hafer, John Lee, Jon Bowen, April Cowell


Snow City Cafe Benefit Show: Jon Bowen, Brandon Hafer, Emily Evans, Matt Hopper
We covered Cornflake Girl by Tori Amos at this!


Really early lineup with Randall Scott on keys and Gabe Castro on guitar


Matt Hopper & Rufus Wainwright


Citizen Cope - I love his style.