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Happy Birthday, Matt Talbott

by Frank Tortorici

Today is the 27th birthday of Matt Talbott, the guitarist/vocalist of the Champaign, Ill.-based drone-rock band Hum. Talbott was formerly in the similar-sounding group Honcho Overload with bassist Jeff Dimpsey (who also was a member of buzz pop/rockers Poster Children). The two then formed Hum with guitarist Tim Lash and drummer Bryan St. Pere.

Hum's first album, Fillet Show, was released on 12 Inch/Cargo Records in 1991. Hum specialize in aggressive guitars and this sound came to the forefront with 1993's Electra 2000, which featured tracks such as "Iron Clad Lou" and the gentler "Double Dip." To support this album, the band toured with fellow Illinois musicians Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair and The Jesus Lizard.

Hum signed with RCA in 1994 and the next year issued You'd Prefer an Astronaut, produced by Spiritualized producer Keith Cleversley. The album featured such cuts as "I'd Like Your Hair Long," "Stars" and "Suicide Machine." "Stars" was a hit on modern-rock radio and MTV.

Hum returned in 1998 with Downward Is Heavenward, featuring such intriguingly titled songs as "Isle of the Cheetah" and "Afternoon With The Axolotls." The band hit a snag while touring behind the record when its van was broadsided by a car in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on June 14. The four Hum members suffered only minor injuries, but they were forced to cancel 11 gigs in the Pacific Northwest and on the West Coast.

Hum still will open for the Smashing Pumpkins on July 5 in Milwaukee, according to their manager, Kristen Worden. "I think that everyone should know that they're ... not severely hurt," she said. "They've got the van fixed enough to get it home, and they're going to go relax and recoup a little."

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