Matt Scannell of Vertical Horizon

by Shawna Ortega

As a teacher, Matt Scannell could explain Fermi acceleration in such a way even the simplest of simpletons would nod in understanding. As a lyricist, his talent is even more remarkable. So if there ever was a time that, say, Harvard plied him with the benefits of professor-dom, we are deliriously happy that he followed the other road.

Matt's ability to verbalize the world inside his head is formidable, and he can be so driven to write that his relationships suffer. His songs can be a bit cryptic, but here, Matt taps into those considerable teaching skills to explain them. He teaches us that there is a separate face for every aspect in life, that sometimes it's OK to embrace the darkness, and maybe most importantly, that you should stay far away from the crazy hairbrush lady on picture day.

Vertical Horizon, known for their monster hit "Everything You Want" (which Matt explains in detail), is back at it. A new CD, Burning The Days, with the unmistakable VH sound, is planned for September 22nd, and the first single "Save Me From Myself" is out now.

As far as we're concerned, it was music's lucky day when Matt chose the proverbial rock and roll highway.
Shawna Ortega (Songfacts): Hi, Matt. I have some questions for you.

Matt Scannell: Oh, good. Otherwise this conversation would go a little bit more like, "Why? Why are you calling?" (laughs)

Songfacts: (laughing) Before I get into those, though, I have something that has to do with nothing, really.

Matt: Good. I prefer that. (laughs)

Songfacts: In all the photos that I have seen of you with the band, and just of you in general, really, you guys always are so serious. And then I watch videos of you, and you've got this thousand-watt smile. And I have to wonder, why the serious persona?

Matt: Yeah, I just hate photo shoots.(laughs) No, it's interesting, you're not the first person who's asked me that. I think my mom was the first. She says, "Why are you always so grumpy?" I don't know. I think there's probably two sides to the music, and part of it is that people who are making big smiles in pictures sometimes look dorky.

Songfacts: Really? (laughing)

Matt: I don't know. I really don't know. (laughing) I haven't thought it through. But I do know it's like during performances it's probably like half smiles and half "we're playing rock right now, so it's appropriate to have a rock face." (laughs) Are you casting your vote for more smiles? Is that what you're saying?

Songfacts: (laughs) No - please don't take this the wrong way - I was surprised to see you when you were smiling. And I thought, "Wow! He looks like a completely different guy!"

Matt: Yeah, it's interesting. People have come up to me and said, "I thought you were really scary, but you're actually really nice." And then I say, "Thank you?"

Songfacts: Yeah, "Now, what do I do with that?"

Matt: Yeah, "thanks, um" (laughing) I don't know. I think all I can really say is there are two sides to my relationship with the music, two facets that are both true and real. And one is that I love what I do, and I am completely honored and have a blast doing it, and when we play live and when I'm singing in a live situation, I look out in the audience and it's like they're all singing along and having fun. It's like, man, that's an incredible honor, so I tend to get happy and smiley. But then there's also a side of me that's like, man, this music really comes from a place inside of me that's so real for me, I guess I probably tap into that more when we're doing things like photo shoots. But it is an interesting question, though. I'll have to sort of have a think on it.

Songfacts: Oh my goodness, I've caused you to think.

Matt: God forbid.

Songfacts: Don't get a headache on that.

Matt: Hold everything, I'm actually thinking. Wasn't sure if it was ever gonna happen! Ohhhh nooo.

Songfacts: I'll send you some aspirin. All right, let's talk songs. "Everything You Want." This is the one that has haunted me for years. I love the song, I cannot figure it out. I just want to know your side of it.

Matt: Well, the long shot of it is I was basically in love with this beautifully complex and crazy person who could see everything around her except for the thing that could actually help her. And I just thought of a tormented glass-is-half-empty person who was in pain about a bunch of things that had happened to her in her life, and always wound up looking to the wrong places to find solace and to find help. And then when that was over, she would just be emptier than she was before. And I could just see her kind of sinking. It was written out of frustration, it was written out of sadness from my perspective, a sense of wishing that she would turn to me, and to realize that I wanted to help her. Maybe she couldn't see it being what she really needed, and she never did. So the last chorus is really that chance that I had to say, "Hey, look - enough. I love you. I can help you, but I don't mean anything to you at all." A lot of people have said that they think it might be about God, and it might be about religion, and I've always tried to steer clear of nailing it too far on the head. But if you're asking me directly, that's really where it came from.

Songfacts: I've never seen a religious aspect to it. I mean, you mention angels, but otherwise...

Matt: Well, it's fascinating to me. The song's been out there for a long time, and if you take a step back - and I love doing this - take a step back from a kind of really strong through-line in a song, it basically says I opened this door, and I went into this room, and I opened that chest, and in that chest was this thing. And then here the thing is the chorus, and the thing about the thing... There's a whole instruction manual that goes along with the song. Then you have an almost one dimensional perspective on what it can be. One of the things I love about that song is it's almost like a pastiche, all these different photographs. It's almost more like you're looking at a photo album, and in between the pictures you have to connect the dots. I've written a lot now with people from Nashville, and other people who prefer very strong through-lines, and they don't want to make many leaps. And it's not a slight against that style of writing, because a finely crafted story that is easy to follow is incredibly difficult - if not more difficult - to do than what I did with "Everything You Want." But I think there's a real beauty to it. I think it can feel very artistically freeing to just change pictures. I love the mystery of those lines, and I know where I was writing them. So I embrace the fact that someone else could hear it being about one thing that's totally different than the thing that I heard it being about. I think the thing that rings true is that sense of absolute desperation, there is a kind of jeopardy to that song. And I don't think any interpretation is more or less valid. In fact, it's one of the reasons I hesitate to wrap it up too neatly in one particular meaning.

But that's where I was when I wrote it.

Songfacts: I respect that a lot of songwriters don't want to deconstruct lyrics and lay it right out there naked like that, because you want to leave it open.

Matt: I think that as long as it's clear that the writer intended to leave it somewhat open to interpretation for that very reason, and for the beauty of that, that's great. I mean, the song was a huge song. People all over the world latched onto it. And everybody feels differently about that song. And that's incredible, you know?

Songfacts: You brought up how you have been doing a lot of writing with folks in Nashville. And I read that you really dug in your heels about co-writing. I wonder if you can tell me what your first co-writing experience was like?

Matt: When you say "dug in my heels," what do you mean about that?

Songfacts: What I read - and I think it was on your Web site - was that you never really liked the idea of co-writing.

Matt: Okay. I can sort of elaborate. Yeah, I've done a fairly severe about-face on the concept of collaboration. And my hesitancy to do co-writes initially came out of a place of insecurity, but it was more than just that. I viewed my creative juices as being a finite source. For years and years and years and years I felt this is my precious gift that's been given to me, and I don't want to waste it, dilute it, by working with other people. It was a very naive viewpoint - you don't know what you're gonna get if you don't try it. You don't know what a roller coaster's like until you get on it. I really hadn't done it, and I was hesitant to do it. And now what I've realized over the years of doing more and more collaboration - I've been writing a lot with my friend Richard Marx, and I wrote with Neil Peart for the new Vertical Horizon record, and all these Nashville collaborations that have happened - I've learned that you walk into the room with one set of skills and you wind up walking out with more. And whether or not the song is the greatest song in the world is almost immaterial, because you're furthering yourself. I've talked to Richard about this, because sometimes a collaboration isn't the best. Even if you go in and you don't really wind up connecting with the person, you don't wind up writing the greatest song, you're able to benefit from that experience by knowing to say the right things, and to try to finesse it and move it along. That comes from writing with people who are vastly less experienced than I am, but also writing with people who are master craftsmen and women who have years and years more experience than I do. And I just view it as a very different thing.

Now, having said that, there are certainly moments where I want to be alone when I'm writing. Ten of the 11 songs on the new Vertical Horizon record are my songs that I wrote on my own. But that's one facet to songwriting, writing on your own. And collaboration can just be this beautiful thing. I've been writing with my friend David Hodges out here, who's a really, really talented writer, and he and I have recently gotten together with Daniel Powter - you'd know him from that "Had a Bad Day" song that was played incessantly on American Idol, and he's happy for that, and everybody is kind of like, Okay, I'm getting enough of that! (laughs) But he's such a sweet heart, and such a good, good, good guy. So the three of us are over at David's studio or at my studio trying to write, trying to come up with new songs for Daniel. But we wind up writing these songs, and all of us say it: "Man, I could never have written that on my own." And you don't. Because David's experiences and Daniel's experiences are all different from mine, and so we walk in and you bring your world to the table. I often view collaboration as a volleyball match: you need to keep the ball in the air, which means the ideas need to go back and forth. And when it's not a collaboration is when the ball goes over the net and it just plunks right there in the sand, and the other person's not bringing anything to the table. So you try and avoid those. (laughing)

Songfacts: You have a great way of teaching. I watched a couple of YouTube videos where you were describing how to play the guitar, and you did it so well. And just like now, you used visual metaphors, I just thought, wow, if he wasn't a rock star, he could be a good teacher.

Matt: Oh, thank you so much. That's amazing. When we were in Atlanta, I was staying with a friend of mine who's an English teacher. And we were talking about teaching and all these things, and I have such an incredible respect for what he does. So I take that as a huge compliment, thank you.

Songfacts: Back to the same CD, Everything You Want, what's the inspiration for "You're A God"?

Matt: Well, "You're A God" was written about when we give people in our lives power over us. It can be anything, whether it's a romantic thing or not - this one wasn't. Let me step back... So, in every relationship that we have in our lives, there are certain dynamics that exist. On the one hand, some people may be more giving towards us and we're a little bit more taking from them, and the balance is constantly ebbing and flowing and changing over time. But there are some relationships that are nurturing, and there are some relationships where, by and large, we do the nurturing for the other person. Then there are some relationships that are largely positive. And there are others that are largely negative. Once I had a relationship in my life that was largely negative. And it was a person who had power over me, seemed to be in a position that was above me, a place that was beyond my grasp. Whether it's a boss, or someone that you look up to... And I realized all I had to do was stop looking up at them, and start looking down on them. And it was like I took that power away. The power was just gone. I had this really negative relationship that was a big source of angst and friction in my life. And it was the most amazing thing to just say, "No, I don't prescribe to your power over me anymore, and I'm gonna let you go." And it was gone. And that's why that song starts off, "I gotta be honest, we're covered in lies and that's okay." It's all okay, but I'm saying it's never gonna happen to me again. You are done, you're not a god. Really, the title is ironic: you're a god and I am not - well, that's actually not true anymore, because now you're not a god.

Songfacts: I've always viewed that song as very sarcastic.

Matt: Exactly, good. I'm happy to hear you say that. Because so many people - and I don't mean this as a slight - but so many people come up to me and they're very concerned, "Why are you letting God go?" And it's like, "Let's not do this. It can be metaphor, it can be ironic, we can use devices other than the words." I was amazed, and I think I continue to be. It's just one of those things. "Everything You Want" and "You're A God," those were songs that people took to be religious songs.

Songfacts: I wonder why it always seems to be the religious aspect that gets the people really worked up, and that's what people tend to want to put onto songs.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, I know. There are plenty of people who would be able to speak more eloquently to it than I can, but I think one of the things about religion is it causes a certain fervor, and you want your belief to be constantly renewed or reinforced, have them made to seem true. I was raised Catholic. I don't go to church every Sunday, but I go to church on Sundays. And there are things about religion to me that are beautiful. But it's a very personal thing for me. And I'm just not someone who's interested in projecting that outward through my music. I just don't come from that place at all. And I'm amazed how many people try and put it there. But that's fine. If they want it to be there, that's fine. I just would hate for someone to listen to "You're A God" and think that it's a song about letting go of religion.

Songfacts: It's more like, "I'm getting back my power."

Matt: Yeah. "I'm taking it away from you, 'cause you're a frickin' jerk." (laughs)

Songfacts: I'm glad you learned that lesson! Good for you! (laughs)

Matt: Thank you, thank you. I'm very proud of myself. (laughing)

Songfacts: Okay, can you talk to me about "Forever"?

Matt: "Forever" is an interesting one. It is about losing somebody, and it is about someone passing away. For me, it's actually more about people that have come and gone in my life, not really about one person. But I've had some very close friends pass away, and I remember writing that chorus: I just had the word "forever," and I felt like, You know what? That's what this song wants to be about. For some reason I came up with that "take these roses off of me, let me live, let me be." And I felt like there's a beauty when someone's gone, you feel like you're dying, in a way. And you're not. You just need to mourn it, you need to shoulder it for a while and kind of move through it until you can get back up straight again and move on, or at least not let it go. That's what this song is about, it's about not letting go, but not letting it stop you.

Songfacts: I'll bet you get religious inferences on this, too.

Matt: You know, it's interesting, I don't. I couldn't tell you why, but I don't. I get way more people saying, "I lost my dad, and I listened to that song and it makes me remember something he said to me," or "it makes me think of him. And I love that song." One of my dear friends whose father passed away, she told me that that's her song for her father. And that's the song that she uses to keep him in her life. What an honor. It's a stunning, stunning feeling. I just got chills. I'm so grateful, because that's one of the most amazing things about songs. We were talking about it earlier with "Everything You Want." To me, it's one thing to be in my room late at night when I'm trying to exorcize my demons and get some of the stuff out that I need to get out. But it's another thing entirely when it gets out there in the world and resonates with people, and it can become something that is beneficial, or even just a little whimsy, but something that they can attach to and hold as a positive thing. Generally, I try to write songs that are a little bit more positive than negative. Maybe that's because I'm trying to talk myself up a little bit, but I also know now at this point that they're not just my songs. They're also everybody's songs.

Songfacts: One of the things that appeals to me about your writing is that you make me think about it. I have to listen to it, hear the words, really hear them. I don't like it when it's just handed to me.

Matt: Yeah, I don't either. It's not condescending, but it's just a little bit too straight. Would you rather drive down the highway? Or would you rather drive down the twisty back roads up to the magical view? I want the twisty roads, thank you. And if my songs reflect that, then that's just fine.

Here's where Matt talks about his new songs. Type-A's and loners take heart... Matt understands you better than you think.
Songfacts: Your newest single, "Save Me From Myself." Can you tell me what's behind that?

Matt: It's interesting to me that it's the first single. Because, of course, when I write a song, the last thing I'm thinking about is, is this the single? It's about, does this song resonate for me? Am I feeling this song? Am I proud of it? And it's very much a song stylistically, or lyrically, that comes from a similar place as "Everything You Want" in terms of writing things a couple of steps back from the obvious. I put a lot more clouds and mist into this song than something that was very clear and crisp and obvious. If I wasn't stuck in my own self very often, I would try to get me out of my life. I don't know if this is something other people feel or not, but I'm so hard on myself. I can be so bad to myself, I can be so mean to myself. I try to treat other people with kindness, and try to be gracious or helpful, but all of those graces that I show to other people are kind of vacant and missing when I'm looking at myself. And sometimes that's a good thing, because you cut through the bullshit and you get right to the fundamental. And you can get through something very quickly, because you're cold and you're brutal and you're swift, and the problem is eliminated. "Save Me From Myself" is coming largely from a place of saying, "You know what? I'm doing the best I can. Give me a break."

I've been trying to create characters, because my songs tend to be first person. And it's ironic that I would be talking about a song title such as "Save Me From Myself" as having elements of third person narrative in it. But the characters and the verses in it are an attempt for me to illustrate these precarious situations. One of the things that's hard for me is I can see problems. I can see things inside of myself that are broken. I can see things inside of myself that are dangerous. I can see things inside of myself that desperately need help. And so I was trying to use characters in precarious situations to illustrate that jeopardy. I grew up going to Cape Cod in the summer, and the ocean has always been a big part of my life, and it's also a big part of my songwriting. And I think there's a real beauty to it, but there's such a danger to it. The sailors in the first verse of the song, it's really knowing that, man, that boat should be there. But they're out and the storm's coming, and if they're out in that, then they're not alive. Then they didn't make it. So I hope they're swimming. I hope they're trying to get through. And the little boy in the woods, it's the same kind of thing. And yet I'm just sort of sitting there looking at it. "Seems to me I'm always miles away looking for my own face." It's so detached. Instead of doing the work, instead of going out there and finding them, I'm off thinking thoughts. For me, instead of doing the work and trying to put the pieces back together and fix myself, I'm out there... for me, looking for my own face was just really a lyric that, it's right in front of your eyes, and you can't see it.

Songfacts: While everyone in the song seems to come out okay, though, you're still out there looking for yourself.

Matt: Yeah, well, that's the classic thing, the "happy endings all around, and still they haunt me." I aspire to be a glass-is-half-full guy, and largely I'm in a much better place towards being that guy, but by nature, I'm someone who tends to see a lot of negatives.

Songfacts: You're very complex. I would love to get inside your head.

Matt: (laughing) I don't think you would. That's the reason I started writing songs: I needed to get it out. And for me, the lyric and the chorus that I'm most proud of is, "Save me from myself, I can't relate, we're mouth to mouth and still I suffocate." It's like you have the beauty, you have the love right in front of your face. It's almost the flip image for me of "Everything You Want," being on the outside on "Everything You Want," but here being on the inside in "Save Me From Myself." You've got that person who's there for you, who's breathing life into your body and you're rejecting it. And whether that's coming from within or without is almost immaterial. And the second verse is in some ways more of the same. The key for me about that is it's all in my backyard. "The bullet in the yard is slowly rusting, the bottle's cracked, the kid's come back, and I'm just looking." It's my backyard, and it's all in disrepair and disarray, and there are dangerous things back there, and I'm just watching. The same thing with the relationship. "The wine is on the floor, the candles flicker, your eyes fall and I'm appalled, it's all just cinder." It's like, you could do something about it, but you don't. It's a really dark song. And you know when I say I try to put some hope into songs? This is a pretty dark song. And I don't want to. But sometimes, you know what? Sometimes it's dark outside.

Songfacts: Sometimes it's dark inside.

Matt: Yeah, sometimes it's very dark inside.

Songfacts: You made a comment just now about a particular lyric you were very proud of in this song. And I'm wondering if you have another whole song somewhere that you are particularly proud of, that you'd like to share.

Matt: That's a very, very good question. I'll need to see if I come with something. I haven't thought about it that way. I just kind of write 'em and move on. Funny to think about it that way. There's a song on the new record called "All Is Said And Done" that's the first song on the record. I just really like the words and the chorus. You know when you've got somebody who works so hard to do things that just happen on their own anyways? I don't know if you know people like this, but the lyric is, "Are you tired of holding up the sky? Teaching birds to fly? You've done it all your life. Are you sad when you see the sun?, 'Cause then you're not the brightest one when all is said and done. And all is said and done." It's kind of a funny lyric in a way. But I know people who think that they're holding up the sky. They think that if they stop trying to hold up the sky the whole world's going to fall down. They think that they have to teach every bird how to fly. It's like, "Dude, we know. The birds know. The sky's there. It's okay, it's gonna be okay." This incredible frenetic endless mind-numbingly... it's like they're always in a triathlon. And I'm not that kind of person. I fall on the other side of it, like "Save Me From Myself" where I kind of retreat back, and can be a little bit reclusive. But some people in my life, I can just see them wasting their energy on things that they can't do anything about, or on things that they're not doing anything about. I've never been able to write a lyric that meant so much by saying so little. I was really proud of being able to paint that picture so completely in such few words. I like that one.

Songfacts: Are you talking about the people that are control freaks? The type A's?

Matt: Yeah, very much so. In fact, we can just say that I should have subtitled this song, "All Is Said And Done: For Type A's Everywhere." Like the Type A anthem. (laughing)

Songfacts: Okay! (laughing) Did you want to tell me about another song off the new CD?

Matt: Yeah, there's a song called "The Middle Ground." It's basically about relationships, like when a relationship is at a turning point, and you either need to move forward or walk away. And in that sense, the title is very literal. But the lyric in the chorus... well, the lyric I just think is nice. It's "you illuminate me, you're the color I see, you're all that shines above, through the dark and disrupt. All the doubt in your eyes" - this is where some of the gray comes in - "All the doubt in your eyes, all the stars in mine, is it the distance you need, or is it just me?" I really like this lyric. "I know you're awake, 'cause you shake when you cry. As long as I wait, I've got nothing but time." And the chorus goes - and this is what I like - "Take me in, or just take me out. Put me on if you must, or just put me down. 'Cause I'm done. I'm all worn out. We're either alive, or a lie. I'm done with the middle ground." And I just feel like it says that thing well. And the second pre-chorus is, "Your touch is the water that gives and takes away, so I wait in the gutter for another rainy day." And to me, it's just right, that feeling of I love you, and I'm putting myself in this shitty situation, and I'm letting all the dregs and the crap run all over me at the hope of just one little bit.

Songfacts: And was that one that you wrote recently?

Matt: Yeah.

Songfacts: So that was something that you just went through recently.

Matt: Yeah.

Songfacts: Is that still going on?

Matt: (laughing) Well, do things ever entirely stop going on?

Songfacts: Good point. So the women that are the muses behind these songs, and these songs that are written, like the one that you just described to me, is very, very dark. I don't know that I would be able to stay in a relationship with somebody who wrote a song like that and I knew it was about me. And I wonder what these women think.

Matt: (laughing) I don't know. That's a good point. Part of it is, if you live with a filmmaker, he's gonna make films. You live with a painter, he's gonna paint paintings. And part of it is, there might be a beauty to it, but there's also a darkness to it, some ugly stuff. You gotta take your good with your bad, I guess. It's probably better that you're not in a relationship with a songwriter. (laughs) If that's the way you feel, I think something positive will come out of this moment: that songwriters are verboten to you. (laughs) But, no, I think that's a really valid point. I don't really know, because I've never been in a relationship with a songwriter. And I've never been aware of songs that were written about me. But there's another part of me that's just like, I don't care. Because I don't. This is how I deal with things. This is what I do. Many times in my life I've had to deal with the fact that this is how I process those difficult emotions. In some of my relationships, the woman that I was with would say, "Can you not go out on the road? Can you not play guitar right now? I know you're saying you have to write a song, but we have to talk about something." And there's a part of me that says, "Well, yeah, I want to talk to you." But there's another part of me that says, "Well, this is who I am." It's like another appendage. And I cannot deny that I have another arm. (laughs) And to suggest that I not do this right now would be like saying, "Well, would you just cut off your arm?" Well, clearly the answer is no. And I don't think that's an exaggeration. I think that's really the way it feels. I can't stop it, nor do I choose to, or desire to. In fact, if anything, I want to encourage it and continue it. Because it means every bit as much to me today as it did when I started writing songs when I was 14 years old. It's just who I am.

Songfacts: Do any of those songs from 14 years old exist on any recordings?

Matt: Yeah. And there's no frickin' way that you're ever gonna hear them. They are awful. My God. They are awful. It's so cute, you think about pictures of yourself when you're young, and you have zits and your teeth stick out weird, pre-braces, and your haircut's awful. I have this one picture of me back when I had hair, and on the day that the kids get their picture taken, there's this one woman with a hairbrush and she just goes mental and brushes the hair the way she decides to brush the hair, and that's the only day of your life that you've ever looked that way, because every other day your mom brushed your hair. And so I have this picture of me, it's like, "What the hell is that!?!" And that's the picture that's representative of me for that whole year! (laughing) But some of these songs are very much like that kid. You're looking back at that kid and you're like, Wow, what a dork. That's the truth.

Songfacts: You realize that this whole interview is gonna be posted, right?

Matt: Dammit, baby, go for it.

Songfacts: So anything else embarrassing you want to confess?

Matt: Yeah, I'm sure there is. It'll happen if we just hang out a little longer.

Songfacts: I know, right? Do you have a date for when the album is gonna be released?

Matt: Yes. September (2009) is the record release date, and July 21st is the date the single - "Save Me From Myself" - will be up on iTunes and stuff.

Songfacts: That's already out on some airplay, isn't it?

Matt: Yeah, it is. It's on the radio now. We went to Hot AC with that, so it's on certain stations around the country. But it'll be available for sale on July 21st.

Songfacts: Great, okay. Well, thank you so much, Matt, I really appreciate your time.

Matt: My pleasure. Thanks for the great questions. I appreciate you taking the time and wanting to talk music.

Matt's 3rd degree happened on July 7, 2009. Get more at
More Songwriter Interviews

Comments: 11

  • Elizabeth from Uk What About Grey Sky Morning???I would really like to hear the behind-story???
  • Jane PanganHope to see u here in philippines manila.
  • Amant Atin Minzthanku for writing ''forever''...this song soothens me whenever i loving father passed away 4 years ago ..a sudden death,we never got a chance to say each other goodbye this song makes me feel lyk i'm talking with him..Hope one day i'will be a better son...and make my dad proud..thank you again Matt from the bottom of my heart...words can't express what kind of strong feelings this song arises in me...
  • Saphira from Savannah, GaWow, great interview. I love the new album. Especially Save Me From Myself. But I think my favorite song is "Welcome to the Bottom". Its so dark and seemingly sarcastic- it's defeat personified and laughing at you/tempting you. I would love to know how Matt feels about that song. Does anyone know if this album will get any music videos? I love how VH is about to say so much yet stay so ambiguous with their videos. Again, great interview. The album is amazing.
  • Nick C from SeoulGreat interview!!! Thanks for sharing!!
  • LisaLove the song 'Save Me From Myself' so thanks for the interview, loved the part about that song. And phew so glad they arn't any religous meanings to the songs. But yeah everyone is open to their own veiw on songs. What makes lyrics so great, it can mean whatever you find in the lyrics, in order to relate more.
  • AnonymousThis confirms it -- I love Matt Scannell. I would be more than happy to get that kind of attention and have someone try to figure me out. Not that am so much more complex than the others...
  • LeslieWhat a great interview. I feel like I understand the songs I've listened to so many times like never before. Especially the part about 'Forever' which reminds me SO much of my Mom. Matt sounds like he is very "deep" and smart as a whip. Can't wait for the new CD. Already downloaded "Save Me From Myself" and requesting it often on my local radio. Preorder the CD! Back up the VH. I'd love for them to see some well-deserved success.
    Forever fan,
  • Missiei had to kind of laugh to myself when i was reading the part about everyone finding religious meaning to Matts songs... I remember when i first fell in love with Vertical Horizon about 10 years ago, I had just started driving and my car didn't have a stereo... so I had a battery powered radio and every V.H. c.d. that was out then, nothing else. I remember cruising around with my atheist boyfriend and listening to Vertical Horizon c.d.s.... he got so mad because he said all the songs were religious, all I could say was "really? I don't hear that. It was the first time I realized how many ways you can really take the songs, and this interview just reminded me why I love Matts writing, I can either relate to what he is feeling or it gives my very reminiscent feeling.
  • Missiei had to kind of laugh to myself when i was reading the part about everyone finding religious meaning to Matts songs... I remember when i first fell in love with Vertical Horizon about 10 years ago, I had just started driving and my car didn't have a stereo... so I had a battery powered radio and every V.H. c.d. that was out then, nothing else. I remember cruising around with my atheist boyfriend and listening to Vertical Horizon c.d.s.... he got so mad because he said all the songs were religious, all I could say was "really? I don't hear that. It was the first time I realized how many ways you can really take the songs, and this interview just reminded me why I love Matts writing, I can either relate to what he is feeling or it gives my very reminiscent feeling.
  • J. Brian TerrySaw Vertical Horizon when they were here in Atlanta for the 4th of July - had a great time. "Save Me From Myself" is my favorite tune right now and I can't wait for the new album to drop! Thanks for the awesome interview!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Mike CampbellSongwriter Interviews

Mike is lead guitarist with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and co-writer of classic songs like "Boys Of Summer," "Refugee" and "The Heart Of The Matter."

Rock Stars of HorrorMusic Quiz

Rock Stars - especially those in the metal realm - are often enlisted for horror movies. See if you know can match the rocker to the role.

Leslie West of MountainSongwriter Interviews

From the cowbell on "Mississippi Queen" to recording with The Who when they got the wrong Felix, stories from one of rock's master craftsmen.

Phone Booth SongsSong Writing

Phone booths are nearly extinct, but they provided storylines for some of the most profound songs of the pre-cell phone era.

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.

Stan RidgwaySongwriter Interviews

Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.