FRED Festival Interview

Matt Campbell
Original singer, songwriter
and keyboardist of Vasudo


written by Andrew DaRosa & Jon Caruso

When the Goose flock woke up on the morning of July 23rd, they were delivered an early Goosemas gift that both excited and shocked the group’s legion of fans. That surprise came in the form of “Blood,” a brand new single from Vasudo – the proto-Goose band that had not played a public gig since the Summer of 2013.

Pictured Above:

The current Vasudo lineup (from left to right)

Jeff Arevalo; Rick Mitarotonda; Matt Campbell; Trevor Weeks & Peter Anspach

Photo Credit: Doug Bogan, www.thisisdougbogan.com

While their appearance on the FRED Festival lineup sparked whimsy in new fans, many vets got excited at the prospect of hearing original cuts of favorites like “Echo of a Rose” and “Flodown.” However, many did not expect the quintet of Matt Campbell, Rick Mitarotonda, Trevor Weeks, Jeff Arevalo and new member, Peter Anspach, to announce the release of their debut album. “Call It Louis,” a new six-song LP, will be released on August 6th digitally with a vinyl release in November. If you’re reading this and still wondering who Vasudo is, let us catch you up to speed.

Vasudo formed in 2012 when Matt and Rick started to perform covers together at Via Zapata in Westport, Conn. Soon enough, the two enlisted the help of Trevor and Jeff to start performing their own music. Many of those tunes have since become staples in the Goose live repertoire including “Butter Rum,” “Hot Tea,” “The Empress of Organos” and the highly-sought after “Factory Fiction.”

In 2013, the band released its first EP, “The French Tapes,” which was limited to only 50 copies and distributed at their show at Fairfield Theatre Company in Fairfield, Conn. The tape includes Vasudo cuts like “Pacha Mama” and “Hot Love & The Lazy Poet.” If you thought getting your hands on a deluxe copy of “Alive and Well” was hard, try scoring a copy of “The French Tapes!”

After their last performance in July of 2013, the band members would all go their separate ways with Rick and Trevor going off to start Goose. When Goose formed in 2014, the history of the two became instantly intertwined as Goose carried on the legacy of the tunes that Rich and Matt wrote together.

Fast forward to today, the group has laid dormant. However, their FRED fest performance on Friday will be the first time in over eight years that the original members of Vasudo will share the stage together. This time, they will also be adding Peter to mix in a similar fashion to when he joined Goose back in 2017. While there are currently many unknowns surrounding their performance on FRED, one thing is for certain, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Matt Campbell is more excited than ever to share the stage with his former band mates. 

Pictured Above: Photo of Matt Campbell at the Dreamland Recording Studio in Woodstock, NY last Summer

Photo Credit: Bryan Murphy, www.instagram.com/2bmurph

Matt sat down for an exclusive interview with The el Goose Times to discuss how Vasudo came back together after almost a decade apart, how many Goose staples were written between him and Rick and what exactly fans can expect when the band hits the stage on Friday afternoon at FRED.

First of all, thank you for taking some time to speak with The el Goose Times, we really appreciate it! Tell us about the formation of Vasudo. How did you meet Rick and Trevor? 

I met Rick at a mutual friend’s house when I was in college - Rick was still in high school. We ran into each other again (with instruments present) was at Trevor’s house for a Fourth of July party. (At the time) I had shown up with some friends, (as I had heard) there was a jam going on at Trevor’s. There were a lot of guitar players, and Trevor was holding it down on the low end.

Between jams, Rick saw me and asked where my keyboard was - it happened to be down the street at my parents’ house. We picked up my keyboard and hung out for an hour talking about life and music, Franz Schubert, specifically. “We talked about Schubert for 20 minutes sitting on a stone wall looking into the woods.” We brought my keyboard back to Trevor’s house and jammed for the rest of the night with this group. That was the first time Trevor, Rick and I played together. 

Rick and I started playing during the summer when I was home from college - Rick had gone to Berklee at that point. Eventually, we put a band together called the Pink Flamingos. The band included some friends from home. We played some backyard parties, we barely knew any songs. Eventually, Rick brought a drummer and percussion player from Berklee (Dave and Lex), they came down during the summer and we’d play in Rick’s basement. Our fist gig outside of a basement was at The Lumberyard - mostly covers, a few originals primarily written by Rick. The first Vasudo song that came out during those days was Hot Love & the Lazy Poet. 

Tell us about the songwriting process in Vasudo. In a span of under two years, you collaboratively wrote so many songs that are now live staples. When writing songs, were you primarily in charge of songwriting duties or was it a collaborative effort? 

There are some songs Vasudo played that Rick wrote, there are some that I wrote - both of us have a similar drive when it comes to songwriting. Many of the songs I started in South America and beyond would derive from an idea that I would bring back and craft with Rick (and vice versa). Even if I wrote a lot of the lyrics or the basis for some of the songs, they don’t exist without Rick. 

The first song we truly sat in a room and wrote together was Echo of a Rose. I remember sitting on the floor of his apartment, both of us went to different parts of the room and sat down to work on individual parts. It stemmed from a chorus idea I had - it was as collaborative as it gets. Old recordings feature us singing our parts. Songs like Factory were almost cut out - songs didn’t make it out to the world without Rick and I working together.

What’s your favorite song that you’ve written with Vasudo? 

It’s so hard to say pick just one - I’m really excited about everything on Call it Louis! 

We’re really excited for the FRED Festival reunion set, possibly one of the most exciting things about the festival! How did this reunion come to be? What are you most excited for? 

Primarily, getting to play music with my friends and getting to play songs you’ve brought to life - revisit creating new music (something we love) creating a world we both share in. Allowing ourselves to go to a place we can both be vulnerable is a very exciting thing we can grow with + we can do. Many of the songs we’ll play haven’t been performed in a long time - “let’s create this world together and let’s share it with people.” 

Getting to make a record is something that we never completely accomplished. To reunite with 10+ years of life experience is incredible. To have the opportunity to revisit a handful of songs that came from a time where we were playing a wide variety of artists, fusing roots reggae influence is a special experience!

Don’t miss Vasudo’s first live performance in eight years on Friday, August 20th at Fred the Festival! And if you haven’t already, check out their first studio album, Call it Louis, which was released on August 6th. Until next time, keep it Ted!

Note: We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected to Goose. We just love the band that much.


The el Goose Times LLC 2021