Awful Interview: Matt DeBenedictis

8 Sep

Have you met Matt DeBenedictis? Well get ready to. He’ll be reading at the next Vouched Presents here in Atlanta on the 19th. Even better news, he’ll be re-releasing his chapbook There’s No Last Place if Everyone is Dead (from his press Safety Third Enterprises)  that evening, and I couldn’t be more excited to have it on the table. There are some more things you should know. We will get to those things shortly, in this awful interview. But first, you should know that very serious things are discussed in this interview. Things like traps, bears, rocks, scissors, and not paper. This interview may cut you. Consider yourself disclaimed.

You run Safety Third Enterprises. Two questions for you about that. First, if safety comes third, what comes first and second? Secondly, what drew you to become an enterprise? Why not ‘press’ or ‘corporation’?

Doesn’t ‘enterprise’ sound so much fun? You hear that word and it can mean anything, but you get an image of some person hurriedly working behind a desk, plotting and planning for something big. They are filled with dread as much as they are hope, and the incoming box is filled with drugs. With ‘corporation’ you think of a massive metal phallic thrusting and demolishing all the people below the logo. I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to the guy at that desk way up the skyscraper. That guy is a dick.

What comes before Safety is different everyday. Today is good Sci-Fi and trying to find the blueprints I made when I was a kid on how to construct all the alien boobie traps used in The Predator. One of my neighbors tried to steal my wife’s scooter. I have a log and an understood normal amount of rope.

Setting a good trap comes before safety most days.

When I hear ‘Enterprise’ I tend to think of Star Trek, but that’s not your fault. Also, that’s not a bad thing. I like thinking of Star Trek. What’s your favorite kind of trap to set? I have a friend whose Dad killed a bear over the weekend. I’m not sure if there was a trap involved. What do you think?

There’s nothing wrong with Star Trek. I actually just now (finally) saw the new redux. I enjoyed it a lot, but I kind of wish James Van Der Beek would have played Kirk. The movie was missing a big forehead vs. pointy ears argument.

I like word traps actually. It’s where you are in an argument with someone and you bring no full defense of thought out reasons for your idea or ideal to triumph. You just use the little word fumbles from the other person against them. Quote their own miss steps back to them and watch them squirm. Just a heads up, this type of trap often ends with getting punched or having something wet thrown in your face.

I think the whole world would be a better place if we could hug bears. I know I’d be happy if I could wrap my arms around a rotund bear and just feel the earth hidden in its fur. But we can’t, they’ll eat us and turn us into poop. No bueno.

Word traps sound totally cut-throat. It seems a waste that bears aren’t huggers, they look so huggable. What made you want to be a writer?

Simply put it’s hearing and telling a good story. I spent a good chunk of my early 20s on tour, some by way of a band and some by way of being a preacher, and my favorite moments were always hanging out at a bar after the night’s events were done. Strangers coming together to find ways to no longer have a strangeness between them. You broke the ice telling stories, whether fun tales from touring or a humorous one from being a preacher, you had to say something interesting.

When I quit being on the road with bands and I decided I was no longer a man of religious faith I missed those story times. So I began to write.

When you play rock, paper, scissors are you a rock guy? You seem like you might be.

I never once played paper. I can say that. I probably float in between rock and scissors but never once did I throw out paper to change up the rotation. Paper seems so pointless in the chance game. It just lays there, helpless only entrapping by chance. It can never be a hero. No one says “good job” to quicksand or a big hole. They were just there.

Better to cut or mash your opponents, for certain. Do you have a ‘muse’? What does he/she look like? Or is your muse a huggable bear?

Last week I saw what was obviously a 12-year old boy dancing on the side of Memorial. His only clothes were boxers with hearts and roses, which honestly I have never seen anyone wear outside of quirky television shows. He danced for his vinyl copy of Body Dylan’s Oh Mercy without a care about the hookers peddling across the street or the older kid jumping from property to property on his dirt bike.

He was dancing for the album, his male boobs sweat and followed his rhythm as he also began to kiss the album cover. This fearless and exuberant Spanish kid is my muse. I want to feel like that after I write.

I’m also quite inspired by the punchline hidden inside of every Warren Zevon song.

What do you think your fearless and exuberant Spanish kid would tell the wusses who aren’t sure if they will be at our reading on the nineteenth?

“Come! After the words we can listen to Bob Dylan and do lots of good drugs.” Though very excited I imagine that fearless and exuberant Spanish kid as a little troubled.

One Response to “Awful Interview: Matt DeBenedictis”


  1. I Interviewed « Words For Guns - September 9, 2011

    […] Straub over at the wonderful Vouched Books interviewed me. This was of course done in the fashion of an ‘Awful […]

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