"It was pretty traumatic...every day for years people would look at my chin and ask what happened." - M.D.G.

Matthew D. Guarnere (pronounced Gwar • nair • e), also known as M.D.G., is a virtual one-man band; a singer, songwriter, musician and producer. Truly an independent recording artist since the age of 16 (with just as many releases to show for it), his natural talent has been conditioned through countless hours of recording and performing his own music. Critics worldwide have acknowledged his unique songwriting, thought provoking lyrics, powerful and distinctive vocal ability (spanning four octaves) and polyrhythmic instrumentation. They are all integral parts of Guarnere's music. Styles as diverse as progressive rock, metal, pop and jazz fusion all seem to play an equal role on many an M.D.G. track. And with outstanding influences such as The Beatles, Todd Rundgren, King Crimson, Rush and Queen, his music can sometimes be difficult to classify. You Never Have To Grow Old My Dear (Song For Mercury) is M.D.G.'s authentic and emotional tribute to the late Queen vocalist, Freddie Mercury. Painstakingly crafted over several months, Grow Old features a stunning vocal performance and serves as an honorable memorial to the bombastic music of Mercury & Queen. This amazing tribute can be heard on the critically acclaimed EP, M.D.G. released on Guarnere's own label, What's Real Unlimited in 2001.

M.D.G. goes barreling down the seldom traveled path of substantial rock music at a time when our airwaves need it most. His songwriting and recordings are both unconventional and intriguing. "My favorite thing is to mate a meaningful lyric with a melody that seems to have a real connection to it," M.D.G. admits. "When I'm developing a song, I'll experiment with various chords, rhythmic patterns and sounds of all the instruments. I'll also try some different styles of singing." A Little Chemistry is the richly layered opening track on the M.D.G. CD. It should be noted that Guarnere sings exclusively with his own voice unaided by any electronic pitch gadgetry and Chemistry features some of his finest vocal harmonies to date. M.D.G. continues, "Consistency usually leads to boredom for me, so I'll go from a complete death wall of amplifiers in a song like 'White Trash Wonder' to a soft acoustic ballad like 'Where's Everybody Gone?' and that keeps things interesting." White Trash Wonder is a full tilt, guitar heavy platform featured on M.D.G. From its outset, Guarnere cannot be ignored sneering, "You got a lynch mob living in the temples of your mind!" White Trash should be considered armed and dangerous as the song bluntly addresses a colorless race of pathetic characters sparring with some of the trashiest TV talk show themes ever.

Growing up in Rochester, New York, Matthew D. Guarnere was exposed to music very early on due to his father's love for jazz vocalists. Fascinated by all things vinyl and electronic, a 5 year-old Matthew started a collection of influential records with his $1.50 a week allowance. Matthew and his brother were always making up comedy routines and singing original song ideas into a portable cassette machine. Then at age 6, fate struck during a family holiday in New York City. Matthew was entering a revolving door when a pane of glass shattered in his face and lacerated his chin. "It was pretty traumatic," Guarnere remembers. "Every day for years people would look at my chin and ask me what happened. I had to tell that same story over and over ad nauseam, but thankfully now I only have a small scar and nobody really notices anymore." Years later, Matthew received a modest settlement and with it, he financed his first 8 track reel-to-reel tape recorder and 16 channel mixing console. As a teenager in the mid 1980's, Guarnere was breaking in as a musician and recording engineer. He first excelled at playing drums and later taught himself to sing and play a number of other instruments while overdubbing parts one at a time in his bedroom studio. Upon his high school graduation, it was abundantly clear what M.D.G. was going to do with his life.

In 1991, he established What's Real Unlimited, a proprietary recording service and independent record company, but just prior to that, the 20 year-old Guarnere took an important sonic step. In an experimental effort to forge a new sound for rock music production, he designed and built his own binaural head. Using a dummy head as a baffle to separate two special microphones, this 19th century technique has been adding stunningly real dimension to M.D.G.'s recordings for well over a decade and he is one of the world's only engineers to combine such a device with standard recording methods. Not limited to his own projects, M.D.G. has worked with many local, national and international artists at his Rochester based studio and at various remote locations. It is never surprising to find his musical talents on others' CDs. Guarnere has never attended music school or recording college, yet he has always been able to produce world class masters on a challengingly low budget. Through experience and dedication, M.D.G. achieves a surrounding dynamic sound without totally relying on computers or automation..."I do use it when necessary, but I don't really like being glued to a computer screen for hours. I like to listen with my eyes closed and I prefer having a knob for everything instead of a mouse."

Diversity is the key word that best describes M.D.G.'s career. For more than a decade, he has honed his stage skills by performing in local and national clubs. Starting out as a background vocalist and collaborator, Guarnere soon discovered that he had a natural ability to perform and sought to be a frontman. Currently, he's been playing live with two different projects. One is an acoustic/electric rock duo called NOWTHEN, which allows M.D.G. the flexibility to stretch his voice from whisper to scream. The other project is a full-throttle hard rock band. Simply called M.D.G. Band, the four extraordinary members are perfectly capable of delivering some of M.D.G.'s more muscular adventures in music. A full-length solo CD is in the works containing new M.D.G. songs that have defied even his own expectations. "Somehow I keep managing to pull my wildest audio dreams out of thin air," Guarnere confesses. "I'm not really sure how or why I do it sometimes, but I'm certainly not gonna quit now." And if that sounds encouraging, there's even more good news. Matthew D. Guarnere, the one-man band, will never break up!

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Background painting by Keith Uhrich ©2001
Photo of M.D.G. by Lorraine Coyle