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Memphis May Fire’s Matty Mullins, a Shadle Park alum, dials it back to the year 2000 at the Big Dipper

Dec. 22, 2022 Updated Thu., Dec. 22, 2022 at 2:40 p.m.

By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

Matty Mullins beamed throughout an All-Star United concert when he was 5 years old. Cathie Mullins, the mother of the Memphis May Fire frontman, laughed when recalling how enthusiastic her young son was when he experienced the then-fledgling Christian rock band during a fairground performance.

“It was just this small concert but it was huge to Matt, who just loved the whole scene at that age,” Cathie Mullins said from her Five Mile Prairie home. “We went to a lot of shows together and he didn’t see recording artists as stars but as people he should get to know.”

Matty Mullins is one of those recording artists he once admired. Memphis May Fire, which played the Knitting Factory in April, is a veteran metal core band. The group has hit the Billboard Alternative Album chart on numerous occasions.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Matt,” Cathie Mullins said. “He left here when he was 19 and is doing what he loves to do.”

Matty Mullins, 34, will return to one of his favorite venues Monday for an evening of fun at the Big Dipper. Mullins will spin tunes under the Emo 2000 moniker at the club where his former bands, Eloi and the Monroe, performed during his high school days.

“I’ll be getting nostalgic at the Dipper playing some of my favorite songs from the emo era from the first decade (of the century),” Mullins said. “I love that place. My band (the Monroe) played there five times. It’ll be different coming back as a DJ. I’ve done these shows around the country but I’ve never done my DJ set in Spokane. This is a last-minute thing, but I thought there isn’t much happening the day after Christmas. Why not do something like this? Also, there’s no better place to do it than the Big Dipper.”

So expect Mullins to spin a healthy dose of My Chemical Romance, Paramore and Blink 182. Emo is bigger than ever and each of those bands was on an arena tour in 2022 or will be in 2023.

“Emo is so popular right now,” Mullins said while calling from his Nashville home. “I grew up on emo. I remember seeing so many emo bands in Spokane. I remember being blown away seeing Anberlin at Fat Tuesday’s (in June 2005) when I was a kid.”

Mullins started as a Christian contemporary kid. His first band, Eloi, played worship music and won the BOBfest in 2003; Mullins was just 14.

“We were thrilled,” Mullins said. “We won a free recording session at College Road Recordings.”

Mullins graduated to emo and then metalcore during his high school days at Shadle Park.

“I’ve always enjoyed so many styles of music,” Mullins said. “It never gets boring that way. If you listen to one type of music, you miss out. I have so many great memories seeing emo bands and then I started getting into harder music when I was in high school. But it all started thanks to my mom. I would go to shows with her all the time and see contemporary Christian bands like Mercy Me, DC Talk and the Newsboys when I was a kid.”

Mullins, who met DC Talk vocalist Michael Tait after a show in 1993, writes and records contemporary Christian songs as a solo artist.

“I get so much out of creating those songs,” Mullins said. “That’s my mother’s terrain.”

Cathie Mullins, 68, has learned to like metalcore. “It took me awhile to appreciate it,” she said. “Matt and I used to argue all of the time when he was in high school about what to play on the radio. I call what he does ‘Screaming music.’ But hey, he got the last laugh. I go to his shows and it’s screaming music. But I learned to like what Matt does since the lyrics are great. Matt has certainly stretched my comfort zone.”

Matty and Cathie Mullins are incredibly close. What other metalcore musician makes it a point to call his mother at 10 a.m. each day? “It’s important for him to make the time to do that and it’s important to me,” Cathie Mullins said. “I look forward to hearing what is happening in Matt’s life. Plus I get to hear his music before anyone else does.”

Mullins clearly enjoys spending time with his mother. “It would be weird if I didn’t connect with her like I do since she’s my number one fan,” Mullins said. “I owe so much to my mother and my family.”

It’s payback time for Mullins’ parents, siblings and extended family when he returns for Christmas week each year. Nashville has had quite an impact on the singer, who is in charge of the holiday meal.

“I’m way into barbecue here, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering where I live,” Mullins said. “I’ll be making American wagyu tenderloin. It’s always a special time with my family when I come home.”

After Christmas dinner, the Mullins family will break out some instruments. “Matt has had quite an impact on his nephews,” Cathie Mullins said. “They can’t wait to tell him about the songs they’ve written and play them for him.”

Mullins is proof that those with musical aspirations can live their dream.

“Matt knows he doesn’t have elite musical talent, but he has a great career doing what he loves,” Cathie Mullins said. “But it’s not surprising for me since Matt was one of those kids who was going to do what he wanted no matter what it is and now he’s coming home.”

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