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A Musical Life

A Musical Life: Matt Jansen

Courtesy photo

Matt Jansen is a Wichita-based drummer who has performed and recorded with a variety of bands including 10 Sugar Charlie and, most recently, Paper Street. He is also a sound engineer and manager at Midwest Drums & Percussion.

“My name is Matt Jansen and I’ve made money from music in a variety of ways. I’ve played the drums. I’ve gotten paid for selling musical instruments, for running sound, for recording music. Playing music? That’s probably the most satisfying but the least lucrative.

Let me start over: My name is Matt Jansen and I’m a drummer. What attracted me to drumming was that I got to hit things with other things. And drums never complain.

In high school I had some friends who were musically inclined. I had some buddies who played guitar and a guy who said, ‘Oh, man, I’m gonna play the bass.’ All the chairs were kind of taken. I was left with playing the drums, which seemed like it was a great idea because my stepdad had a really cool old ‘70s drum kit in the basement. So, I was, like, ‘Man! He’s got a drum kit. I will be the drummer.’ And that’s how it started.

The funny part is that he never let me touch those drums. It was a year later before I had saved up money and gotten parents and grandparents to chip in that I’d bought my first drum kit for $300 out of an ad in Penny Power

I was brought up in a Christian household that was pretty strict as far as what we could listen to. So, I listened to a lot of Christian CDs, and some of them were actually pretty good. Some of them weren’t very good.

The moment my buddies and I decided that we were gonna start a band was at a youth rally or whatever it was. They had live music and it was terrible! We were eating our pizza and saying, ‘We could totally be better than this!’ A year later we were playing one of the same events. We were not better. We were actually much worse. But eventually we were better. So, we were right in a long term sense.”