By the time Native rolled into the studio to begin work on its first album, Mat Hutt had become the chief songwriter of the group. From day one he’d been bringing in strong material and he’d collaborated with the rest of the band when they had song-related ideas but now he’d consolidated that position to become the primary channel through which all new songs were directed.
And that, for the most part, is a good thing. A band needs someone to be the ultimate arbiter of what is and isn’t right and proper for the band’s oeuvre — is it Native enough? That’s a very good question to ask.
The reason this is a good thing is that there was a lot of new songs being written (particularly by a certain drummer) that were stylistically all over the map. Mat became the siphon that every song went through for the rest of Native’s most fertile period and he made sure that the focus was not just on the strongest material but on songs that really conveyed the unique traits the band had developed, and would continue to develop.
And, of course, he had to sing them, so in hindsight, well, finding that your latest masterpiece has a lot in common with a Cobb Salad (it’s chopped) is a bit easier to understand.
Having said that, this week’s Nativology offering is pure Mat Hutt.
I remember listening to him playing the song at the breakfast table, and wondering what a Native reggae would sound like. I didn’t have to wait long, nor did anyone el
se. It landed on our first record after only a few public airings and remained in our setlists for years.