the rip-off artist

biographies (fake)
members only

The Rip-Off Artist's Completely Fake Biographical Section
(Lies, Lies, Lies. Yeah.)

Each release needs a bio to go with it. Below you'll find the recent lies and falsehoods I've distributed:

In Through The Out Door album [Tigerbeat6] bio
Copper Blue EP
[Palette Recordings] bio
"Waltzing my ~ "
on the Micro Blue compilation [Plop/Inpartmaint] bio
Listen Like Thieves
EP [Massive Advance] bio
album [Mille Plateaux] bio
Electro Lounge 2 remix [EMI/Right Stuff] bio
Why Do Birds Sing? 7" EP [Hot Air] bio
The Kids Are Alright album [label name deleted] bio

(In Through The Out Door)

Matt Haines (born Mateo Hernandez) moved from his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico to the border town of Tijuana when he was twelve years old. During his teenage years, he and his friends would sneak across the border into the United States for fun. While it's much harder to make illegal crossings now, the sad truth is that it was easy then for a small bunch of teenagers to sneak over the border.

One of their favorite places to cross was the set of 'one way' pedestrian bridges from San Ysidro (US) to Tijuana. Pedestrians crossing from the US to Mexico traveled in one direction on one bridge, and return traffic used the other. However it was possible to climb among the support struts underneath the southbound bridge, and sneak into the US undetected.

Matt has since moved to the United States, changed his name, and has had a successful recording career for the past seven years. But he still remembers fondly the times he crossed the border, going north on the southbound bridge to sneak "in through the out door". This release on Tigerbeat6 is about that period of his life.


(Copper Blue)

Matt Haines, aka The Rip Off Artist, has had seven albums and over 100 tracks released in his career so far. Prior to his electronic music debut however, Haines was an in-demand Nashville session musician. He played piano and keyboards on numerous country music recording sessions, and toured with Dolly Parton, Dwight Yoakam and the band America, among others. His real love is glitchy electronic house music however, which is evident on his Palette release, the "Copper Blue EP". But if you listen hard enough you can sometimes still hear that country twang in his glitchy beats.


("Waltzing My ~ ")

Matt Haines, aka The Rip-Off Artist, is a luthier in Los Angeles, specializing in the construction of custom MIDI banjos and mandolins. the track "Waltzing my ~ " is approximately his ninety-sixth release.


(Listen Like Thieves)

The Rip-Off Artist is the name used by a loose collective of politically savvy musicians and performance artists dating back to the 1970's. Originally formed in Oakland, California in 1971 under the name "Richard Nixon is a Rip-Off Artist", the collective has evolved and broadened their art to reflect the changing times. While members have come and gone, the group as a whole remains firmly devoted to political satire through music, song and live theatre.

Bruce Maridale is widely considered to be the founder and motivating force behind the early incarnation of The Rip-Off Artist, and he remained with the group until 1983. Maridale left to pursue a production career, and was responsible for a string of 'boy band' hits in the late 80's and early 90's. At its peak, there were as many as twenty actors and musicians involved with The Rip-Off Artist. But within two years of Maridale's departure, the group had been reduced to an organ-trio with occasional guest actors and beat poets.

In 1995, electro superstar Matt Haines joined the group, and reinvigorated it with a new burst of energy. Haines incorporated his knowledge of electronic music, and the group was transformed seemingly overnight into an electronic musical bombshell. Their oddball sounds and wry humor stunned and amused live audiences worldwide, and millions more were introduced to the band via performances on the 'David Letterman Show' and the 'Tonight Show with Johnny Carson'.

Currently The Rip-Off Artist consists of leader Matt Haines, plus Doug Snippet (former guitarist for punk band The Chiggers), percussionist Drummond Bassey, and Firmona Adams on keyboards and MIDI trombone. Their newest release is an EP called "Listen Like Thieves" on Massive Advance Records. You can find out more about the group at



Matt Haines, a.k.a. the Rip-Off Artist, releases his seventh album in November on Mille Plateaux. This album, appropriately entitled Pump, is a story of oil and love, petroleum and sex. A world in which hard iron meets soft earth, and deep pressures are relieved.

Prior to his music career, the Rip-Off Artist worked for several years aboard an off-shore oil-drilling platform off the coast of California. Working for weeks at a time in twelve-hour shifts, surrounded by the constant din of sea and machine, the crew of the platform are extremely isolated. Gut-wrenching loneliness and frustration permeates the atmosphere, and the crew (both male and female) think constantly of home. Close relationships onboard are discouraged, and so the 'roustabouts' and support crew naturally turn to thoughts of distant spouses and lovers.

This sexual tension is obvious in the names of tools and machinery used by the oil industry. Odd words such as "swage nipple," "downhole," "stuffing box" and "packing gland" expose the emotions attached to mere objects. These words become titles of music about longing in the midst of grindingly hard work. The Rip-Off Artist captures this bizarre juxtaposition of flesh and metal on Pump.


(Electro Lounge 2 remix)

'The Rip-Off Artist' is actually an Artificial Intelligence project from Sandia National Laboratory. Researchers have created a computer-based lifeform, which they have nicknamed 'MATT' (Modal Artificial Teleology Transfer). The software creates music on its own when not actively being used in research. MATT mimics many types of human behavior, and even selected the music project's name itself. Scientists have so far been unable to explain the software's apparent fixation for the music of Julie London (this is its second remix incorporating Ms. London's music).


(Why Do Birds Sing?)

The History of Whistling

Man has been whistling since before the dawn of history. The famous cave paintings of Chauvet, France, depict humanesque figures with lips puckered as if whistling. Experts think that these first Europeans used whistling as a prey lure, enticing edible birds into traps with their imitative song.

The first written reference to the art of whistling is hotly debated, as there are two sources with similar approximate ages. An item known as the Bull Palette, owned by the Louvre in Paris, contains an inscription that translates as the 'bird songs of men', and depicts a human whistler. This relic dates from the Predynastic Period, around 3000 B.C.E. Around the same time in ancient China, among the Hongshan people, several references to whistling appear (4000-3000 B.C.E.). No matter which was first, it is obvious that the art of whistling goes back many centuries.

What is not well known among the general public however, is that up until the nineteenth century, all whistling was an inward-breathing action. Sucking instead of blowing, as it were. It wasn't until 1870 that Jean-Baptiste Pamplemousse, a Parisian physician, invented the outward-blowing whistle technique. While we take this for granted now, there is no reference to this technique before Pamplemousse wrote about his discovery in his well-known book Pour souffler: l'art de siffler a l'exterieur. Pamplemousse also invented the wooden toothpick, an improvement on the mainly fishbone toothpicks of the day...but that's a story for another time.

The Rip-Off Artist carries on the ancient tradition of whistling in his new 7" EP for Hot Air, entitled Why Do Birds Sing? (but using the modern exhale technique of course). Matt Haines, as he is also known, comes from a whistling family, and in fact his parents had a traveling stage show in the late sixties, of which whistling was a major part. Perhaps because of this environment, Matt began whistling at an early age. His first television appearance was in 1972, at the age of five, where he had a comedy duet with Steve Martin playing banjo. As an adult, Matt's musical tastes moved toward electronic music, but he continued to whistle for his own enjoyment.

It wasn't until last year that Matt Wand, president of Hot Air Records, discovered the Rip-Off Artist on a visit to California. He heard the Rip-Off Artist whistling in a Hollywood nightclub, and immediately Mr. Wand knew he had heard something special. The Rip-Off Artist recorded three easy-listening electronic cover tunes, all of which feature his beautiful whistling of the songs' melodies. Also included, several abstract whistling expressions the Rip-Off Artist wrote himself. While not the first whistling record ever recorded, we're sure you'll agree that this is the best you've heard in many years. And with Hot Air's never-ending pursuit of technical excellence, you can experience this music in their new EverySpeed™ format. Each tune was scientifically analyzed, and a recording speed selected based on the frequency spectrum and tonal characteristics of the particular tune. You'll find record speeds of 16, 33, 45 and 78 rpm, depending on what best suited the music. Just imagine it: the premiere whistler of our generation, experiences through the technical marvel of EverySpeed. Surely a must for all those who crave good music!


(The Kids Are Alright)

Matt Haines, a.k.a. the Rip-Off Artist, went over to the dark side a couple of years ago. Before that, he was happy making little dinky dance tunes, mostly in the electro and drum-n-bass genres. Using names like Mental Blox, Control-X and Front BC, he released four albums and seventeen singles, and even ran an electro label called Spinyl for a few years.

But then everything grew dim.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Haines, the local electricity company, in an effort to save costs and increase profits, had gradually been reducing the voltage they delivered. While they claimed it was US standard 117 volts, it had dipped to just over 90 volts before their plot was discovered. Meanwhile, their customers' lights grew dimmer, which had a subtle but undeniable effect: paranoia and other mental problems. There were thirty-seven reported cases of psychological stress directly connected with this incident. Mr. Haines was one poor victim, but fortunately his was a mild case.

Mr. Haines has for the most part recovered, and is living in seclusion in the Los Angeles area. Perhaps fortunately for us, there have been lasting effects however. When he had recovered enough to attempt production again, he found that his music had changed. No longer was it the happy, carefree, mindless dance music of before. Instead, it had mutated into something bizarre, like oversized fluorescent mushrooms in some dark radioactive closet. The beats remain, but fall apart almost as soon as they materialize. Voices enter at random, sounds that shouldn't be used together are used together. What were once friendly little synthesizer melodies are now dark, or crazed, but mostly nonsense.

[label name deleted] has seen fit to release some of this nonsense on the album The Kids Are Alright. And for that, we should be thankful. Meanwhile, Mr. Haines sits at home - in the dark - keeping the demons at bay.