Matt (and Ben) Make the Omaha World-Herald

Nice news for a Monday morning. Here’s the story on Omaha.com and in today’s Omaha World-Herald. (Could I be any prouder?)

Published Monday, July 21, 2008

What’s it like to be in a band with your brother?
BY WES TAYLOR
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

What’s it like to be in a band with your brother? Is it a musical family love-fest? Or do guitars become weapons?

By Matt Tompkins’ reckoning, he’s living the dream.

Matt, 27, and his brother Ben, 21, play in an Omaha band called Matt’s Rocket Collection. They consider it a hybrid of cover band (a lot of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin) and original musicians, playing rock from the late ’70s and the early ’80s.

The Tompkins brothers started playing together about three years ago when Ben graduated from high school. Someone gave him a drum set as a gift, prompting the siblings to start jam sessions in their parents’ basement.

“We’ve always been a pretty musical family,” said Matt.

After about six months, the sibs decided to take the next logical step and form a full-fledged rock band. Since then, they’ve been tearing up stages, basements and dive joints together — and dodging the dramatics that have plagued other sibling groups.

“We’re kind of naturally on the same page,” Matt explained. He thinks that allows the band — including bass player Chris Holtmeier and lead guitarist Chris Schrom — to keep a smooth working relationship and stay focused on the goal: “We’re just in this to have fun.”

Sibling rivalry has been legendarily destructive in the music world. Remember Oasis? Tensions between brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher nearly broke up the British band more than once. And the Bee Gees did split up, at the height of their 1970s fame, over brotherly disagreements about the direction of their music.

Is such tension inevitable?

“The only possible negative side is the potential to mix family and business in a bad way — arguments over pay or changing the band or whatever,” said Matt Tompkins. “That is serious trouble, because you always have to see that person. You can break up a band, but you can’t avoid your family forever.”

At the root of it, Matt said, the reason the brothers play together is to hang out and spend time doing something they both love.

The two weren’t as close before they started the band, he said, but now spend most of their free time together.

“We made a pact to avoid the ugly side of it. We know why we’re doing this, and that’s not it.”

• Contact the writer: (402) 444-1339, wesley.taylor@owh.com

# # #

Matt, with guitar, and Ben, behind the drums, opening for Ace Frehley earlier this year.

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