Mid-Week Intermission Staff Edition: Matt Muñoz, Programming Coordinator
From El Paso to LA to Austin, Long Center’s Programming Coordinator, Matt Muñoz, has worked on quite a few records you’ll recognize! Since he’s marking 15 years of living back in Austin — and we’re celebrating our 15th birthday this year (look out for more on that later) — we thought we’d check in with him to hear a little bit more about how he got here. Cue The Smiths and take some notes!
My name is Matt Muñoz and I am part of the Programming team at the Long Center.
I live in South Austin with my wonderful wife, Samantha, our daugher, Austin, and two dogs, Rebel & Kim.
I am a HUGE Los Angeles Dodgers fan and I love The Smiths and all things Brit Pop & ’80s.
I was born and raised in El Paso, TX (El Chuco), learning early how to navigate the beauty of the sounds spilling across the frontera and fusing them with my father’s music collection (Hank Williams, Herb Albert, Fats Domino, and Jose Alfredo Jimenez), and my own ’80s metal upbringing — Van Halen, AC/DC, and a dalliance into hair metal. I fell in love with drumming at age 11 and began to play shows with local party bands at 14, performing at quinceaneras, weddings, and even at the Sun Bowl for cardinals from the Vatican!
I attended college in the panhandle as a music business major with a percussion emphasis at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX. I soon met other likeminded music majors and we turned our love of The Smiths, The Cure, REM, and Texas regional bands like Ten Hands & Twang Twang Shock-a-Boom (aside from Long Center, here — check out our interview with David Garza if you’re also a Twang fan) into our own musical unit called The Cleavers. We toured regionally and put out some cassettes before moving to Austin in 1993. Once here, we established some residencies at the Black Cat, Steamboat, and performed at other wonderful places like the Electric Lounge & the Austin Outhouse opening for bands like Magneto USA (Fastball), Spoon, The Asylum Street Spankers, and the Texas Instruments.
As life started to happen and the band faded, I transitioned to Arista Latin/Austin, which was an off-shoot of Arista Nashville, working with artists like Flaco Jimenez, Nydia Rojas, Abra Moore, and Robert Earl Keen. When the label shuttered in 1998, I was off to Los Angeles where I worked at New Line Cinema — then, El Norte Productions — for Gregory Nava (Director of Selena & El Norte), then landed back in music at Warner Brothers Records in the Marketing department.
That was a beautiful education on how to release a record, working on records from artists Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang, Green Day, Perry Farrell & Mike Patton of Mr. Bungle & Faith No More fame. From Warner Bros, I continued my journey to Universal Music Distribution, working on every big-name star and album of the early 2000s including Eminem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jimmy Eat World, Lil Wayne, and many others.
As the music business started to change, I moved back to Austin in 2008 to work for a little indie label that went away almost as soon as I moved back! It was then that I was able to start a new gig as the caretaker of the iconic Cactus Cafe on the UT campus, and I spent 10 years helping KUT & KUTX manage the little venue that could, and helped give a platform to the exploding local music scene, booking some of the first shows for artists that went on to bigger venues. When Covid hit, I fell victim to a layoff and later resurfaced here at the Long Center.
We’re celebrating 15 years of the Long Center, and that milestone holds a special meaning to me as it is also my 15th year of living back in Austin.
This venue and the excitement of the possibilities that lie ahead for the future of arts, music, culture, and communy in the city are what we strive to bring you here!
I hope to see you soon!
At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.