Matt Garappolo was born in Rochester, New York, and raised primarily in Santa Clara, California. He’s worked in food and beverage since age 25, starting at Rossi’s Bar and Grill in Trenton, New Jersey. Currently, he co-owns the recently retooled and re-invigorated Pinkie Masters Bar — a beloved dive on Drayton Street in downtown’s Historic District, and its sister business, the Diplomat Luncheonette. That snazzy little upscale sandwich shop has carved a welcome niche in both daytime and late-night dining for the busy and the tipsy.
Additionally, he’s an accomplished guitarist whose work with his previous band The OAOT’s is heard in the background of Shonda Rimes’ ABC-TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.” For the past several years, his main musical outlet has been as electric bassist in local jangle-pop-infused Americana combo Clouds & Satellites, which features current and former members of area favorites The Train Wrecks. Clouds and Satellites plays public shows a few times a month at a variety of venues. Their next indie LP is already in the can and should be released later in 2019.
During the night on Tuesdays and Saturdays and during the day on Wednesdays and Fridays, Garappolo can be found slinging drinks and lending an ear at the renamed Original Pinkie Masters Bar. He says the best part about working there is that “it never gets boring and you don’t have to sit in an office starring at a screen every day. Plus, you get to meet lots of interesting people and there is always good music playing.” He encourages folks to seek out and follow his various endeavors on Facebook and Instagram.
Clouds and Satellites from VOLITION STUDIOS on Vimeo.
First record you bought with your own money?
"I should probably come up with something cool, but I honestly can’t remember."
Most memorable music concert you’ve ever attended?
"The Who’s 1996 Quadrophenia Tour or The Stooges’ reunion set at Coachella in 2003."
One musical act you'd most like to open up for?
"Guided by Voices.
Three words you feel best describe Clouds & Satellites' music?
"Rock and roll."
Favorite instrument you've ever owned, and why?
"An American Fender Telecaster. I found it used when I was 16. It was super cheap because it has a chunk knocked out of the body. It looks like shit, but it sounds great."
Most enjoyable thing about being a pro bartender?
"Getting paid to be in a bar."
Least enjoyable thing about being a pro bartender?
"Urine and vomit."
What was it about Pinkie’s that made you want to reopen and preserve it for a new generation of customers?
"The people. Everyone from 21 to 90 years old hangs out in this weird old bar. Plus, I’m convinced there’s some sort of orb under the floor that attracts crazy people from all parts of the world."
Most popular beer sold at Pinkie’s these days?
Most popular liquor or cocktail sold there lately?
"House Old Fashioned and the 1970 Coochie Cutter."
Your favorite artist currently featured on Pinkie’s legendary jukebox?
"My favorite CD is a Power POP mix made by (Pinkie’s regular) Todd Terrell Lynch, aka TTL."
Most annoying question you are asked repeatedly by bar customers?
"Where is the bathroom? Somehow in that tiny bar people still can’t find the bathroom."
Favorite meal to order at the Diplomat?
"Banh Mi and curry carrot soup."
One hobby or interest you have that might surprise folks?
"Watching baseball. We have no TVs at Pinkie’s, but if we did, I’d have a game on all the time."
Did you play sports in school at all? If so, what type and when?
"Baseball and basketball through high school"
The nicest gift anyone ever gave you?
"Records. As a teenager, my grandfather would send me boxes of records that people would be throwing away. They would just show up randomly. I still have hundreds of those albums."
Donkey Kong or Dig-Dug?
Built to Spill or Guided by Voices?
"GBV! GBV! GBV!"
Mustard or mayo?
First thing you’d do as mayor of Savannah?
"Allow Sunday sales in bars."
Each week, 20 Questions features a different noteworthy figure of the local arts and entertainment community in a Q&A session curated by veteran writer Jim Reed.