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It sounds like you have full recollection of the accident.
Absolutely. I was at the very back of the bus, on the last bunk on top. I'd been laying there awake for some time. We were at the end of this long tour. It was just another day, coffee was on, and I was like, "All right, another rainy day out." The bus was creepin' real slow because it was pouring. I knew we only had about another hour to get to where we were going. And then the bus started to crest the top of this hill. I felt the bus gearing up and gearing down. Then I felt the bus picking up speed, and I heard this metal-on-metal sound, this whining and grinding of the brake pedal being depressed and nothing taking.
That's when I totally realized something was fucked. I came out of the bunk a little bit, and I saw John coming up the aisle and I saw a couple of people dive in their bunks, and I was like, "Oh, shit." We were starting to fly down this hill, and the bus was going side to side to side to side as we were picking up more and more speed. I knew there was no happy ending no matter how this bus ended up or whatever the fuck was at the bottom of this hill. So I just rolled over in my bunk and got into a fetal position and said, "Man, it's been real." [Laughs.] Then there was impact, and it was like being a shoe in a dryer.
Of course, it ended as quickly as it happened. Next thing you know, it's over, and I'm just standing there. When I'd gotten hit by the refrigerator [a few moments beforehand], I was like, "Aw, fuck, just make it [dying] quick. Don't make this a long one, man." But honestly, when I landed, the first thing I said to myself was [laughing], "I just won again, yeah! That one didn't get me." And, you know, at the end of it all, it didn't get us — it didn't get anybody! Look, man, we all still have life, limb and eyesight.
Yeah, but Matt can't pick up a bass now.
Lemme clarify that. Both Matt and Allen are doing much better than the initial reports indicated. Matt's gone through extensive physical therapy. I just recently saw him a couple of weeks ago, and he's doing very well. Will he be able to do any strenuous heavy lifting? No, doubtful. But he's back on his feet and doing well. At the time that he made his decision, he was still in a back brace. I don't think it'll ever be the case where he can never play the bass again.
How is your relationship with him and Allen in the wake of their decision?
The relationships are good. Because I've never expected anyone to stay if this is something they don't want to do.
How aware were you of how the album was doing?