Cars & Trucks: Rockin’ The Block

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

This Thursday from 4:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Rock The Block celebration on Superior Street, downtown, Cars and Trucks will be driving their sound and picking up fans along the way.

I had a chance to speak with Mat Milinkovich about his band Cars & Trucks, their infectious song “Over The Moon,” and a bit about his various bands. You can visit their page to hear the tune for yourself at

Andrew Olson: Where did the name "Cars & Trucks" come from?

Mat Milinkovich: We have a band movie night at Tony Bennett’s house every Thursday. One night we were watching 'The Adventures Of Pluto Nash' starring Eddie Murphy, and at one point Eddie makes a joke about the “old days” when “cars and trucks were driving around.”

AO: Who is in the band?

MM: Tony Bennett – vocals & guitar, Mat Milinkovich - drums & vocals, and Matt Osterlund – bass.

AO: How did you all decide to form this band?

MM: The band actually started 6 or 7years ago... before Tony and I moved toMinneapolis to concentrate on our band The Dames. We got together and practiced a handful of times, but the distance and our schedules just kind of put the kibosh on the whole thing. When The Dames broke up in 2005 it really freed Tony up. At the time, Matt and I were only playing with The Farewell Tour, which didn't take up much time... so we decided to give it another go.

AO: Many of the members of Cars & Trucks play in other bands that have a totally different sound than Cs&Ts. How did you all come up with the unique sound for Cs&Ts?

MM: Tony comes up with the rough drafts of the songs, then we hash them out as a whole band. Sometimes things get tweeked, and sometimes they don't.

AO: How often does Cs&Ts play?

MM: For awhile we were only playing a few times a year, but things have picked up for us lately. We're careful not to play too much though, it can really backfire on you.

AO: Is an album expected?

MM: Our album's been done for well over a year now and we're just finishing up artwork and tying up some other loose ends. Hopefully everything will be completed by the year's end.

AO: Have any of you played together in other bands in the past or present?

Matt and I are in Horse & Rider together, Tony and I used to play in The Dames together, and Matt and Tony just started a funk/soul/jazz group called the Groove Time Party Merchants. Tony plays slap bass and Matt, who is classically trained, plays oboe in GTPM. I haven't heard them yet, but it sounds pretty interesting.

AO: If Cars & Trucks were a liquor, what would it taste like?

MM: It'd be smooth and sweet… sugary, baby… It'd probably have some of Matt's beard hair in it as well.

AO: Any stories behind Cars & Trucks’ gruesomely catchy song, "Over The Moon"?

MM: Actually, the song is a true story. Tony's great-great-grandmother murdered and dismembered his great-great-grandfather. It was rumored that she also murdered the local sheriff when he started asking questions about the whereabouts of her husband, but that's actually never been confirmed. It's said she kept her husband dressed, with his dismembered body next to her in bed until the day she died.

AO: It seems like Bev's Jook Joint, The Red Lion, & Thirsty Pagen Brewery have been having a lot of original bands performing for some time now. Do you feel like there is more of a chance now for original bands to have venues to perform at in the Twin Ports area? Will closing the Red Lion have an effect on that?

MM: Venues come. Venues go. That's the way Duluth's always been. It's the wayDuluth always will be.

AO: Are you promoting bands now with your magazine And The Heroine Screams Help! and the compilation CDs you’ve released? How is that going?

MM: And The Heroine Screams Help! is going great, though I don't make it a point to promote myself or my bands through it. If you ever see our bands mentioned, it's because an article wasn't finished or something fell through.