When I was 2 years old, a violinist played in our church and I was captivated. I begged and begged my parents for a violin. They finally relented and bought me a 1/10 size violin for my 3rd birthday and found a teacher willing to take a child half the age of her youngest student. Within a few years, I was taking private lessons at Michigan State University.
When I got into junior high, my school didn’t have an orchestra and I wanted to play music with kids my age, so I joined the school band and learned to play the trumpet.
I maintained both instruments all through high school but as I started to really discover rock and roll, I heard a lot more horns in my favorite bands (Chicago, Aerosmith, Blood Sweat and Tears, Black Crowes, etc.) than I did strings. So I began to focus more on the trumpet, thinking that there were more opportunities for me to play rock music on the trumpet than on the violin.
After school, I moved to Texas and quickly found a party band to tour with as a trumpet player. Shortly after joining the band, they mentioned that they might want to find a fiddle player. Fearing for my job, I decided to dust off my old violin case and try to remember how to play.
After a few failed experiments with cheap pawn shop fiddles and microphones, I discovered the electric violin and my life was transformed. My guitar player taught me how to use amps and effects and it was off to the races.
Over the next 20 years, I toured all over the United States and internationally with a number of regional touring bands and developed a signature sound.
In 2019, I left the band I was with and spent the year writing and recording an all original rock album with no significant guitar work. “One Way to Do It” is proof that the electric violin can rock just as hard as the electric guitar.
In 2020, Jared Burnett and I formed the Viper duo “Incendium” and have released two singles with videos. We are available for corporate and private events. Also in 2020, I released a single each month (either an original song or an original arrangement of a song). Several of these singles also had videos. These singles were compiled into a concept album called “Window Into Wild” and released in 2021.
The Matt Bell trio (electric violin/vocals + bass and drums) was formed in 2021 to perform original material in North Carolina, focusing on community events and festivals.
In Fall 2021, I begin work on my Masters Degree in Electric Violin at the University of Illinois.