Last week Arthur had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Matt Diamond. If this name sounds familiar, that is probably because you’ve heard his silky smooth voice on the radio every day at 2pm on 101.5 The Wolf. However, Diamond says that, although he loves his radio gig, it’s just a day job. His real calling is to spread and celebrate his love for music. In order to do this, Diamond is the host for a weekly open mic at the Historic Red Dog Tavern every Tuesday night. Arthur spoke with Diamond on this weekly event to better understand the man behind the music.

“As long as I can remember, I’ve been doing an open mic.” Diamond moved from Oshawa to Peterborough three years ago and brought his open mic brainchild with him. After hosting five successful open mic projects in the Oshawa area before coming to Peterborough with his wife and son, Diamond wasted no time in establishing his mark on the ever-growing Peterborough arts community.

After encountering an unfortunate set back, with the previous location “The Oxford” closing its doors earlier this year, Diamond says he and his partner in crime, Mike Stone, with whom he collaborates at The Wolf as well as on these events, had their eureka moment.
“We thought to ourselves, why not bring it to the most historic venue in
Peterborough, the Red Dog. We also thought it would be cool to branch off from the café vibe that seems to be synonymous with the usual open mic, and give people a chance to play on a real stage.”

When pressed on the motivation behind his evident tenacity and drive behind
ensuring this type of opportunity was available to people, Diamond says that while it comes from a love for music, it is also tied into a bit of childhood nostalgia.
“I think the motivation really stems from my own experience as a musician. I remember being that scared shitless fifteen year-old kid going to play at my first open mic. So I think that I will always want to be the person to provide a stage for people to experience that feeling.”

However, Diamond goes on to clarify that it is not exclusively young people
coming out for their first time, stating that it’s even more heartwarming to see people in their 30’s and 40’s muster up enough courage to decide to perform in front of an audience.
With talent levels ranging from seasoned vets to first-timers shaking their way through their first performance, Diamond is most proud of the fact that this space on Tuesday nights is dedicated to nothing but fun for everyone involved. Everyone who gives it a shot receives a slap on the back and hearty applause for their effort in one of the most welcoming and open-minded environments in town.

“This isn’t the big boys club.” Diamond says when elaborating on the overall
atmosphere at the weekly event. “Everyone checks their ego at the door. It’s such a welcoming and friendly environment there, which really makes it easy for a lot of people who want to just try it out.”

The Historic Red Dog is the third establishment in Peterborough that this weekly event has bounced around to. However, Diamond says that this is where the bouncing will cease and where his brainchild will make its own mark in the longevity of the tavern itself and add to what Diamond describes as “the good ghosts in the room.”

Diamond says he shares the feeling of many of us who have come from larger cities like Toronto, in that there is such a vibrant arts community in Peterborough in many different respects, but in a much more compact geographical area which is something that Diamond is proud to have added to.

For those of you thinking about giving this open mic a try this week, the show begins at 10pm, however Diamond advises everyone to get there early to ensure their name makes it onto the list of performers. Each person will be given time to perform 2-3 songs depending on the size of the sign up sheet that night, so everyone may get a turn.
Oh, by the way, the Red Dog has selected tall boys on for $4 every Tuesday if you need some cost-efficient encouragement before heading up onto the stage.