Matisyahu (aka Matthew Paul Miller) is currently on the road celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his breakthrough debut, “Live at Stubb’s.”
In his decadelong career, the once dreadlocked Phish fan, who successfully transformed himself into a hardline Hasidic reggae/rapper, has consistently found himself in the middle of controversy.
Now clean-shaven, yarmulke-less, and distancing himself from much of the rigidity that has long defined him, Miller is transitioning again.
Not surprisingly, in talking with DiscoverSD before launching into the West Coast leg of his tour, he described this new phase of his music.
Q: Are you reflecting more these days because this tour is under the 10-year umbrella?
A: It’s really just the stage of life I’m in right now. I’m 36. I was a pretty young 25 when I started out. And everything blew up very quickly. It honestly took me a few years to really catch up with what was going on. I’ve really come to some interesting points in that time.
Q: In your life as well as your music?
A: Absolutely. And I feel like the biggest transition came for me in January. I had just finished a different tour and I really started feeling that if I was going to continue, and be out on the road like that, I needed to start making music more on my own terms. So for the 10-year anniversary, I wanted to give a nod to the “Stubb’s” record, but I also wanted to showcase how my music has changed and what I’m into now.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., downtown
Cost: $25-$70 (plus service fees)
Q: What is that?
A: Well, one of the main things is improvisation. And I’ve put together an all-star band of musicians I’ve played with over years - guys who are the closest friends - with the notion that first and foremost we were going to be playing improvisational music. Songs have stretched out to 10 or 12 minutes and we’re really trying to explore them. We’re also developing a “sound” while we’re out on tour, and it’s something that is continuing to evolve.
Q: What’s next?
A: At the end this tour, we’ll go into the studio, continue to write songs, and record an album with this group. The live stuff right now is the first part of that process. I’m also managing myself now - along with this kid I met at a Disco Biscuits concert - and we’re really putting most of the business parts of it to the side. I do have a family and still trying to make a living out here, but I’m trying to walk that line between commerce and really doing what I want to do. And I’m putting everything I have into the music.