High on Fire (and Sleep) frontman Matt Pike is notorious for many things — gargantuan riffs, zany shredfests, some strange uh theories about the world, having a toe amputated, winning a Grammy — and chief amongst those is the fact that he rarely, if ever, is seen wearing a shirt on stage. Pike lets it all hang out there, and it’s one of his most endearing qualities; dude needs to let those riff rifles hang free, and we get it!
Now, in a new conversation with Metal Hammer, Pike has finally explained why he prefers to perform shirtless and reveals the single, solitary shirt he occasionally does drape over his torso:
“Well, I do that because I am comfortable playing like that! I’ve always done that and some of my stage kung-fu comes from the way my strap slides across me in the way I catch the neck on it.
“On occasion, I throw a wrench and wear a shirt. I have this dirty bartender shirt that I bust out every now and then and it’s fucking horrifying! It’s got lapels and it’s made out of polyester. It’s brown with green poppies. People are like, ‘Why is he wearing a shirt that is so offensive?!’ People will give me shit if I wear a shirt – it’s become a thing and it really doesn’t drastically affect my musical abilities but it’s how I’m comfortable!”
While the comfort factor should be obvious enough, it’s the “stage kung-fu” bit that guitar nerds will latch onto: what guitar player can’t relate to the mechanics involved in executing stage moves? It’s all about the feel, and changing up one’s gear/clothing could throw the whole thing off kilter.
Elsewhere in the chat, Pike talks about the time he tripped on Dramamine as a child, the advice Lemmy gave him, his toe amputation and more. Read it here.