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A Q&A With Matthew Twining (River, OLTL)

Soap Opera Digest: We've been told that acting is only one of your many talents.

Matthew Twining: I'm also a musician. I play mostly guitar and piano. I play guitar and sing lead vocals in a rock band in Los Angeles. We're very good; we're about to get signed.Digest: What is your band called?

Twining: One Day as a Lion. It's based on a famous quote by Marlon Brando. When he was asked about acting, he said, "I would rather spend one day as a lion than my entire existence as a lamb." I thought that was pretty poignant, and that's the basis of what an entertainer is trying to do.Digest: Do you prefer one discipline over the other?

Twining: In acting, you're bringing yourself to a series of lines that have been given to you, whereas in music, especially at a semiprofessional level, you get to write your own lines. You're writing your own story, everything. You're creating an environment, you're creating your own set; you actually get to pour yourself holistically into one thing. So, you get to dedicate your entire being to everything — to the music, the energy, the lines, politically, if you're trying to say something. Whereas on a soap, you're given lines that you interpret for a character. I think at the core of it, music and acting are the exact same thing. The more I do of both, the more I realize that they become one, and I can practice my acting through my music and vice versa. I love them both very dearly.Digest: How did you get into both?

Twining: I've been an actor all my life. When I was a kid, I'd watch home videos. I was an attention hog [laughs]. I learned a lot about performing from my father, mother and grandmother, who is an artist. I got into music because my dad is a professional musician in the Seattle area. He plays guitar and piano and writes a lot of music. He's pretty inspirational for me with his music. He taught me how to play guitar, piano and how I could branch out and learn things for myself. That was more important than being taught something. He succeeded in teaching me that. My mom sings. My whole family is pretty musically oriented.Digest: You mentioned that your father performs in Seattle. Is that where you're originally from?

Twining: Yes, I'm from Washington State, but was actually born in La Jolla, California. I moved around a lot and actually lived with a band of gypsies for about three years in Northern Italy. My family was very weird. But I lived north of Seattle. Trevor St. John [Todd] is from the same area.Digest: Wait — how did you end up living with gypsies?

Twining: My family went backpacking a lot; [my parents] were kind of weird, hippie hikers [laughs]. We were hiking through Northern Italy — I guess I was about 6 or 7 — came across a band of gypsies and my dad fell in love. He thought he found the greatest thing in the world, so we toured with them. They accepted us into their culture. They taught me a lot about how you're supposed to live. They had very good philosophies. No religion, just philosophies. They taught me a lot. I think that's partially an actor. You learn to live every moment.Digest: That's fascinating. Do you still have a yen for traveling?

Twining: I want to go to Tibet; I want to go to Africa. I think traveling is overrated. People are pretty much the same wherever you go. We're all pretty much part of one thing. But I'm intrigued by the cultural aspect of going to different countries. Not Europe; I'm bored with Europe. I'd love to see Africa because it's the root of all life. I'd love to see where we all started. It's interesting.Digest: Now that you've "settled down" in Llanview, how are you enjoying it?

Twining: I love it here. As long as they'll have me, I'll stay.Digest: Has anyone in particular taken you under his or her wing?

Twining: [The actors are] all pretty mean to me [laughs]. No, Jay [Wilkison, Riley] is great. He helped me. Robin Strasser [Dorian] helped me a lot. I learned a lot from Erika [Slezak, Viki], Patricia [Mauceri, Carlotta] and all these veteran actors from example; [they] are great and have been on the show for so long. I learned just from watching them a lot.Digest: What has been the best part about being on the show?

Twining: It has been a learning experience unlike any other for acting. I've learned more on this show than in any acting class. It's the best acting class I could ever possibly hope for.

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