Episode #39, Austin Powers with Matthew Sweet

On this episode, we're talking with power pop icon Matthew Sweet about his work as part of Ming Tea, the house band for the 1997 Mike Myers' comedy, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this week.

Originally released on May 2, 1997, the movie was a box office success and pop culture sensation. Successfully skewering modern sensibilities and '60s culture simultaneously, Myers crafted a character who would go on to be in two fabulously successful sequels.

Adding to the interest of the character was the fact that Powers was so swinging in the '60s that he sang for his own psychedelic rock band, Ming Tea. The band featured rather prominently in the first film, appearing in between-scene cutaways, as well as performing in a music video for "BBC" over the film's closing credits. While Ming Tea's interstitial music would appear in the film's 1999 sequel, The Spy Who Shagged Me, the band wouldn't appear in a film again until 2002's Goldmember, wherein they performed "Daddy Wasn't There."

The band featured Mike Myers as Austin Powers on lead vocals, with the notable inclusion of the Bangles' Susanna Hoffs as Gillian Shagwell on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and Matthew Sweet as Sid Belvedere on bass and backing vocals. They played a live show or two, but never recorded a proper album. We were lucky enough to speak with Sweet by phone about the whole Ming Tea history, and it was an absolute blast.

The Wondermints, "Austin Powers" (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery OST)
Ming Tea, "BBC" (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery OST)
Matthew Sweet, "Girlfriend" (100% Fun)
Matthew Sweet, "Trick of the Light" (Tomorrow Forever)
Ming Tea, "Daddy Wasn't There" (Austin Powers in Goldmember)
Matthew Sweet, "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" (Saturday Morning: Cartoon's Greatest Hits)