Matthew Beveridge Bean Rizzo is a musician, poet, Special Olympics athlete and so much more. He’s also the 8th person ever diagnosed with Glut1 Deficiency Syndrome. The diagnosis of Glut1 Deficiency can feel defining, but Matt has taken his challenges in stride and created a beautiful identity of passion, love, and art. I got the chance to sit down with Matt and his mom, Janet, for an interview to discuss his life, upcoming show, and music release.
Matt was born to Janet Beveridge Bean and Rick Rizzo of the band Eleventh Dream Day. He lived a life on the road as their littlest band member, and music played a huge role in his life from very early on. By combining experiences attending shows with his family and his parents’ inspiration, he began his own musical journey around age 8. “By going to shows and having so many friends in the music business, I just picked up on their music,” said Matt. His love of music grew and his passion bloomed as a junior in high school.
When Matt was young, he was exposed to French surrealist poetry, but it wasn’t until he found E.E. Cummings that he truly connected with poetry, and it resonated with him. When he realized he could let go of the grammar and rules of writing, he was able to open up his mind with modern poetry and create a world of raw thoughts that tell stories from his perspective. With 900 poems in his arsenal, he writes daily and uses words as his own unique medium. The words he selects come from not only their meaning and sound, but Matt sees words in a light unlike anyone else for how they visually amuse him. He paints with words to tell a story all his own. He posts his work on his blog, “How Will This Work, How Will I Fit”, where you can drown in the inner workings of his mind and get lost for hours. His writing is honest and free. It’s where Matt can channel his feelings and emotions. His love for music and poetry collided in the summer of 2014 when Matt went to Pitchfork and saw the band Deafheaven. He began to draw inspiration from bands like Radiohead and experiences in his own life and started playing the guitar. Writing and music became an outlet for him.
Throughout Matt’s life, he’s had many people in his corner. A profound influence for Matt came from his 2nd grade resource teacher, Brian Butterfield, who followed him along his journey through 5th grade. Their paths met again when Matt entered high school where Mr. Butterfield advocated for him. They learned so much from each other, and Mr. Butterfield helped bridge the gap where curriculum let Matt down. Their unique relationship didn’t stop there. Matt was the best man in Mr. Butterfield’s civil service and they’ve made a friendship that will last a lifetime. They speak often, and when Mr. Butterfield retired and moved to Delaware, they made a plan for Matt to visit. With photos of Matt around his house, Mr. Butterfield affectionately calls him his “baby boy”. Matt became his own best advocate with the help of those who spoke up for him as he matured and grew comfortable with using his voice. The community surrounding him gave him the confidence to share his voice with others.
Matt was diagnosed with Glut1 Deficiency in 1993. “Glut1 gives me a different point of view than everyone else, so that’s what I write,” explained Matt. “I used to hate to talk about it to other people, but as I got to know it, I’ve gotten more open with myself about it.” He’s bounced through experimental treatments for Glut1 throughout his life, some more promising than others, and he enjoys helping the Glut1 community by participating in research himself. Dallas is one of his favorite places to be where he can connect with Dr. Juan Pascual.
While Glut1 Deficiency has given him perspective, he’s refused to let it hold him back. When he isn’t playing music or writing, he’s watching wrestling, exercising, participating in Special Olympics powerlifting, and spending time traveling on his own. Taking the train on his own is a favorite pastime. He recently traveled solo from Chicago to New York by train and loved the experience. New York is one of his favorite places to visit where he can wander through Central Park and explore the city with friends. Matt is a traveler at heart and it’s played a defining role in shaping him and his artistry.
Based in Chicago, Matt’s Horizon of Darkness has a gothic sound that brings his vision to life. Recorded at the Loft, “Lightning vs Sunshine” is his second record release and it’s out now. With the help of his parents, Spencer Tweedy, and Mark Greenberg, he’s achieved a sound that’s authentically Matt. His music video for “Paradise” features an array of shots from mundane life at home. Through editing by Greenberg, it achieves a vision as unique as Matt’s music.
He’s excited to be performing for the first time since before the pandemic this Saturday at the Metro in Chicago where he’ll be opening for Eleventh Dream Day! Matt’s life and all of the people in it have inspired who he’s become. At 31 years old, his artistry is a culmination of it all, and he can’t wait to showcase his work in the theater where he grew up attending shows with his parents.
Thank you so much to Matt and his mom, Janet, for taking the time to share their story. It was inspiring, and I hope you’ll feel that through reading about his beautiful life.
by Maddison Hall
Glut1 Deficiency Foundation Communications Coordinator
Scenes from the show!