Matt Wilson was born in the prairie town of Knoxville, Illinois. He became interested in playing the drums in the third grade after seeing Buddy Rich on the Lucy Show. He was judging a local drum contest featuring drummer Ricky Jr. Inspired, Wilson purchased some Ludwig 9a sticks at a local Byerly Music store. With sticks in hand, Wilson used a range of cookware and five gallon buckets as sound sources. His parents soon bought him a snare drum and cymbals.
Wilson went to college at Wichita State University where he met one of the most influential mentors of his career, percussionist Dr. JC Combs. They played percussion works featuring a wide array of strange components, including pinball machines.
Wilson played, toured, and recorded with various bands and musicians including the Either/Orchestra, Charlie Kohlhase Quintet, Bevan Manson, John Medeski, Dominique Eade, and countless others.