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Rolling Stone Interview With Matthew Good

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reading this puts a smile on my face. ;)


Matthew Good Talks Bad


Canadian rocker Good mixes sass with pop




"I hope this album does decent sales in America -- not so I can be a rock star, but more so I can piss those fuckers off at Universal." Meet Matthew Good, a Juno Awards-snubbing, stuffed-animal-torching, sponsor-dissing Canadian rock sensation. The opinionated, expletive-happy frontman and namesake for Vancouver's Matthew Good Band is talking rather enthusiastically about why it took him so long to make his U.S. debut with the recently released Beautiful Midnight, the band's third LP.


"I sabotaged all of our other releases," he says. "Mercury Records was being disassembled, so I just acted like a monster prick so that they wouldn't put any of our records here. There's no point in fucking releasing a record in the United States if it's going to go soft, right?


"Then," he continues, "the U.S. division of our label in Canada -- Universal Records -- passed on us. They came to Vancouver and saw me play a fucking sold-out show at the Pacific Coliseum. An arena show, it's sold out, and they pass on the band. There's fucking guys from Universal U.S. backstage going, 'So if you were in, like, Middle America, would you stop at record stores and give people T-shirts for free?' And I'm like, 'Hey pal, Why don't you kiss my ass for starters.' Luckily, the clause option in my Universal Canada contract was about to expire, and when it did and I found out how hot Atlantic was to sign us -- and how much the people at the label liked our album and my songs -- it was a fucking no brainer. After it leaked that Atlantic Records was signing us here, all those dumb-asses at Universal started fucking screaming, 'No, we want 'em!'"


Cocky? Sure, in fact Matthew's mouth only stops running over the course of an hour to take sips of ginger ale. But Good has earned the right to be outspoken. After all, he and his band -- which also includes drummer Ian Browne, guitarist Dave Genn and bassist Rick Priske -- have, in the last three and a half years, racked up six Top Five alternative radio hits in Canada, plus an armful of Juno and Much Music Awards. Plus, Beautiful Midnight, released in Canada in 1999, and its predecessor, 1997's Underdogs, have achieved multi-platinum sales figures.


An irresistably catchy, but lyrically acrid affair, Beautiful Midnight exhibits Good's songwriting depth, veering from highly charged rockers like the intoxicated "Load Me Up" and the frantic "Deep Six," to piano-stroked balladry like "Strange Days," which focuses on the doldrums of life ("The cars on the freeway are moving like slugs") with a superbly emotive delivery. Produced by Warne Livesey (Midnight Oil, The The), the Atlantic Records version of the record was remixed by Chris Lord-Alge, with three tracks from the original version supplanted by excerpts from Underdogs.


So what does Good think of the tweaked product? "You're dealing with a new record company, and a record that's already finished, and they wanted to put their hands into it," he concedes. "To get 'em psyched about it, you let 'em fuck with it a little bit. To me, it deteriorated the record in terms of content and what the record was about, because it's kind of a concept album in its original form. And there are some great songs like 'I Miss New Wave' and 'Let's Get It On' that were sacrificed. But am I gonna bitch about the video for 'Apparitions' being on MTV?"


Atlantic's choice for first single, "Hello Time Bomb," is an equally caustic and quirky, organ-laced rocker, but Good admits he's concerned about how well it may go over with pimp-metal and teen pop dominating the U.S. charts. "We don't fit into a niche right now," he says. "Our situation down here is unique because at home we play in hockey rinks and we make a great living. But if I drive an hour over the border no one really knows who the fuck I am. No one's following me around, which is kind of sweet."


His live shows are rarely dull, especially the part of the act where Good douses a stuffed animal with lighter fluid, and torches it. Good calls the behavior "fun" and "sadist" and jokes, "I love inhaling fumes." In the past, he's also sent a record executive stage diving into a mosh pit while dressed in a panda suit. "He ended up breaking his nose," Good says. "I guess you could say he took one for the team."


During a national tour of his homeland, Good mouthed off about the sponsor, Pepsi. "Before the shows the Pepsi kids would go onstage and get one half of the crowd to go 'Pep' and the other half to go 'si,' so I'd go onstage and go 'Blow' and then 'Job.' I would fuck with them and drink Coke onstage."


After adamantly snubbing the Juno Awards -- Canada's answer to the Grammy's -- in 2000, sending Browne, Genn and Priske in his absence to collect their trophies for Best Group and Best Rock Album, Good took a lot of flack from the press. "I write everything, so I take all the fucking heat," he says. "Still, we're a band. After all, the award was for best group, and they got three-fourths of the Matthew Good Band. What the fuck do they want?"


And despite nominations this year for Best Album and Best Video, Good at least had a good excuse for ditching the Junos again this year -- he was performing at a radio station sponsored concert in Burlington, Vermont, midway through his debut U.S. concert trek. But touring obligations aside, Good vows to never attend his nation's most prestigious music awards show.


"Going would just make me a hypocrite," he says. "Don't get me wrong, I am a hypocrite [laughs], but if I'm going to be exposed for what I truly am, it's going to be for something a hell of a lot more grand than the fucking Juno Awards."



(March 22, 2001)

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I don't think he was a douchebag. That was at a time when the Record Companies were really pushing the boundaries on artist's rights, and creative control. Matt was protecting what was his, pure and simple. He may have used a pretty prickish approach...it appears that his vision of success versus that of others, didn't necessarily include making it "big" in the states. That was a time when even established bands were being manipulated and controlled by the record companies.

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