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Matthew Good

Canada's most outspoken rocker explains the deterioration of the Matthew Good Band and how his next record might get made in a Jerusalem hotel room.




Did anyone get the magazine? I logged in but they ask you to pay to read the article ;) Could anyone who has it send it to me or post it here for other people to see, please?


thanx in advance!


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He's still fiery, controversial, surly and self-righteous, but the new Matthew Good has harnessed and redirected his vitriol. No longer are his barbs wasted on pop culture whimsy or whatever convenient target momentarily irks him. As both and artist and a commentator on the world around him, Good is growing, slowly evolving into something more than just a rock 'n' roll singer.


The new Matthew Good spends at least as much time each day writing, researching and posting on his website about world injustices as he does actually performing his music. Articles carefully scoured and retransmitted from sources around the world with titles like "Secret Film Shows Iraq Prisoners Sodomized", "Access To Water Enshrined As A Human Right" and "Document warns Guantanamo Employees Not To Talk" represent but a fraction of the many stories Good highlights. And if Good doesn't weigh in with his own personal opinion on every article, the very act of maintaining this conduit of social awareness speaks volumes. "I get more people who contact me for non-music related things than music related things by far," says Good, matter-of-factly.


These non-music related things have also earned him a whole new breed of enemy far more sinister than half-cut teenagers at festival shows.

"I would say there's a percentage of neo-conservatives from the United States who email me regularly-on a daily basis-who tell me to go fuck myself," he says. "I've been blacklisted on a whole bunch of right-wing website organizations."

To fully understand the new Matthew Good though, the music must also be considered. With the Matthew Good Band now firmly behind him, Good's evolution into a protest singer (something he won't characterize himself as) is starting to shine through.


"There are people who feel that through their music they want to comment on what's going on," he says. "I happen to be one of those people. Because it's close to me, it's something that interests me. It's something that concerns me greatly. So I spend my time largely focusing on these things."


The most refreshing part about Good's crusading may not be the actual crusading itself-let's face it, however noble it may be, a musician concerned with social justice is nothing new-it's more about his acute understanding of what such a commitment takes. Good's well aware of the inherent hyporcrisy in Bono flying to shows in private jets but demanding that world governments eliminate Third World Debt.

"It's very difficult to walk the walk when you talk the talk sometimes. It can be challenging," he says. "This last year me and my wife seriously considered leaving the country for a couple years and going and volunteering in the developing world in Africa or Latin America and going and doing that. We may yet."


"I'm the kind of guy that worries about owning a car...A friend of mine owns a car dealership so I bought a car. It's not a cheap car, it's not a totally expensive car at the same time but I feel guilty about it. It's like, how can I go preach about human rights and people in beleaguered parts of the world and I don't even drive the damn thing? My wife drives most of the time. But how can I wake up in the morning and justify it? it's a very difficult thing to do. It's a struggle every day. But what people have got to understand is that because of human fallibility we're all in the same boat. And we all have to confront that every day of our lives."

It's been four years since human fallibility led to the dissolution of the Matthew Good Band, the band that propelled Good and mates Dave Genn, Rich Priske and Ian Browne to success in the late 90's.


During the slow, painful downward spiral of MGB the tales of a surly Good were near legendary. Pissy exchanges with reporters became de rigeur and his online feuds with fans, friends and enemies were just as regular. There were feuds with Bands (Nickelback-for calling them "bread Rock") and entire cities (Regina-for the "shoe throwing incident"). And, above all, there was an overwhelming sense that Good's life and career was spinning out of control with every barbarous rant.


"I was in just a very, very negative situation," he says candidly. "Y'know, your surroundings dictate a lot of you, a lot of your mental attitude right? And I was in a situation which was so unbelievably hard to deal with that I was just never in a good mood. I was constantly questioning 'Why am I even doing this? I'm just not happy doing this. And not only am I not happy, nothing's coming out of it."


Throughout the interview Good makes only passing references to Dave Genn, former MGB guitarist and one-time Johnny Marr to his Morrissey. It's largely in their fighting -over the money, over the music, over other projects Genn was involved with-which caused Genn and drummer Ian Browne to leave (Priske still plays with the "solo" Good). Good says this in-fighting came to a head with the recording of The Audio Of Being.


"The last record we did as a band, I just thought it was a pointless exercise. It kinda was an exercise in futility," he says. "I remember there was a specific instance in that entire process of that record coming out and the band coming out and I thought, 'I could be drowning and, if there was something in it for any of them, they'd come get me. But if there wasn't anything, they wouldn't give a shit.' And I suddenly began to realize that everyone I worked with was just in it for the money. None of them were really my friends and they weren't."


Good is quick to dismiss the notion of the original Matthew Good Band every getting back together again. In his eyes, it's a time and place he has no interest in revisiting. It doesn't help either that the final days of MGB were filled with so much rumor , innuendo and in-fighting.


"I haven't spoken to Dave or Ian since all that happened, since 2001," says Good, the sting in his voice still clear. "I have no desire to, either. Whatsoever. None. I mean, after it happened, in Vancouver I was even more vilified than I was before. Obviously those guys probably spent a lot time out in Vancouver's music society saying what their side, their version of things occurred and stuff. I never really talked about it. It was what it was. I was never really involved with part of the scene. I had no interest in being involved with those kind of people-I make music."


"In Vancouver, if you make music and it's good, then people think you're cool. Suddenly when you sell 100,000 records you're not cool anymore because you sold out. So why the hell would you give a shit about anyone who thought like that anyway?"


For the most part, it does seem that Good has moved on, has pushed beyond the fighting, clawing cornered animal was back then, but he's still capable of a good parting shot. "It wasn't creatively healthy either," he says. "And it came to the point where we're making records and everyone's like, 'Well, without me you're nothing. You're going to fail' and all this stuff. And obviously I'm still waiting for a lot of other solo records to come out."


Matt Good's new and second solo record, White Light Rock & Roll Review, represents a massive evolutionary leap for the man. Outwardly, White Light's brevity and simple, ramshackle rock 'n' roll nature may seem like a primitive step backwards from the symphonic excess of Avalanche or the conceptual late-night musing of Beautiful Midnight. But that's the whole point. As Good's evolution as a person continues, so does his music. The new album, recorded live in studio over nine days, has been stripped bare of frills and sonic subterfuge. Think of it as Good starting over artistically and the new record is like his gateway drug.

"When you get back to basics you seperate the boys from the men really", he says. "And I have a massive appreciation for people like Buddy Holly and anyone from that era and through the 60's that did shit all at once. You're like, 'Wow, that's frickin' amazing.' And then you rise to the challenge yourself and you're suddenly, 'Well, you know what? I can do this too.' And I couldn't have 10 years ago. I don't know. I think more people should make records like that. We're in such a cut and dry era of rock 'n' roll right now."


Ironically, if Good has his way he may not even be fighting in the same division as those "cut and dry" rock 'n' roll rollers for much longer. He says he has "been studying" alt.country and fantasizes about doing a record in Nashville with "crack country guys." Better still is his notion for a "hotel room" record. "I kinda wanna take my laptop-because I have Pro Tools on it and my Mbox [recording equipment]- and just travel to 12 different hotel rooms in 12 different countries and write and record a song in each city, just acoustically. Get it? Write the song and title it the name of the city. And have that be half the record and the other half go to Jerusalem for 12 days and just record an entire record in a hotel in Jerusalem the exact same way...it would sound like crap, but still, it would be cool," he says excitedly.


"And I'd love to even be able to get a group of people together on it. Like a junket, like Steve Earle or get Gord Downie or something, we could all go off and do this thing. It would be fantastic. I just want to call it 12 Cities/Gate of Jerusalem. Like have it be a double album. It would be awesome! It would be cheap to do too. The most expensive part about it would be the travelling. The rest would just be acoustic guitars and a laptop really."


Listening to Good's enthusiasm, you get this feeling the world is opening up to him as an artist. Good agrees. "Oh yeah. Since the band ended- totally," he says, slightly snickering. "Immeasurably."




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