Let the Good times roll

Matt Good rocked last year’s Frosh Concert.
Matt Good rocked last year’s Frosh Concert.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo / Andrew Norman
Matt Good still looking to create “great” art.
Matt Good still looking to create “great” art.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo / Andrew Norman

Vancouver-based Matthew Good, once solely the frontman of the Matthew Good Band, has since chosen to strike out on his own. The proudly-Canadian performer joins the bill of Sunday’s Across the Causeway benefit, and spent some time chatting with the Journal this past week.

JOURNAL: You’ve been playing K-town for about a decade. What’s your favourite thing about Kingston? Is there something that keeps bringing you back here?

MATTHEW GOOD: I love playing Queen’s, and then we did A.J.’s before the record. There’s nothing in particular, it’s not any different than a lot of other cities, playing at Queen’s is really fun. It’s a fantastic University, great campus. I’ve been playing A.J.’s since the early to mid ’90s.

What kind of a relationship do you have with the Hip, or with any of the other bands on the Across the Causeway bill?

Don’t know the Hip much. I’ve met Bob Baker [guitarist for The Tragically Hip], he’s hilarious. I remember this one time that Bob Baker was playing paper-rock-scissors with my wife backstage. They started adding different aspects to the game, like cockroaches [for example]. I don’t know. Nuclear war got added too. Anyway, at one point, Bobby just starts doing this comic book pose, and he says, “I’m Keith Richards. Because he beats everything.” I know Hugh Dillon because we’re managed by the same person, but I don’t really know anyone else. I’m really excited to see The Sadies. I think it’s going to be a really good day, and it will raise some money for some good causes.

Your latest record, White Light Rock & Roll Review, has a very different sound to it when compared to your other records. How have fans been responding to the record?

I guess I was known much more for my orchestral epic-ness, but I have huge respect for Buddy Holly and guys like Bob Dylan. These guys recorded before multi-tracking. I know that bands go in and are recorded and then it’s sent out and everything is put on the beat. The sterilization of it has caused a lot of the problems in the music industry, [and] their foibles made them what they are. You know, you listen to Emerson Lake and Palmer, and you know it’s them because of the shitty drums. That indicated who you were listening to and I think that has really been lost in a lot of ways. At the corporate level, when one thing is popular, they sign nine bands that sound the same. Well, I guess now they drop ten bands and sign three.

Judging by your website these days, your political views are really taking the centre stage, as far as your career is concerned. Do you see music as your top priority—I mean, is it your ultimate goal? Or is it more of a means to an end in getting your political views out there?

I still write songs about interpersonal relationships too, I just think [music’s] a good conduit if you’re an activist. Saying something overtly political can be powerful, but it can be just as powerful to talk about personal things, and I’m not one of those people that premeditates what I write about. To be honest, I write what I’m feeling at the time.

I think the climate of what’s been going on in the last four years [has] influenced how I really think that right now a dangerous precedent is about to be set that will have ramifications for decades. The U.S.’s stance for foreign policy, that unilateral stance, is going to be mimicked by other smaller countries.

A lot of Canadian bands don’t consider themselves a success until they’ve achieved things South of the border. Do you have plans to raise your profile in the States?

I’m a Canadian citizen, [and] if I was worried so much about America I’d move there, I guess. If that’s your goal, and success is your goal—which is a huge trend in the arts these days. That’s what has marginalized the arts in this country. People aren’t looking to create great art; they’re looking to get famous. Look at Paris Hilton. Look what PR can do. I don’t begrudge anyone their success, I just don’t hold with it.

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