Matthew Good Gets Back To Rock n Roll

Matt Good

With more than 500,000 records sold over the last 15 years, Vancouver’s Matthew Good has more than made his mark in the music industry.

As an artist, he has consistently played by his own rules while still packing concert halls and selling records. Good returns to Atlantic Canada this week in support of his latest record, Arrows of Desire.

The album is being hailed as a return to form for Good and, perhaps even more telling, a return to rock and roll. It was never Good’s intention to abandon the genre, but he enjoyed exploring other avenues on his last record, 2011’s Lights Of Endangered Species.

“I could have just kept going with the direction of the last record,” he says. “People would never think that of me — they would say that rock and roll is more my thing. I grew up listening to post new-wave music and alt rock so it is essentially ingrained in my DNA.

“Growing up with the hard-core scene in Vancouver with NoMeansNo and DOA had a huge impact on me. At home, I was listening to Husker Du, the Replacements and the Pixies, so from a songwriting standpoint, even starting as an acoustic performer, those influences find a way into your songs from the back of your brain.

“I knew that I wanted to make a record like Lights… and could have easily continued down that path. I’ve got so much respect for Mark Hollis and what Talk Talk accomplished that I did my little homage to that kind of vibe and when I got home from it, I just thought ‘Give me a telecaster and a distortion pedal and let’s go.’ ”

Following that musical intuition proved to be an easy decision once Matt and his band arrived in the studio. One listen to Arrows of Desire and it is evident that Good and the group ratcheted up the fun factor in making the album. There is an undercurrent of jubilance running throughout the record.

“How can you not have a great time playing rock and roll?” Good says. “What I feel makes it a great record is that I didn’t feel as though I had to fall back to the usual rock and roll themes of girls and drinking.

“There is some ambiguous stuff on there that could be applied to people’s lives but it’s a rock record at the end of the day. I brought in all of the guys that I play with live, which in turn resulted in a different feel on the record. I wrote all of the parts but having them perform their parts was great. We had a great time; I think that really translated onto the record.

“I couldn’t be happier with the response given to the album so far. It has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Good has enjoyed commercial success throughout his career. Since the release of 1999’s Beautiful Midnight, his albums have consistently debuted within Canada’s Top Five in the week following release. Good jokes that his Top Five debut streak ended with Arrows of Desire (the record debuted in the No. 6 position) but he remains appreciative to be still selling records in today’s volatile music industry.

Of course, touring remains a vital part of remaining relevant in today’s climate. Good’s Canadian tour, comprised of 33 dates throughout the country, touches down at Casino New Brunswick on Wednesday evening.

If you ask any musician about a specific city they have played, only a handful will have a very specific memory to share about a particular show. In the course of his chat with the Times & Transcript, Good shares one story about Moncton that has helped shape a certain song at each of his shows since.

“When we played Moncton the last time, I found the audience was very attentive but also very flat. We played the song ‘Non Populus’ which I consider to be one of the songwriting highlights of my life and people would not stop clapping. People always respond to hits like ‘Hello Timebomb’ and ‘Load Me Up’ but to have this song which was never actually released as a single, responded to in the manner that it was, was just incredible.

“It might have just been a particularly inspired performance of the song that night. But every time we have performed ‘Non Populus’ since, that particular performance has played a role with regards to the intent and intensity we perform that song, all thanks to the fine people of Moncton.”

Article published in the October 14, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript