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Here's Five: Good Riddance

Here's Five: Good Riddance

Thursday 16th July, 2015 11:41AM

Santa Cruz punk outfit Good Riddance are heading this way early next month, for their first shows on New Zealand soil for more than 11 years. The band formed in the early 1990s within California's intoxicating surf and skate scene and drew their sonic inspiration from hardcore groups like Black Flag, The Adolescents and Bad Religion, and they quickly carved out a name for themselves after catching the attention of Fat Mike-founded label Fat Wreck Chords in 1994. They went on to release seven full-length albums on the punk rock label before disbanding in 2007.

Fast forward to February 2012, and Good Riddance announced it's re-union with the line up of Russ Rankin, Luke Pabich, Chuck Platt and Sean Sellers. Together they have since released their eighth studio album Peace In Our Time, which came out late last year through Fat Wreck and has them touring the world including the upcoming shows in Wellington and Auckland. Ahead of their landing we asked singer Russ Rankin to share with us his five favourite Good Riddance songs from across their back catalogue, and here's what he cooked up...

1. Mother Superior (For God And Country, 1995)
My favourite tune off the first album. We were finding our way arranging songs and dealing with the all-new pressure of recording in a real studio with a producer and a budget, and it ended up being more daunting than we imagined it would be. When I listen back to this album, I invariably wish we could redo it, with the collective experience we now possess. Still, I like how that song came together, and I think it has strong lyrics and invokes the image I was going for when I wrote it. It remains one of my favourites to play live and its words, unfortunately, ring just as prescient today as they did in 1994 when I wrote them.

2. Bittersweet (A Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion
, 1996)
This was my first stab at writing about romantic relationships, and I was aware that I was treading on thin ice. With the slightest misstep, a song like this can falter into a silly cheesiness that I would prefer to keep my band away from. The song is about a real person and a genuine situation, which may have helped it avoid the aforementioned pitfall, but it was important in that it was the first official Good Riddance “love” song.

3. This Is The Light (A Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion, 1996)
While our first album ended up being a sort of ‘best of’ of the collective material the band had hanging around since the early nineties, the second album was written during a singular time period set aside for its composition. It was also my first time as the principle songwriter for the band. Previously, I had written a riff or two on guitar and then the band assembled the rest during rehearsals. This was the first time I set out to write songs as complete thoughts, with beginnings, middles, and endings. This was the first song I wrote for the album, front to back, guitar and vocals, and brought it to the band as a complete composition.

4. There’s No ‘I’ In Team (Bound by Ties of Blood and Affection 2003)
This track remains one of my all time favourites because it was one of the rare moments where the music and lyrics all came together the way I had envisioned them. I like the melody, the music, and the words. I like how the song breaks down into a powerful, passionate sing along part which, unfortunately, nobody ever sang along to.

5. Yesterday’s Headlines (Symptoms of a Leveling Spirit 2001)
I have nothing but great memories of this entire period in Good Riddance history. The band was enjoying relative success and touring all the time. We were excited to be working on our second album in collaboration with Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton at The Blasting Room. I was in a good place personally and, as I began to write, the inspiration for songs was coming quickly. I wrote this song in Toronto during a particularly dense snowstorm on a cheap guitar someone had loaned me. I had the chorus melody in my head for days and, when I sat down to try to put some lyrics to it, I came up with the guitar intro and verse melodies. In an alternate universe where Good Riddance was a hugely popular band, this might have been the first single off this album. As it stands, it remains a crowd favourite at live shows and gives us a short reprieve from the much faster material which makes up the bulk of our catalogue.


Good Riddance are playing Wellington on 5th August and Auckland on 6th August, head over here for more information and to buy tickets.


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