Matthew Good doesn’t like celebrity but is a rock star. He is a perfectionist, but released live songs from his current tour and isn’t a drinker, but will indulge when he plays acoustic.
So when you read the track listings on his latest album, Arrows of Desire, all may not seem as they are, a little like Good himself.
“Everything is interpretive right?,” said Good who is performing in Penticton on Nov. 22. “This record is lyrically ambiguous I think with regards to how people interpret it and I kind of meant it to be that way to be honest with you. I made some records in the past four or five years that are in some instances very literal, so I kind of wanted to get away from that.”
With 13 albums under his belt, Good returns to deliver those hard driving rock songs of his earlier days, think Underdogs and Beautiful Midnight. Songs that get radio play, which many of his later albums did not. So if his latest title track and others like Letters of War and Guns of Carolina are interpreted not quite as he wrote it, that is ok.
“I think for me, music has always been one of those things that is so universal and so personal to such an extent. I can remember where I was the first time when I heard Regatta de Blanc by The Police and suddenly you can remember how something smells or where you were or the temperature. Those kinds of things that are intrinsically linked to our memory. I think that is vastly more important,” said Good.
A fan of The Who’s Live At Leeds album and Johnny Cash’s Live at Folsom Prison, Good decided on this city tour, he would also record some live tunes and post them for everyone to hear.
Good has recorded live from the concerts and posted them for everyone to hear. A blessing and a curse for a guy who is a self-proclaimed perfectionist.
Listening to the recordings through tour bus speakers doesn’t provide the best playback and when some of his bandmates wanted to tweak the recordings, Good wasn’t having it.
“I finally said, you know what man, it’s (expletive) live rock ‘n’ roll just let it be what it is going to be. If I am out of tune singing then I am out of tune,” said Good. “The thing is, I am a total perfectionist and the hardest person on myself.”
Good has also kept fans up-to-date on his tour by posting set lists that range from a good dose of Arrows of Desire to a taste of his older tunes like Apparitions and Weapon. All songs that have undergone transformations over the years.
“Those songs are songs that I have to do. You have to play Apparitions and for me another song is Born Losers. Load Me Up is actually the one constant of all my old material that I perform all the time. If I have to choose a tune between Load Me Up, Time Bomb and (The Future Is) X-Rated, Load Me Up is going to win every time. I don’t know why, I just like it better really,” said Good, adding he has to watch his vocal pacing through a show. “I would rather make sure I can get into something like While We Were Hunting Rabbits and concentrate on that being a vocal performance that is memorable because for a lot of fans that is a far bigger deal than Load Me Up will ever be. Even though that is the song I am known for, something like Rabbits is for actual hard core fans and is a big deal.”
Fame and celebrity are not the goal for the Canadian rocker, social activist, blogger and the man who didn’t turn up to accept the Juno Awards he won. He transplanted himself out of Vancouver, a city he dearly called home for two decades, and opted for a plot of land with his wife and kids in Mission. Good said they actually were considering moving to Osoyoos at one point, but distance from his immediate family had them think twice.
“It’s really funny. Jay Baruchel (actor from This Is the End, Tropic Thunder) is a friend of mine and Jay and me are totally the same. He lives in downtown Montreal, a couple of blocks from his mom where he grew up, then his sister lives a couple of blocks from there. We both lived in the city and don’t go anywhere, we just stay at home,” said Good. “Despite the Vancouver thing and living downtown for two decades, it’s just not for me. I just want to live in one place.”
It’s not that Good has become complacent, he averages about one new album every year. On the cusp of wrapping up a cross-Canada tour he already has designs on what his next moves will be — perhaps an acoustic album.
“I want to do it just for the banter,” he said. “When I play acoustically you get going with people in the audience and it gets really funny. I love it.”
A stickler for details, Good said he holds a couple of steadfast rules when on the stage with just a guitar and himself.
“I never rehearse for an acoustic tour because anything that can and will go wrong will and if I pull out something and I don’t remember how to play it that is always a good time because it keeps you on your toes. I don’t drink, but for some strange reason when I play acoustically I always drink gin and tonics, my guitar tech started me on that. The problem is that I end up talking to him a lot and he becomes part of the show. By the end of the night he is pouring me three fingers of gin with ice. It’s pretty funny actually,” said Good. “It is every worst possible case scenario added together. How it all works, I don’t know.”
Matthew Good is performing at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre with special guests Gentlemen Husbands on Nov. 22.
Tickets are available online at www.ValleyFirstTix.com, by phone at 1-877-763-2849 or in person at the Valley First Box Office at the South Okanagan Events Centre and the Wine Country Visitor Centre.