While Chicago was in the throes of debaucherous St. Patrick’s Day revelry, Pop ’stache sat down with blues rock trio My Goodness before the band’s show at Lincoln Hall. Guitarist and vocalist, Joel Schneider, drummer Andy Lum, and new bassist, Cody Votolato, shared the green room couch and discussed the tour, Seattle, and SHIVER + SHAKE, the band’s new album to be released June 24th.
Pop ’stache: Let’s go way back. How did you all meet?
Joel Schneider: Andy and I played in rival bands in high school in a suburb of Seattle and we knew of each other then, but we didn’t know each other very well. I started My Goodness with a different drummer in 2011. It didn’t work out and about a year later I reconnected with Andy at SXSW, so I gave him a call and then we started playing. Right after I think we had about four shows and then we played at a MusicFestNW in Portland.
Cody Votolato: I had a DJ night at the bar that Joel works at. They had some shows coming up and they wanted a bass player so they asked me to play bass.
Andy Lum: You were our first choice. [Laughs.]
P’s: That’s great. Going back farther, what ignited your passion for music?
JS: It was weird, the Eastside suburb of Seattle that we lived in had an amazing all-ages scene. It had at least two or three clubs that were always having shows. I would go see his band, the Blood Brothers, in high school. I think that was my first introduction to live local music, and loud music at that.
AL: I’m kind of in the same boat. The hardcore scene in Seattle was really cool when I was in high school. I went to a ton of shows at teen centers and that thing. Then a little later on, I started listening to soul and blues that kind of stuff and got really into that, so I think that the music now is kind of a mash-up of the heavier stuff we grew up on and the majority of what we listen to now.
CV: Seattle really was, in the late ’90s and early 2000s, the all-ages scene, in the eastside of Seattle, was really cool and really kind of special. I don’t think it existed like that in a lot of places. Young people could actually get into music and play it and feel like, ‘Okay, I can go play a show,’ because there was a place to go do it, and a community of people who’d come see you play. I think because of that, a lot of good music has come out of Seattle.
P’s: You were talking about your sound, how would you describe your sound?
JS: It’s weird, because when I first started writing songs for the band, a lot of it was on acoustic guitar, and it was really bluesy. I didn’t expect for it to get heavier or loud until I was in another band called Absolute Monarchs. It was a heavier band, and I started borrowing a guitar from his equipment and playing those same songs through his stuff, and I was like, damn this is kind of cool, maybe I should give this a shot and start playing these songs a bit heavier. I think that’s where it came from. I was writing these bluesy songs, and then I started playing them in a loud manner.
P’s: What should people expect from the new record? Does it have a name?
JS: It’s Shiver + Shake.
AL: June 24th.
JS: We put a lot into it. It’s the last year of our lives. We hope people like it.
AL: For as loud and aggressive as we get, we tried to make a balanced record, which I thought was important to all of us. We spent a lot of time on song structure, melody, and having the record start with a bang, because that’s what we do on stage, take a dip in the middle and come back. I’ve always liked records that do that, and we did that on ours.
P’s: You wear different hats really well, getting into pretty, sentimental songs and also the aggressive stuff. Is one more fun for you?
AL: The loud stuff.
JS: The louder stuff is more fun to play live, but there’s a couple songs on the record that are pretty quiet and chill, one acoustic one, and one with strings on it, but I think as far as fun stuff goes, the louder stuff is more fun to play live.
P’s: You never know, you could just be secret softies on the inside. How does it feel to be touring?
JS: it’s been great. It’s our first real, long tour. It’s definitely the longest I’ve ever been away from home, but I’ve been having a good time. The three of us get along really well, so it’s been kind of a breeze as far as that goes.
CV: There’s been some pretty insane weather conditions. Having the right kind of personalities in those situations is helpful to a positive touring environment.
JS: We sat on a frozen highway in Ontario for eight hours, watched a couple movies.
AL: Never in my life have I experienced something like that.
P’s: It’s good that you like each other. What are you guys most looking forward to as a band?
AL: Putting out this record. I just feel like it’s been a saga getting it out there, and we finally have a date. It’s pretty cool. I’m looking forward to it.
JS: We were talking about this the other day, I’m just looking forward to putting this out, and gauging the reaction and then touring on it, doing the real album cycle thing. I haven’t done that too many times in my life.