Last February My Goodness was embarking on tour with Augustines and were scheduled to play the Doug Fir Lounge February 8. If you had plans to catch the show, or do something fun on a Saturday night, you were snowbound in your home or extremely adventurous if you decided to go out. Portland was experiencing Day 3 of snow and freezing rain. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled, as were many shows and venues around town.
Since then the Seattle-based band has been busy touring. They recently released a powerful debut album and aptly titled, Shiver + Shake, on June 24 and are now set to rock Portland September 23 at the Crystal Ballroom as part of 94/7 KNRK’s ‘I Saw Them When’ concert showcase.
With raw, gritty, bluesy-rock guitar, singer Joel Schneider erupts on all but a couple of songs. The power drumming, and organ, is anchored by Andy Lum, and the once power-duo has been fortified by Cody Votolato on bass, adding a bottom dynamic that solidifies the band’s monstrous sound.
From the beginning distorted bluesy guitar notes of the opening title track Shiver + Shake, the onslaught begins. And it continues to the smoldering end with the rocking Hot Sweat, making perfect bookends to their debut. My Goodness’ masterful use organ adds a smokey sweetness on numerous tracks that reaches back to late 60s, early 70s blues-rock of years past as well as cements their post-grunge roots. The combination of sounds and musical chemistry has produced one of the strongest debuts of the year. And all right here in our backyard.
With frequent airplay of Cold Feet Killer on 94/7 FM KNRK, the song serves a calling card for what My Goodness offers. As propulsive as ‘Killer’ is, the band ups the ante on the sledgehammer Zeppelin-esque track Check Your Bones, the polished Thorogood rockabilly of Letter To The Sun, to the post-punk propulsion of Say You’re Gone and C’mon Doll.
But My Goodness isn’t all muscular blues-rock at its loudest. Frontman Scheinder sings with soulful tenderness and pleading remorse on Bottle and crafts an introspective tale on folk-driven Lost in the Soul. Although ‘Lost’ is wouldn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the brash rockin’ bluesy riffing of the rest of the album, Schneider revealed in a previous interview that it was one of many that he has written that felt like it was My Goodness material.
This time around, drummer Lum, took some time to answer some questions about life for My Goodness since their last scheduled tour in February and the release of their debut.
With a debut under their belts, what did he like best about the new album? Lum responded, “I like that the recordings capture a lot of the energy that was in the room while we were tracking these songs. We knew we wanted to make a polished record at London Bridge, but we didn’t want to lose the spirit of Joel, Cody and I playing live in the room together. I think Rick (our producer) was subconsciously going for the same sound, so that really helped the record take shape.”
And with so many outstanding rocking tracks, which was his favorite? Lum continued, “I like that the recordings capture a lot of the energy that was in the room while we were tracking these songs. We knew we wanted to make a polished record at London Bridge, but we didn’t want to lose the spirit of Joel, Cody and I playing live in the room together. I think Rick Parashar (our producer) was subconsciously going for the same sound, so that really helped the record take shape.”
The band had recently decided to augment the original power-duo of My Goodness, by adding bassist Cody Votolato (The Blood Brothers, Jaguar Love). What has been the best thing about performing as a trio with Votolato? Excited about the addition, Lum revealed, “As a drummer, having Cody on bass allows me to be more dynamic with my playing. I can relax certain parts and come out and bash when the music calls for it. I can also focus way more on being the backbone of the live show, listening to everyone and improvising off their playing on any given night. As a drummer in a loud duo, I found myself focusing too much on being “interesting” at all times. The best drummers I’ve watched and admired know how to stay hidden behind the melody and then come out and hit you with something great.”
With My Goodness’ powerhouse sound, Lum’s drumming complements Schneider’s raging guitars but neither feel like they are competing with each. Although at times, it does sound like they’re about to put on the gloves. Asked about being a power drummer in a gritty, post-grunge, blues-rock band, who are his drumming influences? Lum frankly admits, “My influences are sort of all over the place, but I think that’s helped me over the years. Rock drumming is definitely my “thing”, if that makes sense – it’s where I feel most comfortable. But, I used to spend hours and hours in middle school and high school playing along to recordings. I had this whole mantra with my Discman and favorite pair of headphones that would let the right amount of my playing bleed into whatever I was playing along to. What’s funny is that you could say my earliest influences were actually drum machines, because I would play along to hip hop records exclusively. I was always into computers and have always had severe OCD so I think that’s why I gravitated towards practicing obsessively to hip hop. It wasn’t until I started listening to the Beatles, Zeppelin, & Mars Volta that I started shifting gears and loosening up a little. Playing in jazz band throughout high school and orchestra in college exposed to me a lot of different ways of being creative. My biggest influences are probably Bonham, Jon Theodore, and Deantoni Parks.”
Although My Goodness has played the Doug Fir a number of times over the last couple years, mostly as a duo, they’ve now made it back to Portland with some added fanfare. So, what can fans, who have only recently heard about My Goodness on 94/7 FM KNRK, look forward on September 23? Lum concludes, “We haven’t played Portland a lot as a three piece. Our show on the Augustines tour this past February was canceled due to snow, so we’re really excited to play at Crystal Ballroom. Since a lot of those new listeners haven’t seen us yet, I think they can look forward to hearing how fun Shiver + Shake is live, and how much fun we have playing these songs for people we haven’t met yet.”
After numerous listens to their debut, which needs to be played loud to be truly appreciated, attending their show at the Crystal Ballroom for any rocker, at least those who thought gritty, thunder-blues rock was a thing of the past, is a must see. And kudos to 94/7 FM KNRK for showcasing My Goodness as part of their ‘I Saw Them When’ showcase for the ridiculous price of $0.94 tickets. They are going fast, and will most likely sell out, so treat yourself and catch the power trio sweetness that is My Goodness.
Opening the show is local Portland band Adventure Gallery and their glow wave musical adventure. This is an all-ages show, doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm. Tickets are $0.94 advanced and day of the show.