Canadian rock legend Matthew Good kicks off his co-headlining tour with fellow chart toppers Our Lady Peace on March 1st in St. John’s. The Newfoundland Herald caught up with Good recently to discuss the historic pairing, touring for a cause, battling negative energies and more.
DC: It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen you here in Newfoundland and Labrador. I know you’re a big fan of the place, so this must be long overdue for you personally and professionally.
MG: Every time you go on tour, when it comes to Newfoundland, you just go ‘dammit!’ As a Canadian and as someone who has been there many times in his life, it’s an awesome place to play and you never not want to play there. Unfortunately the economics of bringing a full show there is difficult. In this instance we’re lucky. The combined power of bringing me and the OLP guys make it financially possible. We’re really excited about it.
DC: This co-headlining tour with Our Lady Peace seems like a no-brainer from a pure genre-standpoint. It’s amazing that throughout your long careers atop Canada’s rock scene you both haven’t teamed up for a joint tour.
MG: We never toured together before. We’ve been on some festival shows together, and not even a lot, maybe three. About four years ago, Raine and I were talking and it was like we should tour, why haven’t we toured? This is ridiculous. We had never met before then. It was one of those things where it seemed like the obvious thing to do, but we both agreed that we wouldn’t do it unless we both had new music out. We would do it behind something so it wasn’t just this tour of like going to play the hits and leave. That’s something that’s kind of important to us, so it took some years before all of that could line up and as soon as it could we did it.
DC: Well you released Something Like A Storm in late 2017, but certainly you have a wealth of material to draw from. That’s something that’s always amazed me about your career, the amount of high quality releases you’ve churned out, especially as a solo artist.
MG: This is what I do and I’ve been doing it my entire adult life. I don’t really go ‘ok! It’s time to start some music’. It’s something where under the right conditions I can record every day of my life. That’s why I guess I do consistently put out new music, because putting out new music is important to me.
DC: You’re a fairly prolific songwriter. Do you have a particular go-to process these days? Or has it been the case of a process changing over time?
MG: In situations where I lived alone I would literally get up in the morning and have coffee and I would look up 13 hours later and be like oh shit, oh my god. What just happened here? That would happen, but then you have a family and things obviously change with kids.
When I was married I was in kind of a really strange marriage in which my wife at the time, I would almost basically have to ask permission to work, which was very odd. Considering the fact that’s what is paying the bills. Go-figure on that one. So that was kind of weird. One of the weirdest bits of substituted, when I released Arrows of Desire. I came off the road from Lights of Endangered Species, which is an album to this day I absolutely adore. I wanted very much to kind of keep going down the rabbit hole. But I found myself in a position where my time was so limited. I was dealing with this kind of negative energy within my life.
I remember when Arrows of Desire came out it was like well how come you just went out and wrote a total rock record? I gave the answer to just come up with something. Like oh, I just came off tour and I was just influenced by the bands that I grew up with. Total horse s**t. Basically, the easiest thing for me to do at that time was write the simplest possible thing I knew how to do, which was a straight ahead rock record. No f***ing about. For me I had fun doing it, but it was so massively anti-climatic. I had done something with the record before that was just where I wanted to be going. This last record, to be honest with you, I wrote in three hour intervals. I got up, did whatever I needed to do around the house. My kids were home at quarter to three. I had to work within those parameters.
DC: So would you say then you had the right mix of the right intangibles for Something Like A Storm? Would you say this is an album you’re completely happy with?
MG: I think there are parts of it that worked. I think that’s ultimately why I tittled it that way. If you listen to that record it’s very all over the map. It’s very representative of certain elements I really liked and certain elements that was just in my head, the ABCs of doing a song. You got a thing like Girls of Black and No Liars and that stuff which is more straightforward. But then there’s stuff on that album like Tiger By the Tail, Cold Water, Los Alamos – those are songs that I look back at the record and just wish the whole damn record was like that. It’s as simple as to say that I won’t let that happen again.
DC: You talked about that negative energy that surrounded you for so long. How would you say the artistic climate was during the creation of this album. Are you channeling that in your writing?
MG: I think there are bits and pieces of it. On the other side of it when you do get to do it you get to leave all of that behind and do what you do and the content that comes through you like osmosis. There’s a purity to your thought that kind of transcends everything else that is kind of going on in your life.
DC: I wanted to talk about War Child Canada and your partnership with Plus1 on this tour. It’s really remarkable that yourself and OLP made the conscious decision to give back through this tour.
MG: Both Raine and I have extensive experience with charities. The longer you work with them the more you find out things like how much of the revenue is spent on anything getting particularly done, as opposed to whatever. When Raine came to me when we were putting all of this together he proposed War Child. He’s been working with them forever, their transparency policy is unbelievable and for me it made sense. For someone who has always been massively concerned with conflicts throughout the world, and specifically how it impacts children, and also as someone who suffers from a mental illness, knowing their work extends to children with regards to helping them with post traumatic stress disorder because of the things that they’ve seen and endured. For me it really was the complete package of the perfect organization to choose.
DC: So, walk me through the format and setup of this tour. It being a co-headlining effort, and with you both having new material, what can fans expect?
MG: I’m going to switch it up every night a bit. I’m going to go first, because I’m lazy. I’ll be going on the encore at the end of the show with them, so I have to sit around and wait for that. I basically have a number of rotating openers and closers and that kind of thing. I know some new stuff off the record we want to do, but obviously we won’t be able to do it all. I’m not doing a two-plus hour show here myself. I won’t be able to get anything in, but I’ll add in a couple of old things people we haven’t heard in awhile. You know how it works, I won’t be able to walk into any place without playing Apparitions or Weapon or a little Timebomb or Born Losers. That’s the way the world works. It’ll be fun and I’m just looking forward to starting er’. I’m just looking forward to going. Hopefully Alan Doyle is around and I can give him s**t all night.
Tickets for OLP/Matthew Good are available now at mileonecentre.com. For more on Matthew Good and Something Like A Storm visit www.matthewgood.org