February 19, 2014 by Devon Kodger
Joel Schneider, singer and guitarist of Seattle blues/rock band My Goodness, spoke with The Triangle Feb. 15 about their current tour with We Are Augustines, their beginnings, and the future of the band. My Goodness is playing the Boot & Saddle in Philly Feb. 28.
The Triangle: How’s the tour going so far?
Joel Schneider: It’s going well, really well actually. This is our sixth show coming up and we’ve had great responses so far. We’ve done the West Coast a couple of times before, but never done Phoenix. It’ll be our first time down there; everything after this is kind of new to us.
TT: You guys are currently touring with We Are Augustines, correct? How are they to tour with; fun? Any wild tour stories you could tell us?
JS: Nothing yet! We just got started. We did tour with them a couple of years ago and just did a short tour with them in the U.K. with about five or six dates. That wasn’t when I was with Andy [Lum], but with a different drummer. We kind of became friends with them, shared the bus, so yeah, we already kind of had a relationship with them before. We are all good friends.
TT: What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
JS: When I was growing up I actually wasn’t allowed to listen to music — grew up in a really conservative household. [My parents] kind of kept it from me, but I discovered stuff like punk in middle school, listened to that a lot. That turned into the hardcore scene that had started to erupt: bands like The Blood Brothers, Harkonen, and Botch, just stuff like that. A little later on I started getting into the blues and soul music. I have pretty eclectic taste in music: I listen to a lot of stuff.
TT: So, the active Seattle music scene has influenced you?
JS: Yeah. I think that especially when I was in high school there was a pretty strong all-ages scene that had kind of taken off at the time. It’s actually pretty funny because Cody [Votolato], the guitar player from The Blood Brothers, is now playing with us on this tour. It’s kind of ironic because we were huge, huge fans of that band and bands like it.
TT: So, where did My Goodness come from?
JS: So, basically I worked at a place called Neumos in Seattle quite a few years ago and had a couple of songs I had written on acoustic guitar at home — never really played them on electric and didn’t know what they’d sound like. I was in another band, quite a bit heavier, called Absolute Monarchs and kept borrowing the guitarist’s gear before practice. After work, a buddy of mine, the old drummer for the band, was also working with me sometimes. So we were just practicing and messing around one night. I borrowed the guy’s guitar and started playing the songs and [we] were like “Whoa, this could actually really work.” They were loud songs, the ones I’d written on acoustic, with the bluesy vibe I had become about, and we just kind of ran with them at the time. There was an employee band night coming up, so we decided to play it, and we decided to call ourselves My Goodness at the time because we weren’t planning on being a band — we were just planning on one show. We played the show and the response we got was better than we’ve gotten from any of the other bands we were in and decided to keep going. We kept the name.
TT: I had a chance to listen to some of the tracks off of the upcoming album. I think they are awesome. I especially liked “Cold Feet Killer.” What went into making that song?
JS: To be honest, that was actually one of the first songs I had written on the acoustic guitar, one of the first three, I believe. I was still discovering how to write and I was writing in a different tuning. I was writing in open G. The first three songs are about really similar things — about a relationship I was in at the time. That song kind of carried on and stuck with us. We decided to rerecord it and rearrange it. It’s been a slowly evolving song over the last couple of years; it doesn’t sound anything like it did before.
TT: So is the songwriting process the same for all the songs, or is it more collaborative?
JS: It’s basically been the same. Usually I come up with the majority of the songs at home — just different parts. I won’t necessarily put them together in a super structured way. So I’ll have a chorus, a verse and an idea which I’ll bring into practice, and Andy and I will put the structure of the song together by what feels the best — what order the chorus and verse should be in. Then, if we want to add something else, we do that. If we just feel something in practice we go, “Oh, that’s really cool, we should do that there.” We just did a song recently that was a little more of a collaborative thing. We all just went into the practices together and just kind of brainstorm[ed]. It’s the new song on the record called “Sweet Tooth.” We just took our sweet time and put it together. Usually, though, I think of something at home and then bring it in.
TT: I’ve heard the two of you, Andy and you, compared to bands like The Black Keys and Led Zeppelin. Does this surprise you?
JS: I think it is really flattering; those are two bands I’m really flattered to be compared to. It’s pretty awesome. I think with the addition of Cody, we’ve kind of moved more away from the Black Keys sound a little.
TT: Where do you see My Goodness going in five years? Do you still see being around, playing?
JS: Hope so. We are bringing out the new record in June, so we’ll see what happens. No matter what, I’ll continue to write songs like this, but in five years we’ll still be playing. Hopefully [we’ll] put out a few more records. I’m already starting to write the next one.