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Interview: Goodwin Rainer
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
As a kid in school, I (Adam - guitar, vocals) tried a lot of different sports and extracurricular activities but never really enjoyed much of them. When I got into band in 6th grade, it just felt right and I’ve stuck with it ever since. If I wasn’t playing music everyday, I’d probably spend more time outside, near some water. Career wise, I have no idea what I would do. Maybe I would have followed my dad’s footsteps and became a technician or construction worker. But I am extremely grateful to be able to do music full-time.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
All of us in the group love playing music, and when we’re not rehearsing or gigging, we play together a lot for fun. We like to just pick and grin and goof off. Outside of music though, we’re all kind of nerds. We like video games, sci-fi and comic books, among other things. Some of those elements definitely find their way into the music. Whether it is a quirky lyric, or a weird sound, a lot of our music is inspired by our interests.
How long has music been your career?
Myself, and a couple other guys in the band are actually music teachers so this question could be answered a couple ways. Like I said before, as a preteen, I knew music would be it for me for the rest of my life and I’m 26 now, so you do the math. Personally, I’ve been a private guitar instructor for about five years. Perry (mandolin, lead guitar) has been teaching for closer to eight years, and Jake (trumpet) about three.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are from Mobile, AL, about as South as South Alabama can get. I’m a firm believer that not all Southerners are animose people, there are plenty of good people here that are held down by regressive politicians and vehemently oppressive laws. However, we do witness those negative AL stereotypes first hand. And we heavily advocate against things like racism and transphobia, as well as laws targeted towards women’s bodies and the overall fascist state that too many citizens in the South blindly support. These frustrations are expressed through our music. But on a positive note, we’ve spent a lot of time on the road, meeting other like-minded people and making friends all over the South East. Those good times have made for several songs as well!
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
This is a hard question because most of them blend together at this point. Since Dan (bass) and I started this band in 2017, I would say the first couple shows may have been the worst, only because I didn’t know how to sing yet and we hadn’t figured out what “Goodwin Rainer” really was at that point. However, our album release show in August 2021 was our first show as a full 7 piece band and it felt like the first show all over again so that was really special. All of the shows we’ve played since then have been killer so it’s nice to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come as a unit.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Home is where the heart is, and The Blind Mule in Mobile will always be home for us. They’ve taken care of us since the beginning and the food is also pretty fire. We’ve never taken this band out of the South, so we’re looking to tackle plenty of new territory in the near future.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
HA! I haven’t thought much about this before. Put us on a festival gig on a Saturday night with… us, AJJ, Joyce Manor, Against Me!, Anthrax, and Metallica as the headliner because that would be a hilarious dream come true.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Take yourself seriously, but not so seriously that it stops being fun. Be patient and invest in yourself. And be nice to people. It always pays to not be an asshole.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
See things through. You never know unless you try. It’s always easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I would have to say “Cuticle Song”, a favorite amongst a few of the band members. Musically, it is different from our core sound but I feel that it emcompasses the height of the musicality on our record “Damn Good Friends.” It is a song about suffering from severe anxiety, depression and the roller coaster between being manic and extremely despondent.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
The crowd favorites are always the most fun to play! Our singles “Paying Gigs” and Rot Gut” get called out at shows, even though they are staples in our set anyway. An honorable mention would have to be “Blink?!” because it stirs up some audience participation as well.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
I usually will write a chord progression on guitar and some lyrics and we started layering on parts. Most of the time, we’ll have sectional practice on new songs. For example I’ll get with Dan and Trey (drums) to get a solid foundation. Then with Perry and Josh (banjo), then we add horns and misc with Jake and Bryce (tenor sax). That’s not the formula for every song, but that’s the gist of our process. All of our inspiration comes from real life experiences. Be it good or bad, all of our songs are full of the truth.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I think we just want to relate to people. There has never been a particular motive. We’re a bunch of nerdy guys that like playing music, and have a ton of steam to blow off and vent to the world. We just want to attract and connect with people that hopefully get something positive out of our music.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Not really. Everyone writes their own parts 99% of the time. Sometimes someone else might have a cool idea for someone else’s instrument. If that happens, we at least try it. It helps that we all have such good chemistry with one another, and the whole point is to be creative and express ourselves. Everyone in the band brings something very valuable to the table, and we all encourage and feed off of one another.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Play more and more shows! Play in new places and meet new people! We’re hitting the road in April with our buddies Surfwax to finally support our record “Damn Good Friends.” Also be on the lookout for the digital release of a cassette-exclusive EP that is only available at our shows!
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