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Good Riddance Interview with Russ Rankin

We catch up with Good Riddance frontman, Russ Rankin for a chat about their upcoming tour, recent reunion, Only Crime releases, fave Good Riddance records and of course Creep Division.

 

First up I have to ask how did the band get back together? Who initiated it all and what was your immediate reaction to it?

We got back together because basically we realised for the first time in about five years we all actually had the time and that we missed playing the songs. That was the reasoning behind it really. We’ve had several people over the last five years or so try to get us back together again for crazy amounts of money to go here or there to play this festival and that festival, and we turned it all down because we really weren’t interested and we were all very busy. The other guys in the band had approached me a few times about getting back together to play and I really wasn’t interested at all in the idea. We sat down and had coffee and we talked for a couple of hours and decided we should give it a shot.

When the band decided to split in 2007, who out of the band initiated that move?

I think we all did. I was the one who wrote the press release, but we all felt the same. We all had a lot of personal things going on in our lives which made it a little bit more of an easier decision. We put out a record in that of “My Republic” in 2006 and no one really bought it and we thought it was a great record. When we played shows for it, not too many people were showing up when there used to be a lot. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it was time to hang it up. We figured maybe we should think about something else to do with our lives.

So the lineup Australians can expect to see on this tour will be Sean, Chuck, Luke and yourself? Correct?

Yep that is correct.

So you played your last show in May of 2007 and then reunited in to play in August of 2012. What did you do with yourself in that five-year period?

I had another band that was on and off at that time (Only Crime) and I got a real job. A couple of the other guys did too and they have young families and were busy raising children.

What was your job that you worked?

I worked for Apple, I still work for Apple. I work in one of the retail stores fixing people’s iPhones and iPads. I also went to work as a hockey scout.

I read that you were a scout for a Canadian team based in Kootenay. How does someone in California become a scout for a team in the middle of British Columbia?

I actually just switched teams to be honest. The league that I scout in has teams in the Western Province of Canada as well as Oregon and Washington. The ages in the league are 16-20 and its Canadian Major Junior Hockey and so we have players that are coming from all over the Western part of America. In the last ten years or so there are have been more players from California, Texas and Colorado going up to play in that league. So I’m the Californian scout and I go around to tournaments here in California and scout out the local players and we draft them to go up there to play for three or four years.

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I was expecting to perhaps see a new Only Crime release in that period? What’s going on with Only Crime?

Well we had a few lineup setbacks. One of our guitarists joined Rise Against then the other was always busy with Bane touring all the time. Bill (Stephenson) our drummer had been real busy producing and had some crazy health problems too. That kept him out of the loop as he was in a bad way and was able to do much of anything. But we’d been working on some new songs since about 2008 and we finally finished it and you can expect an announcement in the next few weeks about a release date and what label it is going to be on. It’s just all coming together this week and its all pretty exciting.

This will be only your third time out here having toured in 1998 with Sick Of It All, and then again on the back of “Bound By Ties Of Love And Affection” in 2004. Why does it take Good Riddance so long to tour Australia?

Australia is great but I think it can be overdone really quickly as there is only so many cities you can play and its also really expensive to tour. You gotta find a promoter who is willing to cover your airfares and knowing how expensive it will be. For us we want to make sure it is worth it for both parties involved in us coming down there. We just haven’t really had many good opportunities.

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On the 1998 Sick Of It All tour, there was a one off Creep Division show in Melbourne. I know this was ages ago but can you recall why you guys only played the once on that tour?

(Laughing) Ha wow! The birth of Creep Division was actually on the plane ride down there. Craig (Setari), Chuck and myself were talking about forming some stupid band that would sound like a 1984 power chord trashy hardcore band. Then one night on the tour in Melbourne we were goofing around on stage and actually Chuck played drums that night and Trevor who was Sick Of It All’s guitar tech played guitar and it was horrible. It was just total spur of the moment; we had no plans to do anything with it at that point. It must have been that we had already played Sydney and it was later in the tour.

Ever any talk of doing another Creep Division record? Did you record the bass tracks on the self titled record or was that Craig?

Yeah that was me, I played bass. I have many hidden talents. Yeah we talked about it again and played some shows in 2007. I wouldn’t be surprised if we played some more, but I don’t think it will ever get back to Australia again though.

Good Riddance were always one of the more politically and socially aware bands in the punk scene. What do you make of the modern day scene, do you think punk has really been dumbed down of late or are you still inspired by what you hear?

I think that’s true but I also think its because I really like political music. For some people right now they probably think they are living in the golden age of punk because they like something different to me. There are some current bands I’m really in to at the moment but for me I really l am a sucker for punk and hardcore from the late 70s and early 80s.

Got a fave Good Riddance release?

My favourite album is “Symptoms Of A Leveling Spirit” and a close second would be “My Republic”. But I know that our best selling and our most popular release is our second album “A Comprehensive Guide To Modern Rebellion”.

Wow really I would have thought it would have been “Operation Phoenix”?

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you’re a hardcore guy. That is the album you either love or hate as a Good Riddance fan. When we released that album, half of our fans were like “yep this is the album they should have been making all along”. While the other half were like “this is horrible, I can’t stand it”.

You see I thought that about “Comprehensive Guide To Modern Rebellion” as the drums sounded terrible, almost like they were sampled.

Yeah I really do wish we mixed that album differently, but I like a lot of the songs on that one.

What about a favourite Good Riddance song?

There is a song on “Bound By Ties Of Blood And Affection” called “There’s No I in Team” that’s easily my favourite one. That’s like the only time I was able to hit the nail on the head in terms of like melody and lyrics and say exactly what I wanted to say and everything rhymed. I finally got it right after how many years.

Will this reunited lineup release any new material?

We’ve talked about it a little bit but its not really on the top of our priorities list. Everyone is still kinda busy so I don’t know when we would all get the time really. We have talked about it, we haven’t entirely ruled it out, and so we’ll just see what happens.

Why should people come out to see Good Riddance this time around?

I have no idea. Maybe because Chuck is entertaining. Maybe because you never got to see the band and perhaps your older brother said we were okay live so you wanna go and check it out.

Any last words?

Thanks to everybody in Australia for their support over the years and we can’t wait to come down there and play.

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