Good Riddance Interview
It' in the bar of The Garage, London, where Benny mets Russel, singer of Good Riddance sinci the Euroean Tour 2004.

Can you speak to me about this new tour? Switzerland, Germany, Belgium…
Basically it's a new chance to come back in Europe. We haven't been here since 2001. We really wanted to come back here, play the new songs. We had the opportunity to do this tour, the drummer has a spring break at school!

About the new album "Bound by Ties of Blood and Affection ", what does the CD cover represents for you?
It's a sort of joke. In America, the two richest political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, are represented here by a donkey for the Democrats and an elephant for the Republicans. There's not really a meaning. I had a lot of questions about it since we are in Europe, and I didn't realize it before, but it is quite an American joke understood by American people only.

When you entered the studio did you have a specific goal how the record should sound?
We wanted to have the melodic tones of our previous released in 2001, but we wanted to add a little of anger. I think we achieve that!

There's always place for social, political lyrics. How important are those subject for you?
We don't want to be a political band, during long time we have been painted with that brush. For me, it has always been what attracts me to punk music because this energic music is more than an entertainment, it is a way of expression and feelings about situations.

What is for you the most change in this new album?
There is not a lot of change in this album. The previous one was more rock. This one sounds a little bit more pissed of I think. It is a classical punk album with some hard stuff and melodic stuff, and it is a pretty good mix.

How have people reacted so far about it?
The press reaction was really good, and we sold more than I thought. Playing here new songs and like everybody know the words!

Do you think that after this tour you could record a "Live in the Dive" live album?
Maybe. We want to do a live album, but Mick wants us to do a "Live in the Dive", but we want to … (a bit confused). I don't know! I think it is definitely in the future for us to do a live album. And a DVD too!

Playing Punk seems to be a new fashion. What do you think of all those new coming bands such as Good Charlotte, Sum 41 …?
I don't really have an opinion, I don't really know so much about them.

Do you think that it could bring kids to discover other bands like you?
Possibly yeah, but I don't know at all!

Are you nostalgic of the Californian punk scene from the beginning of the 90's?
I would say I am more nostalgic of the Californian punk scene from the beginning of the 80's, like Black Flag.

Good Riddance spans both punk and hardcore music. Is there really much of a difference between the two scenes?
I don't want trouble with this question, because to me, hardcore is a so subjective word. When I get in the punk in the 80's, you were hardcore if you listened to the Black Flag, but today if I play one of their song to a Poison the Well show, the kids would not consider this as hardcore. For me, I don't really know if I am the person to say what is hardcore or not because it is always changing.

You've been around since 1986. How has the independent-music scene changed since that time?
In fact, I have the possibility to see things only since 95, when Good Riddance became a touring band. I have seen punk being commercialised, mass produced, embraced by the culture industry … I don't think it is a good thing, it's kind of sad to me. Music was before something you really want to do, and not something available to everyone.

Do you think that those up-coming punk bands don't have the faith in punk music?
I don' know, they do this to pay the bills, and who can blame someone for this! We are not the Punk Police telling bands what is bad or not. Every bands do what they have to do.

After more than ten years of music what significate for you "Good Riddance"?
Something fun to do when we have the opportunity. Everybody in the band is so busy in their own life: works, schools, different bands. This is a big opportunity to be together another time. I really enjoy that.

Do you live of "Good Riddance"?
No, and we don't hope to because this involve to tour more and more and we can't.

What do you wish a kid to learn or remember from a Good Riddance gig or album?
I hope the music and words touch people life in a positive way, having a good time, coming to the show and feeling free.

Questionnaire of Pivot

What is your favourite word? Dude
What is word you hate? Gay
What is your favourite drink? Coffee
What is your favourite food? Anything vegan from Thailand or Vietnam
What turns you on creatively? Skateboarding or surfing, where I get the craziest thing in my head. I race home trying to don't forget what it was and playing on my guitar then.
What turns you on spiritually? Meditation
What turns you on emotionally? Anything passionated
What turns you off? People are intolerant to each other.
What is your favourite bad word? Fuck
What sound do you love? Early morning morning in Santa Cruz, my hometown, where you can hear the ocean.
What sound do you hate? Gun shots
What is your favourite place on earth? Home, Santa Cruz, on the beach
And the one you hate? I don't like Las Vegas. I don't hate it, but I don't like!
Who were your heroes when you were a kid? When I was a little kid, probably football players.
What profession would you not like to do? I do not want to work in Las Vegas


How did you came to tattoo?
In the late 88's, I have some friends with a lot of tattoos. I wanted to get one. I waited to years for really know if I want to get tattooed, so I waited and get it in 1990.

Which is your first one?
The Statue of Liberty in front of the flag emptying a bottle of beer.
One of my friends has the same one.

Among all your tattoos, which one do you prefer and why?
My tattoes have two meanings: sentimental or only because they look great. My favourite is a two-hands praying tattoo with "God forgets you" written, with a lot of clouds. I have also a lot of punk bands symbol and lyrics of songs.

Which is the last one?
It is my Black Flag bar close to my ear with "no values" written because it is my favourite song.

Have you got an idea of the next one?
I have a lot of ideas. My whole back is free, I think about it, like my stomach. For my back, I would to tattoo Shiva, who was on the Cro-mag record.

For you, what's the importance of tattoo in the punk's spirit?
Years ago, it was cool because not a lot of person did it. But now, I don't think I would get tattooed because it is so fashionable. Therefore, I love it!

What do you think about the new rise of tattoo (everybody want it) is it a fashion or a new breath for the body culture?
I think many people who get tattooed now will regret I in the next five years. For me it is all about commitment. And it is hard to get a tattoo off

Do you have a message for kids would be tattooed?
Wait two years and see if you still want it!

Russel Tattoos

Interview Ben
Translation Ben

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999