INTERVIEW: Good Riddance

Published in The Music (WA, NSW) and on, June – Aug, 2015



“I believe the situation is dire,” says Good Riddance vocalist Russ Rankin on the current political and environmental state of the planet. Daniel Cribb discovers the band’s new record is a call to arms.

Aussie fans of Californian punk legends Good Riddance couldn’t believe their luck when the band announced a tour here back in 2013. An integral part of the ‘90s skate punk movement, when they called it quits in 2007, it sent shockwaves through the scene. But nothing could repress the collective passion the project yielded from its members and fans, and with a second Australian tour on the horizon and new album doing the rounds, they’re back to their former glory -albeit the dynamics of the band have changed. “Writing and recording is much different,” bandleader Russ Rankin tells.
His resumé is an impressive feat. Not only does he sing in punk hardcore band Only Crime and perform solo, he’s also an ice hockey scout in California and a regular contributor to Amp Magazine. “Back in the old days we would block out about four to six months and we wouldn’t have any shows booked. Fat Wreck Chords would advance us the money against our royalties and we pay our rent, basically show up 9-5 every day in the practice room and work.
“Today, we’ve all got other jobs outside of the band that are our main source of keepin’ the lights on and so we had to be really judicious with our time and rehearsal schedules and everybody had to work that much harder to make sure that we were keeping our eyes on the prize.”
The creative process and scene changed during the band’s break, but, being a politically-driven force, the subjects have largely remained the same. “I wish I could say the world had evolved and that I’ve moved on, but it’s still the same old stuff. Social and political issues have always been a big part of what attracted me to punk in the first place and it keeps me in it. And so our songs, for the most part, still had to be reactions to what’s going on in the world, but also trying to find some kind of hope. And we’re trying to be a sort of instrument of change; if we can inspire people to think about it as well, I think it’s all for the good.
“I think a lot of the songs have to do with climate change generally. I believe the situation is dire and I believe that more people ought to think the same and have to think the same for the amount of change to occur in time to prevent a catastrophe.”
Peace In Our Time has again been released on Fat Wreck Chords, which has released records from fellow ‘90s-bred acts Strung Out, Lagwagon and more. “Our lives have changed and we’ve got different responsibilities but all of us are still feeling compelled to create new music and still have something to say. And Fat is still there to share it with the world. I think that is humbling. It’s like, everything is changed but suddenly it feels like nothing has changed.”