John's a Jumpin'!

Never Mind the Sex Pistols...

Hyperactive ska/punk/metal/reggae dudes, Goldfinger

Interview and live photography by Rodney Gitzel

43-second excerpt from "Here in Your Bedroom" (various formats)

Goldfinger is seemingly a band out of nowhere, and now they're everywhere. Or, at least as far as Vancouver is concerned. Until the video for the very infectious ska-punk-metal tune "Here in my Bedroom" hit Much, Goldfinger was just another Bond villain. But now, now they're on Much, they were here for the Warped Tour, they're opening for No Doubt at the Vogue (Hmm. Sit-down moshing?) August 5th.

cover Goldfinger CD And Goldfinger will be back in town yet again on August 31st, opening for THE SEX PISTOLS. That's quite a coup. Bassist Simon Williams is pretty excited: "It's gonna be epic, I can't wait." But won't Goldfinger get a little lost in the spectacle of it all? "Well, yeah, they don't need an opening act at all, on that tour. Unless they get some really big, you know, like maybe dig up Kurt Cobain. Still, it's good exposure." Plus, they're along for the Australian leg of the tour, so Williams gets a free trip home to see his family and all his old friends. "Everyone down there's gonna think I'm a stud. I'm on tour with the Sex Pistols! I don't even know if we're going to get to meet them, though. I guess they're going to be pretty elusive..."

Or maybe they won't get lost in the shuffle. Somehow it's hard to see Johnny Rotten putting as much energy into his show as does Goldfinger vocalist John Feldmann, pictured here in mid-leaps. That radio show of his has probably tired the old guy out. And Goldfinger have better songs. What? Blasphemy!

It's not often you come across a record with such consistently catchy songs. And the band's first, and self-titled, full-length CD captures an amazing manicness. You'll hear it on "Here in my Bedroom" -- Feldmann sounds like he's about to burst! Check him out on "Miles Away," "Mind's Eye" and "The City with Two Faces" -- or almost any track on the album, for that matter. And the music, it goes from ska-punk to pure reggae ("My Girlfriend's Shower Sucks" band promo photo is pure and cool reggae, with a less than serious subject.) to outright metal. The metal side of the band is especially interesting: they go from mostly metalish tunes like "The City with Two Faces" to songs like "Pictures," where they go from pure pure ska to pure pure Helmet literally from one bar to the next. And it works! Then there's the closing short song, "Fuck You and Your Cat," which Feldmann says is part of the trilogy (started by "Only a Day" and "Here...") he wrote about a three-month obsession, and which goes from a sixties kinda Neil Sedaka vibe to all out thrash punk.

One of the stranger tracks on the album is simply a hilarious recording of a phone call between a drummer and a musician. Drummer Dangerous Darren Pfeiffer admits his guilt: "I called this guy looking for a drummer, and I decided to run with it. He wouldn't hang up! It's way longer -- we edited it down. I'm mentioning all these bands that I'm shooting junk with. I told him I'm a loser, I do drugs, I sleep on people's couches, I have no job, and he still wanted to play with me." Simon pipes up, "Well, most drummers are like that, though. That's why I wasn't surprised he didn't hang up." The interview at this point degenerated into a string of drummer jokes...

John's a Jumpin'! In "The City with Two Faces," the band asks if you might think they are just another punk band. But what do they think? Says Williams, "I like to think not; it's my goal in life to make sure we're not perceived as that. We're just a pop band that touches [!] on reggae, ska and punk... This whole ska-punk thing, I don't want us to be caught up in any trends. I just want longevity. I'm having too much fun..."

"It's hard these days," adds singer Feldmann. "The new school of punk rock is more about pop sensibility than it is about 'fuck everybody.' There's some bands that still capture some of that -- Propagandhi, for instance. A lot of the bands on this bill are just musicians, they like that kind of music [i.e. punk]."

What's it like being on a bill with a whole lot of other punk bands? Says guitarist Charlie Paulson, "When we were a club band, before the record came out, we were a pretty intense band, live, especially in light of everything that was going on in L.A., it was like the heroin movement, the rebirth of the Velvet Underground or something, and we'd play with four bands like that, then us on a bill, and we'd just fuckin' freak people out. So we got used to being the sore thumb, the standout band on the bill. But on a bill like this [the Warped Tour], where everybody is going out there and going for it, you just gotta bust your ass that much harder."

First published in Drop-D Magazine on July 25, 1996

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