Good Riddance doesn’t sound like your typical Southern Californian punk rock band. The group is from Santa Cruz and combines the typical Californian melodic punk with an aggressive twist.
Good Riddance is comprised of Russ Rankin on vocals, Luke Pabich as the guitarist, Chuck Platt on bass and drummer Dave Wagenschutz.
The band first got together in 1986, recording their first album, “For God and Country” in 1995. The members of the band grew up listening to punk music and found it to be an excellent form of self-expression and politics. They created a band to use music to express their thoughts and ideas and found it to be cathartic and really enjoyed it, according to Rankin.
Good Riddance cites their main influences as Bad Religion, TSOL, Social Unrest, The Germs, The Adolescents, Henry Rollins, Black Flag and The Cromags.
“Our sound has evolved a lot. Early on you could hear our influences and as we’ve worked together we’ve created our own sound. We have one foot in the melodic door and one foot in the aggressive door. It’s a good balance. I think our greatest achievement as a band was creating our own sound and not sounding like everyone else,” Rankin said.
While the band has a difficult time having a positive view of the current over-commercialized music industry, Rankin says that he tries to stay open minded and positive about his music.
“I get to go all over the world and play and meet all sorts of bands for which I’m very grateful. It’s upsetting to see this mainstream music machine, but we can only control the music we make,” Rankin said.
Good Riddance is notorious for their intensive touring schedule, usually touring ten months out of the year and throughout the world. When a group tours so extensively, they discover more about the relationships built during the time away from home.
“You like a band’s music and you tour with them and you realize they’re awesome guys to hang out with and you get friendships that last beyond the tour. I’ve made a host of what I hope to be lifelong friends because of my involvement with music. You can’t put a price on that, and it’s something I never expected. You form bonds with people because you’re put into situations you’re not used to,” Rankin said.
The group uses politics as a form of inspiration for writing their songs. The individual members try to expand their knowledge of politics by reading publications that are outside of the typical box and reading books that aren’t as popular among mainstream audiences. Rankin believes that those books can convey more truth than the information taught out of schoolbooks. Good Riddance isn’t a “message” type of band, but want to enlighten their audiences.
“If a kid can listen to one of our songs and have a light go on in a part of their brain that was dark before, then I feel like we’ve accomplished something,” Rankin said.
The band is familiar with Fort Collins, recording their last three albums at the Blasting Room. “The studio and guys who own it make it very attractive. Our first experience in Fort Collins was so positive we kept coming back,” Rankin said.