Russ RankinFat Wreck Chords
By Shelby Monita on September 18th, 2015 at Phone
Good Riddance released their long awaited album Peace In Our Time earlier this year. They’re now embarking on a North American tour. We caught up with lead singer, Russ Rankin, to see what the band had been up to since they stopped touring five years ago.
Shelby Monita: When you went back into the studio to record your latest album Peace In Our Time, did it take awhile for everyone to get back in the groove, or was it like nothing changed?
Russ Rankin: It was like nothing had changed. I think the combination of the same four of us that had recorded so much together and our history with Bill, who was producing us, everybody had the same work flow. We were limited a little bit by having actual jobs and stuff now and family we didn’t have before but it was very similar, very familiar.
SM: Since it has been eight years since the band disbanded, briefly what was each member doing in that eight year break?
RR: Well we didn’t play for about five years but it has been about eight years since we put an album out. In the five years we didn’t play, our drummer Sean, he played in Authority Zero and The Real McKenzies… he never stopped playing and touring. He stayed really busy just playing drums. Chuck, our bass player, was raising two kids, he’s married, he has a career working for a company that manufactures bicycle helmets and he travels a lot for that job and is very busy. Luke, our guitar player, does a lot of work at a local winery. So he has a pretty demanding job, he also has two children. And I was busy working my day job and working in my other band Only Crime, towards the end of that five year span I wrote and recorded a solo album and started playing solo shows.
SM: Even though you have been called one of the most influential punk rock bands, you have a huge following and have sold hundreds of thousands of albums you still managed to stay in the underground scene, contribute to the community and stay on an indie label. Why was it so important for you not to reach out to the mainstream?
RR: Well first of all thank you for all that flattering information, I don’t know if any of it is true, but it sounds really good. For us it’s never been a question of going to another label. We will real fortunate that FAT was our first label. We got treated so well and we didn’t have anything to compare it to, but as we did tour and get out there and would tour with all these other bands, you hear some horror stories and we really got to realize how fortunate we were to have landed on FAT. They have been nothing but great to us in the beginning and made it possible for us to work as much as we did and accomplish as much as we did, all the while giving us 100% freedom and support
SM: So are you excited to go back on the road?
RR: Yeah, touring is a little bit different now. We don’t climb into the van for 9 months out of the year. We tend to enjoy it when we do get a chance to play. Especially when we get to play different parts of North America that we haven’t hit in awhile and get the chance to play new songs, that’s probably the best part of it.
SM: What bands are you listening to right now, do you have anything on repeat that you are really loving?
RR: One of the bands that we are fortunate enough to play with on this upcoming round is a band called Iron Chic, who I really like and I listen to them a lot. I’ve been listening to a lot, as usual, a lot of older punk, punk and new wave, sort of 80s-ish. I’m stoked on Apple Music, it reminds me of back in the day when a buddy would give you a mix tape and discovering all kinds of cool music…
SM: And what is next for GR after this tour?
RR: So for ten days we are doing the Eastern US and Eastern Canada. Then we have ten days off and we do Seattle, Portland and Western Canada… And then we don’t have anything going on till Fat Wreck Chords 25th Anniversary show in Tokyo in November.
SM: Alright well thank you!
RR: No problem, thanks for your time.