Saturday, March 17, 2012

10 Questions with Goin’ Places

Goin’ Places is a three-piece pop punk band from Staten Island, NY.  The band recently released their latest album Relationship Sneakers on Bright & Barrow Records (check out my review here).

For more information on Goin’ Places check out their official website, BandCamp, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and pages.

This interview was conducted via email March 10-17, 2012.

Dave:  How did the band get together?

Victor:  "It all started as the three of us playing in my basement.  We all had nothing to do so we decided to hang out and play some songs.  After some time we started writing cheezy songs about girls together.  We tried to copy bands like MTX and Screeching Weasel."

Frank:  "We'd all gone to high school together and had played in other bands together in the past."

Dave:  You just released your latest album, Relationship Sneakers, on Bright & Barrow Records.  How did you get hooked up with the label?

Victor:  "We recorded the album over a year ago and never did anything with it.  We sent it out to a few labels and Ryan at Bright & Barrow liked it and wanted to release it.  We are happy to be with Bright & Barrow Records."

Frank:  "In 2010 Bright & Barrow released a compilation that had one of the songs from the new album, "Be With Me".  At that time we had just finished recording the new album and Richie rushed to mix that one song so it could be on the comp.  Then when we had the entire album mixed and mastered I started sending it out to labels and Ryan from Bright & Barrow was into it.  I talked to him for a few weeks and we discussed the best way to release the album.  He came up with the idea of doing a download and t shirt package, which we all thought was a great idea.  It gives us the chance to sell a physical
product while still keeping overhead costs pretty low."

Dave:  What’s the story behind the new record?

Victor:  "It is 9 years in the making.  Some songs were written even before our first album "Girl Songwriting 101" came out and others were written as recently as the week before we recorded the album."

Richie:  "We had unreleased material sitting around for years.  We finally found time to record the new album in our home studio."

Frank:  "We originally recorded demos for this new album in December of 2002.  Then over the years it just kept getting pushed to the side.  Finally in mid-2009 we got our act together and started rehearsing for and recording the album."

Dave:  Over the years you’ve had the chance to work with some folks that could be considered “punk rock royalty” (Joe Queer of The Queers and producers Mass Giorgini, and Daniel Rey).  What were those experiences like?

Victor:  "Mass was amazing.  He was very patient, really cool, and an all around musical genius.  It was cool having Joe sing on our first album because he is someone we all have listened to and liked for years.  Anytime you can do something with anyone connected with the Ramones you know you are doing something right.  Daniel Rey recorded our song "Never Forget" for an EP called the Bowery Electric.  It was a tribute to Joey and the Ramones. That was a thrill for all of us."

Richie:  "Daniel was sick the day we recorded with him (we only met once).  He didn't have much input in the overall recording but it may have been different if he was feeling better that day."

Frank:  "For me the funniest thing about having Joe sing on the first record was the first time I spoke to him on the phone.  Prior to that we had been communicating via letters (this was before email was the only way to communicate).  Then one day out of the blue he called me at home and said he would be into singing a song on our album.  I remember thinking 'Did the guy who wrote 'Hi Mom It's Me" really just call me?"

Dave:  In the time in-between your albums, you worked on producing movies.  How many movies did you work on?  How does that process compare to playing in a band and making records?

Richie:  "We worked on 3 movies - 1. A Goin' Places Tale (2003), 2.  Goin' Places - Tony Holes Strikes Back (2008), and 3.  Goin' Places - Yesterday And Today (2009).  It's a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.  It feels like a lot of people who are interested in the band don't care too much about the movies and vice versa.  For us, the movies were something we did to make ourselves and our friends laugh (especially our one friend Richie Stix).   We definitely succeeded there."

Frank:  "I think making the movies was way harder then recording the album or playing in a band.  The last two movies basically consumed our lives from February 2008 through July 2009.  From writing, to filming, to editing and then planning the release parties...that was all we did for a year and a half.  It was very rewarding though and I'm proud of how they turned out.  Some of the best laughs I ever had came while making those movies."

Dave:  What are your thoughts on the current state of the music industry?

Victor:  "The music industry is even more commercial than ever.  I feel it is harder for a band to get "discovered" today if they don't sound like everything else.  Digital music is great because it saves time and space, but it also killed the hard copy album."

Richie:  "It feels like it’s a tough business to be in if you want to support yourself financially.  At this point in my life, I'm happy that we are getting people to listen to our music (and enjoy it) - whether they are paying for it or not."

Frank:  "I give a lot of credit to the bands who are able to support themselves solely or even mostly from music.  It's not easy."

Dave:  How is the music scene in Staten Island?

Victor:  "I wouldn't know.  The last time there were bands that played anything resembling pop-punk has to be about 7 years ago.  I feel younger kids need to be exposed more to the genre to like it.  I got into punk through bands like MTX, the Queers, Op Ivy, and all the other Lookout bands of the late 80's and early 90's. There are very few labels like that anymore."

Richie:  "I haven't kept up since we stopped playing in it regularly.  If I had to guess, I'd say it’s probably a popularity contest like it always was."

Frank:  "We have a song on our new record that was inspired by our local scene and we just filmed a music video for it.  You can check it out here: "

Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question.  What are your top 5 favorite artists/bands, albums, movies, television shows, books/authors?

Richie:  "These are all too hard to decide."

Victor:  "Bands: Ramones, Beatles, Green Day, Billy Joel, and Screeching Weasel.  Albums: Nirvana-Nevermind, First Ramones album, Beatles - Sgt. Pepper, Misfits - Collection 1, Jimmy Buffet-Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Movies: Star Wars V Empire Strikes Back, Godfather, Back to the Future, Blazing Saddles, and Star Wars IV A New Hope.  TV: Lost, CSI, Modern Family, Pawn Stars, and Storage Wars."

Frank:  "This kind of stuff always changes based on my mood, but as of today...Bands: Ramones, Green Day, The Beatles, Screeching Weasel and The Queers.  Albums:  Ramones - "self titled", Green Day - "Dookie", Guns N Roses - "Appetite For Destruction", Riverdales - "Storm The Streets" and the Mr. T Experience - "Love Is Dead".  Movies: Dumb & Dumber, Donnie Brasco, The Shawshank Redemption, Memento and MacGruber.  Television Shows - The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, Freaks & Geeks and Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Books:  I don't read enough to have favorites, but right now I am in the middle of reading Johnny Ramone's autobiography.
Dave:  What’s next for the band?

Victor:  "We are excited to be back with this album and hope that everyone enjoys it.  If it does well than who knows, maybe a third album can be down the road."

Richie:  "We may schedule a couple of shows.  We are also getting two of our songs on the Rockband network as playable tracks.  Personally, I'd like to start working on some new material for a third album.  I have a couple of small ideas but they are in their early stages."

Frank:  "We're also getting everything ready for a CD release of "Relationship Sneakers".  So everyone who was upset that it was only a digital release will finally be able to get their hands on a physical copy."

Dave:  Any final thoughts? 

Richie:  "Thanks for the interview and nice review.  Check out our official website and facebook page: & "

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