Good Riddance recently released Thoughts and Prayers on Fat Wreck. Perhaps you saw our coverage of their single off the aforementioned album? Anyway, I was lucky enough to get to ask vocalist Russ Rankin some questions and now you’re the lucky one who gets to read all his answers.
Hey Russ! Thanks for taking the time for an interview. I’ve been a fan of your band for years and am really digging the latest album! Which leads me to my first question for ya… Which song off of Thoughts and Prayers is your favorite to play live?
We’ve only played four of them live so far and I’d say “Don’t Have Time” is my favorite.
What was the writing and recording process like? Did it differ from your previous albums?
Not too different. I would come up with song structures more or less intact, write lyrics and vocal melodies for them, and then record everything (drums, bass, guitars, vocals) on my Mac using Logic Pro or Garageband, and then send these demos on to the guys. If everyone liked a song, we’d put it in the keeper list and, eventually, we all get together and hash them out during rehearsals.
Good Riddance has been a band since the late 80s, albeit with a short hiatus. Is there anything that stands out to you that you’d do differently as a band if you could?
I wish I wouldn’t have dragged the band all over the musical map with my fickle infatuations with different genres and styles of music. I wish we would have stuck with what I consider to be the “classic” Good Riddance sound, which is most evident on our last couple albums.
Going off my last question, what inspired the name “Good Riddance”? Were there any close contenders?
I used to draw punk bands whose names I would make up. It was one of the band names I used for my drawings. I think ‘No Future’ was another one I liked, but didn’t get used.
Who are some of your favorite active, lesser-known bands right now?
What advice do you have for musicians trying to make it in a punk band?
Do what you love, and constantly critique what you are doing. Don’t settle. Don’t be satisfied.
The band’s Facebook lists Planned Parenthood as an interest, and I know that you are a vocal vegan activist. Do you have any tips on how people can get involved and give back? Are there other charities or organizations that you’re passionate about?
It’s easier than ever to donate and raise awareness. Never Again MSD and Second Harvest Food Bank are two organizations we are donating proceeds from our new album sales to.
I’ve read that you’re now a hockey scout. Was this something you actively pursued or more fell into?
Both. I always wanted to work in hockey. I happened to know someone through the band who was an NHL player, and was part owner of a WHL team. The team was looking into California and I was able to step in and watch players down here for them. It was an incredible opportunity. Eleven years later, I’m still scouting California for a different WHL team (Tri City Americans). My dream is to work in the NHL.
Which NHL team is your favorite? Growing up in Chicago has made me a Blackhawks fan, but Seattle (where I currently reside) is getting a team that will start in the ’21-’22 season. If it were up to you, what would you name the Seattle team?
I like Seattle’s WHL team name (Thunderbirds). My favorite team is the New Jersey Devils, and I attend a lot of San Jose Sharks games too because they are so close.
Is there anything you’d like to mention to Bad Copy readers?
Thanks for supporting our band!!