LOS ANGELES, April 8, 2013 — Good Riddance is a punk band that formed in Santa Cruz in 1990. Russ Rankin has been the singer since day one. Russ took some time to discuss the future of Good Riddance, Only Crime, hockey, and politics. This is Part II of a two part interview.
KW: What made you want to get back together with Good Riddance more recently and start playing shows again?
RR: Both of the guys in the band, well, Shawn has a kid too, but Chuck and Luke each have two children and those children are old enough to where it’s cool for them to go away. Luke is no longer in school and they both have careers that give them a little bit of time off. We all miss playing the songs. They had been talking about wanting to play shows again in the intervening five years and I always had no interest in it at all. We turned down numerous offers for a lot of money to get back together and play festivals overseas or shows. We just turned it all down.
Those guys wanted to meet for coffee. We sat down for a couple hours and they basically talked me into it. They said they missed playing the songs and we have the time to do this and now is a good time. We will be able to pick our spots and things that sound fun. We can leverage the modest fun this might cause to [promote] some social organizations and agendas that we’ve always had in the band, to bring some attention to stuff. We’re having [a] PETA table [at] our shows and things like that. I was basically willing to give it a go and see where it went.
KW: Will there be any new Good Riddance albums and will they be on Fat Wreck Chords?
RR: I couldn’t tell you. We’ve discussed it. I think that doing what we’re doing…at some point you either stop or there needs to be new material or else it just becomes karaoke. I think it’s important for us to figure that out pretty quick. We’ve got about another year or so of touring and things lined up to play. I think, at that point, we’re really gonna have to seriously consider, and we’ve already begun to talk about it, either writing new material or really pulling the plug. We don’t have as much time as we used to have to write, you know, all of us have full time jobs. So we’ll see.
As far as the label, I don’t know. We would have no issue being on Fat Wreck Chords. We have no problem being on Fat Wreck Chords. It’s just a matter of if they would want to do it or if they can afford it.
KW: What is going on with Only Crime?
RR: Yeah, Only Crime has been sort of on hold for a while because our drummer was really sick for a long time. Just the last couple years he’s been back on his feet. We had a member change or two. We started working on our third album in 2008 and we just finished it and we’re just finishing up contracts for a label [that] is going to release that album. So there should be some announcements coming shortly with that. We haven’t played since 2010. That was maybe the last time we toured. We’re definitely still a band, it’s just that everybody is busy doing other things. It’s been one thing after another that’s been holding us back. There is a third album, it’s finished, and it will be released this year.
KW: You are also a hockey scout. How did that happen?
RR: I love hockey, it’s my passion. I’m obviously not good enough to play professionally. I’ve always had people tell me I have a good eye for the game and that I should be working in hockey in some respect. I have a good friend that used to play in the league and I asked him, “I want to work in hockey. What do you think? What would your suggestion be?” He was part owner of a team in the Western Hockey League at that time.
Coincidentally, the Western Hockey League has teams in the western part of Canada, as well as Washington and Oregon. It’s primarily made up of kids from western Canada. Recently, more and more players from California, Texas, Arizona and stuff have been into the league and playing. So this guy talked to the GM of a team he was part owner of and said, “What do you think about letting him scout in California for your team?” That was my in. That was in 2007.
This past summer was my last camp with that team. Then I made it to a different team in the same league that’s a little bit more keen on California players. The team before was the Kootenay Ice who were great. I learned a ton working for them. It was a great experience for me. Now I am working for the Tri-City Americans who play in Kennewick, WA. They already have two Californians and U.S. kids on their roster. I’ve also interned with the Anaheim Ducks for a year and went a couple scouting trips with them. I was hoping to catch on, but that just didn’t work out. Every year, I send my resume out to all 30 NHL teams and I’m gonna keep doing that. That’s ultimately what I want to do, scout for an NHL team.
KW: Would you ever consider running for political office?
RR: Yeah, I think about it all the time and I have people tell me I should. I think the first step if I were gonna stay here in Santa Cruz will probably be city council or something like that. I thought about it. It’s definitely not something I am going to rule out. I’m fortunate enough right now to have several forums and be able to have a voice. I think if those were changed or went away, I would look for a different outlet and that would be the next logical thing for me.
KW: Is there anything else you would like you fans to know?
RR: I just want to thank everybody for the support through all the years. All the email and messages I get from people about how they feel our music has positively impacted their lives, it’s really, really humbling. I think with social media and the advances of that over the last decade or so, I think that we really are able to see and hear from people more than we could before on a personal level and it’s really humbling. We’re just a local band from a small beach town, just doing our thing. The fact that people have made positive changes in their life and been exposed and inspired to do positive things in the world because of our band and bands like us is an honor and it’s really humbling. I appreciate that.
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