Goin’ Places is a pop punk trio full of lust and heartbreak about all the girls that have come and gone from their lives. I really dug their album, Relationship Sneakers, which was a pop punk explosion that I reviewed for CC2K a few weeks ago.
First off, thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview. Let’s start off with introductions, who are you guys and what is your role in the band?
Richie: Hi – no problem. My name is Richie – I’m the guitarist / vocalist (and sometimes keyboard player) of Goin’ Places. I also do a lot of the songwriting, produced our latest album, and manage our official website.
Frank: I’m Frank…I play bass
Victor: Victor…I play drums and sing.
You have had ten years in between records what prompted the time off? And the follow up question, what sparked the new record?
Frank: Laziness prompted the time off. Seriously though, we’d been talking about doing the follow up album for years but it just kept getting delayed for one reason or another.
Richie: Lots of stuff happened in our lives – we all got full time jobs, two of us got married, and one of us had children. We wanted to record a new record for a long time. We went through a phase where playing music in the band became secondary and making movies became primary. While we were making our last two movies, I listened to some demos that we recorded years ago. I thought it was a shame that we never released this material and suggested we do a follow up album (better late than never). We decided to go with it. We found a way to record the entire album in our home studio and made it work for us.
Victor: We finally decided to take some time and record the songs because we all felt the songs had more substance and were better songs than the first album.
Where you working on songs during those years?
Victor: We did about 7 or 8 years ago.
Frank: Most of the songs on the new album were written prior to 2003, so there wasn’t that much songwriting going on as we prepared to record it.
Richie: We wrote 2 new songs for the album in December 2007 and early 2009 but that’s it.
The response to Relationship Sneakers has been extremely positive, did you have a specific audience in mind when you were making this album? Were you recording for your loyal audience or was there a marketing plan to have it reach pop punk fans all over the country?
Richie: Thanks. We didn’t have any specific audience in mind. We just write what we like and what we think sounds good.
Victor: We don’t write songs for others, though we do want them to like them.
How much of the material on the Relationship Sneakers was written specifically for the album and how much was unreleased material that you had worked on in between albums?
Richie: Just two songs were written specifically for the album – Be With Me and Bedroom Window. All of the other songs have been around for a long time.
Frank: Those two were written while we were rehearsing and getting ready to finally record the album. But most of the others were written with the intention of ending up on our follow up album, it’s just that we didn’t get around to recording it for so long that they kinda became old songs. Goin’ Places, Just Another Girl Song and I Love You Girl were really old songs that pre-dated our first album. Never Forget was written for a Joey Ramone tribute 7 inch that came out in Spain on No Tomorrow Records in May of 2004. We recorded the 7 inch version with Daniel Rey, the Ramones producer. Then we decided to re-record it for the new album.
Were the old songs reworked in anyway as you were recording?
Victor: They pretty much stayed the same. The tempo may have changed slightly, but that is it.
Richie: Only the lyrics for two songs were slightly changed from their original versions – You’re Living In A Dream World and Running Out Of Time. I wrote these two songs before Goin’ Places was around. I brought them to GP and we reworked the lyrics. All of music (without the lyrics) for each song is still the same as it always was.
What are your favorite tracks on the album?
Victor: I like all of them but my favorite tracks are Relationship Sneakers and Never Forget. Relationship Sneakers is a fun song about change and Never Forget is our only real chanting song. I always wanted one of them.
Richie: My personal favorites are Relationship Sneakers, Be With Me, Nobody Gives A Shit About Us, and Tongue Tied.
Frank: I like You’re Living In A Dream World, Relationship Sneakers, You’re Gonna Be My Girl and Nobody Gives A Shit About Us.
Was it totally different releasing an album in the digital age where anyone can buy a downloaded copy rather than having to sell your cd at shows and through distros?
Richie: Not really – we barely sold any CDs at shows back in the day.
Victor: It is definitely different. Most people I know like to have a physical copy. It feels weird having a digital copy without liner notes and pics.
Frank: It was different but we saw it coming. When we were looking for a label to release “Girl Songwriting 101” in 2002 the goal was obviously to find someone to put it out on CD. There was no such thing as a digital release back then, let alone a digital only release. I think Coldfront Records pressed up over 2,000 copies and was able to sell most of them. That would be a lot harder to do these days. When we started recording the new album we talked about the pros and cons of doing a digital release vs a physical copy.
Speaking of the digital age, was it your choice to only offer a digital download version of the album or was that something the Bright and Barrow decided?
Richie: It was something that Bright and Barrow decided – but we actually considered releasing the album digitally by ourselves if no label was interested. Ironically, our situation loosely follows the plot of one of our movies where we were signed to a digital label (Zalatan).
Victor: Bright and Barrow suggested the digital release and we are very happy with the help Ryan at the label has given us getting the album out. Hopefully in the near future we can get a hard copy out there.
Frank: Yea, if everything goes according to plan there should be a CD release of the album soon. We’ve been working on getting the artwork submitted to the label that is going to release that version…so the wheels are in motion. As for the digital release on Bright & Barrow, I think Ryan’s approach of selling the download with the t shirt (for a dirt cheap price) is a really cool idea…one I hope more labels start to do in the future. I think $12 for a t shirt and album download is a pretty good deal.
Is there another album in your future?
Victor: Who knows…at this rate we should have another one out by 2022.
Richie: I’d love to make another album – and this time try to release it sooner than a decade.
Frank: If you would have asked me 6 months ago I would have probably said no, just cause this one took so long to get released. But the response so far has been really positive so I think there is a good chance we’ll do another one. We haven’t had any discussions about it or worked on new songs as a group yet, but Richie has mentioned to me that he’d like to work on some new stuff so that was cool to hear. It’d be cool to make another one cause at this point there aren’t any old songs sitting around to re-record, so it will be starting from scratch which is fun. For now though our main focus is promoting this new album as much as possible. We just released a music video for “Nobody Gives A Shit About Us”. We’re also going to have two songs from the new album available as playable tracks on the video game Rock Band in the coming months.
Are you planning to tour at all or any local shows scheduled?
Richie: No touring. We may play a couple of local shows if we can get on some good ones – you know, the ones where people show up for some good music (instead of just coming to see their friend’s band play).
Victor: We have nothing set in stone yet, but we have been in discussion about a few dates here and there over the summer.
Frank: Bright & Barrow might do a showcase at CMJ in October, so if that happens we’ll definitely be playing that.
Most of the songs on Relationship Sneakers are songs about having fun, yet Nobody Gives A Shit and Never Forget take on a bit more serious tone hinting at why you started the band, so how did you get involved in punk rock in the first place? And why did pop punk win your hearts?
Frank: Like a lot of people my age, I saw the video for “Longview” on MTV and thought it was the coolest thing ever, so I went out and got “Dookie”. From there I checked out Green Day’s older albums, which led to discovering the entire Lookout Records catalog…then it just went from there. That all led to joining a band and getting involved in the local scene in Staten Island. I like some more aggressive stuff too, but how can pop punk not be your favorite? Who doesn’t like a good melody?
Victor: A friend of mine in high school told me I had to hear this band called Screeching Weasel. I had not heard of any pop punk music until then. He lent me How to Make Enemies and Irritate People. The rest is history. I went out and bought all their albums, and then the Queers, and the Ramones and so on, and so on.
Richie: I started listening to Green Day and Screeching Weasel – a lot of other bands followed. Our group of friends showed each other some great bands – and a lot of them were punk rock. Pop punk won my heart because it sounds great.
What do you think about pop punk today? Is the resurgence of old bands like Screeching Weasel, The Descendents, ALL that are touring again, or is it just a bit of nostalgia that we are all grasping to?
Frank: It’s awesome that Screeching Weasel is touring again. I just bought a ticket to see them in Baltimore…I can’t wait. I had a ticket to see ALL back in January of 2010 in NYC but they had to cancel cause Bill Stevenson was sick. I’m still waiting for them to reschedule the date. I hope when they do come back Chad Price is singing…I’m one of the weirdos who prefers him over Dave, Scott or even Milo. As for pop punk today there are some really great newer bands like Masked Intruder and The New Rochelles. Then you’ve got the more established bands like The Copyrights and Teenage Bottlerocket who have been making solid records for a few years now.
Richie: I think it’s great that older bands are still around and newer bands are coming up. A couple of newer pop punk bands that I like are The Leftovers and Teenage Bottlerocket. It’s also great that Screeching Weasel is still putting out new material – still true to their original sound.
Best show you have played?
Victor: CBGB The Bowery Electric show in honor of Joey Ramone. We played with the Misfits, CJ Ramone, and a bunch of other cool bands.
Richie: Joey Ramone tribute show at CBGB.
Frank. The Joey tribute show at CBs was awesome, but my personal favorite was a smaller show we played in Staten Island with the Huntingtons in December 2001. I think that was the first time I saw people singing along to our songs and it always stuck with me. We also played a really fun show a few months ago where we did a set of all Screeching Weasel songs. It was just cool to play all those songs that we all grew up on.
Best show you have been to?
Richie: Too hard to decide.
Frank: The Queers, MTX and Parasites at Coney Island High on Halloween in 1998. That was such a solid lineup. Other notable ones were the 2006 and 2007 Insub Fests and Bad Religion’s 3 night stand at Irving Plaza in 2010. Oh yea…and Green Day trashing Tower Records in 1997 was awesome too!
Dream line up for a show that you are playing?
Richie: Goin’ Places, Yellow Teeth, Screeching Weasel, The Queers, Green Day, Paul McCartney – never gonna happen.
Frank: Yea that seems like a fun show…let’s also resurrect the Ramones, Beatles and Buddy Holly and add them on too while we’re at it.
What are you listing to right now?
Richie: The Queers, Screeching Weasel
Victor: I am listening to the New Rochelles.
Frank: That New Rochelles album was addictive. I got into it a little late, but when I finally got it I had it on repeat for a few weeks straight. It’s funny that Victor is hooked on it now that I gave it to him. I think anyone who hears it will have that same reaction. Right now I’m actually listening to their drummer Joe McEnerney’s solo tracks. It’s very different then The New Rochelles and Project 27, but still very catchy. I wanna see if one day he will top “Family, Genus, Species”…that’s my favorite song he’s written.
What are your guilty pleasure bands?
Victor: I love Jimmy Buffett. He is fun and I’m all about Margaritas.
Richie: Huey Lewis & The News
Frank: Too many to name. I still love Everclear…and yes, I’ll admit that I thought Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds was a pretty good album.
There are kids discovering punk rock every day, what bands should they be listening to?
Richie: Anything that they like – if they like hearing recommendations then I would say Green Day, The Beatles, Screeching Weasel, The Queers, NOFX, Bad Religion, MTX, MxPx, Rancid, The Ataris, Operation Ivy, The Ramones, Less Than Jake, The Huntingtons, Teenage Bottlerocket, Darlington, The Beach Boys, The Leftovers.
Victor: Everybody should start with the Ramones. They are the reason why most of us are playing music. Then old school Lookout Record bands is the way to go.
Frank: Whatever it takes for them to find all the classics. For me Green Day was the band that got me to look into the underground scene…I was one of the kids The Copyrights were singing about on “Planet Earth 1994”. I don’t know any of these bands that are on the Warped Tour now or in Hot Topic, but if somehow those bands lead kids to pick up a Queers or Riverdales album then it’s cool. But if I was gonna suggest bands or make a mix it would be all the same bands Richie and Victor mentioned.