If Matthew Good's sixth and latest solo album "Arrows of Desire" sounds a bit like a throwback to a different time it's not an accident.
In fact, the now-comfortable family man and Can-rock survivor is rather candid about what inspired "Arrows of Desire" — the emerging alternative rock bands of the late-80s like The Replacements, Husker Du and, most specifically, the Pixies.
Matt Good's feel-good first single "Had It Coming" was inspired by a song from the Pixies 1987 "Come On Pilgrim" mini-LP.
"The idea for that song I'll admit it without any shame, came from 'I've Been Tired' by the Pixies. Even though Charles' [aka Pixies frontman Black Francis] lyrics from that song are far darker: 'she's a real left-winger 'cause she's been down south and held opossums in her arms...'
Good then sings random lines from the song: "'I'm a normal guy with healthy desires...' 'I've just been tired...' How he does that! It's just so fuckin' good. And no one had done anything like that before. And you listen to it, what's that '87? And over 30 years later it still blows 90 per cent of everything out there right now out of the water. That's how good it is. It's fuckin' illegal. That's the thing about that band. I don't know, people talk about 'Sgt. Pepper' but maybe it was because this was my time. They talk about that and 'Pet Sounds' all the rest of it... but 'Doolittle,' how is that not one of the greatest albums ever made?"
The entire Pixies discography provided inspirational fuel for Good. He figures he's in solid company, though. After all, Kurt Cobain was "just trying to rip off the Pixies" when he wrote "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
"If you listen to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and you listen to 'Gouge Away' [from 'Doolittle'] they're not so far apart. And I don't blame him. I don't blame Kurt Cobain for that at all. Because from day one of hearing that record in 1989 it influenced me. All of their records did. That album did, 'Bossanova' did... I mean, I could listen to 'Dig For Fire' 92 times in a row without it getting boring. 'Trompe Le Monde' was even better.
"'Doolittle,' from 'Debaser' on, it's a perfect album. It's just a perfect album."
The Pixies aren't the only band Good has been looking back to, though. "Add It Up" hitmakers Violent Femmes are another band he considers to be game-changers.
"Think about what the Violent Femmes alone did with an acoustic guitar, a standup bass and a guy playing a snare drum," says Good. "That's high, high country songwriting. It's unbelievable songwriting and it's like Dylan — it's timeless."
Another '80s act that inspired Good on "Arrows of Desire" was the Afghan Whigs.
"I just wrote 'Via Dolorosa' and thought 'Right on.' Actually that song I wrote after I was listening to 'Black Love' by the Afghan Whigs. I love that [lead singer] Greg Duuli just puts it all out there, he holds nothing back. Nobody sings that out of tun with that much conviction. That always generates a laugh but it's so fuckin' believeable. It's so raw and believable. Even when they're doing slow stuff it's amazing."
Still, "Arrows of Desire" isn't just about Good romancing early alternative records. There are numerous nods throughout the album that deeper-looking music fans will appreciate. The slow, pounding "Letters In Wartime" could've easily been released on '90s Brit-rock label Creation and the song "So Close" revisits The Who's bristling "Young Man Blues from their "Live At Leeds" album. The result is a window into the world of Matthew Good filtered through his favourite records. And if that sounds like a potentially rewarding experience for Good fans, rest assured it's been a rewarding one for Good, too.
"It was a helluva lot of fun to write," says Good of the new album. "And it was a helluva lot of fun to record."
Matthew Good family, framed
"This is a family photo we had taken. It was just a family photo that Rae wanted taken. Seriously, my wife sets up family photo shoots just becuase she likes to catalogue absolutely everything. This is obviously way before Elizabeth was born. Rae wasn't pregnant with Elizabeth at the time."
"That's Avery's horse Ruby. That's my daughter's horse. And that's Tom after they've been working with Ruby... Avery was on Ruby posting or practicing posting, but at the end of it we threw Tom on. He loves Ruby. When we go out in the pasture behind the house he just runs up to [the horses] and he just dives into their legs and stuff and he'll get up on the horse without a saddle and just thinks it's the greatest thing in the world."
The Good household
"That's our house. It's only three years old. About three acres."
At the piano
"That's the piano on 'Lights of Endangered Species.' That's me playing it. Recording a track and someone took that."
"That's Tom's first Halloween so we had to carve pumpkins on the kitchen floor. What dad's doing there is a ritual that dad has been involved in since he was Tom's age, which has been passed down from his mother, which is finding absolutely every bloody pumpkin seed in the pumpkin so that he could wash them in a collander and put them in the oven with tons of salt on them. So that's what we're in the process of doing and Tom and Avery both loved that to death."
Stopping by for a bit
"That is one of our miniatures. We have two miniature ponies that we rescued. That's Dash... we had Dash and then Dash had a foal who's now a yearling Sky. I just had an apple and Rae had just shaved off her winter coat so I had an apple in the kitchen so I just let 'er in the kitchen from the outside so she just hung out in the kitchen and ate the apple and went outside."
Mowin' 'em down
"Tom loves mowing the lawn. Tom's big love in life is tractors. Anything to do with tractors Thomas is just utterly enthralled with it. Mowin' the lawn, he's a big fan of that."
Crabs in the bucket
"That's us at Belcarra crabbin' off a dock. It's not really successful crabbin' off a dock at Belcarra. A lot of people do it. It depends on the bait. You don't really get big stuff. My wife has like a kayak-y canoe thing that kind of you pedal, but you steer the rudder with your hand. She goes quite far out with it and catches her quota and she'll come home with probably store worth $300 of dungeness crab."
Wedding on horseback
"Janine Curry took this photo. That's my wedding. After which she had all of our photos done after the wedding on horseback. It's both of our second marriages so we obviously knew to not make the mistake to spend a lot of money for other people."
Born to be wild
"This is one of Tom's big loves. My father-in-law got him a Kawasaki 50 and he loves it. You can't get him off it. Even if you get off it yourself he wants to go back and stays on it and he turns the key and tries to pull the starter to start it up. He absolutely loves the frickin' thing to death and. That was last summer when he was still one."
Missed the train
This is at the Vancouver zoo which is out in the valley. We go there primarily because my son, his second love in life is trains. It wasn't running that day. We didn't know that it wasn't running. It was pretty cold as you can see he's wearing a toque 'n' stuff. We just turned around and my wife snapped this picture of us, him and me. We were just talking."
A new audience
"This is me playing for my daughter's kindergarten class and everybody got to strum the guitar and I was showing chords and we got to make up funny songs... It was a lot of fun. It was pretty exciting."
"That would be my entire family. My wife's a photographer herself, but she likes to capture as much stuff as she can she's a big scrapbooker. And believe it or not it's a really interesting thing because the kids go through pictures of themselves all the time and they identify when they were born and that kind of stuff. Tom loves his and Avery looks at hers all the time... And because she's always behind the camera she doesn't get a lot of photos with her so she wanted to be on the other side of the camera to get some stuff done."
Taking the ferry
"That'd be us on the ferry coming home from Victoria. I played a show there and everyone met up with me and Rae was with the kids a few days before that in Tofino. That's the us trying to all look at the camera at the same time and of course not succeeding. Avery's doing god knows what. As usual Rae's eyes are half-closed because she never gets lucky like that. God knows where I'm looking because I have sunglasses on. And Tom's just looking off somewhere where he probably wants to go run."
"That'd be my youngest daughter Elizabeth and I kind of have this tradition with all my kids when they're young, babies, I always have a nap with them on the sofa and they sleep on my chest. Tom did, Avery did when she was two, but Elizabeth doesn't. She only sleeps at specific times and ever since she was born she always does it. She always sleeps through the night. Doesn't wake up during the night at all."