Who: Matthew Good with Wil
When: Sunday, Aug. 8
British/Irish wordsmith Rebecca West once famously asserted: "people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat."
Vancouver-based singer/songwriter Matthew Good can take the defence to heart.
Since bursting onto the Canadian music scene in the mid-1990s the West Coast rocker has acquired a reputation that precedes him for being ill tempered, an irrepressible cynic armed with malicious sarcasm.
Its not entirely unwarranted. Goods forthrightness could easily be confused with contempt. His manner is anything but disarming. Lets just say, hes no smooth talker.
Even so, he counters that things have gone too far.
"I would say Im probably a far more positive person than a lot of people think but I temper that with being a bit of a realist as well," states the frank Mr. Good. "The media invents crap about people. To most Canadians Im just this mainstream guy that has a bad attitude and is capable of flying off the handle and has done all this horrible stuff."
Keep in mind this is Canada. Britain gets Johnny Rottens sneer and snot attacks on the Monarchy. Norway gets clans of Viking-channeling death-metal pagans burning Lutheran churches and attacking their fans with sheep remains. Its somewhat fitting that to draw attention in Canadian music, you simply have to distinguish yourself, as Ms. West once did, from a doormat.
Goods un-doormat-like qualities stem from an unwavering dedication to human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and unwillingness to keep his mouth shut on political matters. Hes held fast through six full-length albums, starting with 1995s The Last of the Ghetto Astronauts . The 2003 album White Light Rock & Roll Review his latest is a musical molotov cocktail aimed at the Bush administration disguised as radio-friendly, edgy emo-pop driven by his instantly recognizable anxious vocals.
According to Good, the activist and the musician/artist are inseparable.
"I do a lot of writing, I play music, and Im involved in a lot of activism. One is completely and entirely involved in the other," he states. "To me theyre the same thing. One influences the other and they cant be separated from each other."
In that sense he confesses to being put off by the sudden outburst of pop culture politics, even though the ends do justify the means by spreading awareness.
"As an activist, you have to take the good with the bad," Good says. "The negative aspect is that a lot of people in the entertainment industry use it as a promotional tool. People flip-flop. When the U.S. invaded Iraq the majority of American entertainers supported the troops. Now theyre against the war.