Matthew Good Looks South of the Border

After winning over its native Canada with its first four releases, the Matthew Good Band doesn't feel a particular urgency to repeat the feat as it crosses over the border and into the United States.

"I have nothing left to prove to myself," says Good, 29, a former full-time painter who put together the band during the early '90s in Vancouver. "As far as my life and career is concerned, I've played with The Who, I've sold out a fucking arena on my own, played in front of big crowds and small crowds with cool people. I think there's a Canadian kind of stigma to the States; people view it in such a way that it's this impenetrable fortress. But rock's rock, man. The Beatles came from England, you know? To me, that border thing doesn't matter."

But with the quartet's Beautiful Midnight, released Jan. 30 in the United States, Good also assures us that he hardly plans to blow off the new territory.

"Standing onstage in Detroit or Savannah, it's a cool fucking thing to do, a new experience," he says. "But am I going to beat myself over the head for 10 years? No. I'll go down there and I'll do it, but I'm not going to sit in a van for the next five fucking years. I'm almost 30; what's the point? But we are a rock band that likes playing and likes making records and will continue to do so."

The band doesn't veer too far from its homeland in its coming dip into the United States. After a Feb. 27 show in Grand Rapids, Mich,, the group hits eight more cities in the Northeast.

The Americans are slowly finding out what Canadians have known since the release of 1995's Last of the Ghetto Astronauts — just how reluctant a frontman Good is. Good has been known to wear ape masks at photo sessions, and he says the group name is actually an accident stemming from the initials MGB on the group's first independent release.

"They started playing us on the radio," Good recalls, "and basically, people were walking into record stores across the country, asking for the Matthew Good Band. By no measure of ego whatsoever did it come about. The last thing in the world I would ever want would be my name to ever be the name of a fucking band. But then again, the greatest band name on Earth, which is Guitar Wolf, is taken by this Japanese rock band, so I'm fucked forever."