Goldfinger singer, guitarist and frontman John Feldmann just calls 'em like he sees 'em.
And now that he's had a year or so to look back on his band's self-titled debut, along with its infectious hit single "Here in Your Bedroom," he acknowledges, "It was kind of two dimensional."
Not that he doesn't like the first album anymore. It's just that he's done some maturing as a songwriter since then, he said.
Some of that maturing is demonstrated in Goldfinger's follow-up LP, Hang-Ups (Mojo Records, Sept. 9). "I love the first record," said the 30-year-old musician, "but this record adds a third dimension. I spent a little bit more time on lyrics on this record. The first record was real relationship oriented. This record goes a bit deeper. It touches on a few more issues besides girl meets guy, guy meets girl."
One of the songs typical of Feldmann's "deeper" work is "Too Late," a
number inspired by conflicts between the singer and his father. "'Too Late' I wrote at my parents' house," Feldmann said. "My dad and I have always been head to head about a lot of issues. I'm getting older, he's getting older. I was thinking what if this is how he goes to his grave, with us having those unresolved issues... I was thinking about how horrible that would be... I wrote that song about a family that doesn't have the opportunities that, say, I have. Hopefully I'm going to be able to resolve some of these things before one of us dies."
Fans of Goldfinger, however, should not assume that Feldmann's
newfound songwriting maturity has led him to become the (folk legend) James Taylor of the ska set. Take the song "S.M.P."-- short for "Skiers Must Perish." Feldmann recalled writing it after a particularly ugly snowboarding accident four years back. "There was this one guy who just knocked me over, ran
over my arm and just bailed. It got me so pissed I just wrote the song
about five minutes later going up the mountain."
In addition to broadening the band's lyrical focus, Feldmann said that
Goldfinger has also branched out sonically to make a "poppier" album. "The first record has a sound to it that carries through from beginning to end. This record has a bit more diversity," said Feldmann.
The four-piece Goldfinger had help along the way. Among the guests on the album are No Doubt trombonist Gabriel McNair, Kip Wirtzfield and Jonas Cabrera from the Skeletones, and Fishbone vocalist Angelo Moore.
"Angelo singing on 'Carlita' and 'I Need to Know' really makes this record
heavier," Feldmann said. "It's cool because every Fishbone record that I
have, Angelo doesn't really sing like he sings on 'Carlita.' It's really
mellow for him. He sings it actually, rather that just being this
freak that he is on a lot of the Fishbone stuff. It was cool hearing
Angelo sing in a real soulful voice."
Goldfinger -- who played an astounding 382 shows in 1996 -- are set to hit the
road this month on upcoming tours with Voodoo Glow Skulls and 311, before
headlining six more weeks themselves.
In the meantime, Feldmann said fans should keep their ears peeled for a mix of new and old material. "I just hate going to shows and having bands drop a whole bunch of new stuff when you don't know it yet," he said.