Here’s why ‘Never Look Back’ feels like a classic Goldfinger album
John Feldmann doesn’t want you to look back.December 11, 2020
The mighty Goldfinger released their ninth studio album, Never Look Back, the band’s first full-length in three years. The LP runs for a constantly moving 33 minutes, and its 12 energetic songs totally encapsulate the renowned Goldfinger sound that you know and love in the brightest and most succinct manner possible. The record also marks the official return of original guitarist Charlie Paulson, who joins John Feldmann, MxPx’s Mike Herrera on bass, Greek Fire’s (and formerly Story Of The Year’s) Philip Sneed on guitar and girlfriends’ Nick Gross on drums.
In addition to a recent series of well-received nostalgic quarantine videos of older classic GF favorites over the course of 2020, the band performed a livestream album release party set for Never Look Back at the famed Roxy. Alternative Press chatted with Feldy in an exclusive interview to discuss the band’s new record, the multitude of notable guest vocalists featured on its tracks and the pride that comes with releasing an album on your very own label.
Last time we spoke, you revealed the title for this record, and its first single, “Wallflower.” How was the reaction?
I think people are very stoked on this album. Look, I’m not out there drilling for negativity like some people like to just [to] keep going until they find something bad to latch onto. I read the comments on my stuff. I’ve read the comments on YouTube, and it feels like a classic Goldfinger album to me. When I listen to it, I feel like I created something that is modern but has nostalgic feelings to it. “Superman” is such a big song for us, and [with] Tony Hawk remastering the video game and coming out with a new version and putting “Superman” back in it, it was like, I just felt that “Wallflower” needed to exist because of that. I’m happy. At the end of the day, I want to make music that I can listen to, that I can go running up the hill and feel like this pumps me up. A lot of modern music these days is chill. Most top 40 music is very mellow, and I just wanted to do the opposite of that.
We think that you did. Mike Herrera sings lead vocals on several songs here. Tell us how that happened.
I met Mike in 1996 in Seattle. He’s from Bremerton, Washington. At the time, MxPx and Goldfinger were both just starting out. “Here In Your Bedroom” just got on the radio, so I met Mike at that show. I watched his whole set, and I’m like, “These guys are fucking awesome,” and that was way back in the early days of Goldfinger’s career. So, I just stayed friends with him forever, and I watched him influence so many bands that I work with. I watched him influence Mest, Good Charlotte [and] all these other bands. I guess it was around the same time that blink-182 were blowing up. Mike’s friends with Travis [Barker]. The whole thing is full circle. So having him involved with this record was a no-brainer. He played on The Knife, the last album. I just felt like I needed to make the vocals be classic Goldfinger on the last album. For this one, I wanted to push the envelope. I wanted to see how far I could go. Ultimately, I’ve got two other lead singers with Phil and Mike, and then Charlie, who sang on “Question” on Goldfinger’s second album [Hang-Ups]. He hasn’t sung since then, and he just rejoined the band, anyway.
What’s your favorite song on Never Look Back?
“California On My Mind” really speaks to the kid in me because that was when the world was wide open, and you’re a kid and you discover every band that still influences you today. That was the song that signified it. When my friend Craig Aaronson passed away—he signed the Used, Avenged Sevenfold and My Chemical Romance.; This guy was a legend in my world—they asked me to sing at his funeral, and I sang “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley, and that was a no-brainer to me. Reggae music to me… I guess that took a little bit of a dark turn, didn’t it?
The record’s light, the record is happy!
[Laughs.] The record is very light. I have a playlist that I’ve been running to, and this is what I have on my Goldfinger playlist: “Infinite,” “The City,” “Nothing To Me,” “Wallflower,” “California On My Mind” [and] “Cannonball.” That’s probably the list in order of what I love. I love the whole record, but those are the songs that I am attracted to the most. [With] “The City,” it feels so classic Goldfinger. If I could say to some person that’s never heard my band, “What song should I listen to on the new record?” I would say “The City.”
Are you releasing another single from this album?
It looks like “Infinite” is going to be the next one. The video came out for “Wallflower” a couple of days ago, and I think “Infinite” is going to be the next one. But when I release albums, I like for our fans to determine what the single should be because whatever they love is what’s going to react the most live. It’s funny: “Standing On The Beach” is the song that most of my friends have hit me up about—the Cure-sounding one. They’re like, “Holy shit, the lyrics on this one. This one just really speaks to me.” But I don’t think it’s gonna be a great live song.
The energy would go down.
I just don’t think it’ll be that jam. I think “Nothing To Me” is going to crush it live. “Wallflower” is gonna be amazing. We’re gonna see. I can’t wait to play these songs and figure out which ones.
We can’t wait to see it, either. This is your first album on your own label. Did that ownership bring about any special meaning to you?
As I got into the music business, I work with so many bands in the beginning when they’re just open and excited to be in the studio. And then by album three, they’ve all read “How To Get Ahead In The Music Business,” and it becomes about trying to be their own lawyer. It’s like, dude, song is king. Let’s focus on the music. Because if the music isn’t there, none of the other shit matters. And to be honest, I’ve done really well in this business, but I’ve never really paid attention to the fucking nuts and bolts. I have people that I trust, that I pay [a] percentage of what I make, to do their job. I want to focus on creating and making music. And I think with my own label, like I wanted at some point in my career, I said to myself, “I would’ve done this—if I would have had the Used, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Story Of The Year, twenty one pilots, all these bands that I’ve like worked with early on—on my label, my life would’ve been different. My life is great, and I love my life. But that being said, I’m like, “So what better time than now to do this?” I started this thing with Nick Gross and Jon Cohen, and I guess my first instinct was I was gonna sign my own band. But in the back of my head, I was like, “I’m tight with the Wrecks. I’m tight with the Used. I love Arrested Youth. One of my best friends [is] Tyler Posey.” All these people that have been in my life, I felt like I could help them. And so, having Goldfinger on this label is like a no-brainer. It’s one of my proudest moments.
There was a nine-year gap between Hello Destiny and The Knife and a three-year gap between The Knife and Never Look Back. Should we expect any more songs and/or albums in less than three years?
[Laughs.] It depends! If COVID part two comes along, then “yes” is the answer to that question. But if I’m able, I’m going to be touring. With Goldfinger, that’s like my holiday. My holiday is going on tour and traveling and playing shows, so my dream is to play these songs live. Look, I’m going to always write, but I want to play these songs. That’s my goal.