Matthew Good | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Matthew Good

Matthew (Frederick Robert) Good. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, author, and eponymous alternative rock band (the Matthew Good Band, 1995-2002), b Burnaby, BC, 29 Jun 1971.

Matthew Good

Matthew (Frederick Robert) Good. Singer-songwriter, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, author, and eponymous alternative rock band (the Matthew Good Band, 1995-2002), b Burnaby, BC, 29 Jun 1971. Matthew Good became a professional musician almost by accident, initially writing lyrics for the folk band the Rodchester Kings, then taking over that group's lead vocals, and finally emerging as a singer-songwriter and guitarist in his own right. With his self-named band, and later as a solo artist, Good has built a solid following (mainly in Canada) for his politically charged, album-oriented rock, live performances, and radio hits.

Matthew Good Band

Good's earliest music was acoustic-based folk-rock, but he often experimented with guitar effects to achieve a more varied sound. His voice has a warm, natural vibrato, and his lyrics are often based around social issues and historical events. The first incarnation of the Matthew Good Band emerged in 1993, and after receiving airplay on the Vancouver rock station CFOX, the band signed a songwriting deal at EMI Music Publishing in 1994; they toured across Canada in March of 1995. However, artistic differences led the original band to fold, with Good abandoning most of his earlier acoustic material in favour of a darker, edgier rock sound.

Good conscripted former classmate Geoff Lloyd (bassist) and Ian Browne (drummer), and formed a new version of the Matthew Good Band in 1995; they were later joined by Dave Genn (formerly a keyboardist and guitarist with Art Bergmann) and bass player Richard Priske, who replaced Lloyd in 1999. The group quickly became a success with its 1995 album, Last of the Ghetto Astronauts. The single "Alabama Motel Room" was popularized on MuchMusic, while the songs "Symbolistic White Walls" and "Haven't Slept in Years" received support from local radio stations.

The Matthew Good Band added to its output the 1996 EP Raygun. By that time, the band had also played at Toronto's North By North East (NXNE) music festival and conference, Waterloo's Sounds of Summer Music Festival, and at various university campuses in Canada. This broader success led to interest from the US record label Private Music, which signed the band in December of 1996. Shortly thereafter, the label merged with the jazz-folk label Windham Hill. The band terminated its contract with the label and issued Raygun independently in the US in 1997. It signed a new deal with the major label A&M the same year.

The Matthew Good Band's mainstream success was based largely around its 1997 album, Underdogs; its musically ornate 1999 album, Beautiful Midnight; and the more stark 2001 album, The Audio of Being. Popular songs from the albums included 1997's "Everything is Automatic," "Indestructible," and "Apparitions"; and 1999's top-five hits "Hello Time Bomb," "Strange Days," and "Load Me Up." The band toured heavily in large venues in 1999 and 2000, and Beautiful Midnight sold more than 200,000 copies (double platinum) in Canada, earning the band Juno awards for rock album of the year and group of the year in 2000. The subsequent making of The Audio of Being led to discontent within the band (especially by Genn, who quit twice, permanently in November of 2001); the group did not tour in support of the album (which thus sold poorly), and the band dissolved in March of 2002 with 14 Juno nominations under its belt.

Solo Career

Re-emerging as a solo artist, Good differentiated himself from his former band by playing intimate and often acoustic shows at smaller venues. In 2003 Good released the redemption-themed Avalanche, including the songs "Hunting Rabbits" and the politically charged "In a World Called Catastrophe." Avalanche was followed by the stripped-down live album White Light Rock & Roll Review in 2004 and the unusual 2005 retrospective In a Coma: Matthew Good 1995-2005. The successful and highly personal Hospital Music was released in 2007. On 2009's Vancouver, Good aimed his sharp social commentary at his hometown: the album earned him a Juno award for rock album of the year in 2011.

Matthew Good has maintained a lukewarm relationship with celebrity, the music industry and the media, often eschewing the spotlight and avoiding interviews and awards shows (he has not accepted any of his Juno awards in person). In addition to his music projects, he has became a well-known writer and blogger on politics and culture; his book, At Last There is Nothing Left to Say, was published in 2001.

Selected Discography

Matthew Good Band:
Last of the Ghetto Astronauts. 1995. Darktown Records 280 994 000-2

Raygun (EP). 1996. Darktown 280 990 500-2

Underdogs. 1997. Darktown 28099 4001-2

Beautiful Midnight. 1999. Atlantic 83423-2

Loser Anthems (limited-edition EP). 2001. Universal 4400142342

Matthew Good:
Avalanche. 2003. Universal 4400667351

White Light Rock & Roll Review. 2004. Universal 0249863094

In a Coma: Matthew Good 1995-2000. 2005. Universal 0249883946

Hospital Music. 2007. Universal Music Canada 0251733753

Vancouver. 2009. Universal Music Canada 0252714949

Lights of Endangered Species. 2011. Universal Music Canada 0252772260

Further Reading

Donate to The Canadian Encyclopedia this Giving Tuesday!

A donation to The Canadian Encyclopedia today will have an even greater impact due to a generous matching gift from an anonymous donor. Starting November 28 until December 5, 2023, all donations will be matched up to $10,000! All donations above $3 will receive a tax receipt. Thank you for your support of The Canadian Encyclopedia, a project of Historica Canada.