Tuesday 26 November 2013

Interview with Bill Goodman


The person today is not part of a band or a musician of any kind but he is still one of the most important and influential voices within the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal Underground.

He was one of the main inspirations for me when I created Sludgelord. He has worked tirelessly over the years spreading the good word of Sludge, Doom and Stoner Metal. I have discovered many great bands from this dude and I know a lot of you have too.

So who am I talking too. Well it's none other than the legendary Soda Bill himself – Bill Goodman, from the legendary blog - The Soda Shop - now spreading the good Stoner Rock vibes over at Ripple Blogspot. Bill has kindly agreed to talk to me at Sludgelord which I can only thank him for.

So lets see what the great man has to say to us at Sludgelord

Q1 – Hi Bill, Thanks for doing this, How are things with you today.

I’m doing good. At the moment I’m relaxing after a long week of work and home improvement.

Q2 – Can you tell our readers where your love affair with Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal began.

Actually it started with Graveyard’s self titled. I was getting tired of the same crap on the radio. I was browsing Rolling Stone’s website looking for some info on a few bands and I stumbled upon a small article on Graveyard. The author wrote about seeing them play at SXSW and compared them to Pink Floyd and a few others. I checked them out on Myspace (remember that?) and that was it.

Q3 – When did you become involved with the blogging underground scene especially with the Sludge, Doom, Stoner Metal scene in general.

Jake Ball and another individual had started The Soda Shop. After some time it stopped being updated. Sometime went by, Jake and I started chatting back and forth on a Last.FM forum. He asked if I wanted to come aboard and revive the site. I had been a part of The Sludge Swamp right before that.

Q4 – Now most people would know you from legendary site – The Soda Shop. Can you tell how you became involved with that. As you didn't originally created that great site.

After Jake had asked me to join him, we had discussed many things. We decided that I was going to handle the blog end of things.

Q5 – What were your original aims on The Soda Shop when it started up 2nd time around and did you feel you met these original aims and objectives.

We had many ideas. Some realistic, others, not so realistic. At first I didn’t feel that we achieved it but in retrospect, we did better. The main goal was to help spread the word of great music to an audience that may not have heard about that music otherwise. Ultimately we did that even if we didn’t get to implement everything that we had wanted to do.

Q6 – You must have had a lot of great times on The Soda Shop. What were your favourite times on the site. Anything that stands out for you.

Well when Small Stone Records had their label showcase in Chicago in 2011, we got in early and got to hang out backstage with the guys in Lo-Pan and Gozu. It was a good time and a great show. One other, when stonerrock.com shut down, a few people sent me FU emails accusing me of hacking the site to bring it down. My knowledge of hacking doesn’t go beyond knowing what it is.

Q7 – I must thank you as you helped me discover a lot of great bands over the years. Plus your work helped inspired me to create The Sludgelord. So Thank You. Are you proud what you achieved on The Soda Shop.

You’re quite welcome. I’ve discovered a few gems through your site too. Of course I’m proud. I’ve made lots of friends, got exposed to lots of great music and had a great time with it.

Q8 – The Soda Shop sadly closed down this year or was put on temporary hiatus. Was that a hard decision to close down a popular site like that. And will you ever open back up for business.

It certainly was a hard decision. I had known for 6 months that it was going to happen, I just didn’t know when. Between my promotion at work and the remodel on the house, I’ve been quite busy. Free time is something I don’t have much of lately. As far as opening it back up, it’s hard to say right now when and if that’ll happen.

Q9 – Now your currently weaving your magic on Ripple Music blog. How did that come about as your at home with some amazing dudes there. Great website ran by some extraordinary passionate guys who really do care about the bands and music.

I had know Todd and John for a few years. They contacted me about promos for their label that they were just starting up at the time. Some messaging back and forth revealed that we had similar passion for music. Todd has come to town a few times and we’ve hit up a few of the remaining record stores for a few “digs.” It just seemed natural.

Q10 – What do you think of the Sludge, Doom and Stoner Metal blogging community currently going on. We have lots of great sites and webzines promoting the world of music that we love.

There’s lots of great blogs out there doing their own thing. Everyone has something different to contribute.

Q11 – I am a fan of lots of great sites – Ripple, Temple Of Perdition, Black Insect Laughter, Brain On Fire, Paranoid Hitsophrenic, Heavy Planet, Sleeping Shaman, Well you get the idea. Do you think we could do with more sites or can it be too much of a good thing.

The more the merrier. As I said, everyone has something different to contribute. Reading about different points of views on bands and albums is a great thing. More quality sites written by others with the same passion wouldn’t hurt at all.

Q12 – How do you relax away from the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene. Or is the music your way of relaxing.

A12 - I like certain TV shows, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and Walking Dead. A lot of the shows that get the buzz throughout social media, I get sucked into a lot of those. I like video games as well. I used to be a huge gamer and like to unwind that way too. My kids get into the games as well so I bought all the Lego games for the Xbox 360 and we all have fun playing that.

The remodeling I’ve been doing on my house, even though it’s a pain in the ass, the end results are quite rewarding. The sense of accomplishment is a great feeling. Of course music is my soundtrack to that each time I’m working on a project. I’m having more fun with it than I thought I would be.

Q13 – What are you favourite ever bands you have have reviewed or interviewed over the years.

I’ve never been the interviewer type. I’ve tried to interview a few people in the past and all my questions have been less than stellar. As far as reviews, Mothership was one band that was a pleasure to discover and watch them get to where they are now. They’re going to continue to go far. Clutch has also been one band that I’ve liked to have interviewed if I had actual interview skills. I’ve meet Neil on two occasions and he’s nothing but a great guy. No ego. One day perhaps.

Q14 – Obviously the Vinyl Collection Scene is stronger than it has ever been within the Stoner/Doom/Sludge community. Lots of great bands and labels releasing awesome vinyls. Are you a fan of that particular medium. Any prized records in your collection.

Oh absolutely. That’s almost all I buy now. I love vinyl. My prized vinyl would have to be Slo Burn’s ‘Amusing The Amazing’ on 10” white splatter vinyl.

Q15 – If you can change one thing within the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal Scene what would it be and the reasons why.

That’s pretty a tough question to answer. I don’t really see anything wrong with the scene. Two things, and this is a bit of a pet peeve but when PR companies say Band X “Leaked” a song/album. It’s not a leak if you’re giving it to the the sites for promotion. The other is when a band says that their new album is available and there’s no way to buy it, just stream it. If I like it, I’m going to want to buy it. Like I said, just pet peeves.

Q16 - Do you feel your fighting a losing battle at times in promoting the scene. I know I do at times when I feel nobody is watching or listening. As it can be very daunting when you hear a crap bunch of records until I hear that one hidden gem that re-affirms my commitment to the scene. 

A16 - I’ve had my moments. Sometimes working on The Soda Shop as much as I did I would get to feel a little burned out and have to take a steep back. Like you, I’ve heard my fair share of crap records. I get a lot of “Hey we are Band X. Our influence is Kyuss/Clutch/Queens of the Stone Age/Sleep.” Then I listen to the album and it’s no different than what those influences would have done.

For me, that’s when the burn out kicks in the most. Sometimes I need to stray from the stoner/doom/sludge scene and get a breath of fresh air. Most recently I discovered a country artist who’s take on the genre is outstanding from her song writing, to her singing, to her performance. Her name is Lindi Ortega. She was compared to Johnny Cash which is about as bold of a comparison as you can make. I’m not a huge fan of country music, especially the crap on the radio and in the mainstream. This though, it’s made me seek out more.

Q17 – Obviously you spend a lot of time researching great music. Does it ever take over your life. I know I when I get into the zone it's very hard to disconnect from it. How do you say – Enough is Enough. This can wait.

There’s certainly been times where it has, especially in the beginning when everything was new and I was still trying to find out what I liked and what I didn’t. Sometimes I get in the zone and get going. My “only 30 minutes more” turns into an hour then a few hours. Sometimes when I’m falling asleep at the computer is when I finally give in. Other times it’s when I figure out that I will only get a few hours of sleep before I can be called into work or be up to take care of the kids before school.

Q18 – Now I when look for new music and check their Facebook Page one of the first questions I ask myself now. Not is the band any good but is Bill Goodman a fan of this band. Normally 9 times out of 10 – there is your Facebook Logo smiling back at me. I normally say. Damn. Bill has beaten me to it again. So that's another quality sign. HA HA. Seriously though how big of a help has BandCamp been to your work.

Bandcamp has been huge. It’s a music site for music fans made by a music fan with the knowledge of how to make it all work. Just when you think they couldn’t get any better, they go and announce that they added something big to the site. The fact that I can stream albums while I’m traveling or at work, is huge.

As a fan, I love it when bands sell vinyl on there and I get the digital download. Since I’m always on the go, and I haven’t yet figured out how to install a record player in my truck, the digital files are a bonus. The ability to embed the players onto blog posts is huge too. It allows the reader to listen without having to open up a new tab in their browser if they don’t want to. The band can still see results of the stream. It’s a win win for everyone.

Q19 - If someone was starting their own Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal site what advice would you give them to help them succeed. 

Be passionate about what you write. Be cool to the bands and don’t take on more than you can handle. If you have something to offer that other writers don’t, go with it. Also, be patient if you don’t see immediate results. Building an audience takes time.

Q20 - So any exciting future plans you are involved with. Or is your schedule quite full at the moment.

I do have a project I’ll be working on with another blogger. My stuff at Ripple and the usual work and family stuff. That’s about it at the moment.

Q21 – Well Bill thanks for doing this. Been great talking to you. Before you go do you have anything exciting to say to your fans. Or any exciting predictions for 2014.

Thanks for asking me to do this, it was a pleasure. To my fans, thank you. you’ll see more of me.That’s about as exciting as I can make it right now. As far as predictions, Clutch releases a live video and perhaps see some more vinyl by them. Ripple-Music, Small Stone Records, Bilocation Records and STB Records will have huge years. Also look out for Grip of Delusion Radio to make huge leaps and bounds and become huge in the scene.

Thanks to Bill for his time in doing this awesome interview and for his endless support to ourselves here at Sludgelord and the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal blogging scene in general.