Artist to Watch: Rich Good of the Psychedelic Furs
Are you a child of the 80s? Then you’ve probably heard of The Psychedelic Furs. Their song “Pretty in Pink” was included in the John Hughes film of the same name, rocketing them to fame. After a few successful albums throughout the 80s and early 90s, the Furs went on haitus in order to focus on side projects.
Psychedelic Furs guitarist Rich Good joined up with the band in 2009, after a reunion was already underway. Already having made a name for himself in his band The Pleased (with bandmates Joanna Newsom and Noah Georgeson), Rich added his new-wave guitar playing skills to the band.
Aside from being a huge Guild fan, Rich is also quite the photographer, constantly snapping pics of his Guild Starfire III in Black while on the road. We thought we’d take a second to share a few of our favorite photos he’s taken on the Furs’ current tour and a few of Rich’s thoughts on Guild, guitar playing, and gigging.
GG: When did you start playing music? What was your first instrument? Do you still have it?
RG: I started way back a thousand years ago when i was 11. First guitar I touched was an old Zenith cello style acoustic that had been previously beheaded. I still have that and the first nylon string my parents got me – who can let the first love go? I learned The Shadows songs.
GG: How has your style of playing evolved over the years?
RG: I’ve really just let music take its own path with me; I should be more technically knowledgable with the years I’ve been playing… but I’ve spent most of that time seeking out creativity that isn’t bound by rules. I think that’s where you find players with their own unique sound. There’s some wonderful music made by ‘non-players’… So evolution probably went backwards for me; my heroes switched from from Van Halen to Keef to Roxy to Spacemen 3!
GG: When did you first encounter Guild? What was that experience like?
RG: Probably seeing Cake in London in the 90s. Greg (Brown) blew my 21 year old mind – truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing to witness live. A silvertone 1484, Starfire III and a RAT – Pure. Simple. Dirty. Needless to say I have collected all three of those items. I actually got to record with Greg on a Golden Shoulders record a while back – I played his Starfire for a minute while he rolled the tape.
GG: What draws you to the Guild Starfire? Do you use it on certain songs, or to get a certain tone/vibe?
RG: The tone, the feedback, the size and weight. I’ve always played solid bodies with the Furs. I finally got my hands on a 66 Starfire III about 3 years ago and started recording some Mirrors stuff with it. There’s a velvet bite to its its tone but its very versatile; it can be sharp or sweet in a second. It’s more airy and more scary than my Jazzmaster – I like that you can let it take over and make wild noise. I think that’s actually what draws me to it – that its perhaps an odd choice for the kind of music I like to play; its like a blues guitar and I have always concentrated on more new wave sounds. There’s chorus, delay and fuzz all over my sounds…
GG: Any favorite gigs?
RG: BB King was my first concert. He made me realize that you could destroy without being Van Halen… Beyond that perhaps my standouts were two shows with bands I didn’t know: Stereolab opening for Pulp in ’95ish, and the Flaming Lips at the Brat Awards 96; both bands blandly received but both were life changers for me – the light switched on. Spiritualized always. Roxy Music was epic… Last year I saw Savages in San Francisco and it was a breath of fresh air.
GG: How did you get involved with the Pyschedelic Furs? Did you have any problems adjusting to their sound, or was a perfect match from the beginning?
RG: I got to know the band in 2004 when my old group The Pleased opened up a six week tour for them. There was a lot of common ground with them musically. I ended up playing Virginia Plain with them on the last night of the tour. I believe that was my audition? It wasn’t until five years later that I was asked to join the band… Their manager kept calling me and I thought they wanted a website or a poster design or something. John and I are similar players in that great parts and melodies are important, solo’s less so. I’ve had more fun than you can imagine developing my perfect Furs sound – I must’ve been through a hundred pedals – constantly evolving it.
GG: Future plans…any other Guild models you’re eyeing/hoping will be reissued? More touring?
RG: You people really should bring back that Thunderbird – what a genuinely radical design! I just did my first Furs tour with the new Starfire III – absolutely loved it but i’m interested to try the V to help when I run real high-gain overdrive.
We’re out again in August through September with The Church, we’re writing songs, I’m also writing my own stuff and need to get that project into a live situation soon. That, and to enjoy life generally.
More on The Psychedelic Furs here, including upcoming tour dates. Check out Rich’s other projects, Mirrors and Kings and Queens to get more of that new wave sound!
Great interview! Saw the Furs last night in Austin, and was just a few feet away from where Rich was playing. I was blown away by his talent, and could tell that the rest of the crowd was too. The Starfire is gorgeous in both design in sound.