millions of under 50 types who are getting jazzed again at what their
parents did. Were all sons of Beatles in some ways and on that
front, you can count in a new band called The Grand Undoing.
On the ten track White Space Flavors And Parties On TV,
Grand Undoing leader Seth Goodman seems to pull off
the impossible on a fantastic album that doubles as a 21st century
retro pop flashback. With Seths songs, guitars and vocals in
full flight, The Grand Undoing album is kind of reminiscent of early
Split Enz, the version with Tim Finn and Phil Judd. Like early Enz,
theres kind of a manic, carnival type atmosphere on several
tracks here. Commenting about the amazing musical moods of The Grand
Undoing, Seth tells mwe3.com "I came up with the idea of The
Grand Undoing amidst some epic life changing events. I finally had
to accept the notion that decay and decline are really the rule. Watching
your parents age pushes you into an awareness of your own mortality
like nothing else." Based up in the Boston area, Goodmans
band also features first rate players with excellent drumming from
Dave Westner and Andy Plaisted and the steel guitars
of the legendary B.J. Cole with pop maven Allen Devine adding
in additional guitar on a track here. Regarding working with B.J.
Cole, Seth adds, "I had been listening to a great record from
1972 called Bored Civilians by Keith Cross and Peter Ross, when I
realized that BJ was the pedal steel player. I found him online and
was thrilled to discover that he did sessions remotely."
Seth Goodman is armed with a strong voice and tracks that a voice
that strong and daring can make the most of. Pop fans looking for
new and interesting spins will catch a sonic wave with White
Space Flavors And Parties On TV from The Grand Undoing.
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Seth Goodman of
THE GRAND UNDOING
Can you tell us where you live now and what you like best about it
and where youre from originally?
Seth Goodman: I live in Quincy, Massachusetts, just south of
Boston. I grew up here and moved back about 7 years ago to help look
after my folks. Boston is great for tons of stuff, music, the arts,
food, the changing seasons.
mwe3: What period of music history did you grow up in? Im
guessing youre about 40 already or am I way off?
Seth Goodman: I was born in 68' and grew up in the 70's/80's.
AM top 40 radio in the 70's, arena rock, punk rock, new wave, hardcore,
and the 80's underground all made big impressions on me.
mwe3: Why do you call your band The Grand Undoing? Is undoing
the opposite of union? Is the name a kind of a self-deprecating putdown
in a way?
Seth Goodman: I came up with the idea of The Grand Undoing
amidst some epic life changing events. I finally had to accept the
notion that decay and decline are really the rule. Watching your parents
age pushes you into an awareness of your own mortality like nothing
I think it's not so much self-depreciating but rather a way of thumbing
my nose at, or mocking, our own eventual decline and downfall. Of
course that decline doesn't mean that we shouldn't enjoy ourselves
in the present, which is a key component of the Grand Undoing paradigm.
mwe3: When did you become interested in playing music and what
were your early music studies like? What instruments did you gravitate
to early on in your life and what would you say is your primary instrument
that you play and write music on?
Seth Goodman: I started playing bass at age 16, in a punk rock
band with some friends from school. And I picked up the guitar a few
years later. And at roughly age 20, took about a years worth of guitar
lessons. Guitar is my primary instrument that I write on.
Your new album with The Grand Undoing is called White Space Flavors
And Parties On TV and it was released on your label Secret Candy
Rock Records in 2014. How would you say this album defines you as
a singer-songwriter and how would you compare it to the other album
you released with The Grand Undoing? What are the challenges involved
in releasing an album on your own label?
Seth Goodman: I think that this album is a good indication
of what I'm trying to do as an artist. Ultimately, to tell my story
and reconcile an amassing of things in mind, in an original way, that
reflects a synthesis of my own favorite records and artists. I think
that this record is more dynamic, more cohesive, and more realized
than the first one.
Releasing an album on your own label is great because you can do whatever
you want, but it's tough to get the word out about it when you're
on your own.
mwe3: White Space Flavors And Parties On TV kicks off
with a bang with the track New World. Is there a message
in that song? Seeing a new world through the fog and then you wake
up to find out it never was at all? Do you like people
reading messages into your music?
Goodman: "New World" is about having flashes of idealism
regarding your own potential, only to have them squashed by the cold
hard light of day and your own very real limitations. I like when
people relate to the sentiments of my songs, but I also try to leave
enough room so they can really make them their own too.
mwe3: Can you tell us something about whos playing with
you on the White Space Flavors And Parties On TV CD? Was it
all recorded live or were there a number of overdubs? How did you
meet up with and get to work with the great B.J. Cole, who adds steel
guitar and whos playing drums on the CD? All the players sound
great. Who else helped you get the album sound together?
Seth Goodman: Dave Westner and Andy Plaisted are both fantastic
drummers from Boston. Dave also did a bunch of other engineering on
the record as well as mixing it.
I had been listening to a great record from 1972 called Bored Civilians
by Keith Cross and Peter Ross, when I realized that BJ was the pedal
steel player. I found him online and was thrilled to discover that
he did sessions remotely. Chris Nole, an amazing Nashville session
player, who's played piano with Faith Hill and John Denver, among
others, also tracked on a song remotely for me.
The record was really done with overdubs entirely, save for a few
scratch guitar tracks that I kept from the drum sessions, but that's
what really let me experiment with the parts. It was also a lot of
fun to put together players on a record who otherwise would probably
never be making music together.
mwe3: Are you playing all the guitars, electric and acoustic
on the CD? What guitars are you playing on the White Space Flavors
And Parties On TV CD? Also, its good to see Allen Devine
playing guitar on a track here. How did you meet Allen? Isnt
he living in Germany now? What guitars is Allen playing on the CD?
Seth Goodman: Except for the track that Allen played on, I
played all of the guitar and bass tracks. I mostly use a Tele 52'
Reissue, an Epiphone EJ-200, something called a Gibson Challenger,
which is almost like a student model Les Paul Studio, and a 76' Jazz
I met Allen in the music scene in Boston, before he moved to Germany.
He's a fantastic and very versatile guitar player. And I think he's
playing a Tele on the record.
Cross Over Now is another highlight from White Space
Flavors And Parties On TV. I like the line The years bleed
together like a quick one while hes away. Is there a Who
Seth Goodman: Yes! I've been a big fan forever, Tommy
was one of the first records that made a massive impression on me.
mwe3: How about the White Space Flavors And Parties On TV
track Piers And Anderson? Is that song really a tribute
to the CNN news guys? Its a modern day mass exodus,
off of the map, on to parts unknown. Is that really tongue
in cheek or do you really like those two guys? Whos playing
the guitar solos on that track? Whats the most fun guitar solo
on White Space Flavors And Parties On TV?
Seth Goodman: It's really another song about alienation,
about public figures becoming surrogates for real human connection.
I played the solo on that, though I think that the solo that's the
most fun on the record is the one on "Cross Over Now". It's
the solo that's most likely to put a smile on someone's face.
mwe3: Whos playing strings on the White Space Flavors
And Parties On TV CD? Its a great idea to broaden out the
sound. Is it Spector-esque?
Seth Goodman: There are three violin players on the record.
Ian Kennedy, from Boston, actually played most of the string parts
himself. I think he did a great job. Also Kurt Baumer, from Texas,
played on a few tracks, and Fulvio Renzi, from Italy, played on a
I suppose the strings are a bit Spector-esque. I also like the strings
from the whole Country-politan movement, Glen Campbell, I Am The Walrus,
Roy Wood's cello parts on the first ELO album and Bernard Hermann,
the Alfred Hitchcock film scorer. Placing string arrangements in some
high energy driven, punk rock songs was something I've not really
heard before that I really wanted to do also.
mwe3: Long Are The Hours is a great showcase for
you and B.J. Cole. Its a great combination of the steel guitar
and the strings. Is that the most mellow track on the CD?
Goodman: I think it is the most mellow track on the record. I
feel like it comes as a welcome breath of fresh air after the first
three songs. I wrote it for my girlfriend, Sara.
mwe3: White Space Flavors And Parties On TV is an interesting
title for the CD. How do the two parts fit together?
Seth Goodman: The first part, white space flavors, is a metaphor
for an unnatural life, which is really a function of the second metaphor,
parties on TV, which relates to modern alienation. White space flavors
is a term that commercial flavorists use to describe synthetic flavors
that don't actually exist in nature, like blue raspberry.
mwe3: Is Song In B about the futility of life?
Did you write it for your parents? There was a time when I had
it all is something we all go through right? Are your parents
still alive? Do you find music to be a therapeutic way to deal with
the harsh realities of life? Song In B is another great
song for B.J. to add in his sheets of steel.
Seth Goodman: "Song In B" is really a lament for
the innocence of childhood and the affinity of family. I think that
this experience is universal, though probably more pronounced in modern
My father is still alive. I think that music and art in general are
wonderfully constructive ways of dealing with grief, loss, and all
of the pitfalls of aging. BJ sounds great on this one, as does Ian
Kennedy who plays the violin part on the third verse and the coda.
The Shadows Still Draw Me In is another production number
on the White Space Flavors And Parties On TV CD. Its
another song that people will use to compare your music to Bowie and
even Ferry. Are the shadows a way to escape from reality?
Its got a bit of a McCartney vibe in there too. How much fun
are the bigger production numbers versus the more quieter introspective
Seth Goodman: The "shadows" are just a metaphor for
being withdrawn. I've always struggled with impulses to both withdraw
from and connect to people, and being an introvert, the withdrawing
side definitely wins more.
I don't treat the quieter numbers that differently than the louder
ones, they both end up being about dynamics and arrangements that
build and lead somewhere. Though I suppose that the quieter ones better
lend themselves to forward motion in the arrangement because you have
more space to work with.
mwe3: Is Sparkle Sunday Blue another moody atmospheric
kind of track? Its got a kind of eerie synth sound running through
it but the strings pull the track through and the song crescendos
at the end. Was that big ending done on purpose to kind of lull the
listener out of the hypnotic groove?
Seth Goodman: The thing that sounds like a synth is actually
a violin. I wasn't specifically intending to pull the listener out
of the groove, I just wanted the song to build to the point where
it was really boiling over by the end. The song is really like depression
that gradually morphs into full on anxiety. The bridge offers a little
dusty, faint light, but that's completely forgotten by the time you're
being held down in the lake of hellfire that is the ending of the
mwe3: The atmospherics on the "Sparkle Sunday Blue"
track are wiped away with The Cold Of The Iron Gate. What
is the Iron Gate to you? Is that is the wall of silence,
the end game that we all eventually hit? Its a big big
world, theres a lot of of little roads that you can run down,
Still my mind returns to home. Very existential ideas! The best
track on the CD?
Seth Goodman: "The iron gate" is a another metaphor
for alienation, both from ourselves and from others. The entire record,
both in concept and in mood is wildly existential, to the point where
it's not even sure if it wants to curse its fate or revel with abandon
in it... with sparkling wine of course. My hope is that it manages
to do both.
Is the Ballad Of Alvin Gordon the epitaph of the album?
Who is/was Alvin Gordon? Another great song for B.J. to do his thing!
Who knew the steel guitar would work so well on a Beatles type rave-up
Seth Goodman: Alvin Gordon is really a composite of sad, rootless
characters, that I've come across. I hadn't considered it the epitaph
of the album, but that really makes sense. I think that it quite possibly,
better than any other track, puts forward the dichotomy between dying
and having a party. BJ really shines on this one.
mwe3: Is Drag It Out A little Longer another tribute
to death? Are you here with us or are you lost forever sleeping?
lol Is there a good way to deal with death in the long run? I
am death and death is near. How do you think most people deal
with death? I am death
seems like a bold way to say Times
still passing by.... Who knew that song would end the album
in a blast of psychedelic intensity! lol
Seth Goodman: " Drag It Out A Little Longer" is really
about the complexity of coming to terms with death. I think it tends
to be a long and elusive process for everyone. And although different
people have very different ways of dealing with death, I think it
makes sense, generally, for people to try to express their grief rather
than avoid it.
So whats next for The Grand Undoing? With an album this good,
it seems like youll either end of playing Madison Square Garden
or joining Cirque du Soleil? But it does seem like everyone loves
this album so I can only hope, like the others, that you get even
a bigger audience for the next Grand Undoing CD... Good luck Seth...
Seth Goodman: When I started the Grand Undoing, I set out to
make five records over the course of 10 years. The third album is
now well under way. I'm not betting on Madison Square Garden or Cirque
du Soleil, though I could really have some fun with that one... but
three more records will definitely be arriving over the next five
years, as I continue to make my way through untold cases of sparkling
Thanks to Seth Goodman @ www.TheGrandUndoing.com
and Peter Holmstedt @ Hemifran.com