Goldfinger Biography

Goldfinger sprang from a new wave of ska punk bands formed in California, USA, in the wake of Green Day and the Offspring’s international breakthrough. Based in Los Angeles, Goldfinger blend elements of ska and punk (à la Rancid and Reel Big Fish) with emocore (as pioneered by Guy Piccoloto’s pre- Fugazi group, Rites Of Spring). The band was formed in 1994 by John Feldmann (guitar/vocals), Darrin Pfeiffer (drums) and Simon Williams (bass), with Charlie Paulson (guitar) joining shortly afterwards. In keeping with the traditions of the west coast punk scene (as opposed to its east coast and UK counterparts), the quartet remained wary of any ‘radical punk’ tag: ‘Punk was about being different, about being against the establishment. We’re on the Warped Tour. We’re on MTV. How fucking against the establishment can we possibly be?’. It took Goldfinger some time to break through, however. Rick Rubin of American Records was among many who turned down their demo tape, stating that they were too close in sound to Green Day. Eventually, they signed with Mojo Records. Instead of political subjects, Feldmann’s lyrics focused on the time-honoured frustrations of boy-girl relationships - he pointed out that: ‘I write what I know. Relationships affect me like the IRA probably affects Bono.’ He also confessed that one particular girl provided the inspiration for much of Goldfinger’s 1996 debut album; ‘Only A Day’ was about ‘Wishing I could be with her’, and the radio hit ‘Here In Your Bedroom’ about spending time with her.

Williams was replaced by Kelly Lemieux after the recording of the 1997 follow-up, Hang-Ups. Despite their punishing live schedule, the quartet also found the time to record the celebratory cover versions mini-album, Darrin’s Coconut Ass: Live From Omaha. The studio set Stomping Ground and the live Foot In Mouth were eagerly snapped up by the band’s loyal fanbase, but failed to reach a wider audience (understandable with the latter, as it was a limited edition release). Paulson was subsequently replaced by Brian Arthur (ex-Unloco). The new look quartet pursued a broader music palette with 2002’s Open Your Eyes in the hope of reaching a wider market. They signed to Maverick Records for the release of 2005’s Disconnection Notice. Feldmann is also an in-demand producer and engineer, working on albums by Good Charlotte, the Used and Story Of The Year.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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