PM: So when you do finally relax and you get out to the country, what do you like to do? Are you much for movies or any of the HBO stuff, or anything like that? What do you like to do when you're relaxing?
TG: Well, these days I've been splitting and piling wood. And I watch a lot of movies. I watch a movie a night for sure, sometimes two.
PM: Yeah, I enjoy that, too. You can't be on output all the time. You got to be on input sometimes. And movies are good for input.
TG: Yeah, input. My favorite writing quote from Keith Richards is, "I don't really write songs; I just put up the antenna and I catch what's floating around in the air."
PM: Isn't that the truth. What about places? Is there anywhere you'd like to go to get away now and then?
TG: Well, just here. I mean, it's pretty quiet out here at my house.
PM: Right. And that's good enough.
TG: I don't really have any neighbors, I just have a bunch of dogs, and I walk around a lot.
[I screwed up here. Travis had to call me back because his phone was dying, and he headed out to the trailer. I paused the recorder, and missed a couple of minutes before I realized it was not recording--we'd started talking about acoustic playing, and his early days, playing with his father, who's one of The Good Brothers, members of the Canadian Country Hall Of Fame.]
TG: I did a year of college, and I gave that up, and then I went and joined my dad's band. I started playing bass in my dad's bluegrass band. And then I started playing guitar in it. And Doc Watson was the first thing that my dad and uncles were really into that really got me into playing the acoustic guitar. And then, yeah, just through playing with his band. And then we needed a fiddle player, and I took up the fiddle.
PM: So can you play fiddle tunes on guitar, too, the Doc Watson stuff?
TG: Well, a lot of that is from sitting around--I got no neighbors, so I play guitar by myself an awful lot. And it's so much more satisfying to pick acoustic guitar flat picking stuff when you're sitting by yourself on the porch than it is to plug into an amplifier.
PM: And so do you have bluegrass friends in Canada? Is bluegrass pretty big in Canada?
TG: No, I wouldn't say it's big, but I have friends who are really good bluegrass pickers. I mean, our dad is still going at it, playing bluegrass. We all have a lot of friends who pick bluegrass. I mean, it's obviously a big influence on us. Dallas has been doing a lot of pickin' lately, too. He finally bought a Martin a few years ago.
PM: Wow. Do you guys, from time to time, get yourself in acoustic situations, or are you always plugged in?
TG: No, we're almost always plugged in except for when we play with what we call The Good Family, which is like our dad's band, and then some cousins, and our mom, and stuff like that. So there's like nine of us. And then we play just acoustic, really. And I believe we'll be doing our first acoustic show on this West Coast tour. It'll be just acoustic, because we're going to open for the Mekons on one of their shows, for their 30th anniversary.
TG: And those Mekons always have rules.
PM: The rule is, "And you're opening, you're acoustic, dude"?
TG: Acoustic. They want all acoustic opening acts for that tour. So we're going to do our acoustic show.
PM: Unbelievable. Do you know where that Mekons opener is?
TG: Yeah, that's going to be in Portland, OR. And the other reason we wanted to do it acoustically is because as soon as we finish we're going down the road to play our own show. So we want it to be a little different.
PM: [laughs] As soon as you finish, you've got another show down the road.
TG: Yeah, so we want to have our back line set up with our amps and electric guitars, and we want to just bring our acoustics over to the Mekons gig.
PM: Oh, that's excellent.