Houston Calling

SXSW preview: Johnny Goudie and The Little Champions

March 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

Photo credit: Alexandra Valenti

Photo credit: Alexandra Valenti

Austin musician Johnny Goudie has experienced the ups and downs of being a professional musician. With his band Goudie, he released a major label album in 2000, and had touring stints with Blur, Veruca Salt, and Supergrass. The musician has written songs with numerous established musicians, including Patty Griffin and former Go-Gos Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey, and released a well-received solo album, Boy In A Box, in 2005. Fans of The Beatles, Cheap Trick, David Bowie, and T-Rex will appreciate Goudie’s latest venture, El Payaso (with new band, Johnny Goudie and The Little Champions).

In anticipation of his showcase at this year’s South By Southwest, Johnny Goudie recently answered a few questions for Houston Calling.

Houston Calling: How did your latest band get started?

Johnny Goudie: Well, Brad Byram (bass) and I have been playing together since I put out Boy In A Box and the rest of the band are all old friends and people I’ve played with through the years. It was a different crew on the album. It was me and Brad Byram and a group of other friends, including Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev), Matt Harris (The Posies, Oranger), Taylor Davis and Davy Hamrick, Ricky Sowan, Sweney Tidball and Jonas Wilson, all from the band Lomita. Now the band is solid, it’s Sean Mullens (guitar), Brad Byram (bass/backing vocals), Barry Keesey (keyboards/backing vocals), and Daniel Jones (drums).

HC: You’ve played at South By Southwest before. How was that experience and what do you remember most from your experiences at SXSW?

JG: Honestly, I remember being rushed and nervous. You know, you’re on a bill with 6 or 7 other bands. A band starts at the top of every hour from 7 or 8 til 1 in the morning. There is no soundcheck. Your venue could be a parking lot during the non-SXSW time of the year, with a makeshift p.a. and a rickety stage. That being said, it’s still very exciting. It’s just a crap-shoot.HC: What are you hoping to get out of this year’s SXSW performance?

JG: Hopefully some some great press, some great shows with bigger bands. Hopefully get in front of some club owners.

HC: Your new album, El Payaso, was just released. Are you pleased with the response you’re getting so far? What do you think the major difference is between your latest batch of songs and your songs on Boy In A Box?

JG: I am very pleased with the response from El Payaso. People have been very generous with their compliments. Thank you people. The major differences with this album and Boy In A Box are the subject mater and sonic quality. Boy In A Box was very focused on one incident in my life. Which, of course made total sense at the time. I was coming out of a 10-year marriage and I was very focused on that. El Payaso is a very broad look at my life. There are a lot of aspects of my childhood and early memories and such.

Of course, sonically, it’s night and day. I used maybe four different mics on Boy In A Box. I played everything, recorded everything, mixed everything. I felt like it was a lo-fi manifesto. On El Payaso, I had musicians playing as a band and an engineer in a studio. I had two co-producers: Jonas Wilson (Lomita, The Lovely Sparrows) and Lars Goransson (The Cardigans, Alpha Rev). We ended up having string sections, horn sections and pedal steel. It was a great experience to go from Boy In A Box to El Payaso. I love them both. I love being able to do things differently all the time. I’m actually writing and recording demos for the next one…

HC: Several well-respected pop/rock bands come to mind when I hear some of your songs. What do YOU consider to be your primary musical influences?

JG: Primary… the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, T-Rex, Bowie. On this album I was listening to a lot of Flying Burrito Brothers and The Byrds’ Sweetheart Of The Rodeo.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry these days?

JG: Honestly, I am trying to let others focus on that right now. The industry, like all industries right now, is suffering. The world of commerce, like the world itself, has grown and shrank exponentially over the last few years. Does that make sense? We are in an unprecedented time for business and such. I am very fortunate to have a great label behind me and a team of wonderful people to figure that out for me right now so I can focus on being a creative entity…

Johnny Goudie and The Little Champions plays its official SXSW showcase on Wednesday, 3.18.09, at The Tap Room at Six (311 Colorado), at 9pm.

Visit the band online at www.myspace.com/johnnygoudie.

Tags: Interviews · Music · Show listings · SXSW

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