By Naughty Mickie
Rockers From First to Last were in the middle of their
"Dead by Dawn Tour II" when I caught up with them. They were
crossing the country hitting a bevy of venues with He Is
Legend, At All Costs and Dead Reckless, while pushing their
effort, "Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Bodycount (Epitaph).
Despite a few setbacks, such as a lineup change, Florida
guitarist/vocalist Matt Good was chipper as we spoke.
From First to Last features California boys, lead vocalist
Sonny Moore and drummer Derek Bloom, plus Georgia native
guitarist/throat Travis Richter. Album bassist Jon Weisberg
has been replaced by Alicia Simmons on the road.
Good explains that FFTL is based in Albany, Georgia,
although Moore still calls Los Angeles home.
"Me and the guitar player, Travis, were in old bands and we
were friends and we wanted to start something new," Good says
about forming FFTL. "Then over time, we found the right
members and we're out. We're happy with the lineup and we're
Richter and Bloom knew each other from school and Moore was
garnered from the Internet.
As usual, I like to start at the beginning.
"I started playing guitar when I was in tenth grade," Good
tells me. "I wanted to play guitar from the time I was 10 or
11, but my parents couldn't afford to buy me one and they
didn't think it was worth it, so they never got me one. Then
my friend let me play his and I started learning."
Good is mostly self-taught, although he took lessons for
about six months. From there, he had a typical upbringing,
even working at the Journeys shoe store in his local mall, but
any thought of college were easily brushed aside for the band
and their almost non-stop tour schedule.
"On the tour, we have a full crew and we're on a bus, so we
wake up around 12 or 1 and we end up going to the mall for a
while and then there's sound check and then we go watch movies
and we play. That's it. That's pretty much our day." Good
laughs. "At home, my favorite thing to do is play Halo 2
With FFTL smack dab in the middle of things, I would be
remiss if I didn't get Good's take on the music scene.
"Today's music scene is pretty terrible," Good moans. "I
feel like no one plays music because they love music any more.
That's my biggest turnoff to music right now. I can speak for
the whole band when I say that none of us have liked anything
that's come out in quite a long time. They're pretty much into
rock music from the '90s to the very early 2000s.
"Rock's kind of plummeted in the last few years," Good goes
on. "Alternative radio stations all over the country are
getting shut down and replaced by R&B and stuff like that. The
CDs sales in rock music have gone down to like 10 percent.
It's pretty sad."
'Nuff said, so how do you feel about the Web?
"The Internet's an amazing tool," Good responds. "It's
pretty crazy how much of a difference it can make. There's a
lot of people who like us because of the Internet. They just
found us. It's funny because CDs sales don't reflect the size
of your band any more, it's how many friends you have on
From the press materials, I recall that "Dear Diary, My
Teen Angst Has a Bodycount" was conceived and completed very
"That CD was written extremely fast and our singer, Sonny,
joined the band in the middle of the recording process, so we
wrote all of the vocals in the studio," Good affirms.
"Everything was done really rushed. But we had the attitude
that we don't care, we're just going to do what we want and
you can tell because all of the songs are different from each
"It was a really naive writing process and we knew what we
were doing at the time, but I think it came out pretty cool."
Good adds, "It isn't an accurate measure of our ability
because we've grown so much."
FFTL is already looking ahead to their next release due out
"It's a big growing process." Good explains, "The
difference between the last record and this record is apparent
as far as ability goes. The music is still somewhat similar,
but you can tell that we've grown a lot. I don't know how to
put it into words, it's such a gigantic difference.
"All of the lyrics on the last record were written on a
whim in the studio and they reflected how we felt at that
point in our lives and the things we were into," Good states
comparing the two efforts. "The lyrics on the next record were
all written by Sonny and they reflect all the things in his
life that he faced.
"One of the biggest things about our music today is that
when you're in a band you're given the power to have a voice
and no one takes advantage of that in a positive way,"
continues Good. "Everyone's songs are `Oh, this girl broke my
heart, what do I do about it?' Blah, blah, blah. Instead we
decided to address problems that kids can relate to like Sonny
being adopted by his parents, eating disorders, feeling
unsure, things that kids will understand.
"Don't get me wrong, it hurts when a girl breaks your
heart, but you don't need an entire 12-song album about a girl
breaking your heart," Good goes on. "There's so many other
things in life that actually mean so much more, things that
really really hurt and ruin your perspective on things. Kids
are shooting people in their schools, killing themselves,
doing drugs, running away from home. Those things are such a
higher issue of priority in my mind than girlfriends."
I prod Good for a few more words about the next album.
"The title is `Heroine,' not the drug, but the female hero.
It's like a double reference," Good says. "There's a song on
the album called `Heroine' that's about somebody's mother.
It's the word we chose because it has so much impact. When you
here it you think of the most negative thing possible, but the
actual word that we chose is the most positive. It's a really
bold word. We like to do plays on words and steer people in a
direction where they have to sit down and think about it."
The thoughts and lyrics have evolved, so what about the
"It's a little heavier, but not in a childish way. It's
heavier in a more mature way," Good responds. "The songs are a
lot more thought out, we spent a lot of time thinking about
the song arrangements and how certain parts affect the song
and how they flow and evolve into something that's great
instead of something that sounds like it's thrown together
"There's a lot of meticulous song writing going on between
me and Travis," Good continues. "We spent a really long time
working on it and we almost killed ourselves working so hard
on it. We would be sitting around in the middle of the night
trying to be at ease after a long day of recording, but you
couldn't because you end up brainstorming. You're going crazy,
but it totally paid off."
OK, I get the vowel, but what I'm going after is for Good
to describe FFTL's sound as well.
"Honestly it's not really punk or hard-core, to me, it's
just rock," Good remains enigmatic. "Not rock like AC/DC, but
rock like when you were a kid growing up you thought bands
like Green Day, the Offspring and Nirvana were all in the same
category, back when there wasn't 18 thousand sub-genres. It's
out there, hard-hitting, heavy and it's real."
"How are your fans?" I wonder.
"Our fans are the most important thing about our band,"
Good states. "They've always helped us since the beginning.
Our fans are insane in a good way because we've gotten
opportunities that bands double our size haven't gotten and
it's a really amazing thing. They're always supportive and we
explain that to them every night. Honestly, we wouldn't be
around without them and they're great."
Before I say good-bye, I ask Good if he would like to share
any other thoughts.
"We have all kinds of pets on tour" Good laughs. "We have a
puppy that's a husky and he has black circles around his eyes
and he looks really evil. And we have a baby pit bull and they
came out together and they run around the bus chasing each
other and then they cuddle up when they're sleeping. The
husky's name is Lars and the pit bull's name is Elrich. Elrich
is Travis' dog and Derek owns Lars. I have a pet snake, it's a
boa constrictor, I carry him around the shows sometimes. His
name is Slytherin, like in `Harry Potter.'"
Sounds like fun, huh?
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