It’s been more than a decade since Gooding has released a live album. Founding member, guitarist and the band’s namesake, Gooding, explains that part of what made the group want to release a live album now was the addition of second vocalist and guitarist Jenny Wood.
“Every time we went back to Wichita or got close to our old hometown, Jenny would play with us there and Lincoln and Oklahoma City. She would open up shows and then we’d say, ‘Cool, come up at the end of the set.’ Two things happened: One, we noticed that the two songs she was guesting on were becoming five. And then the other thing: We had a show at the Abode Theatre a couple years back; I remember I took this hard drive back to my studio to mess around with some live mixes. And every song that Jenny was on was 12 minutes and every other song was three minutes. And that told us we were just having way too much fun.”
The new CD is a two disc set, recorded at Wichita’s Murdock Theatre earlier this year. At a time when physical and digital music sales are down, a double album may seem like an antiquated move. But then Gooding has never been a band that’s too concerned about trends.
“We always joke that we jumped in at about exactly the time that the old model just started to completely fall apart. And jumped in with those dreams of being an album band. We want to make a 40 minute snapshot each year of where we’re at. Hopefully, when we’ve all got our canes and we’re about ready to go down for the dirt nap we can look back and kind of…you know, you hear your life through that stuff. ‘This is where I was at then.’ We’ve always been fans of those kinds of bands. We grew up with U2 and The Police and these kind of career oriented bands.”
With over a decade of constant touring and releasing an average of an album a year, the group has been able to maintain a loyal fan base even if it hasn’t achieved wide mainstream success. And that seems to be perfectly OK for everyone involved.
“We change a little bit with each release. We want to have that freedom to move around musically. And the problem with chasing that and thinking every record has got to be your biggest record is that it does kind of put you in that state of… that one hit wonder kind of thing. I think that it moves your trajectory to being big once.”
Some things have changed for the band in recent years. The group is no longer based in Wichita, having relocated to Los Angeles. There’s the addition of Wood to the lineup and Gooding himself recently married his girlfriend of eight years. Not that that’s doing anything to slow the quartet’s schedule down.
“Everyone keeps asking me what married life is like. I don’t actually know yet. We were lucky. I think it was the longest we ever spent out on the road together. We went away for a couple of weeks. I think we were home for one day and now I’m on the road for three months—about three weeks into a 12 week tour, so hopefully by the holidays I’ll be able to tell you what married life is like.”
The quartet returns to the Murdock Friday evening to celebrate the release of the new live album, Live At The Murdock. It’s not just a return to the room but a return home and a reminder of how much the band has progressed in the last decade.
“Even though it’s a theatre. You still do get that feeling like you’re all in it together. I think that really came across in this live record. I mean, we were proud of Live At Loft 150 back in the day but this, I think, energetically, sonically, the sound of that room, the songs we’re doing now, Jenny’s voice, I think Live At The Murdock is 10 times better than our last effort at a live record. I really do. In every way, shape and form. I’m not just saying. A lot of it does have to do with the vibe of that theatre and being back in that hometown with friends and family that you’ve known longer than anywhere else in the country.”