By Ida V. Eskamani
Good Friend, who were recently named "Ireland’s sexiest punk band," are not letting any of the multiple global crises slow them down- Pandemic, Brexit, and fascists be damned. You’ll find Adam Carroll, Andy Reid, and Izzy Curran in the ring banging out lion-hearted punk rock with an unyielding resolve. With the release of the Erin Rose EP and a rescheduled tour with Red City Radio, Good Friend are ready for 2021. Punknews Contributor Ida Eskamani interviewed singer Adam Carroll about the band's newest release and what’s ahead.
“We’re punk rock that’s salted by the sea.” Zooming in from the north of Ireland, Good Friend’s frontman Adam Carroll has just finished a day of work at a whiskey distillery. Good Friend entered my world two years ago in Florida, at Orlando’s annual pre-FEST event Foreign Dissent, featuring bands from across the world. Good Friend, which includes Adam on vocals and bass, Andy Reid on guitar, and Izzy Curran on drums, catapulted to the stage with ferocity you don’t forget. They’re equal parts melodic as they are brash, with songs that speak to their north coast Irish roots while at the same time our universal struggles.
In December, four long years since their last full-length Ride The Storm, Good Friend released The Erin Rose EP. Then, just last week, they released an epic music video for the opening track, "Erin Rose Drinks On Shift." Yet as all things throughout these tumultuous times, nothing went according to plan.
“We were supposed to release it back in March, before our tour with Red City Radio. That got postponed to October.” Adam continues, “then our tour got postponed again, to May 2021. But we felt it’s time to record, to get this new material out, and keep banging on through.”
That’s the thing you learn quickly about Good Friend. This is a band that will not be deterred. To begin with, they find themselves in a long-distance relationship of sorts. Adam lives where they were founded in Northern Ireland, while Andy and Izzy call Newcastle of north-east England home. If the distance paired with a raging pandemic bringing travel and the music industry to a complete halt wasn’t hard enough, Brexit has left the band with more questions than answers about their future. But by Adam’s own account, “We don’t do plan Bs. There’s all Plan As. We just go 100 miles per an hour at them all.”
The Erin Rose EP is certainly a testament to that mentality. The new release displays an impressive range for the band, and their determined spirit. As Adam tells it, the first two tracks were recorded with the full band, while the third was recorded in an actual recording booth in his barbershop. The music video for the opening track is sight to behold. “Andy came to us with a bold, out of the blue idea that we take on three of the hardest wrestlers in Belfast. I knew a few guys who knew a few of the wrestlers and got in contact, and they were like, ‘yeah we’ll fight you.’” It was Titanic Wrestling that answered the call and Mark Easton who produced the video. Adam describes it as one of the best days they have had as a band “…we had about 20 minutes of training. They were basically like, this is how you fall. And then we were getting thrown into tables and thrown on the top rope.” In the video, Adam, bloody and dazed on the floor of the ring, sings with classic Good Friend resolve, “who woulda thought I had fight left in me?”
And so against all the odds, Good Friend has big plans for 2021. Though not wrestling champions quite yet, several trusted sources including the local paper have coined them as Ireland’s sexiest punk band, a title they intend to defend, and take on tour. They have a UK Red City Radio Tour, Hamburg’s Booze Cruise Festival, and a return to the states on their agenda. They’ve also got a full-length record on the horizon, with hopes to return to the studio as soon as safely possible. “We just hope this vaccine gets out there, everyone takes it, no one has their brain controlled afterward,” he says with a laugh, “…that we’re all sweet and happy and everyone can just chill out.” When asked for a timeline, he quips, “at this rate, we’ll be touring it in 2067.” He follows up the statement with a new year's resolution fans will appreciate “I want to write an album in less than four years.”
When asked for any final words of wisdom for readers as we face another year of unknowns, Adam takes note from his bandmates, and their elders; “Andy always went by his grandmother's phrase, her mantra was 'it’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.’” He then follows that up with, “…but Nazi’s can fuck off.”
Ida is an Iranian-American from Florida who grew up with the Beatles, and came of age in the pit. She will talk to you about music for as long as you will pretend to listen. She is founder of Bandifesto, a little blog with a big heart.