The Goondas release “Dog Show”

The rock ‘n’ roll boys talk about their second album.

Spencer Doar

The cover of Twin Cities rockers The Goondas’ new album “Dog Show” features a found photo of five guys mugging for the camera with their catch from a fishing trip.

Pop on the album’s accompanying 3D glasses, and the most prominent feature becomes the bulge of one particular Speedo-clad gentleman. 

Given that drummer Josh Miller requires that every song has balls, it’s a perfect fit. 

“It’s a judgment test—if the song has no balls, [Miller] vetoes it,” guitarist Jackson Atkins said.

While working on “Watch Your Tongue,” the eighth track on “Dog Show,” Miller refused to play because he thought it was too slow.  So, for much of the eight months it took to make the album, bassist Andy Meuwissen switched instruments with Miller. 

That’s pretty much the epitome of the Goondas: seriously goofy, but with a clear emphasis on wanting to rock.  

Their self-titled first album strayed more in the garage punk direction but “Dog Show” features more bluesy inspirations and the occasional twang of country influence. 

“I know that our first record was a bunch of songs we wrote kind of randomly and we didn’t know what we were doing yet,” Atkins said. 

They began by playing covers; Miller stipulated he’d only join the band if they learned Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” first.

As they gradually made the transition to original material, one thing remained constant—the ability to put on a crazy show. 

“Everything’s all for a laugh,” Meuwissen said.  “As long as people are entertained, if that means being the village idiot on stage — which we often are — and if somebody remembers that, had a good time and maybe enjoyed the music — maybe — I guess it was all worth it.” 

A group for five years, the Goondas made a name for themselves by being wild — chipping teeth, smashing instruments, pretty much being off-the-wall in ways reminiscent of The Who’s antics. 

Front man Brenden Green leads that charge to the wild side, and while all four guys knew each other growing up, Green was never a musician until he joined the band. 

“We get so much shit about Brenden and the Goondas being a bunch of Iggy Pop [wannabes, but] Brenden didn’t even know who Iggy Pop was for the first two years of the band, he was just being himself,” Meuwissen said. 

Green may not have known Iggy Pop, but the others have a profound knowledge of rock ‘n’ roll history.  Meuwissen appears a walking encyclopedia—ask him anything about Black Sabbath or The Kinks and he’ll probably answer that question and five more you never thought to ask. 

“I don’t know what music does for your life, but I think my life has been opened up by my favorite singers and made it into a real world for me,” Meuwissen said.    

 

What:  The Goondas “Dog Show” Release Party

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Where: Turf Club, 1601 University Ave., St. Paul

Cost: $6

Age: 21+