Good Riddance is a politically and socially charged melodic hardcore punk band from Santa Cruz, California. Emerging in 1986 and led by fiery straight-edge vocalist Russ Rankin, the band’s longtime lineup has included guitarist Luke Pabich, bassist Chuck Platt, and drummer Sean “SC” Sellers. Beginning with 1995’s For God and Country, the band carved out a respectable swath of sonic territory via standout outings like A Comprehensive Guide to Mod erne Rebellion (1986) and Ballads from the Revolution (1998), before calling it quits in 2007. They reformed in 2012 and went on to issue a pair of well-received comeback albums in Peace In Our Time (2015) and Thoughts and Prayers (2019).
Although it was formed in 1986 by ex-Fury 66 member Rankin as a voice for his political frustrations and protests, the band did not gel until Pabich’s arrival. In 1990, they released their first 7″, Gidget, on Little Deputy Records. Good Riddance was eventually discovered by NOFX bassist and Fat Wreck Chords owner Fat Mike. After recruiting Platt, the band produced the powerful For God and Country, which was released in 1995. Their place as a top seller in Fat Wreck’s lineup established, the band went on to produce the remarkable 1996 release A Comprehensive Guide to Moderne Rebellion. Playing off of their strong antiwar and straight-edge attitudes, Good Riddance cultivated a large following in the punk community. During the summer of 1996 and most of 1997, Good Riddance toured the U.S. and much of Europe with such headliners as Sick of It All, No Use for a Name, and Propagandhi.
Confident with the stability of their career, Good Riddance went back to the studios to record the 1998 album Ballads from the Revolution. Seeing the band’s music as a way to reach people with his message, Rankin packaged the LP with an eloquent essay. Although certainly not the first band to do such a thing, Good Riddance stepped outside of the new-school punk format and hearkened back to the days of early protest punk. In early 1999, the band released their fourth album, Operation Phoenix; however, Sellers departed late that year.
Good Riddance continued to tour with other Fat Wreck Chords artists, initially recruiting Lagwagon’s Dave Raun as a temporary fill-in for Sellers. Raun played on the mid-2000 EP The Phenomenon of Craving before former Kid Dynamite drummer Dave Wagenschutz officially joined the band. The following year, the band released Symptoms of a Leveling Spirit. A split disc with Kill Your Idols preceded an all covers album, Cover Ups, featuring versions of classics from Black Flag and the Psychedelic Furs.
Good Riddance returned to all-original material in 2003 with the furious social, political, and personal hardcore rants of Bound by Ties of Blood and Affection. A two-week European tour was completed in early 2006 before the band’s seventh full-length, My Republic, appeared that summer, featuring Sellers back behind the Good Riddance drum kit. As members of the band became increasingly busy with outside commitments and family, it became harder for them to tour with the same frequency as they (and their fans) were used to. This fact coupled with the changing musical climate away from their brand of hardcore, causing Good Riddance to ultimately decide to call it a day in 2007, so that they could “walk away from this with a degree of grace and dignity,” instead of just fading away. A trio of California shows over Memorial Day weekend subsequently became the band’s last stands. Remain in Memory: The Final Show was released in March 2008.
In 2012 Rankin, Pabich, Platt, and Sellers announced that the band would be re-forming and performing at the Leeds and Reading festival. They spent the next two years putting together a new studio album, the hard-hitting and topical Peace in Our Time, which was released in 2015. The combustive political climate of 2019 helped make the band’s ninth studio long-player, Thoughts and Prayers, a particularly potent outing. ~ David Cornelius, Rovi