Chaos and Color: A Portrait of Graham Good

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Posted Sun, Jul 8, 2018

Graham Good: Photo courtesy of band.

I step into the small brewery, blinking from the sun, and as my eyes adjust to the cool darkness of the room, I see him. Graham Good, lead singer and guitarist of Graham Good and the Painters, stands at the bar with his signature grin. Good notices me and waves enthusiastically with eyes twinkling, then runs a hand through his shoulder-length, sandy blond hair. He surprises me with a hug and we order our drinks.

Good emits pure joy and radiance and it’s his mission to share it with the world around him. It’s hard not to get caught up in Good’s dreams, the band’s future, and the better world that he sees through his emphatically rainbow-colored glasses. We cover the usual, like how he got started (playing in a band with some friends from high school) talked a bit about his growing up (“I was kind of a frat kid,” he laughs) and finally, chat about his music.

I ask him an admittedly cliché question, but one that I am honestly curious to know the answer to. What inspires him? “What inspires me?” he repeats. Good pauses for a moment and I can see the wheels turning in his head. “I pull inspiration from a lot of different places,” he says slowly, seemingly trying to find the best way to put the creative chaos in his mind into coherent words. “I think that’s one of the things that God has blessed me with. Sometimes it feels like an unlimited amount of inspiration. There are so many positive aspects of life that I want people to remember and be present in.”

But as his aptly-named song “Inspiration” states (albeit with a much more satisfying funk-bassline than I can portray), “Sometimes you’ve gotta be your own inspiration.” The song evokes images of creative trial and error, of second-guessing yourself but finding the strength within.

“Once I have that first line, the rest of it flows through me. It’s music that I co-create with the universe,” he explains. “Like a channel,” I offer, and he nods enthusiastically.

“And there’s a lot of people out there like that,” he continues. “People like Nahko, Trevor Hall, it seems like they set out to better the world with their lyrics and try to open people’s hearts to the possibility of a more magical reality. And I think when you set out to do something like that, the universe conspires with you.”

“Is that something the rest of your band has in common?” I ask. “Yeah,” he says. “I mean, there’s a lot of times when we’ll get ready for the show and I’ll give everybody a crystal, the seven chakras crystals because we’re a seven-piece band,” he hesitates, then adds, “I haven’t been able to tap into a spiritual energy with one of the members, but they all give off the good vibe that I’m looking for.”

I wonder (out loud) where his spirituality originated. Growing up in Colorado, it’s not uncommon, but flipping through his older pictures provides a timeline of Good’s hair getting longer and his smile getting wider. “Meditation was a practice my uncle suggested, not so much for spiritual purposes, more for being calm and collected and being able to function. I started meditating before shows and I noticed that it put me in a headspace where I was able to keep my cool while everything was going on.”

Graham Good: Photo courtesy of band.

“A reality without magic isn’t one I want,” he states plainly. “It’s so much fun to tap into something bigger than yourself. This is purely what works for me, and I’m seeing great results. Like, my life has never been better,” he chuckles.

And I believe him. His band has changed members a few times, but they’ve consistently gained exposure and play shows at the venues they once frequented as patrons. His favorite is the Moxie (in Greeley, Colorado). “I just revel in how much f***ing fun it is to be a musician on stage, playing my songs and have people listening. I mean, I’ve never seen one [of our shows],” he laughs, “but I hope people walk away uplifted and empowered.”

I switch lanes. I ask about one of their biggest songs, the one their fans know by heart and frequently request at their shows. He knows what I’m asking about as soon as I start the question, but he obliges me anyways, with a note of melancholy in his voice. “Mariah,” he sighs. “It’s a song that I think a lot of people can relate to because a lot of people f*** up and they want that second chance, like just give me one more try, and if it’s good, we can do this.” I wait for the rest of the story.

“I got sucked into the hookup culture in college and I…” he swallows. It’s not an easy topic. “Thinking back, I feel so gross about myself. I got to a point where I was like, this is no longer fulfilling, it’s no longer satisfying.”

He tried again with the namesake of his song, taking her on a date after the summer and explaining how much he cared about her. But it was too late. “It taught me a lesson,” he says earnestly, with the faintest touch of sadness lingering beneath his cheery outward disposition. “You can’t treat people who care about you as just a body. It’s a transferring of energies that is more sacred than we realize. Keeping it sacred is what makes it special.”

“It’s live and learn, right?” he says ruefully.

So what are his plans for the next few years? “Well, I’m quitting my day job,” he explains, brightening up. “Which has been a goal of mine since….well, since I got a day job,” he laughs.

 

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One Response to “Chaos and Color: A Portrait of Graham Good”

  1. Lisa McIntyre Says:

    I love your writing style, Anastasia! Excellent, heartfelt interview and story.

    Reply

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