"My musical history? Oh holy shit," says Cody Googoo, the driving force behind Negative Rage. Sitting on a rock in his backyard, Googoo lists his previous bands: Road Rash, Megalodon, Envision, Word on the Street, Negative Circles, Coming of Age, Grump, Bricks, Concrete Asylum---he might be forgetting a few, but it's been a packed four years of live shows.
"It's a big hobby that takes over my life," says Googoo. "I think it's a compulsion. I always have to be doing something." Consistently, what he's been doing has been playing punk and hardcore music. If he's not playing it, he's consuming it. Stage right at nearly every punk show in the city since 2009, Googoo began Negative Rage for a few reasons---boredom, a desire to have a band that was all his, a way to synthesize a variety of influences. "I really like this kind of stuff," says Googoo, gesturing to the New Order blaring from the stereo. "Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath is a huge one, Devo, garage rock, surf---although I wish I could play my guitar that rad."
"I started that band as a way to get full control of what I wanted to do," says Googoo, although musical collaborator Luke Mumford has always been involved with the project, writing a couple of songs on his second demo tape, Figure It Out, and recording him at his home.
Googoo took the idea of complete control all the way this year, transforming Negative Rage into a one-man band for a short time. It's nothing new to folk artists, but in the punk community, playing solo---with foot-operated drums and guitar in tandem---is a rarity.
"I guess it's a pretty rare thing," says Googoo. "A lot of people don't do that. That's what I do if I'm getting bored---I set goals. I just went down to the basement and tried to sort it out, the next time someone asked me to play a show I said yes, but I wanted to do it that way."
"It's very scary," Googoo says. "All eyes are on you."
A solo performance changes the vibe of a night typically characterized by walls of sound and thrashing bodies into something more vulnerable and raw. Lyrics about death and apathy pack a bigger punch when delivered alone.
"I write songs about pure boredom, or things that get under my skin," says Googoo. "I don't find myself too much of a lyricist, I have so much trouble writing lyrics, my vocabulary isn't really that big. I guess I just try to think about the stupidest thing I can write about, I don't know."
But nothing about Negative Rage translates into stupidity---the band is the spoils of hours of attending basement shows, hours of scouring record stores. Thanks to his life's research, Googoo has an expert understanding of what makes a great punk song. Now playing with a full band again, Googoo will tour Newfoundland with Life Chain at the end of the month, and has interested overseas labels stocking his tapes.
His days are simple: a carpentry job at the crack of dawn, skateboarding and music. "All winter I like to be doing band stuff but I can't be in the basement recording in the summer, it'll drive me up the wall," he says. "I'm sure once winter hits I'm going to write more."
Negative Rage is DIY or die with scrawled drawings and song titles. There are no exhaustive Sonicbids bios, slick websites, ReverbNation pages. Googoo is not interested in the industry, he's interested in being industrious. "I don't know how to write about myself and I don't really care," he says. "When you asked me to do this I was like 'fuuuuck this is going to be the shortest interview ever.'" You'd expect nothing else from a band that put out a debut demo titled Don't Wanna Talk.
It's refreshing and humble. "I always find it weird to get money from a bar show," says Googoo. "I'm always like, 'why? I don't want this. I don't deserve it.' That's why I work, to pay for this stupid hobby that takes up 24/7 of my everyday life."
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