Two classic Technics 1200 turntables spin in unison, an outstretched arm reaches for the fader. Behind the large shadowy silhouette of a tightly braided natural, looms the twisted irony of the colorful, enigmatic, and now iconic “sun” from Sublime’s 40 oz To Freedom encapsulated within the frame of an RIAA certified multi-platinum record award. The strategic touch of a colossal hand scratches the grooves of vintage 180 gram vinyl over a jazzy rendition Gershwin’s standard “Summertime”, carefully selected from the classic LP- Herbie Mann’s 1961 -Live at the Village Vanguard.
Standing from within a vortex of recording equipment, towers and chests of old album crates, racks of analog mic pre-amps from Rupert Neve, peppered with multi colored Crayola kids drawings, amidst the titanium glare of compression units endorsed by the credible Avalon brand, the menacing 6’2’’ frame of one Ras MG, proudly yields a man steeped in his craft, his family, and a lifetime of music and spiritual dedication. The longstanding drummer, DJ, and producer’s “Dojo” has the feel of home……. a temple manifested in transcending the lines of sound somewhere within suburban myth and urban integrity.
Born in Chicago in 1971, during the transitional period from the good vibes of the summer of love to the chaos of Altamont, Marshall Goodman became a product of the 80’s, absorbing both the indie Punk Rock ethos of D.C. Hardcore vanguards Bad Brains and Fugazi, while at the same time being inspired by the forefathers of Hip Hop–Afrika Bambaata and the Soul Sonic Force, Run-DMC, UTFO, and The Knights of the Turntables. After circumstances moved his family out west to Cali, and more specifically to Long Beach, California, a young collegiate Goodman encounters the frontman of future local legends Sublime, Bradley Nowell in 1990. Goodman is asked to play drums for Sublime, whose success at the time was relegated to “everyones favorite backyard party band,” and the house music for Cal State Long Beach’s on campus beer pub – “The Nugget.” After a short run of regional touring in a van conversion, and as the studio drummer on 90% of Sublime’s first subversive masterpiece, the genre-defying, and now double platinum 40 oz. To Freedom, Goodman, a well-schooled pupil, decides to take a leave of absence to pursue the route of a diploma in Business Administration, and to get a start on having a family. Sublime toils in underground obscurity for a few years…..and suddenly things change.
It’s 1995, “Date Rape” (a track Goodman plays the drums on) is in heavy rotation at So. Cal FM radio powerhouse KROQ…two years after its initial release! Sublime is co-headlining the very first Warped Tour with drummer Bud Gaugh back on skins, and the band is signed to a recording contract with Gasoline Alley/MCA Records, a division of corporate behemoth, Universal Music. With funding in hand to cut a new album, Bradley Nowell reaches back out to an old friend in hopes of some extended creativity in the studio, and to further the concept of fusing Reggae, Hip-Hop, punk Rock, and Dub……. That old friend is Ras MG, and as the future hit collaboration “Doin Time” echoes amidst the chorus of that familiar Herbie Mann “Summertime” sample…….
“Bradley’s on the microphone w/ Ras MG.
All the people in the dance will agree
That we are qualified to represent the LBC”…
“I had an arsenal of beats I had constructed over the years and when Brad hit me up for the Sublime eponymous album, I gave him a bunch of tracks I had saved up from previous sessions. I later went with the band to Texas during their recording sessions with Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers) at Willie Nelson’s Arlyn recording studio at the Pedernales ranch in Texas…”
Flash forward to 1998….Sublime is no longer touring due to the untimely overdose of Goodman’s friend and architect of Sublime, Brad Nowell. The remaining members, including Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson, decide to continue on by forming the Long Beach Dub Allstars. “Ras MG” or “Field Marshall” as Goodman is often called, is invited to tour as a live turntablist, as well as sharing drumming duties with Bud. The three become the leaders of the new band and take to a blistering set of live Sublime offerings amongst some new compositions to a now large contingent of fans savoring for a simple taste of the music they loved from the band of the LBC’s merriest prankster visionaries.
Goodman and Michael “Miguel” Happoldt (founder of Skunk Records and producer of 40 oz To Freedom) become the studio gurus surrounding the output of Long Beach Dub Allstars two Dreamworks SKG albums -1998 ‘s Right Back, and 2001’s Wonders of the World (eerily released on 9/11/2001), the latter featuring a performance by will.iam on the track “Sunny Hours”, and a beautifully produced Goodman cut featuring Jamaican music legend Half Pint. Subsequently, LB Dub breaks up shortly after the collapse of the Twin Towers and the tour supporting the release of Wonders Of The World.
In 2003, after a brief stint touring and recording with both Slightly Stoopid and Jesse Moss, the prolific and progressive Marshall Goodman enlists a group of seasoned musicians from local ska outfit Hepcat, combines them with a few of the Dub Allstars players (the ones still hungry to make a go at refining the roots sound of dub and reggae music in a popular platform) and Dubcat is formed. This band incorporated the legendary King Tubby alum, and Jamaican dub maestro Hopeton “Scientist” Brown behind the mixing console. Goodman’s Dubcat has a bountiful, but short-lived existence due to the unsuspecting and woeful passing of fluid bassist David Fuentes (R.I.P), and its back to the drawing board for Goodman, the consummate producer and live musician, whose skill set enables a bright future in production, live drums, and turntable art.
In 2007, Ras MG formed Rickshaw with fellow producer and live guitarist Miguel (Sublime/LBDA), Jon Tomlinson(Economic Food Chain Music Group), Aaron Owens (Hepcat/Dubcat), and Ed Kampwirth (Suburban Rhythm) along with a revolving door of available guest musicians, as an in studio and live backing ensemble that can play a variety of styles from Hip-Hop and Rock to live Dub. These guys were spotted November 21, 2008 supporting Slightly Stoopid in Northern California this time with veritable LBC cohorts and Skunk Records latest Toko Tasi and Philleano in effect as the MC’s!!
In 2008, while in the studio, Goodman (RAS MG) and his sometimes creative collaborator Miguel were debating about the state of the music industry when the phone rang.
It was the manager of multi-platinum Pop/Punk pin ups, and tabloid superstars Joel and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte. It happens the band is looking for a fresh twist from the formulaic, yet hit laden, approach of their popular catalogue for a remix album ……seems Hollywood knows who to call for Long Beach’s finest flavor this side of Snoop Dogg ….and in early 2009 the remix for “Broken Hearts Parade” appears on Good Charlotte’s Greatest Remixes album and on trendy celebrity dance floors everywhere!!
With his eyes and ears on the future, and his spectacles now reflecting the aqua hues of a suburban swimming pool outside the window of his studio, Marshall contemplates the past few years of raising his beautiful children. His eldest son, now a promising young percussion student, and his youngest, who at barely 4 takes hold of some stray Vic Firth 3a nylon drumsticks and pounds an admissible 4/4 groove on the vacant stool behind his fathers custom Yamaha 5 piece…… who knows, maybe one day Marshall’s talented kin will work their way down the coast and start a garage band with the late Bradley Nowell’s son Jakob, who apparently is taking to several musical instruments…… well, they wouldn’t have any problem finding anyone to produce their album, would they!! Until then its back to those endless stacks of vinyl searching for the next perfect beat or stand-out song to transcend pop-culture, and with a tight new band(Element 115), a Ras MG merchandising company on the way, and a group of young musicians looking to tap into the cutting edge sound of a generation…… it safe to say that the Sublime style’s still straight from Long Beach.