The Kidd is Alright: An Interview with Hooray for Goodbye and Drummer Wendy Kidd

With a blistering rhythm section buoyed by ethereal guitar hooks, Hooray for Goodbye’s lyric-focused rock recalls the best 1980’s suburban high-school dance ever. Since releasing their debut self-titled album in 2009 and appearing on LOGO with the video for their infectious single “Brooklyn Girls,” Hooray for Goodbye has been playing shows in their native New York, often with inspiring lineups of other all-female bands. Tom Tom Magazine chatted with the band about maintaining rhythm – both on- and off-stage – and talked shop with their irrepressible drummer Wendy Kidd.

Tom Tom Magazine: How would you describe Hooray for Goodbye‘s sound? Which bands influence you?

Sora An (guitar, backing vocals): We love spiritual, emotional melodic rock – the stuff from our high-school days. Our influences are emotion-driven bands like the Cure, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins. I just like the simplicity of it.

Wendy Kidd (drums): Our sound is evolving because we’re writing new music with a more sonic quality/ethereal quality. We’re opening up the sound. Sora’s guitar playing is bringing that out.

Genny Slag (lead vocals): I never think about what we sound like, because I’m so in it. I’m always kind of surprised at what people say when they give me feedback. I don’t have a lot of perspective.

Wendy: With Sora doing backup vocals, there are harmonies going on, but it’s going in a direction where the music gets pretty hard-sounding. Someone at a show once came up to me and said we sounded like the female Nirvana. Genny’s vocals, though, are very melodic so it’s a cool contrast.

Genny: Marz brings the hip factor, the edginess. If [what we’re working on] is just mundane, she’ll be the real judge. If the rest of us are thinking, “yeah, this is great!” she’ll say “uh, no.”

Marz Mikeo (bass): I don’t want the music to be too commercial, too sugary-sweet. I’m all for happy music, but I don’t want it to be all about love. I need more than that.

Genny: I love Dinosaur Jr., which most people would think is a noise band, but I really love the lyric-driven rock aspect. Ultimately we can call our influences a million different names, but it’s just basically great rock n’ roll.

Tom Tom: All four of you seem to get along so well. What’s the secret to having a happy relationships with your band mates?

Wendy: Marz is definitely the stable one, the anchor of the band. All bass players tend to hold down the fort. The rest of us are all pretty ADD. Half the time we’ll be talking about twelve different things at once, and Marz will just be listening until she finally intercedes and gets us all back in line.

Sora: They’re good people, and I love the fact that almost everybody here is sober. That’s important to me.

Marz: We have therapy sessions together, seriously. We talk it out and then we hug it out.

Genny: We’re in group therapy together; it’s called our band. [laughs]

Marz: We just all have a tremendous amount of love and respect for each other, which conquers all the other craziness.

Sora: There’s a great chemistry and connection where words, most of the time, aren’t even necessary. We sense what everyone else is doing.

Marz: When we started playing out, we knew we had great chemistry on stage. Once you have that, you can work through off-stage stuff.

Genny: With a bunch of girls in the band, I’ll  be honest with you, it’s way easier with guys. Guys just go down the path a little easier.

Marz: Guy have problems too, though. We’re just super-sensitive to everything.

Genny: Marz is the dude of this band. It’s totally true.

Wendy: But I’ve been in other all-girl bands, and I don’t even feel like this is an all-girl band. I feel like I’m just in the best band I’ve ever been in.

Video “Brooklyn Girls” featured on LOGO and Here TV

Tom Tom: You played the Rocker’s Delight benefit show on March 13 to help end violence against women. How did you get involved?

Genny: We’re good friends with Sarah Greenwood of GSX and she put the festival together. Early on she asked us if we wanted to be part of it and we were completely receptive. I couldn’t be more happy about playing for such an awesome cause. And not only that, the lineup is amazing, it’s the kind of show that even if we weren’t playing we’d want to be at that show. I was thrilled to play this show.

Tom Tom: Looking past the show, what do you have planned?

Genny: We’re going to a diner, maybe get some pancakes – [laughter].

Marz: We’re going to be writing some new songs – we’ve already written a few. I’ve got the recording on an iPhone. We’ll also be playing locally in the tri-state area and working on our next album. We have big plans.

Video “The Best Revenge”. Genny is playing drums on the recordings because Wendy  hadn’t joined the band yet.

Tom Tom: Wendy, let’s talk about your drums.

Wendy: I’m endorsed by GMS Drums and have two of their drum kits. I also have a vintage Ludwig kit from the ’70s. With this band, I tend to mix it up and use both GMS kits. But because our sound is getting so heavy, I’m going to concentrate on using my tangerine sparkle GMS kit. I have a 22×18-inch kick drum that sounds like a cannon. GMS, by far, makes the best kick drums ever created. They’re amazing. I have many different snare drums. The snare drum is usually where your signature sound comes from, based on how you hit the drum, whether you hit on the rim, how the drum is tuned. I’ve been using the Stu Copeland Signature snare drum by TAMA which I really love a lot. It’s bright and it really cuts through – as Stu Copeland says, “It really cuts through the din.” It’s just a fantastic drum and I’ve been using it a lot. Of course, I also have GMS snares and two vintage Ludwig supraphonic snare drums. One is a 5-inch and one is a 6.5-inch. For cymbals, I have some Paistes, Zildjians and Sabians. I like to mix it up. I have some old Zildjian 15-inch high-hats that I’ve been playing on recently, which are really cool.

Tom Tom: Who have you studied with?

Wendy: I’ve studied with two main teachers. Paula Spiro, who runs the Female Drummers Workshop is an amazing teacher; I can’t recommend her highly enough. She teaches everyone from beginners to very advanced players. The other is Rob Draghi, who’s a friend and a fantastic drummer who plays in a ton of local bands. I’ve also learned a lot just by listening to Led Zeppelin records.

Tom Tom: Who are your influences and drum idols?

Wendy: John Bonham is number one, for sure. For the type of drumming I’m doing in this band, I love Clem Burke, Stu Copeland and Martin Chambers – I try to incorporate some of their style. I love Samanatha Maloney, she kicks ass. I love Melissa Yorke from the Butchies. I love Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins. And Tre Cool from Green Day. I don’t like Blink 182’s music very much, but Travis Barker is amazing.

Tom Tom: What about John Bonham do you like? What has he taught you?

Wendy: He’s pretty much the god of rock drumming. He completely plays for the song, he doesn’t overplay, he’s completely rock-solid. His foot is lightning-fast. He would incorporate really creative stuff that you wouldn’t necessarily expect, like in the first song from Led Zeppelin I, “Good Times Bad Times.” He does these sixteenth-note triplets that are just completely insane. It makes the song, and he does them all throughout the song. Sometimes it’s for the groove, and sometimes it becomes a fill in the song. It makes the whole song what it is. The way Bonham would hit the drums and the way he made the drums sound is so distinctive and instantly recognizable. He totally plays with his wrist, and he’s not flailing his arms around. I play better when I’m wrist-oriented. It’s like martial arts: you could kill someone with a turn of your wrist if you knew how to do it – and with the drums, you can hit the drum many different ways to get your point across.

Hooray for Goodbye is on Facebook.

Exclusive Tom Tom Magazine interview by Kat Long

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