By Mike Briotta
GREATER SPRINGFIELD -- Whether you got tricks or treats in your bag this Halloween, a local musical duo's new CD is offering ear candy for the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in all of us.
Goodchild Badchild's debut "Yo Yo Stranger" is now available, and it's a perfect fit for the season.
The Goodchild Badchild experience includes guitars, raps, laughter, electric violin, car sounds, harmonies and chimes.
Their influences are just as eclectic as their instruments, ranging from Motley Crue and old school rappers to The Beatles. This diverse musical duo is composed of area talents Evan Goodchild and Anthony Danos.
"We started writing these songs when we went to Salem for Halloween 2007," Goodchild recalled. "It's a wild place. There's Jesus freaks, witches, party people, extreme facial prosthetics ... impressive stuff."
He added of his inspiration, "Music is nature; it comes from nature and is part of the universe. I think we have a new sound. These are really positive, fun songs. We're trying to go for something that is uplifting."
The budding musicians first met as East Longmeadow schoolchildren, back in their formative days playing with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys.
"We were in the East Longmeadow schools together," Danos said. "We were on the same bus route. We ran into each other between the ages of 6 and 8. It was always friendly. Evan had a jean jacket with a half ripped-off patch on it. He used to stick Cheetos in there, and so I called him 'Chester.'"
Danos joked of the long-running nickname, "I haven't called him that for a little while. Now that we're talking about it, I'll probably pull that one out of the vault."
Years later, at East Longmeadow High School, the duo traded musical ideas. That was when their worlds of hard rock and laid-back rap first coexisted.
"He was into A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr, I had just started getting into Wu-Tang Clan, but really was coming off my obsession with Motley Crue," Danos recalled. "We collaborated on a couple of things and shared [music recording] software." Both are ELHS graduates from the class of 1999.
Fast forward to their new CD.
The tracks on "Yo Yo Stranger" were written when the two musicians lived near The "X" in Springfield. Goodchild has since moved to Northampton. Danos now splits his time between Western Massachusetts and New York City, where he works as an IT contractor for Warner Music Group. It's not a bad day job for an aspiring music star.
"Usually, I'm here on weekends," Danos said of the Springfield area. "My job is in New York, but up until this year I was mainly doing music. I'm starting to figure out who's who at Warner Music Group and build a rapport with the people there."
To help promote their CD, the pair also attended New York ComicCon this fall.
It's not your typical hot spot for music business public relations, but it gave their tunes exposure to thousands of people. It also helps that they both enjoy comics and graphic novels.
"It's great, anyone can hand stuff out there," Goodchild said. "Plus, we got to meet [animator] Bill Plympton."
Ultimately, though, it's all about creating music for Goodchild Badchild.
"We took on the beast known as rap-rock," Goodchild said. "We hadn't really done that before, to this extent. The songs are pretty varied. We've embraced the idea of crossing genres. Sometimes I call it 'rock-hop' instead of 'rap-rock' but either way it gets the point across."
Staying true to that premise, "Yo Yo Stranger" starts off with a hard-rocking bang, channeling a Motley Crue vibe in the song "Peroxide."
The CD then switches gears to also include the radio-friendly ballad "Fall in Line," and is finally reminiscent of rapper Eminem with the gritty, urban sounds of the closing song "Good Nights on the Road."
Danos is a familiar character to local music fans, as he's also the bass player in the long-running rock group Gaiah, which toured up and down the East Coast and called Club Meadows its home turf.
That band, coincidentally, is gearing up for a reunion performance of sorts in November at Club Meadows after a nearly two-year hiatus from playing shows.
Goodchild also paid his dues in the area music scene, having been a member of experimental hip-hop group The Box Sets and previously with the rap group Church and Statement.
He's now a residential counselor working with adults with disabilities.
He was formerly a group marketing coordinator for Access2Media LLC, a Reminder Publications company. He also regularly volunteers at the East Longmeadow Public Library as a music consultant.
Part of their plan is donating a portion of CD sales to charity. According to Goodchild, 25 percent of their iTunes sales were donated to breast cancer charities in October.
"We just figured, why not?" Goodchild said. "A lot of people steal music anyway, let's face it. And instead of the local CVS asking you for your $1 donation, maybe we can help out this way."
They're trying to raise funds for a video by asking for donations on kickstarter.com."We are trying to raise $1,000 via kickstarter," Goodchild said, "which has proven to be a successful fundraising tool for many grassroots projects. If successful with the fundraiser, we will take the money and make a music video to help further get the word out."
He continued, "Also, there will be incentives for those who donate based on donation amount, such as signed CDs, bonus tracks, etc. We figure sharing the kickstarter info could also be of high interest to readers who want to tackle something but need help with the 'fundage.'"
Fans looking to get in on the ground floor of their popularity are in luck. One fan may get even luckier - Goodchild Badchild is offering a promotion called "Fund the Fans" in which a fortunate fan will get $100 cash from the group once they reach 100 fans on Facebook.
In order to play shows as a full group, Goodchild Badchild is currently looking for fellow musicians on drums, bass and guitar to complement Danos on guitar and Goodchild's vocal and rapping ability.
"We want to get out and have a lot of fun," Danos said of the forthcoming concerts. "When we wrote this music, we wanted to take it to the next level."
He concluded: "We're trying to get involved, to give back to the community. We appreciate the local music industry. It's not just about making money. The majority of the money in the music business is going away anyway. We're just trying to stir the pot a little bit."
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