If you play 382 shows in one year, you deserve a few perks.
It doesn’t take much for Goldfinger drummer Darrin Pfeiffer to appreciate the good fortune the ska-influenced rock quartet from Santa Monica, Calif., has experienced since their self-titled Mojo Records debut album charted for three and a half months last year.
“Well, I don’t have to pay to get into shows anymore,” Pfeiffer said recently. “I’m pretty much on the guest list wherever I want to be. I get all my drums and cymbals for free now, so I’m pretty happy about that.”
Better still, their fan base has increased with each show. It was bound to happen after touring with No Doubt, 311, Reel Big Fish and the Buzzcocks throughout 1996.
It didn’t start out that way.
“Before, when we first came out,” Pfeiffer said, “we’d play shows out of town and nobody’d be there. Now, we’re playing to sellouts. You couldn’t ask for more.”
Fans will get more with the Sept. 9 release of the group’s second Mojo/Universal album, “Hang-Ups,” which continues to straddle punk, ska, rock and general high jinks first mined on last year’s debut.
Produced by lead singer John Feldmann and Mojo president Jay Rifkin, the album’s energetic romp is solidified by the presence of guest musicians from No Doubt, the Skeletones and Fishbone singer Angelo Moore, who shares vocals with Feldmann on “Carlita” and “I Need to Know.”
Feldmann, Pfeiffer, guitarist Charlie Paulson and bassist Simon Williams also dabble in a variety of instruments, from the Hammond organ to the flauto magico.
Don’t be mistaken, Pfeiffer said, Goldfinger is not leading a ska revival.
“They say we’ve helped bring ska back into the forefront,” he said, “but we weren’t on any mission. Sure, we have some ska songs and we are influenced by ska, but I just don’t think we should get credit for it. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have more to do with that than anyone else; they deserve all the credit.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘You’re the first ska band I’ve ever listened to. You’re the greatest.’ And I’m like, ‘You’ve never listened to the Specials or Madness at all?’ They go, ‘Yeah, I love those bands, but they’re ska?’ It freaks me out.
“I don’t think we’re the best ska band, by any means. I don’t think we’re a ska band at all. We don’t ride around in scooters, we don’t all wear suits. We’re also not a punk band. We don’t all go ‘oy-oy-oy’ and have mohawks. We’re not a reggae band. We don’t have dreadlocks and we don’t get high.
“I don’t know what we can be called. We’re just a band that plays for ourselves and our fans.”
Those fans, Pfeiffer said, mean more to them than anything else.
“After the shows, we let them on the bus and hang out with us,” he said. “We go out eating with them and go bowling or skateboarding with them. I answer all the e-mail personally. It’s all about the fans.
“I’m just trying to keep my head on my shoulders and my feet on the ground and not let any of this go to my head. I’m trying to remain as humble as possible, because all of this could go away at any time, at any minute, so I might as well enjoy it while I can.”
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