What the world needs now

Chris Good informs the public through his job and his music

Folk singer Chris Good fires up the crowd during a show at Java Jungle last year.

Folk singer Chris Good fires up the crowd during a show at Java Jungle last year.

Good’s next scheduled performance will be April 19 at the Jot Travis Student Union at the University of Nevada, Reno, in connection with the Campus Green’s Earth Week celebration.

By day, Chris Good is a mild-mannered city employee. But by night, he’s a guitar-wielding protest singer.

The volume of local coverage Good has already accrued in a short time shows how good he is at what he does when he isn’t playing music—he works in the city of Reno’s media relations department.

He’s quick to point out that what he does is not public relations.

“PR is a term used for people trying to sell something,” he says. “I’m more of a public information person, telling people what’s going on.”

Well, whatever. It’s an 8-to-5 job, he says, so he has to make the time where he can for music.

At an impromptu meeting, scheduled at the last minute, Good seemed completely unfazed as he handed me a black folder. Our phone interview had metamorphosed into a face-to-face meeting in less than five minutes, but the communications expert still had enough time to scramble an impressive press kit together, complete with a selection of recent press clippings to read while listening to his self-released CD, Capital Will Kill You.

He tells me to check out the title cut, where the chorus sings that “if you’re not serving wealth, then you best protect yourself, because capital will kill you if you get in their way.”


On his Web site (www.geocities.com/christopherlgood), he lists musical and literary influences. One writer stands out: Karl Marx. The book: Capital.

Apparently a fan once told Good that he, Good, made communism sexy.

Just to play the devil’s advocate for a second: Didn’t that kind of Capital kill a lot of people, too?

Good tells me that his song, “Last Merger,” is about waking up one morning to the news that the last corporate merger has finally taken place, and now everything is on one bill.

“Just watch, there will be another [merger] next week,” Good says.

Among his musical influences, he cites what seems an unlikely model for a folk singer: Frank Sinatra. Well, like the Chairman of the Board sings, “The Best Is Yet to Come.”

And Good prefers doing things his way.

While attending Michigan State University, Good played guitar in a band called 11:55—"as in five minutes ’till twelve,” he explains.

Apparently, they never let it all hang out enough, and have since become like strangers in the night to Good.

“The last I heard, they became Rank Strangers. I haven’t seen them in years.”

Good is still promoting the green after St. Patrick’s Day. He tells me he voted for Ralph Nader, and he provides green-friendly links on his Web page.

Good’s father was a trade association lawyer for the big three auto companies in Detroit.

“When Nader wrote Unsafe at Any Speed, my dad probably thought he was the Antichrist,” Good says.

Good came of rage in the ‘80s, and it shows as he rails against Reagan and quotes Noam Chomsky. Good even once brought Salvadoran refugees to his government class in Detroit to speak.

He also reminds me of the role that music played in that decade.

“Think of Woody Guthrie, and how punk rock was an engine in the same way that fueled protest and helped keep Reagan in check,” he says.

But right now, I can tell that this Sid wants to be with his Nancy. His wife, Ann, has steaks waiting on the barbecue for them at home.

Good wants to support the local infrastructure and encourages locals to buy his CD at local stores instead of from the Internet.

“Buy it from Sheryl [Kleinendorst] at Not Too Shabby. Even if Amazon.com is in Fernley," he says.