John Gold

In Interview on August 17, 2010 at 3:38 am

       I met him in downtown, and we sat at a bus stop to conduct the interview. About 5 minutes in, a security guard said that we were loitering and could not stay there if we weren’t waiting for a bus. So, we re-located to the steps of a building that its side was being reconstructed. These security guards apparently didn’t mind.

       “I am a firm believer in what’s meant to happen will definitely happen,” says John Gold as we discuss his beginnings with music. When asked about how he got started, he told me to guess. I guessed his grandfather, since he mentioned he was named after him. He said, “Nooo- a girl broke my heart.” As he said that he held his hands in a heart shape and split it in half. He was homeschooled until 8th grade because of some medical problems as a child, then when he entered public school he was how you say, socially awkward. After 8 months of liking a girl his sophomore year and finding out his love was unrequited, it hit him hard and he became depressed. Though, it ultimately led to him writing his first meaningful song. He now, after 2 years has 65 songs. His second album is now half-way done.
       “Every song on Brand New’s Deja Entendu spoke so much” to him. His first attempts at writing and playing were modeled after Brand New, but as he became influenced by more artists like Bright eyes, Elliot Smith, and Deer in the headlights his own style developed. He also has a cousin who is a folk singer that doesn’t share his songs with many people, and his lyrics got Gold thinking. “I’m not sure how much to tell you. Be selective if I tell you the whole story, because it gets pretty out there at some points,” he said a third of the way through the interview session.

       When asked his thoughts on music in Tampa, he replied with, “Tampa has too much hardcore. There should be more of everything.” I asked like what. “More rap. I rap. Did you know that?” He used to ask kids at his school to freestyle him but no one ever took him up. I asked him to give me a sample. He hit his hand and wrist on his guitar case for a beat and pulled the hood on his jacket up over his face and his mouth was the only thing visible. The song was “Mastadons”, which can now be heard on his MySpace. It was serious but ridiculously catchy. It contained lyrics like, “you look like a model girl, so keep up the good work”, “intelligence and kindness will never ever sell”, and “a 6 figure income becomes a broken home”. He’s loved rap since Snoop Dogg’s “Drop it like it’s hot”. He really enjoyed the clicking noise, which also led him to teach himself how to beat box while he was driving to a show of his.

       When I started to photograph of him, he got quite fidgety and said, “I don’t know what face to make!” He added that he doesn’t usually look into the camera because he still slightly feels that his soul is being taken. He is still in high school, and finally graduates in May. Even though his parents have strongly cautioned him that it isn’t a good idea, he plans to travel around the United States for a year, bouncing from state to state. He thinks there are too many people that he knows around here and that he relies on his music to make friends. He wants to make friends using only his personality. Gold hopes to sign to an in-between label; “one that’s indie enough to give him freedom with his music but major enough to push him to do things.” If and when he gets signed, he plans to get a tattoo of a swirly ying-yang-esque symbol that he has always drawn and represents music to him on his wrist.

       As we made our way around the Kress building in downtown, we stopped to look at the artwork on the wall. One of the pictures was a painting of a music store with multiple album covers. Gold accidentally flung the pen he was holding backwards when he became outraged that a Hummer had been placed behind the Beatles on Abbey road. Soon after, he pointed to a Jimi Hendrix album cover, and said that he would never do drugs but he wishes he could see things like that. Out of curiosity, I asked him what it was about drugs that made him uneasy. His reply was that “they open doors in your mind and can control you.” For someone that mentioned control twice in a short period of time, it’s ironic because it doesn’t seem as if Mr. Gold couldn’t ever be controlled. He’s a bit of a nervous person, but not naïve. It isn’t his way.


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