Paying Dues: An interview with Josh Goldman of The Raging Nathans, Rad Company and Rad Girlfriend Records

Josh Goldman

Dayton, Ohio’s Josh Goldman may be one of the only men navigating pop punk waters in his hometown.  But even if he had hundreds of peers involved in the genre locally, he’d still probably be the hardest working of them.  His deep dedication to the punk ethos finds him fronting too formidable punk outfits (The Raging Nathans and Rad Company), as well as operating a very decent distro and running his own record label, Rad Girlfriend Records (with his rad girlfriend).

Ghettoblaster caught up with Goldman as he prepared to take the Nathans north for this year’s Pouzza Fest in Canada.  This is what he had to say about paying dues, building a network, and putting out records that he loves…
What is it about punk rock that made it a good artistic catalyst for you personally?
It was just the only thing that I was ever good at.  The songs that I write are the only way I know how to write songs.  Everything about it…there’s the music, but then there’s the ethos of doing it yourself.  Nobody has ever done anything for my bands.  We’ve put out all the records ourselves, booked our own tours and shows, and we’ve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff.  We are just trying to put in the hard work, pay our dues and keep at it.  So we are just going to keep doing it.
Is punk one of the only genres that still appreciates paying dues?
I don’t really know.  There is lots of DIY stuff going on that’s not considered punk.  There is a larger market for metal, hardcore and indie rock.  Punk is not dead, but it is a niche.  What’s weird to me is that I play in the pop punk vein, but if you think about crust or street punk I think there is more of a market for that stuff even.  So we are taking a niche and subdividing it even more…
Is it easier to navigate the punk scene now because there are so many decent punk bands in Ohio?
There are a lot of good Ohio punk bands.  We don’t even play other Ohio cities that much.  When we do, we play shows with bands that we’ve been playing with for a long time.  Bands like Tight Bros.  It is nice to play with Ohio bands because they are your friends and they are more available than your friends in places like California or somewhere else.  It gets easier to connect with those other people the more you tour, and running Rad Girlfriend has helped immensely.  I think my band is OK, but if a band comes to Dayton and they stay at my house and have a nice time, even if they don’t like my band, it makes it a lot easier to approach them for a show.  Especially if they have a good time here.  I’ve spent years putting up bands, touring, gathering contacts, making friends with people…
So it is more of a network than a business practice?
For me it is.  A lot of bands that are successful don’t deal with having to book their own shows, they have a booking agent.  I just use the resources available to me.  I would like to be playing bigger shows with bigger bands, but that comes with touring and hard work.  And you have to blow all the other bands out of the water when you play.  If you do a good job maybe someone will take notice and hook you up.
Now Raging Nathans are doing Pouzza Fest right?  How hard is it to balance the two bands?
It hasn’t been hard until recently.  Rad Company has always had trouble holding down a drummer.  So we’ve seen a lot of lineup changes.  But Derek has been in the band since Jared left and he’s also in the Raging Nathans.  So we work well together and know each other.  So right now Raging Nathans is a lot easier band to be in than Rad Company is.  We all get along, a lot of the songs are good, we share the songwriting…We’ve been a band since 2008, but it was always a side project because Rad Company was more important.  So with this trouble with Rad Company my focus has changed to the Raging Nathans.  We put out a 7”, and it is being well received.
With Pouzza Fest there are bands like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, MXPX…huge bands are playing.   I’m sure we are playing a smaller club.  But I got invited to do it because my friend Chris from Prevenge is from Montreal and we helped to put out their 7”.  I got the contact through him.  We are playing on a Sunday at 6:30.  That is what I’m talking about with paying dues…
Playing a major punk fest on a Sunday is better than staying in Dayton with nothing to do…
I’m just stoked that they wanted us to play.  No one really knows us, but I think people know me from Rad Company and the record label.  We got a hotel room for three days and a bunch of my friends are playing like Masked Intruder.  So were going to hang out with our friends in a different country and do a little touring up there and on the way back.  I’m looking forward to playing our first show outside of the U.S.
When does your split with the Tight Bros come out?
At the end of the month.  We also just released three other LPs.  Rad Girlfriend released the What A Nights record.  They’re from Japan.  That was a split release with Drunken Sailor from the UK and Snuffy Smiles from Japan.  I got an e-mail from Julian from the UK and he said one of the guys from Snuff told him that the What A Nights record was one of the best LPs he’s heard in years.  We did the Flamingo 50 Tear It Up LP.  That is one of my favorite records of all time.  A friend put me in touch with them and they said go for it.  I’m super stoked about that record.  Then we did the Tight Bros LP.  It has been available on cassette for a while.  It crushes every other LP this year.  They are just so good.  Those records look really nice too.  All the covers are screen printed.  They are really detailed and awesome.
Do you still get butterflies when you hear a record that destroys it?
Oh yeah.  If I hear something that is that good I usually try to get in on it.  That happened with this band the Ex-boyfriends.  We were in Texas a few years ago and both shows were with them.  They were awesome live and gave us their demo.  They gave us this shitty recording, but the songs on it were just so good.  I called them and said let’s do a 7”.  So they sent me their new recordings and I was blown away.  I was like, “I have to release all of these dudes!”  So we did a split LP with them instead of a 7”.  They have a split coming out at the end of the month with The Capitalist Kids and then we are working on their full-length, Disease, which will be out later this Summer.