TORONTO — Matthew Good knows a good opportunity when he sees it.
And one was staring right at him when a reissue of “Beautiful Midnight,” his band’s 1999 smash album, climbed to the top of the Canadian vinyl chart in January.
Nearly 17 years after its release — and with more than 300,000 copies sold across Canada — there was still a thirst for the Matthew Good Band’s Juno-winning album.
So Good, 45, returned to the studio to reimagine several of his favourite songs, which culminated in the five-track EP “I Miss New Wave: Beautiful Midnight Revisited,” available Dec. 2.
An accompanying tour starts in February with 28 dates at smaller venues than Good usually plays, offering fans a more intimate experience.
“I won’t lie, it was just a promotional thing,” Good says of the new EP.
“If I could be selling fridges that say ‘Beautiful Midnight’ on the side I’d do it. It’s how I make my living.”
Aside from the commercial prospects, Good is stoked to revisit an album that delivered hits like “Load Me Up,” “Strange Days,” “The Future is X-Rated” and “Hello Time Bomb.”
But he’s not pandering to the charts. Rather than choose only hits, Good picked songs he thought could be improved or reworked to reflect “greater maturity” and more technical restraint.
“You’re not buzzing around the board (trying to) make it bigger,” he says. “You have a more temperate outlook. They’ve been dramatically changed but, in my opinion, for the better.”
Highlights include an unsettling version of “I Miss the New Wave” that puts a stronger focus on the guitars and a startlingly different take on “Load Me Up,” which is slowed down so much that it will be unrecognizable to some.
Good especially likes the new version of “Born to Kill,” which he thinks is better than the original.
Coming back to “Beautiful Midnight” after so many years offered a chance to reflect on a painful stretch of time in Good’s life.
As the album was enjoying chart success around the time of its release in September 1999, Good was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a disease that can lead to lung lesions and eye inflammation. He required throat surgery in early 2000.
“That record debuted at No. 1,” he says, “(but) I wasn’t going, ‘Hip-hip hooray.”’
Instead life became more tense, a factor which manifested itself in some of his interviews with U.S. publications the following year.
“I met a wave of American journalists who treated me like I was lucky to be in the room with them,” he remembers.
“You’re a part of one of the biggest renaissances in Canadian music history, at the time, and (I’m) dealing with having this inferiority complex thrust upon me.”
An interview with Seventeen magazine in Manhattan went particularly sour.
“I had two young girls interviewing me who looked like the Stepford Wives,” Good says.
They asked him to reflect on his first kiss, a question that made him snap. Within a few minutes he’d dragged them through the explicit tale of the night his drunken teenage self got hot and heavy with a girl he knew.
Shocked by his candour, the reporters walked out of the interview.
Good says his U.S. record label wasn’t impressed, but it didn’t faze him.
“They’d put you in the room with Good Housekeeping, if they could,” he says.
Even though Good knows his prickly relationship with fame is well documented, he’s proud of his decision to stop chasing popularity in the U.S.
“I’d rather go home to Canada and work where I’ve got the freedom to do what I want to do,” he says.
“As a Canadian musician I didn’t look at my country as some kind of consolation prize.”
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