“If you’re on tour and you don’t have a Planet Fitness black card, you definitely messed up,” says Goalkeeper drummer Cody Ritchie.
Having a Planet Fitness card does have benefits including the free pizza on Mondays, and working out in a “judgment-free zone,” but for Ritchie, there are greater benefits with this life hack he learned on tour.
“You go to Planet Fitness any time of the night, you can take a shower and use the massage beds. And then you can sit in the parking lot and use the Wi-Fi.”
It’s one of many tour hacks Ritchie has discovered in his years playing music. Another: “You should probably pick the band name out within the first couple days or else it isn’t gonna work out.” Other tour hacks: Always stop and eat at Waffle House if you see one, “because it’s important,” and kill time with new versions of old games: “If I see a Tesla on the road, I punch someone. It’s like the new ‘punchbuggy no punchbacks.'”
The hacks have helped Goalkeeper—rounded out by Marc Juliano (guitar) and Ryan Beebe (vox/bass)—ride through a universally chaotic 2020-21 in good shape. Now the South Jersey pop-punk band will end the year with a bang by playing a show with ’90s emo-rock band Piebald at the Ardmore Music Hall in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 19.
“My default pop-punk is 2010s pop-punk like The Wonder Years, and Ryan and Marc are big into early pop-punk so playing with Piebald will be a huge deal for them,” says the Salem County native Ritchie. “We’re using that as a holiday show as well so expect some Santa hats as well.”
But don’t expect Goalkeeper to play any Christmas songs, as Ritchie kind serves as the band’s version of the Grinch as opposed to Juliano, who is all about Christmas. Do, though, expect to hear some pop-punk songs from all stages of Goalkeeper.
“The first thing we put out was a collection of singles called Gut Feeling,” says Ritchie. “It was a collection of three songs, and people were singing back the lyrics by our third show, and I thought maybe we’re on to something.”
Goalkeeper was indeed on to something, and so in 2018, they released their second EP, Bad Times Don’t Last. It’s one of Ritchie’s favorite records and serves as a marker for the band.
“One of our most popular songs, ‘Sunshine,’ is the first song on that record, and that EP always has a soft spot for getting us to where we are now.”
“Sunshine” was the brainchild of Goalkeeper singer Ryan Beebe, and it turned out to be a success. “It was a gooey love song, and we felt like it could be something cool,” says Ritchie. “The song was natural and something we did in five minutes.
“It’s a love song and I feel like it set it apart from other pop-punk at the time. One thing that we wanted to make a note of was that Goalkeeper was doing something positive.”
The recording process for Bad Times Don’t Last was a different experience for Goalkeeper, but a rewarding one. Instead of going to a local recording studio in South Jersey, the band decided to travel to Kentucky to record.
“We were really young as a band, and we had to decide how serious we wanted to take this,” says Ritchie. “We could have gone to someone local in New Jersey, but Marc had been talking to someone online who produced Hit the Lights, and we had to make a decision before we went out there.”
The EP was produced by Kevin Mahoney of the pop-punk band Hit the Lights, a connection that the young band made at the Four Chord Music Festival in Pittsburgh.
“We played Four Chord Festival the same year that Hit the Lights did, and Kevin came up to us after our show. He was like, ‘Hey, I think you guys have a ton of potential, and I think you guys have something special here.’ He was the first person to give us a shot. We decided to go to Kentucky for two weeks. We sat in there and recorded five songs, and there you have Bad Times Don’t Last.”
Goalkeeper’s latest EP is called Life in Slow Motion which was released last October. For Ritchie, Life in Slow Motion is more of a grown-up EP than Goalkeeper’s previous works.
“I think it’s our best work yet,” says Ritchie about Life in Slow Motion. “It’s a little bit edgier than Bad Times Don’t Last, but it’s a progression. In the first record, we were joking about Wawa sandwiches (Ritchie’s go-to Wawa order is a BLT sandwich on wheat bread with avocado), and now we have a song called ‘Black and Blue,’ which is like an emo anthem.”
In 2021, Goalkeeper released a reimagined version of “Black and Blue.” “The label wanted us to do some acoustic versions of songs, and we felt like ‘Black and Blue’ was the one we wanted to do. It was due to be the next single, and it has a good emo vibe that we felt would transition well. We brought ‘Black and Blue’ into that room with zero expectations of what the end result would be and it was awesome.”
In addition to their upcoming show with Piebald, releasing “Black and Blue,” and playing a show with Bowling for Soup in Atlantic City, Goalkeeper also had a mini-tour this year. They teamed up with fellow South Jersey exurb based band FRND CRCL and played some shows this fall. “We’ve known those guys for a while and we played shows with them before. It was nice to go out on the road with people and know you’re gonna have a good time on tour. Lots of respect for those dudes.”
Goalkeeper will be playing with Piebald on Dec. 19 at Ardmore Music Hall. Ticket information here.