INTERVIEW: Actor ADAM GOLDBERG on his musical project THE GOLDBERG SISTERS…and other stuff

I have a crush on Adam Goldberg. He’s the actor guy who has been in about 13 dozen TV shows, and films like Dazed and Confused and Saving Private Ryan. He is also The Hebrew Hammer Shabbat shalom, motherf*ckers – my favourite holiday character/film ever after the Grinch and the Gilda Radner-voiced witch in Witch’s Night Out. He is also a writer and a director and a producer. And an incredibly funny guy with immaculate taste in music.


Oh yeah, he’s also become a superstar on Vine, the choppy-chop six-second mobile video app/platform micro-film thingue that you can find in the closet of your telephone machine. His Vines are made of voodoo. You can see some of them here.

And in case you’re wondering what he’s doing on BackstageRider, he also has a band with his twin sister Celeste. Who looks suspiciously exactly like Adam and has a beard (ie, it’s just him.) They’re called The Goldberg Sisters, but they used to be called LANDy. Whatever, just go with it.

Their new album Stranger’s Morning was just released and is a chill piece of sunshiney 60/70s-Brit-inspired alt-rock that opens with the line “Would you know a good thing if it crawled up your ass?”.

I wanted to know the answer. So I asked him. Here’s my chat with Adam Goldberg.

Hello, Adam Goldberg. I am Mikala Taylor, formerly of Toronto and London and now of Vancouver. What drink can I get you?

O’Douls. I can’t believe you asked me that. After everything I’ve been through, all the progress…wow. Actually, Asahi will be fine.

So, I put 140 characters of my feet into my mouth on Twitter, when I called your latest Goldberg Sisters album your “new joint” when in fact this is album 3. I’m sorry about that, though technically, it is your new joint, right? Are you two excited to have birthed another album? Or does it fill you with angst once it’s out?

Don’t feel bad, Twitter’s founding principal was to share thoughts and genitalia one wished they hadn’t. To contextualize a bit, I’ve been recording for years, since the ’90s, but really only went “public” when I composed music for my second directorial effort, I Love Your Work. Around that time, 2002, I began recording what eventually became my debut record, released under the LANDy moniker. That nomenclature created some marketplace confusion and thusly I  rechristened my musical alter ego The Goldberg Sisters — which has created additional confusion in the marketplace.

Oh sorry, your question. My excitement is measured,  as it generally is – or as I get older it has come to generally be – by the understanding that no matter how it is received I will have to make another record. In other words,  the albums, like many of my projects largely unrelated to my making a living, really have a life of their own and sort of need to be born. Yep, I said it. Less pretentiously, I think of their release as a clearing  of my hard drives. Literally and figuratively making  more space to create more songs, scripts, whatever….So, if anything, it’s a relief measured by what will necessarily be a  disappointing return.

The Goldberg Sisters

Stick with one “band” name.

How does the writing process work between you two? Are you both on the same schedules? Do you fight like most siblings? Was it different this time versus the other albums?

I suppose now is as good a time as any to go public with this. There is no Adam, so there is no trouble. I, Celeste, make the music, direct the movies, take the pictures….Adam is that guy on that thing with that guy. And pays my rent.

1. America: Homecoming
2. Bowie: Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars
3. Bowie: Low
4. Bowie….most of them
5. Paul McCartney: Ram
6. Lennon: Plastic Ono Band
7. Elvis Costello: This Year’s Model
8. Tom Rapp: Familiar Songs
9. Lou Reed: Transformer
10. Big Star….this is absurd, I can’t pick 5


1. Elliot Smith: either/or
2. Guided by Voices: Alien Lanes
3. Sonic Youth: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star
4. Midlake: The Trials of Van Occupanther
5. Flaming Lips: The Soft Bulletin

[BSR note: and he kept going on Twitter, telling me he’d also like to add “Built to Spill/Perfect From Now On; Sebadoh/Bubble and Scrape; Jimmy Scott/All the Way; American Music Club/Mercury”]

What’s your favourite song on the Dazed and Confused soundtrack, by the way, and did you pick up the green vinyl for Record Store Day? I’m going with “Low Rider.”

“Stranglehold”,  but likely I’m  biased because it plays when I’m pacing around the moon tower steeling  myself for the big fight, but also real

ly I dig that song…even though that dude’s a huge tool.

Where does the “slash musician” fit right now in your priorities? Because you don’t just have one slash, you’re, like, a multiple-slash guy with a ton of talents (actor/writer/producer/editor/director/etc.)

Slash has been a big influence. I think of filmmaking as the sort of all encompassing art form. Music a close second.

My friend who used to write for CREEM describes you as “the fucking Jimi Hendriz/Mozart/Jesus of Vine” and while most of us are still really excited at managing to make a glass of beer animatedly disappear over six seconds, you’re creating stuff that boggles. What’s your secret, dude?

I like to think of myself as the Jerry Lewis of Vine as I hold more appeal in France it seems. My secret? OCD.

Would YOU know a good thing if it crawled up your ass? What things are good right now and what are you most excited about?

No. But,  if pressed, I suppose that I’m about to make my third film, No Way Jose, after several years of scrapping scripts and taking stock (i.e., suffering crippling writer’s block).

Could the Goldbergs do me a Vine that in 6 seconds illustrates this? (Extra points if it includes rockhands \m/)

Sure. Here it is…..The cutting was super fast so it’s easy to have missed it. Have another look….

You worked with the Flaming Lips‘ Steven Drozd and Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza. Who else would you like to collaborate with?

Working with Steven was a dream. We first collaborated on my soundtrack for I Love Your Work and then again on a few songs from the LANDy album, at Trent Bell’s studio in Norman, Oklahoma.  There simply aren’t enough superlatives for the guy. And after the week of recording in Norman, and he said, “You know, you’re pretty good” (even after I had know and worked with him by this point for 2 years or something!)  I’m not sure I ever needed another compliment after that.

Aaron is another, just a fantastic producer, musician, engineer. He really helped me make sense of the years’ worth of music that comprised the LANDy album and we worked together from the ground up on The Goldberg Sisters eponymous record.  He really pushed me on that one and taught me a lot so when it came time to make this current record — all in my garage and playing all the instruments — I had a little Aaron in my head the whole time. I know I’m not really answering your question, but so much to say about those guys! Plus my engineer on the current record, Andrew Lynch. Cannot say enough about this guy. He’s a solo artist and musician who worked on past recordings and  in live iterations of my “band, ” and he’s a fantastic engineer. The goal was to go after that ’70s LP sound…in my shitty garage. I think he went a long way to realize that with me. Look this dude up. He’s serious.

What’s next for the slash actor?

Directing myself, er, Adam in No Way Jose.

And finally, if you and Celeste could put anything on your backstage rider, what would it be?

  • Excedrin
  • Ativan
  • Immodium
  • Perrier

…aka a Semetic Speedball ©

Many, many, MANY thanks, Adam. I really dig the new album, and after the Grinch, my mum (the Lutheran) and I (the half-Jew) watch The Hebrew Hammer every year at Christmas.

My (lapsed Catholic) mother thanks you. \m/

Buy a copy of Stranger’s Morning on iTunes here or via or other fine retailers that sell such things.

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