Goof - Ahmed Amer Elsayed

  • 8th December 2021
  • Online
  • Phinky
  • DIY

Punk has always been the music of the hopeful. While it’s coated in anger and aggression, its devotees just want to make a better world. And that’s the central question of San Francisco band Goof‘s latest single, Rickey Spence. In a world system so inherently and obviously broken, how do we help? Rickey Spence and its accompanying video offer a challenge to an American audience. When thinking about the message of this song, front man Ahmed Amer Elsayed recalls, “People in America ironically like to say ‘silence is violence.’ Well America, I came back from the Middle East to scream at you and say ‘fuck you!’ You’ve been silent and extremely violent in more ways than one and it’s time to stop and instead help each other.” And Richard Spencer, a figurehead of the alt-right movement, is the target of Elsayed’s rage in this song. 

Since forming in early 2019, Goof has quickly rolled onto the Bay Area music scene on nothing but charm and their own ambition. They found themselves opening for punk legends Agent Orange and The Avengers and playing iconic Bay Area venues like Slim’s (RIP) and 924 Gilman before even having a practice space to call their home. Their debut album, Kill ‘Em All, sees them coming out of the underground swinging. It chronicles a period of time during singer Ahmed Amer Elsayed‘s journey from Egypt to San Francisco and his pursuit to create art and achieve happiness. Close friend Taylor Martin was brought in to handle drum duties bringing with her a metal influence and a level of drumming rarely heard in punk music.

And there’s not a more appropriate example of America’s bloated, racist, childish sense of its own self-worth. Elsayed sings, “Why he won’t let it go / I don’t know / Why is little Rikkki Spence being mean to brown friends / Why is little Rikkki Spence getting knocked out again!”. In the video, Elsayed delivers an urgent, howling vocal performance over footage of violence both on American soil and worldwide. The music captures the blind, senseless chaos and violence of war, with its angular guitar and pounding drums. Rickey Spence is a call to action. Its a call to make the world a better place. Its a challenge to avoid the easy, brutish pull of xenophobia and help to ensure the immigrants and refugees feel at home among us. It’s a push towards a better tomorrow. 

Q&A with Ahmed Amer Elsayed

What was the process like to compile the footage for the video with producer Dan Stormberg?

The process wasn’t hard for me because I knew most of the issues and situations I wanted to show in the video. So it was just a matter of time and patience. The biggest challenge was not getting angry or emotional at the fact that even though all of this footage of problems from around the world exists, nothing has really changed. Honestly it’s stupid but that is the exact point I’m trying to make with this song and video. Wake up dummies and stop this stupid hate cause we’re starting to look like children.

You’ve managed to find some success in the Bay Area punk scene. Has that changed your perspective on the music Goof makes?

No it hasn’t. We’ve found success because we are a small part of an amazing Punk and DIY music community here in the Bay Area that looks out for each other. The music comes from a real place of experience, emotional depth and letting your feelings in the moment guide you to write a song which people can relate to in their own life. That will never change. What keeps it fresh is the fact that it is topical and fitting for the time. Each album can still feel and sound like Goof but center around the issues and feelings of the time it is written in.

How do you see punk as a vehicle for social change? 

Punk has always been a vehicle for social change. If you’re not trying to get involved and do your small part to make things better for everyone then you’re failing and you’re not a real punk. Benevolent enterprise is the way to go no matter what it is you’re doing. Don’t be selfish and start helping each other or nothing will change.

Does the spirit of “Rickey Spence” fit in with the rest of the songs on Kill ‘Em All? 

Rickey Spence is about how racism at this point is just stupid and a racist should be treated like a child who’s been put in a corner. Children change so why can’t they? It’s time for racism to die and that’s why the song is on Kill ‘Em All. The songs on the album are about killing either the negative things about me or everyone else.

What is next for Goof?

Bigger and crazier shows, more music and more community events. We started an account on Instagram called GoofTV (or GTV) geared towards promoting the Bay Area local punk and music community. Check that out because there is a lot of cool stuff happening. Oh and we are releasing a comic book next year so be on the lookout for that! For now though we have vinyl available via our Bandcamp which Ryan our bassist ships out of his apartment. 

Kill ‘Em All is available on vinyl and digital formats via Bandcamp