The Iowa Idea: Kenn Goodman
“That one year off turned into the rest of my life.”
In this episode of The Iowa Idea Podcast, I sit down with Kenn Goodman. For the past 30 years, Kenn has been an important part of Chicago’s indie music scene. Known for his bands The Service and The New Duncan Imperials, he formed his independent label Pravda Records in1984; and has played with everyone from Tiny Tim to Eddie Vedder.
We discuss his journey into music and running an independent record label, including his first professional gig, as a high schooler, working for an Elvis impersonator. I was first exposed to Kenn (aka Skipper) in the early ‘90s catching The New Duncan Imperials. Those were can’t miss shows where the band would rip the roof of the joint. I appreciated Kenn talking about the depth of The New Duncan Imperials universe, especially the lengths they’d go to get press in advance of shows during a pre-world wide web era. I appreciated Kenn’s insights regarding the pros and cons of the recording industry over the past few decades.
It was an honor having Kenn on the show. I thank him for sharing his time and insights. I hope you enjoy the episode.
For the past 30 years, Kenn Goodman has been an integral part of Chicago’s indie music scene. Known for his bands The Service and The New Duncan Imperials, he formed his independent label Pravda Records in1984 and has played with everyone from Tiny Tim to Eddie Vedder.
THE IMPERIAL SOUND is a swinging pop band with roots in 1970’s AM radio, Chicago soul, and first-rate songcraft. Kenn Goodman (keyboards) and Rick Mosher (guitars and vocals) have been partners in a variety of musical ventures, from the Chicago-based Pravda Records store and label to the legendary trash-rock trio The New Duncan Imperials, for many years. Their latest incarnation, as the founders of The Imperial Sound, puts them at the center of a group of seasoned musicians with years of experience and a drive for self-reinvention.
Kenn played his first Hammond at 15. He was in the recording studio with his high school band Starfire when he got hooked on the warmth and richness of the Hammond sound. By 17 he’d outgrown Starfire and began touring with an Elvis impersonator band, The Keith Miller Band and TCB. He toured with them throughout the midwest until forming a new wave band BB and The Guns his first year at Northern Illinois University.
It wasn’t until recording The Service’s first full-length album “America’s Newest Hitmakers” in 1986 that he got his hands on another Hammond. He took full advantage of it. In particular, the opening track “Time Was” and “The Trouble Begins” spotlight Kenn’s love for that sound. They recorded their follow up album “George’s Duty-Free Goulash” with Butch Vig at Smart Studios in Madison, WI.
In 1990 members of The Service formed The New Duncan Imperials where Kenn became bassist and keyboardist. New Duncan Imperials recorded 8 albums and toured extensively thru Europe, Canada, and the U.S., and contributed music to beer commercials, television shows, and movie soundtracks.
Kenn currently plays with The Imperial Sound, Expo ’76, The Renaldo Domino Experience, and The Goldstars. He’s the musical director for Renaldo Domino and Motown artist Andre Williams. Kenn also plays the B-3 with soul legend Archie Bell and on countless studio recordings. His catalog of music appears in film, television, and commercials.
Additional music in the episode appears courtesy of Pravda Records, cleared by their CEO, Kenn Goodman.
- The Quarry performed by The Imperial Sound featuring Kathy Ruestow
- Jägermeister performed by The New Duncan Imperials
- Hugs and Handshakes performed by The New Duncan Imperials
The Iowa Idea Podcast music written and performed by Paisley Bible (https://paisleybible.bandcamp.com/).