Band; for a long time the band was just Dina Predisik and Gene
Whitright, a loud acoustic duo, and was known simply as Poverty Level, after the label they both own – est: 1988. There was some confusion between the band and the label when they began having other artists on the label.
A song written by the Duo, “I think I’ll get drunk” (performed
once, never recorded), had the line in it “I’m a good little citizen . .
.”. When the idea for changing the band name came around, they thought,
“Good Citizen would be good, it has the proletarian vibe we like.” The
next day, in their driveway (in Willmore City) **Editor’s Note: Willmore City is Long Beach’s Original Name**, they found a piece of trash deposited by one of the local kids proclaiming “My Child is a Good
Citizen” with none of the blanks filled in. It was an omen.
Label: Imagine squeezing the very last bit out of a tube of toothpaste,
knowing you can’t afford anymore. That was the vision my roommate, an artist, had in 1982 – and thought it would be a great name for an album.
We named the record label after that thought, and he designed the logo,
which actually won some art award that I know nothing about. signed,
Also – we do Irish Pub music for kicks and for cash. It’s loud, brash,
politically incorrect and a helluva lot of fun.
2) What’s your Musical Style/Concept/Intent?
We write the songs that we hear. The style is pop – but not Britney-Gaga
pop. GC writes in the vein of Elvis Costello, the Soft Boys (Robyn
Hitchcock), Stan Ridgway (Wall of Voodoo), stuff that isn’t quite popular but has a populist quality. With hope, the songs are catchy, the lyrics entertaining and thought-provoking, and one will go away humming at least one tune.
Styles can range from straight-up old country to jazz, and everything
in-between. They recently heard it described as Louis Prima meets Elvis Costello. Though, according to the band, Costello’s songs are way
over-written. “We’re far more concise,” says Dina Predisik. **Editor’s Note: “Ha!!!!!!!! Go Dina!**
Intent: We write, we play. It’s what we do. We have no intentions other than to continue to record, continue to write, and play until our hands can’t anymore.
3) Who’s in your band/organization, and what other bands/groups do they play in/belong to, if any??
Gene Whitright: Bass, Banjo, Dulcimer, Lead Vocals (most of the time),
Dina Predisik: Guitar, Accordian, Backup vocals and sometimes lead vocals,
Carrie Barrios: Saxophone, Tin whistle, Backup vocals
John Feijoo: Drums, Backup vocals
4) What do you think of the Arts/Music Scene in Long Beach? What would you do to improve it?
LB has a great art/music scene. The best thing to do to improve it is to
keep the City out of it. When they attempted to “create” the East side
arts scene, what they did, in effect, was destroy it. An arts and music
scene is an organic enterprise. Once politicians, however
well-intentioned – get involved, it’s downhill from there. Always has
been, always will be. I understand laws re: noise etc. – it’s a bad idea
to put a rock club next to housing (although, they didn’t seem to care
about that with the “formulation” of Pine avenue – those would be prime
spots to live without all the other S*&#). Keep the politicians out of
artistic development and one is headed in the right direction.
5) How long have you been together?
The core, Dina and Gene, together 26 years – Playing and writing. The
Band, about 5. On this note let me also say (Citizen Gene Here) it is not
easy to put a band together and after 20 years one is tentative about
putting ANYBODY together. This is, without a doubt, and by consensus, the best band Dina and Gene have ever had together.
6) Do you have any material/literature/picture galleries available for
If you want vinyl, we got it. Back in the ’80’s Gene and Dina had a band
called “The Pumps.” Limited vinyl available with an email to
7) How can people follow your music/events?
8) What’s your favorite venue to play/use in Long Beach? Why?
Puka Bar. They have the best people running the music-side of things.
It’s very encouraging and reminds Gene and Dina of the Music community in San Jose. It was possibly the most supportive music community in California – very nurturing, yet honest about what does, and doesn’t work in a certain room. We miss Casa Vino down on Pine – that was a great house and very comfortable. As far as the “rock clubs” go, Alex’s, Prospector, etc. Gene and Dina both know that rock is young person’s game. Knock yourselves out. It’s a goddamned shame, though, that a good rock band – maybe not so loud, maybe not so impatient – can’t play those clubs.
Auld Dubliner – kick ass for the Irish stuff. Would love to play Clancy’s.
9) Who are your influences?
Kurt Weill; Cheap Trick; Earth, Wind and Fire; Marvin Gaye; Robyn
Hitchock; Elvis Cotello; the Jam; Niel Young; The Kingston Trio; Rosemary
Clooney; Johnny Cash; The Carter Family; X; XTC; Jimi Hendrix; The Clancy
Brothers; Pogues; Richard Thompson; countless, countless others.
10) Who, besides yourselves, do you think are Talents/Organizations in
Long Beach, that Deserve Wider Recognition in Long Beach?
Michele Rene – a helluva talent that just gets ignored.
MBT – probably the best jazz/blues/funk band in the area WHO SHOULD BE DOING NOTHING BUT THEIR OWN MUSIC. **Editor’s Note: “I hear you loud and clear, Gene!**
Paper City – Come on, it’s my niece. They’re great and have a definitive
sound. And frankly, let’s face it. I love everybody that’s trying, seriously trying, to make music, be it bad or good. At least try.
Filled out by Citizen Gene, 8/15/2010
Ed. Note: Interested in a Q and A for LBPP??
Hit us up!
Editor’s Note: **We want people in Long Beach, and surrounding areas to know how rich our city is, in Talent and Personality…Not only do our artists PLAY their butts off, they’re First Rate Cut Ups–Gene of Good Citizen has a sign on his Upright Bass: Weapon of Mass Destruction…**[adrotate banner=”4″]