Alex Goodwin: Playing guitar goes from one generation to the next

Age: 22
Year at CHC: Fifth-year senior
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Eugene

Alex Goodwin remembers the first time he had his hands on a guitar. He was eight years old and was smashing one on the front stoop of his house with his dad, who had spiked his hair into a bright red mohawk. He’s been hooked ever since. These days, Goodwin is a skilled guitarist who plays for a local band. But for him, it’s not just a hobby. It started out as something to do with friends. It developed into a way to bring connections to his life.

The history: “My dad…loved Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana and that culture of destroying a guitar as a statement against elitism in the music industry. I’ve always been consuming that style of music, like rock music and now punk music and hardcore music with political messages. I think I’m somebody who’s the product of their environment a lot of the time, so I feel like surrounding myself with people like that is what naturally led me to that place. Playing guitar is an extension of myself, like writing or drawing. It’s the most important way that I process my emotions and trauma and memories and joy and life events. I just feel like I need it to fully reckon with all the things that go on in my life, because it helps things make sense.”

Favorite moment playing the guitar: “The show that we played at the WOW Hall recently was one of my favorite shows we’ve ever played. I felt like I really got to have control over the lighting…We started the show with fog and I was alone on stage with a single light on me, looping my guitar into a single atmospheric wall of sound. And then, one by one, the other band members would come on stage and the lights would grow.”

How it helps with school: “It’s a necessary distraction that feels more productive than other forms of distraction. I’m in a different world while I’m playing, which feels very necessary at times in college.”

- Story and photo by Ilka Sankari, Clark Honors College Communications

Alex Goodwin with guitar.