Vocals/Adapted Slide Guitar (February 1979-September 1983)
Photo by Bill Sosin
As a young girl, Barbie Goodrich was quite shy, timid, and introverted, only occasionally performing little play-like skits for her family. It wasn’t until high school that she seemed to come out of her shell, and she began singing in the choir and performing for school theatrical productions. She also became a pom-pom girl in high school, a skill which came in quite handy later in her Skafish years when she’d magnificently thrash the air with pom-poms on the song “Joan Fan Club.”
After high school, Barbie attended the local Calumet College of St. Joseph from 1971-1972. There she appeared in several more productions, including “Cabaret” and “West Side Story.” She also taught acting to children at a summer workshop in Wisconsin during this period.
Barbie had three other younger sisters, Marie, (who sang back-up on the 2nd Skafish LP “Conversation”), Linette, and the youngest, Kiki—all beautiful and talented themselves. Barbie, already a model, decided to form a modeling group with her sisters called Living Dolls. From 1974-1976, the quartet of sisters worked in the Chicago area.
In mid 1974, the sisters met Skafish through a friend of theirs, a female singer that Skafish was accompanying on piano. Barbie and Skafish became friends, which led to him to play piano for the vocal group Barbie had formed with her sisters. The group was first called The Nymphonics, then later, simply The Goodrich Sisters. In 1975, when Skafish was playing keyboards for the 2nd White Lightnin’ LP, Barbie, along with sisters Marie and Kiki, sang back up on those never released sessions.
By the time Skafish formed his own band in January 1976, Barbie was planning her 1977 move to Los Angeles. When she returned to the Chicago area in mid 1978, she and Skafish resumed their friendship. When his group went through a line-up change in January of 1979, Barbie joined the outfit and just a few months later was voicing the “Introduction” to the 1st LP, where she so coyly said, “Hi, I’m Barbie. C’mon right in.”
While she was great in the studio, Barbie was at her most magnificent performing live. Goodrich relished and savored every single opportunity to get in front of an audience. Never giving a mediocre performance, she always pushed herself beyond conventional limits, especially when audiences responded violently to the act. Truly years ahead of her time as a performer, she foreshadowed the classically feminine and sexually brazen sensibilities of Madonna, mixed with the tacky cutesy Americana vibe of the Go-Go’s. In fact, after her years with Skafish, she auditioned to play bass for the Go-Go’s in November 1984.
Unfortunately, Goodrich’s life took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1986. She valiantly fought to survive, even going into remission, but ultimately Barbie Goodrich passed away on June 10, 1995. Skafish, in tribute to his former performing partner, sang an a cappella version of “Guardian Angel” from the 1st LP at her wake.
For more info on Barbie, additional photos, and quotes from those who knew and worked with her, click here to get to the Barbie Goodrich memorial page.
All photographs copyright by the respective photographers