An Interview With Good Old War Playing The Entry On 3/8

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On March 8th, the Philadelphia trio Good Old War will be co-headlining the 7th Street Entry with Justin Nozuka. A few tickets are still available HERE.

 

The band just released part two of a three part EP series. Part two is called “Part of You”.  I had to chance to talk with band member Tim Arnold. He was gracious enough to respond with a great depth as I asked about the current tour, historic venues and future endeavors.

Cameron Campbell – TCM: How is the tour going?

Tim Arnold: Tour is going well! It is moving very quickly.  It took a week for us to make it all the way across the country so we are covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time.  Burning rubber.

TCM: The date before you hit the 7th Street Entry you are playing the Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO. That venue was originally built in 1922. What does it mean to you that you get to play in these incredibly historic and iconic places, and does it have a different feel from a newer more updated venue?

TA: I love playing old venues.  In the smaller clubs that hosted rock events for years there’s a layer of smoke and sweat and booze etc. that covers the walls and floors and perhaps this insulates the sound and the vibe.  It kind of feels cozy and raw and a safe bet for a good show. It definitely has a different feel than the newer places but I think part of touring is being able to flex and be malleable in different environments.  David Byrne’s book about music talks about how entire genres of music are shaped by the rooms that held the players and its pretty fun to kind of put on different hats so to speak and inhabit a genre even though your sound may be wildly different than what the space created in the first place.  Playing in an opera house can bring out your voices and playing in a basement can bring out the drums, playing in a space like the Bluebird kind of feels round to me and it can have a nice all-encompassing feel specifically advantageous for a band like us.

TCM: You are 2/3 of the way through a series of EPs that flow together. The most recent EP “Part of You” just dropped. Where did the idea or influence come from to release these songs in three parts?

TA: The idea came about as a result of the state and speed of music consumption currently happening.  New music is coming at you so fast that you have a week maybe even a few days to let people know before it gets moved aside for other new releases.  I’m not salty about the speed at which music comes at you because I indulge and enjoy new stuff all the time. It just is how it is. We staggered the releases to essentially have new stuff coming out throughout the year instead one release a year.

TCM: “That Feeling” features also Pennsylvanian native “Anthony Green”. What does it mean to have someone like that on the project with you?

TA: It means the world.  He is family and we love him dearly and have known him forever, and he really helped us when we were starting out and has been a constant supporter ever since.  We would have him do every record with us but if you know Anthony you know the man is crazy busy not only with music but with his ever expanding tribe of Green boys.  So, the fact that he made time for us is a special thing and we are so grateful to have talent like that want to collaborate. He is always welcome at the Good Old War table.

TCM: How is part 3 sounding? When can we expect it?

 

TA: Part 3 is shaping up real fine, we are putting the finishing touches on the demos so the writing is basically done.  Then we get into the studio and make it happen like pros and it materializes into something more beautiful than we could’ve imagined. We want the last one to be the grand finale and really end well.    Should drop in the summer sometime.

TCM: You have toured with many different big names such as Brandi Carlile, Dr. Dog and Josh Ritter. How have those experience shaped the band?

TA: Those experiences were like going to school.  Not only did we get to watch incredible musicians knock it out of the park on a nightly basis, we got to hang out with them and talk to them and learn how to be a band and how to treat people on the road.  It taught us respect, gratitude and humility. We are truly blessed to have been able to share the stage with every single one of the bands we’ve toured with and there have been quite a few. We talk a lot about how lucky we’ve been, even (if not especially) with bands we’ve taken on tour.  We always get along and we always respect each other’s craft.

TCM: You are on tour with Justin Nozuka. How does it feel to have a performer of that caliber on the bill with you every night?

TA: We feel honored, humbled and grateful. Same as above, again we have the privilege of touring with unbelievable talents.  We are lucky dudes.

TCM: You guys have a very unique sound where you can infuse this pop sensibility into the classic folk sound. Is there anybody you looked up to growing up to create these sounds? Or is there anybody today that is influencing you heavily?

TA: I think we all grew up with classic rock junkies for dads so as a unit we can all draw from that and we also grew up in the nineties which I think influences our sound big time.  The Beatles, Crosby stills and Nash, the kinks, the zombies, the eagles. Big harmonizers with simple arrangements with simple chord changes and curveballs thrown in here and there to mix it up.  We all have different things we pull from too, Dan has his guitar heroes in Zeppelin and Pearl Jam and Keith loved Sunny Day Real Estate and Bjork growing up and I kind of tend to lean on the freakish end of things with a heavy Zappa upbringing and things like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher were all I listened to in high school.  So, throw all that together in a pot with the unavoidable yet beloved doo wop oldies, the Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens icons and you have Good Old War. It’s honestly something that we tend not to think about whilst writing it just kind of happens and maybe we can see the faces of our heroes in the song when it’s done. The goal is to bury those influences so deep that it creates a new, unique sound.

TCM: Since we are talking about influences, the Twin Cities is a hot bed of fantastic music. Whether it was someone as large as Prince or a classic punk band like The Replacements, or a hip-hop group like Atmosphere, did anything from Cities influence you?

TA: The subject of influence gets brought up a lot and I like to think that literally everything we have ever heard has impacted us in some way shape or form.  It could be a thing where it’s like “I never want to write a song like that” but that in and of itself is an influence. So, we can thank every artist we ever laid ears on for guiding us to the point we are at today.  But to answer your question I’d say Prince impacted us the most in terms of artists from the Twin Cities, which is probably pretty common as he is Prince for crying out loud. The man was a true freak and an even truer legend.

TCM: Is there anything in the Twin Cities you are excited to see or go to?

TA: I’m excited to see the smiling beautiful faces of the people of Minneapolis.  I want to look into their eyes and tell them all I love them and am glad they are alive and singing with us and to thank them.

TCM: Obviously, Part 3 is coming out soon, but is there anything else in the books that we should be looking out for?

TA: We plan to stay out on the road so check back in for new dates to be announced soon.

TCM: Finally, is there anything else you would like people to know?

TA: I’d like people to know that not only are we having fun out there but it really does mean a lot to us that people still come and see us play.  We don’t take it for granted and are eternally grateful. Gratitude is the name of the game and we have it coming out our ears because of the people that come out and support and sing along and enjoy themselves at our shows.  Making people happy is the best and when you give us the opportunity to do that you are giving us life. What could be more beautiful than life?

TCM: Thank you for your time, we look forward to seeing you at the 7th Street Entry.

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