Good Old War Won’t Stop
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 01:03
Quality over quantity is definitely true when it comes to Good Old War. A three-piece band from Pennsylvania, Good Old War manages the sound of a much larger band. Each member takes on multiple roles in the band and they all sing.
Despite being on the minimal side, Good Old War’s sound is anything but humble. Their latest album, Come Back as Rain, proves how three skilled musicians can create endearing songs that feel truly heartfelt.
It comes as no surprise that Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold and Dan Schwartz are good friends. Their collaboration on Come Back as Rain is easily detected in the well-polished and confident songs. The childhood friends of Anthony Green, Good Old War recently backed Green on his Beautiful Things tour earlier this year. After Good Old War finishes its headlining tour, the guys will resume touring with Green for the summer.
The guys of Good Old War, who are constantly hitting the road and continuously tweaking their craft, truly love what they do. Their lives might be tied to the road, but according to drummer, keyboardist, vocalist and accordion player Tim Arnold, there is nothing else they would rather be doing.
The band was in Dallas, Texas, on their way to SXSW when they stopped to chat with College Times about just how much they love what they do.
College Times: You’ve been to SXSW a couple times. How is it?
Tim Arnold: It’s madness. We usually end up leaving there all completely exhausted and in need of naps. It’s a damn good time, and I’m excited about it.
Like many other bands, you tour pretty much nonstop. How do you handle being on the road so much and how has it changed your life?
Well, for obvious reasons it changes your life because you’re gone from home all the time. For me, I’m in my element on the road. I love playing and performing and I think by the end of the tour our chops are also super good. We’re all super tight and I think it helps with our writing style, just being able to play together the whole time. We play songs live and add things here and there, changing the songs a little, and it’s good for us. It might not necessarily be that great on our relationships to be gone all the time but when it comes to music it’s great to be playing all the time.
How was the writing and recording process for Come Back Rain?
It was great. We don’t ever stop writing songs but this time we all had our hands on every single song. It turns out every single song wasn’t just one person’s song. They all ended up being a Good Old War song. We all had our say. We worked on them until we were all completely satisfied and then we went to Omaha, Nebraska, to record and we had our great friend Jason Cup produce the record in a beautiful studio. It took about a month and a half to record and it was really nice to have everything at our disposal. For our last record we kind of did it a house by ourselves, and this time we had the skilled professional and master Jason Cup. I think it was a good thing to do. We made the best thing we could possibly make.
How do your songs translate from the recordings to live on stage?
That’s part of the recording process that we try to do. In the past, people have said, “Oh, you guys are more amped up and energetic live.” So we try to capture that in the studio but I think that inevitably once we bring the songs in front of people we’re excited. So maybe it’s a combination of us being excited and people being there that amps up the songs and makes them more energetic live. It’s more of a party when everyone’s singing along.
You recently toured with Anthony Green as his backing band. How did you meet him and what was it like being on tour with him?
We’ve known Anthony – or Keith and I have known Anthony – since middle school. We all grew up in the same county in Pennsylvania. We were all hanging out and doing stupid stuff that young gentlemen do back in the day. Being on the road with him was just awesome. It was kind of like old friends jamming every night and hanging out every day. We don’t do that so much anymore, so it was a blast.
You’re all really talented singers, have you been singing your entire lives?
Yeah, totally. Whether it was in the car with mom and dad singing along to the oldies stations or [whatever], I think we’re all just naturally inclined to sing. We’re just naturally been inclined to like music. I guess that’s why we’re such good friends.
What do you listen to when you’re on the road?
It really runs the entire gamut. We listen to some podcasts and range from gangster rap to classical music, jazz to, like, anything really – indie rock to bluegrass – literally anything.
You said you love touring, so what’s the key to not considering it a grind?
We try and get at least six to eight hours a night of sleep. That helps. If you wake up and go “Ugh, I’m so tired and I want a day off.” And you’re sound checking and like, “Ugh, oh boy.” But then once you play the show, everything is just great. All of those tired and bad feelings just go away. Every night kind of cleanses the palate once you play a show. It’s almost therapeutic.
How has it been playing this new record live?
It’s really great seeing people’s responses to the new songs. That’s why we do it. We do it for the people. We’ll probably tour all year and then get back in the studio. You don’t ever really want to stop, so we don’t stop.
Good Old War w/Belle Brigade, Family of the Year, Crescent Ballroom, March 22, 7 p.m., $17