What started as a few late night demos and a stint at SXSW has turned into a three-piece band with a faithful indie following. Philadelphia’s own Good Old War has been on the road, producing and writing harmony laden and story driven songs that will capture your heart.
Their third album, the curiously named Come Back As Rain, drops next week. We caught up with the band’s drummer Tim Arnold during a rehearsal to find out about life on the road and the new album.
Blitz Weekly: We saw that your tour schedule is pretty packed. How are you guys holding up?
Tim: We’re doing alright. We’re actually rehearsing right now. It’s good. We like to stay busy, and work is good.
BW: Your new single “Can’t Go Home” has a sense of isolation in the lyrics. Was that born out of time spent on the road?
Tim: Yeah I think a lot of it was. You know, this record is about being gone and how it affects your life back home. We’re actually gone most of the year, and we try to write about what we know.
BW: And what do you guys keep in your survival kit while travelling around the country?
Tim: Cell phones are crucial. IPods. Uhm…I like drinking beer. [laughter] But not too much beer. You know we try to make sure we eat alright. We like to go Whole Foods and get good food instead of fast food all the time. We try to stay healthy on the road. Healthy and Happy!
BW: Sounds good. We wanted to say congratulations on your new album release. Tell us about the title Come Back As Rain.
Tim: Yeah, that’s actually a line from a song that we were writing. It didn’t actually make it to the record, we figured we’d use it. It’s about a new thing, and I think this record is a new approach that’s not really too different, but it’s fresh. More fresh than our last album definitely. We were trying a different style and tried to see what happened.
BW: Well on your last few albums we really enjoyed songs like “Tell Me,” “My Own Sinking Ship” and “I Should Go.” How have you guys evolved as artists and pushed your work forward with this new album?
Tim: Thank you, well we actually wrote together a lot on this record. It was really a collaborative thing writing wise. You know, two people can come in with an idea and instead of telling you, “Okay, let’s write a song, let’s lay it down,” we kinda took the songs and everyone had their way with them. We worked structure, chord changes and everything. So with each person it becomes a collaborative Good Old War song to them rather than belonging to the original writer. I think that pushes it along a lot because there’s just more brains and ideas on each song.
BW: That’s cool, because we’ve noticed how you’ve managed the concept of a 60’s type folk harmony to a very modern place. But who were the band’s initial influences?
Tim: There’s a ton of influences. They’re mainly vocal influences, like the Beatles had a lot to do with it. A lot of bluegrass stuff like how Stanley Brothers build harmonies. You know and just the oldies. We like vocal groups and doo-wop groups. We try to keep them in the back of our minds, while we make our own sound that feels modern.
BW: The collaboration between you three really seems to be working. If you guys could pick any dream artist to work with, who would it be?
Tim: I think someone like Paul Simon would be fun to work with. Who else? I think there are a lot of dead people I’d like to work with. I don’t know, it’d be cool to jam with anybody. It’d be cool to work a producer who mostly does hip-hop tracks. Just put ourselves out there.
BW: We’ll be waiting for the Good Old War hip-hop album! Also, I have to mention your merch. You guys have some of the coolest and stylish merchandise I’ve seen from a band in a while. Who designs for you?
Tim: We use a bunch of people, but the main guy is Sam Means from Hello Merch, and you’re right he is really awesome. I love his work so we stick with him.
BW: Well everything looks Great. We’ll be looking forward to see you all and the cool merch table at the House of Blues in Dallas on March 13th. Thanks for spending time with us.
Tim: My pleasure and we’ll see you there!
Catch Tim and the other members of Good Old War at the Dallas House of Blues or earlier that night at 6 p.m. for a free in store performance at Good Records.