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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Are You Naked? This is about Good Old War.

Despite the enigmatic nature of this title, I can’t reveal to you whether or not these words were actually uttered during my conversation with Dan Schwartz from Good Old War the other day, but I can tell you that this conversation will only confirm the charming lust you may have already felt for this band.

(Keith and Tim dominating.

Thank you, Natalie Escobedo, for these incredible pics. See more here)

To preface: I have been hoping to have Good Old War’s “Coney Island” as my life theme music for some time now. Still, I did my best to head into this show and this conversation without bias---despite how difficult that may be. The first thing you’ll probably notice about Good Old War when you step foot into one of their shows is their intangible and remarkable energy. Now, this may be exuding from the sexual energy of most of the girls in the crowd, but it’s definitely resonating from the stage too as the trio bops around during the folk pop gems like “Window,” “Looking For Shelter,” and, well, pretty much any song they play live. The three lovely gentleman (Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold, and Dan Schwartz) of Good Old War are grateful, excited, and genuinely enthused to be playing the music they love. The band, having only been together for about two and a half years, has two full-length albums (The Only Way to Be Alone and Good Old War—which dropped in June), and an EP with Cast Spells. Tim and Keith were previously in the band Days Away, and Schwartz, wanting a bit more collaboration in his band, started Good Old War---pseudo birthed from his old band, Unlikely Cowboy--. (As far as I’m concerned, this name has something to do with Schwartz’ childhood affinity for dressing up in costume and singing in front of his mirror).

(Good Old War. Seriously. Go check out the full sized versions of these pics)

The paradoxical simplicity of Good Old War is easily what makes them so unique. They pair devastating lyrics with bright, sunny melodies, and they mix universal lyrics with focused harmonies and distinctive guitar parts. Sometimes it’s just surprising when you realize it’s only three adorable guys with acoustic guitars.

At their shows, it’s captivating to watch the three standing linearly and singing almost incessantly in pretty flawless three part harmony. Three acoustic guitars, one half drum set, three gorgeous voices, and the happiest sad songwriting: that’s all it takes. If you’re not too distracted by their lengthy hair and soothing voices, you’ll certainly be distracted by the single electric guitar placed strategically in front of Schwartz so that he lean over his acoustic to play lead whenever need be. In regards to band favorites, Schwartz adamantly claims that he doesn’t dislike a single song the band plays ( I tried, I really tried to pry out anything negative). “Sincerely,” he told me, “I like them all. I love our band,” and in regards to his current favorite? “Right now, I love to play ‘Window.” [Note to the reader: if you’re hoping to have any influence on Good Old War set lists, keep in mind that Schwartz really does enjoy ‘Window’ right now].

(Schwartz-man- tearing it up in Chicago)

Besides ‘Window,’ and the rest of Good Old War songs, Schwartz has an undeniable obsession with Paul Simon (it’s borderline inappropriate—“I would probably do him,” he says), and he’s flattered and radiates childlike excitement about the band’s recent success and future endeavors. Not only do they have an upcoming trip to London, tours with Joshua Radin and Dr. Dog (of whom Schwartz is a “ginormous fan”), but there is also a super huge announcement and exciting endeavor that the whole world will find out about very shortly. Schwartz tells me in regards to their success thus far: “I’ve actually got everything I ever wanted.”

Only thirty years old and he has everything he’s ever wanted? Could be worse. In case you’re wondering if I’ve made up most of the aforementioned information about Good old War and Dan Scwhartz, let’s get into the really good details.

First. Schwartz claims that if he were on a desert island, he’d want his mother, Bear Grylls, and Xena the Warrior Princess with him. Resourceful. On the same desert island, though, he’d prefer to feast on Nickelback before Keisha and Justin Bieber. While I think that has to do an undying love for Keisha—he protests.

And when he’s inevitably on death row? He’ll be lusting after a sushi platter, a pina colada, Paul Simon’s “Proof,” and the ever-elusive and always-obvious Natalie Portman.

(Not biased? This picture is amazing. Natalie Escobedo, Natalie Escobedo)


On some of his favorite tour buddies? Yukon Blonde. According to Schwartz, these talented Canadians not only have an amazing band, but they also ended up being some of their best friends. #bestfriendsforever

Good Old War is one of those bands that works hard, loves what they do, and is sincerely excited and humbled with their success—its not only evident throughout their show and how they interact with fans—but through the way they talk about their band. If you hadn’t heard of them before reading this, and if you aren’t convinced they’re about to blow up—just wait. You’ll be kicking yourself in about a month.

Oh. And he’d rather name his hypothetical child Bullitt instead of Gator. But that could be because the fiercely loyal vegetarian had eaten Gator that day. A day in the life of a rock star. #thatssomedream

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