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Tim Arnold: “It’s an Incredible Feeling to be on the Same Wave Length as so Many Other People.”

August 2, 2017


It’s been a minute since the original trio of Good Old War played a show together in Philadelphia.

On Thursday at World Cafe Live, Tim Arnold will perform with Keith Goodwin and Dan Schwartz for the first time in Philly since Tim left the band in 2014 to start a family in Georgia and deal with health issues.

Now that he’s back, the band is in massive creation mode. They have three EPs ready to drop, with the first due out on September 1.

We caught up with Tim and learned about the new music the band is making and how he has worked through his personal issues.

You’re back with the band?

Yes sir, it’s official.

You never really left, right? You were still touring with them, even while being in Georgia for a while.

It was pretty bad before I went down to Georgia and then I tried to clean up my shit. I had a child and I was really trying to figure things out. So, it was on and off. It was never like I was seriously back in the band. It was like a trial run. I’d go on tour and then come back home and act a fool again.

Eventually, it was time. I went into drug treatment. They did a couple of tours without me while I learned how to be a human being.

Now, we’re back in it. It’s been a while now. I’ve proven to them that I can be a sober person.

I feel like a new man. I think we’re all feeling that kind of surge of energy.

Is that represented in the new music you guys are creating?

I definitely think so, yeah.


How is the new music different from when you guys started nearly a decade ago?

It’s the same structure to begin with. We have acoustic guitar and three vocalists. That’s the same.

But I think there’s definitely a lot more to write about now. Our chops are really up. And I think we’re just really having a lot of fun.

That’s not to say we weren’t having fun before but it’s different. Our sound is still Good Old War but there’s been sort of an awakening almost.

The difficulties you went through, are they a part of the music you guys are creating now?

Definitely. I think it’s been a part of the last couple records. It’s veiled in different ways. Now, it’s a clear scenario. Everything is more transparent. I’m not lying about doing dope anymore.

How long were you going through these difficulties?

Dude. The whole time. It’s been a while. It got really bad towards the end though. That’s why I had to drop it.

How long have you been clean now?

Almost two years.

What does life for Tim Arnold look like now?

I have a three-year old. That’s what it looks like. I’m just a single dad living in the burbs, playing in a band. It’s simple and that’s kind of how I need it to be right now.

In the immediate perspective, it’s not so simple. But if I step back, I see that I’m just taking care of my daughter and making music. That’s it.

What about life with the band? How often are you together?

Every day. We practice every day, at least Monday through Friday at the very least. It’s like a real job.

Do you have any fear about going on the road and running into temptation again?

No. They were actually big proponents of me getting clean. They don’t really mess around on the road. I’m pretty lucky to have that kind of support in a situation like that. I’m being held accountable and they’re not really in my face.

Has the music scene here changed since you guys got started?

A lot of the bands that were coming up just as we were getting started are still around. They’re still playing. But there are a lot of new bands, going through a lot of the stuff we went through. It’s hard for me to say. I’m not too involved. I’m living in the burbs and kind of focusing on myself right now, as selfish as that sounds.

But there are a lot of people making really good music now and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. It’s a pretty diverse city and music is a big part of it.

That Americana, folky sound seems to be in favor now and you guys have been doing it for almost 10 years.

Yeah. We started it.

I’m kidding!

It’s cool. I know Satellite Hearts, Levee Drivers and The Lawsuits. They’re awesome.

That Americana sound is in favor now but it was on the rise when we were coming up, which was good inspiration and motivation.


What do you look forward to about being on the road again?

You know, chicks and stuff.

Ha, JK!

I look forward to just playing all the time, that vibe from playing in front of people. It’s totally being in the moment. It’s very present. It’s almost like meditating. You’re just doing what you’re doing at exactly that moment and so is everybody else. It’s an incredible feeling to be on the same wave length as so many other people, especially the people you are creating the sound with.

It’s live. You’re taking risks. You could suck and you could play the most amazing show of your life. Either way, it’s fun and every night is different.

It’s what I’ve loved to do for such a long time. I think now it’s going to be less about getting fucked up and more about just being awesome. It’s going to be really cool.

The World Café show is one of the last on the summer tour. Is it special to come back and play in Philly?

It is. And I love the World Café. That place sounds glorious. Everyone there is super chill. I’m glad we’re playing there. It’s going to be really sweet. I haven’t played a real Philly show in a while.

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