Good English has all their sisters indeed
By: Gary Spencer
Music making as a bloodsport in Dayton is nothing new. Relatives making music together is a generational story from the days of Roger and Zapp to Guided By Voices and everywhere between and beyond. Dayton band Good English adds a unique wrinkle to the typical Gem City brothers in arms story – brothers in arms, in fact, would be incorrect in this instance, given that the core of Good English is a family of sisters. Celia (bass), Elizabeth (vocals/guitar/keyboards) and Leslie Rasmussen (drums/vocals) decided that the family that rocks together stays together. Ever since the girls started taking music lessons during their elementary school days, the Rasmussens knew they’d end up rocking together. Now their pop-rock combo Good English is on the cusp of being the talk of the town with their first full-length, Radio Wires, ready for consumption for the listening public in Dayton and beyond. I thought the band would be ready for some press to their fans both local and beyond, and here’s what they had to say…
So what are the pros and cons of being in a band with your sisters? Was it just a natural thing for you all to form and play in a band?
Some pros would be that we are very comfortable around each other, so we are not afraid to tell each other what we really think. We are able to get a lot of writing done quickly because of this. We also have a very similar mindset, being sisters. We are able to come to agreements very easily, especially when making decisions for the band as a whole. I can’t really think of any cons at the moment. Everything we do is made easier by the fact that we are sisters, so I think we are very lucky! – Celia Rasmussen
Some people might think of your band as a novelty, being an all girl band. Do you consider yourselves a “girl band” in any shape or form? What do you think about such categorization or stereotyping of girls in bands and such?
I think we consider ourselves just a band, first and foremost. It’s definitely fun being an all-girl band because it is so unique and it catches people’s attention. We’ve had so many people talk to us after shows and admit that when they saw us get on stage they were hesitant, but once we started playing they were pleasantly surprised. I think that element of surprise is pretty fun. Our image is also not that of a “band,” so I think it makes people even more intrigued to see what we’re like. So many bands have followed a formula for how they look and act and we’ve just tried to stick to who we are and let the music deliver the message. It seems like every new band that pops up today has one girl in it and she usually just sings, so it’s also really fun to be three girls that play all the instruments and sing. –Elizabeth Rasmussen
Who has been influential to Good English’s sound or style of music?
We grew up listening to R.E.M., Talking Heads, John Prine, Natalie Merchant, Hootie and the Blowfish. And today we listen to My Morning Jacket, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire, M. Ward, The Black Keys … the list goes on and on. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific few bands who have influenced us because our music is a representation of all the bands and types of music we listen to. We also don’t have a very specific genre, or sound, so it’s hard to label us as similar to any kind of band. – ER
Tell me about your new album, Radio Wires.
We recorded Radio Wires in January 2013 over two weekends, about five days total. We made the trip to Nashville, Tennessee to record at Reel Love Recording Co., where it was produced and mixed by Patrick Himes. [He] helped us a lot in producing the songs, as he provided a fourth ear for extra guitar parts. Take Control was the first album we had recorded, and it was quite the learning experience. For Radio Wires, we knew what to expect coming to Patrick, and that was very beneficial towards making our limited amount of time worth it. -CR
Radio Wires is unique because there are so many different sounds on it. We have simple rock songs, melodic acoustic songs, ambient/dreamy songs and fun sing-alongs. I think this album is a good representation of us as a band and showcases the multiple “sounds” we have. Each song is completely different from the one before it, yet they all go together perfectly. -ER
What can audiences who’ve never seen Good English play before expect from your live show?
Our live shows are very fun, but not overwhelming. We usually play most of our upbeat, “rocking” songs for live shows, so the music is very energetic. But audience members can sit back and take in the music, or they can come up to the front and dance. It’s a fun atmosphere where people of all ages can enjoy the music! -ER
Good English will celebrate the release of Radio Wires on Saturday, Aug. 24 at Blind Bobs, 430 E. Fifth Street. Admission is $5 at the door. For more information please visit goodenglishband.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.