Bring it back

God Bless and Asher Jones take hip-hop RnR to Bob’s

By Christian Roerig

Photo: God Bless and Asher Jones (GB&AJ) will perform July 31 at Blind Bob’s

A few years ago, the future of God Bless and Asher Jones was uncertain. A few years prior, the band quickly jumped out as a stand-out in the Dayton music scene with several years worth of triumphant shows. Just a few years prior to that, Matthew Frasier, a rapper, asked Ryan Jones, a singer, to collaborate. Flash-forward and they’re a full-fledged five-piece band. Flanked by guitarist Jacob Oxley, drummer Marques McConnell and bassist Aaron Reece, it would seem the band is an immovable force of hip-hop-flavored rock and roll with plenty of funk overtones. Despite this, the band went on hiatus in 2012 before deciding to bring their world-class live show back to the fold. We spoke to Frasier to get a bit of insight on the return of the band after a few years hiatus.

Can you explain the group’s history?

Matthew Frasier: Ryan and I grew up in the same city. We became friends in high school, and Ryan played in numerous bands throughout. I had always wanted to rap, but growing up in Beavercreek, there wasn’t much of a hip-hop scene so I’d record songs at home, attempt to freestyle with his bands and I’d rap at parties just for fun. I had recorded this crappy demo in my basement, and one night, I brought it out with me to show a few friends. Ryan hopped in the car with us and after listening asked if I wanted him to do some backing vocals. Soon after, we started working on tracks together, and we haven’t stopped since.

When did you add the full band? 

MF: We had always entertained the idea of playing with a full band, but it never came to fruition. We wanted to elevate our sound to compete with the great talent that was in the Tattooed TV*s Battle of the Bands. We took second place to one of my favorite Dayton bands, By Way of Sunstorm, but it was awesome. We gained a band, we got tattoos and we became a part of this new musical movement happening in Dayton.

If you had to describe the sound of GB&AJ, how would you? 

MF: Adaptive. I don’t believe we truly have a “sound” because we all enjoy so many different styles of music that when we create material, we just go in and whatever feels natural we run with.

Do you feel there is a message in your music, and, if so, what is it? 

MF: Be honest to who you are. I remember when Ryan and I first started GB&AJ, we were trying to break into a very competitive hip-hop scene full of established artists. We were two young kids from the suburbs rapping about suburb stuff, and they didn’t know what to make of us. We grew and perfected our style and played some amazing shows because of it.

The band went on hiatus in what, 2012? Or was it earlier? 

MF: Man, has it been that long ago now?

I can’t recall. Why?

MF: I believe the hiatus was so that you still get to see us play together now. Ryan and I started GB&AJ, and after six years of playing music and six more of friendship, I believe we needed a break from it all (well, at least I needed a break). It wasn’t pretty. I don’t think any of us really saw it coming.

What made it the right time for GB&AJ to get back together? 

MF: We all needed it. In a very short amount of time we gained an enormous amount of admiration for each other. We were playing a show or practicing four days a week, and the camaraderie you get out of an experience like that—that cannot be imitated. I think we all missed just hanging out together and joking around, but also I believe that we wanted to see how far we can go with a newfound focus.

How was the response been since you’ve been back together? 

MF: It’s sort of crazy. We were gone for over a year, and when we announced our return, the response was overwhelming. That first show back was special: We went back to Blind Bob*s, where the band started and abruptly ended. It was a very emotional show. I believe we owed it to all those who supported us, and to each other—to keep playing together.

Are you working on new material? 

MF: We’ve actually been writing quite a lot lately. Maybe a new album is in the works…

What, in your opinion, is a signature song of the band’s and why?

MF: Personally, I would say “Bring It Back.” It’s a very slow, haunting song with a very dramatic change-up halfway through the song, and I believe that showcases everyone in the bands’ talents. It was one of the first songs we wrote together as a full band—maybe that’s why it’s extra special to me.

God Bless and Asher Jones will perform Friday, July 31 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Obelo, Twany Indian and Juxtapoze are also on the bill. Show starts at 9 p.m. and costs $5. For more information, please visit facebook.com/GBandAJ. 

 

Reach DCP freelance writer Christian Roerig at ChristianRoerig@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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