The ByGods

The By Gods blast ‘simple, catchy, loud’ at Peach’s, Blind Bob’s

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: The By Gods teleport Blind Bob’s to the ’90s on March 24 and Peach’s Grill on March 25; photos: Bradley Spitzer

Sometimes a band stands out by being exceedingly technical and of such accomplishment and talent that every song is a masterpiece. Other bands make names for themselves by being masterful in their simplicity and just writing awesome songs. Nashville’s The By Gods fall into the latter category. If you close your eyes when you listen to their most recent offering, last year’s Phone Calls EP, you’d swear you had been teleported into a ’90s college rock anthem. Some of the band’s earlier efforts bring to mind The Replacements and, of all things, The Smithereens, which is quite a welcome homage.

“We didn’t come up in that scene, really,” says guitarist/singer George Pauley. “We were too young to go to shows at the time. My brother was really big into the Sub Pop bands and, like most younger brothers, I liked whatever he liked. [Drummer Tye Hammonds] and I moved to Nashville for college and played in separate projects. After those bands split up, we decided we just wanted to play simple, straightforward rock songs. So, I guess the ’90s thing is what naturally came of that, because it’s the music we loved growing up—simple, short, catchy, and loud.”

It’s using that timeless formula—simple, short, catchy, and loud—that The By Gods capture everything that can be great about guitar rock. The band will bring their little bits of catchy bliss to the Miami Valley this weekend, with shows at Blind Bob’s and Peach’s Grill. Both shows are with Mad Anthony.

Pauley tells us that the band never would have met Mad Anthony if not for another Nashville act.

“We played Springwater in Nashville with Hurts To Laugh and Mad Anthony, and it was a blast,” Pauley says. “It was our first time seeing or hearing both bands. I remember thinking how Mad Anthony had such a huge sound for a band with no bass player.”

It was at that show that The By Gods met Mad Anthony producer Mike Purcell, who would eventually record the Phone Calls EP.

“It wasn’t until we started recording with Mike that we got to be really good buds with Mad Anthony,” Pauley says. “Those guys do what bands are supposed to do—work. They tour constantly and are always churning out new songs. It’s awesome. They are awesome!”

The By Gods got the opportunity to record their upcoming third album with legendary musician and producer Alex Newport, well known for his work engineering important records by At the Drive-In, The Mars Volta, Bloc Party, and many others.

“Working with Alex was very different than what we were used to. Normally, we’d just go in and cut an album over a weekend,” Pauley explains. “This time, we rehearsed with him for about a week and we experimented with different tempos, key changes, arrangements, etc. It was great and made the tracking process go very smooth. He knew exactly the direction we wanted to go.”

Still, working with Newport was not without its challenges.

“The most challenging thing on this record was probably the vocals. He wanted me to sing very different than I normally do, and he was very patient working with me while I kind of re-found my voice in the studio,” Pauley recalls. “It’s a subtle difference, but it really shows on the record how much better my voice sounds.”

In a scene like Nashville’s, where there are tons of bands all playing shows every night of the week, it can be tough for a band to get noticed and attract fans. Pauley says The By Gods are grateful for the friends they’ve found in other bands.

“Nashville has a lot of bands,” Pauley says. “There are a ton of great bands and even more shitty bands… [There’s] an awesome punk scene and a cool garage rock scene. At first, there didn’t seem to be a middle ground for bands like us. But then we met Tom Pappas Collection, The Lees Of Memory, Hurts To Laugh, Sad Baxter, Tower Defense, Jacob Disedare, Fur On Fur… the list goes on and on. There are all these great rock bands here, and we’re happy to be a part of the scene.”

The By Gods say they’re excited to play the Gem City again.

“We played Blind Bob’s once before about a year ago while on tour with some buds of ours. It was a lot of fun. Hopefully, we’ll have a bit more time to hang out this time,” says Pauley, adding, “and maybe run into Kim Deal. I think [bassist Natalie Pauley] would pass out if that happened.”

 

The By Gods play Friday, March 24 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District and Saturday, March 25 at Peach’s Grill, 104 Xenia Ave. in Yellow Springs. Doors at 8 p.m. Mad Anthony is also on the bill. Admission is $5 for patrons 21 and up at Blind Bob’s. For more information, please visit TheByGods.com.

 

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Josher Lumpkin
Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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