If you’ve seen ABC Family’s The Lying Game then chances are you’re already familiar with The Good Mad.
The folk trio perform as Strange Worthy on the show with Laurel (Allie Gonino) leading the band. What some people don’t realise is that Strange Worthy is actually The Good Mad and that Allie Gonino, Adam Brooks and Andy Fischer-Price (who also appear in the show) are building quite the reputation for themselves with their superb music.
We caught up with Allie, Adam and Andy to find out more about The Good Mad, talk about the band’s plans for the future and discuss how they came to be on The Lying Game.
How are you all doing today?
Allie: Yeah, we’re just waking up.
Adam: We’re pretty good. We’ve teamed up and we’re making it happen. We’re hanging with the puppies and chilling out. We played a little gig last night at a youth hostel in Hollywood. We didn’t get too hammered so we were able to get up for this.
We appreciate that!
Let’s talk about the beginning of the band. How did The Good Mad start?
Adam: We all played in a band together – an indie rock band – that had seven people in it at one point. That sort of disbanded and people moved away. We just started a folk trio…
Andy: We were the remaining pieces of that band. Because we lost our drummer we were down to being a folk act.
Adam: It was a classic example of ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. Mumford and Sons had just put out Sigh No More and we were edging into that relevance. Not as relevant as it is now obviously. We decided to play folk music because we had a violin, a guitar and a ukulele; just using the instruments we had.
We were first introduced to you guys through the TV show ‘The Lying Game’. In doing our research we know that Allie has a background in pop but the music The Good Mad do is different from the mainstream. Was it always your intention to avoid doing the obvious thing?
Allie: I think we just wanted to do something that was conducive to the instruments that we played. I grew up playing country music and western swing. In The Stunners I didn’t get to play any violin so it was good to get back to playing real live instrumentation and harmonies, which is a big element of our music. Something I’ve always loved doing is having beautiful harmonies on a track so that shaped who we are.
Where did the name come from?
Allie: There’s a book you may have read called On The Road by Jack Kerouac and there’s a quote that says ‘the only ones for me are the mad ones.’ Adam and I were walking across a bridge in Austin and we saw that quote on the side of the bridge and we thought ‘ah that’s so cool’. We had a conversation and I said you can either be mad in a mad way or mad in a good way meaning the good kind of crazy where you use your madness to create something beautiful like music or art. That’s how it came around.
Obviously you’re in ‘The Lying Game’ Allie but how did the whole band end up being in the show?
Allie: The creator of the show Chuck Pratt decided to give my character a music storyline because he knew I was a musician. They were originally going to hire a local Austin band to be my back-up band but I suggested that he had a listen to my band and what we were doing and they really liked the music. Adam then got an audition to play Baz and he got it.
Adam: It was lucky. The right place at the right time!
It’s great exposure for you to be able to perform on such a great show. ‘The Lying Game’ is pretty big in the US isn’t it?
Allie: Surprisingly so. Season two just premiered last week and it was the highest numbers we’ve ever had. We’d been away for a while too so it’s pretty impressive.
Which came first then? ‘The Lying Game’ or the The Good Mad? Or was it a happy collision?
Allie: They kinda happened at the same time. I got the role on The Lying Game about six months prior to the other band disbanding and us becoming The Good Mad. I started filming The Lying Game as we became the band so it all happened at the same time.
Adam: Fortunately what made it possible was that we were writing together already and we had songs together. Even though The Good Mad was in its genesis at the time, the fact that we’d written material together and we were playing together, there was something to put in the show and have it move forward like that. It was a good collision of events as you say.
Andy: It was pretty fortunate that they decided to hire us for the show because we were all set on being a new band. We were writing and gigging, and a couple of months after being together as a band Allie had to move to Austin, Texas and that was not part of the original plan. If we hadn’t got to go out to Austin and film and record we’d probably have a lot less to show for ourselves as a band. That helps us continue.
Adam: A lot of these songs are written during the show in Austin and recorded whilst Allie’s filming trying to play it back the next day for shooting. It was a cool experience.
Allie: They would usually give me 2-3 days’ notice that they needed a song for an episode. We’d have to go and immediately book a studio and record a song in one day, have it mixed and be ready to go for playback during shooting. It was always very quick.
How do you find the time to fit it all in? It’s pretty hardcore to be writing and recording around filming too. Is it hard to juggle them both?
Allie: If I had Alexandra Chando’s job it would be impossible but as I’m not playing two characters it’s definitely a lot easier. Production knows that I have to be available to record as that’s part of my job now; making music for the show. They were really good with the scheduling so I didn’t have to shoot on days that I needed to record.
Tell us about the EP ‘Alta’ which you released before Christmas.
Andy: We met our producer, Phil Swan, through Helen Slater on the show. We had a lunch meeting with him and he said, ‘I want to produce you guys, we should do it in Nashville.’ The reason we got the name Alta is because my aunt is a doctor, and a wonderful woman, and she’s always donated to the sciences but never in her life has she donated to the arts. She felt that helping us get off the ground would be a good way to do that. She funded the entire EP so we named it after her. The whole thing was recorded in Nashville in May. We laid down all the instruments the first day and the vocals the second day. Just two days of recording, that was it.
Allie: We worked with some of the best studio musicians in Nashville that’s why it sounds amazing.
The whole EP sounds fantastic and that’s down to the musicianship of the three of you. Your harmonies are one of the strongest things about you guys…
Allie: The songs are awesome songs…
Adam: Yeah that’s what it’s about. Especially as a folky group, those harmonies embody what we’re doing.
Allie: They’re our trademark.
What’s the plan next then for the music? Will an album be following later in the year?
Allie: We’re actually releasing another EP called Strange Worthy. It’s going to be all the songs we’ve done on The Lying Game. That will come out in the next couple of weeks.
Adam: They’ll all be mastered.
Allie: Yeah. Then we’re just playing gigs when we can and we’re sort of branching out and doing lots of different music projects. These guys have been writing and producing for other people.
Adam: If things go as they seem to be then we’ll be booking more acting roles, and if The Lying Game gets another season we’ll just roll with it. When we’re together we play gigs and our music, when we’re not we play other music.
Have you considered promoting your music outside the US?
Adam: YES! All the time!
Allie: That’s all we want to do but unfortunately we don’t have the money to ship our asses over there (laughs). If Coca Cola or somebody wants to ship us over then we won’t say no…
Adam: I plan on playing music in the UK very soon.
Andy: I don’t know how or in what band but I will be over there rocking and rolling.
Have any of you been to the UK before?
Andy: I came over for a couple of days before. Drinking…
That’s what you have to do over here as it’s always so wet and cold. Go to the pub, drink…
Adam: it sounds correct to be in a pub in England (adopts an English accent) with a pint.
What kind of reaction have you had from fans about your music?
Allie: Pretty positive. We get new fans on Facebook and Twitter every day. After every episode I get comments like ‘The Good Mad are the only reason I watch The Lying Game’, ‘I had no idea you guys were really a band’ and ‘The Good Mad are my new favourite band.’ I personally haven’t read a single negative comment which is pretty impressive.
Adam: Now you’ve said that we’re going to check it out and someone will say ‘The Good Mad sucks!’.
Because you’ve done something unexpected and not gone down the commercial route, which would have been the easy option, people really respect that. Maybe that’s why you’re achieving all this success?
Allie: it’s very important to me to stay authentic. Even if I’m not the best songwriter yet or the best singer yet I’d rather give them my truth now. That way my fans can grow with me. I just like the live vibe. I had fun with The Stunners but I think this is closer to what I want to be doing.
Adam: The band where we all met and played together was indie-rock and was starting to get progressive. The main goal with The Good Mad has been to strip it down and try to write good songs with each other. Like Allie said just have an authentic vibe and write cool songs that make sense.
You’re succeeding so far we reckon…
All: Thank you! YAY!
Do you have any more live shows booked or do you try to fit them in when you have down time?
Andy: We have a live show in a couple of days for a charity that was set up by Charisma (Carpenter)…
Allie: Yeah by Charisma and her close friend Mike Rossi, they’re putting together a charity event called Bands for Beds. They’re raising money to get new beds for children in this orphanage in Uganda. It’s a great cause. We’re also playing our very first music festival.
Adam: We’re playing a festival in Oregon this summer.
Andy: The Willamette Valley Music Festival.
Adam: Just at the University of Oregon campus. That’ll be sweet.
If you can win over a festival crowd you win over any crowd. Then you need to come to the UK and play one of our festivals. UK festivals are hardcore. Our audiences will boo you and throw bottles of wee on the stage if you don’t win them over…
Allie: Hopefully we’ll open some doors and then we can come and play some festivals out there.
Adam: Yeah that’s what I want!
The Good Mad’s EP Alta is available now on iTunes and Spotify. The Lying Game airs in the US every Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC Family. The second season will be coming to the UK later in the year.
You can listen to the Alta EP below: