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| 3 October 2023 | Reply

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – @toddstarphoto

According to a recent press release: “For the past two decades, Go Betty Go have emphatically established themselves as one of punk rock’s most exciting forces. A gloriously rough-and-tumble sound with melodic aggression, they bring a rich and engaging energy, loaded with lush atmosphere and, at times, an underlying sense of foreboding. Formed in 2000, in the suburbs of Glendale, California, they entered the LA scene when they were all teens. Go Betty Go is driven by Betty Cisneros’ big, roaring guitar, singer Nicolette Vilar’s soulful, siren call and the momentous urgency of Michelle Rangel’s bass and Aixa Vilar’s tumultuous drumming. They continued to plow in full force, playing cross-country festivals and venues alike. But like the rest of the world, the band halted and canceled all touring in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2022, Go Betty Go was hit yet again with their most difficult challenge to date. As the band prepared to enter the studio and record their next album, Betty was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. The news was hard, but it brought them closer than ever. They worked around Betty’s grueling doctor visits, chemotherapy, and surgeries, and when she was having her better days, they managed to squeeze out their latest studio recording Black and Blue. The name refers to the difficult and bruised circumstances that the band has dealt with and will be out in early 2024 via LA-based indie label Wiretap Records. The first single “Keep Up,” arrives on all streaming platforms on Friday September 22nd.” We get singer Nicolette to discuss new music and much more…

Toddstar: Nicolette, thank you so much for taking the time out. I appreciate it.

Nicolette: Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, we’re stoked to be promoting this new song.

Toddstar: Absolutely. I’m actually running through it once again here as we speak. Great. What can you tell us about the track “Keep Up” that your fans might not grab the first or second time they listen through.

Nicolette: I think they’ll grab it as soon as they get it. It’s pretty obvious. We are very hard, intense songwriters and this is really bringing out the intensity that we are capable of. I think vocally, I feel strong. I feel like the 23 years that we’ve been doing this has led me to this moment. It’s been a challenge as far as, especially at the end where I’m really going hard. It’s been a fun kind of, I don’t know, pinnacle of a song for me to sing.

Toddstar: This is the only single I’ve been able to hear, and I think so far that most of the world’s heard from the upcoming Black And Blue album. Is this song more of what we can expect once that album is all prepped and ready to drop in early 2024?

Nicolette: Yes and no. I think that we have a style and a vibe that kind of goes through every song that we’ve ever written, including the next ones that are going to come. But we have created four songs so far. There might be more in the works, but these are done and ready to go and all four are a little bit different. This one’s going to be the more kick ass in your face, just about frustration and really getting our feelings out there as far as when you feel like you can’t go anymore, but yet that anger inside is just raping and then the other songs tackle other subjects and are going to be a little bit different and take you to different places.

Toddstar: You guys have faced a couple challenges. The whole recording industry faced Covid, lockdowns, and everything else, and then rolled into Betty’s diagnosis and the treatments that have come after that. What can you tell us about your guys’ mindset before the challenges popped up? What was your mindset as a collective group getting back out there and doing what you do? Is this something you guys had in your minds or was this the culmination of “Holy shit, we’ve got nothing to do but sit around and be locked up and now it’s time to unleash Go Betty Go.

Nicolette: I feel like ever since we got back together as a band, we’ve been on this trajectory as we can because the four of us have day jobs and lives. Music doesn’t support you financially the way it used to. We literally can’t sell the thing that we make. It used to be that you had a CD that you sold to the people, and with that you just kept going. And that doesn’t exist for musicians anymore. And it’s just completely cutting off your legs. It stunts you financially, and so it’s not like it used to be. We need to work, so the band has represented just the thing that we love to do and that we get to every chance that we get that we can. When we do a tour, we do it because we love it and we want to, we love each other as a group, as friends. During Covid songwriting and thinking about the artwork and what these songs mean, had been just a really great place to go mentally and thing to look forward to, and so we kept slowly tackling them. We’re very hard on ourselves as a band, and we want to make sure that when we do something, we do it and we do it right. That’s why we work slowly because we want to make sure that the things that we put out are going to be top notch. During Covid and during all our struggles, the songs that we wrote represent the things that we were feeling, but then it also represents the positive creative endeavors that make us happy.

Toddstar: It’s obvious this creative endeavor makes you guys happy. It was a one-off, and it was an odd happenstance for me, but back in 2017, I found myself in Las Vegas with my camera and I wandered into the Beauty Bar and there you guys were on a cold ass January night in Vegas. You were even wearing a long blue coat. It was so cold.

Nicolette: I wore a coat. Eventually I took it off three songs in, but yes.

Toddstar: Watching you guys do that, that’s when I became a fan. I wandered in, checked out the show, and became a fan because the music and show were fun. It was aggressive without being punch in the face aggressive. What I enjoyed the most was the comradery and the fun you could tell the four of you were having on stage. How important is that to you guys as you carry this and drop new music at the end of 2023?

Nicolette: Oh, it’s everything. I feel so lucky that I met these girls so early in my life because they’ve been such a blessing, and not just us as a band, but everyone around us wishing us well, coming to our shows, our friends supporting us. That comradery is what gives you breath. It’s what makes the day worth living, and we can all make art in isolation. We can all just sit around and doodle and come up with songs and whatever, and it wouldn’t be a fraction of what it means to just do it with each other for each other and seen by each other. It’s a beautiful thing and it’s made life so much better, and especially going through Betty’s Cancer. She was very private about it in the beginning and even to the point where she wasn’t even telling herself what was really happening, and it got to the brink of her own mortality. When we were confronted by all of this, it just made us appreciate her so much more because we realized we could lose her. In wanting to help, we really combined our forces and did everything that we could to bring light to the situation and try and get her anything that she needed. And we did. We were able to raise money, we were able to show her how loved she is, how important she is to us and to so many other people. That has truly, I believe, kept her alive and hopefully will continue to keep her alive. I think at the end of all of this, you look back and you think about what you did and the experiences you had that matter and Go Betty Go is up there.

Toddstar: Go Betty Go is a life experience, whether it be for you guys or a small open-air venue in Las Vegas where the crowd was as into it as you guys were. Nicolette, if you go back to the beginning – like you said, you guys have been doing this 23 years – if you could talk to a young Nicolette back then, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting this off?

Nicolette: Trust your instincts. Don’t listen to people who are negative. You’re already tough on yourself and all that love that you have to create is what you should focus on. Don’t listen to people who might be jealous. It’s not worth it and you’re doing good, so “Keep Up.”

Toddstar: That’s great advice in life in general. Looking back on your career again, you guys have had your ups and downs – putting out eps, putting out a full length, the breakup and getting back together, and the last couple of years of challenges. If you could go back and revisit any moment or two in your career with Go Betty, go Nicolette, even if it gave you the same result, is there anything you’d like to go back and just take another shot at?

Nicolette: I have loved performing all around the country and we got to see some extraordinary theaters and play with some great bands, and those experiences continue to happen. So, in a way, I don’t have to go to the past to have it. I still have it and I’m actually really appreciative of the experiences and I love where I’m at now. I think it took me a long time to get here, but there’s something beautiful about the past too because it’s a little less tainted. The places are a little less decrepit, but just slightly. And I’m so glad that I got to experience them all, but they’re in my head. I can go there anytime I want.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. Going through the catalog again, songs recorded, released, unrecorded, unreleased stuff, you guys have kept close to the vest. If you had to pick the title of one Go Betty Go song that you would want on your tombstone at the end of the day, what is it and why?

Nicolette: I think the song “Ticking Bombs” is one that kind of stands out as a little bit more of an emotional song, and I think that that’s one where I really got kind of vulnerable and put it all out there. I do that with all of them, but it’s about impending doom if we’re going to be putting something on our tombstone, I don’t know if that’s a good answer, but it’s the one that comes to mind.

Toddstar: Well, and it’s all what you like, what you think, what you feel. That’s why I ask you. I could interpret your shit all day long, but it’s what it means to you because when you write record release and when I listen, we’re going to get two different things out of certain stuff, that’s why I wanted your insight.

Nicolette:  Totally. No matter what experience we’re having, we’re going through right now, the only thing that’s for sure is that it will change, and the song “Ticking Bombs” is about knowing how that’s about to change and just move forward.

Toddstar: I’m loving the single “Keep Up.” I can’t wait to hear what else you guys unleash.

Nicolette: That makes me so happy.

Toddstar: It’s a breath of fresh air. Rock is not dead, but it certainly can be automated right now and I love that you guys have done what you’ve always done and that’s making Rock and Roll accessible to the masses without being overthought.

Photo credit: Todd Jolicoeur – @toddstarphoto

Nicolette: Thank you.

Toddstar: I can’t wait until the world gets more and hopefully, we can get you guys out on a tour sooner than later and I can find myself with a camera in a small little place and watch Go Betty Go once again.

Nicolette: Yes, I definitely see that happening.

Toddstar: Awesome. Have a great day, good luck with the next single and everything else to come, and we will talk again soon.

Nicolette: Thank you so much. Great talking to you.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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