It’s been almost a decade since Los Angeles pop-punk band Go Betty Go released an album. The group’s lead vocalist Nicolette Vilar left shortly after the 2005 release of their first full length album, Nothing Is More, and bassist Michelle Rangel followed suit in 2008, putting the band on indefinite hiatus.
Years of inactivity and distance may be enough to keep some bands apart, but the four original members of the all-female punk outfit reunited in 2012 for a one-time concert, which ended up snowballing into a string of shows around the L.A. area. On January 27, the reformed Go Betty Go will release their entirely crowd-funded EP Reboot after a successful Pledge Music campaign.
“To be in a band you have to sacrifice so much of your personal life. It’s your relationships, your job, your school. A band is rewarding in its own way,” said drummer Aixa Vilar.
“The thing is, in the span of a few years we went from trying to find shows to having more shows than we knew what to do with. We never really took a break. There’s stuff that happens on the road, there’s tension, tight quarters, we’re in each others faces. It can get overwhelming. Nicolette left the band for her own personal reasons, there were things she had to do.”
Nicolette Vilar was replaced on lead vocals by Emily Wynne-Hughes. Although the band continued to tour with their new lineup, they never actually put out a new record. Once Rangel left the band in 2008, the only original members left were Aixa Vilar and guitarist Betty Cisneros. After a while, the group stopped playing altogether.
In 2012, when Cisneros was invited to play a Go Betty Go show, she spontaneously agreed, even though the band hadn’t performed together in years. She spoke with Aixa who then reached out to her sister.
“I said yes right away. It made me super happy, it was like reuniting with long lost friends. I missed them intensely,” said Nicolette Vilar. “I’m excited, everything feels fantastic. It’s nothing like it used to be. We’ve grown up. We understand the value of our relationship.”
Go Betty Go formed in 2001 and quickly rose to the forefront of L.A.’s local punk scene thanks to their catchy guitar riffs, poppy melodies and energetic solos. The band signed to independent rock label SideOneDummy Records and their popularity skyrocketed as they played shows across the country. They were on the Vans Warped Tour for both 2004 and 2005.
This upcoming release from the band features a more mature sound that still manages to remain true to the group’s punk roots.
“With this record I wanted it to feel more rock & roll than just pop-punk. More groove,” said Nicolette. “I wanted people to listen in a more insightful way. The lyrics aren’t just about love and boys.”
From the tracks that have been released so far, the one noticeable difference in Go Betty Go’s sound is definitely the speed. Early music from the band was known for its fast chord changes and speedy tempos, while these newer songs feature slower rhythms and progressions.
“There’s certainly a darker edge to this EP,” said Aixa. “It’s not overwhelmingly dark, but it’s certainly darker than the stuff we’ve done in the past. The music came very natural to us though, very organic.”