SPOTSWOOD, NJ - The Rolling Stones sang “It’s only rock ‘n roll, but I like it.” For most musicians it is all about the music. Most are drawn to it and can’t imagine not playing, but perhaps the Bacon Brothers hit the nail on the head with their song, “Not Born To Beauty.” The tune tells the tale of why folks do it, why they play and it really does describe what drives the Central Jersey cover band Good To Go.
“Maybe they got day jobs
To support this rockin’ jones
But the rhythm fits them like a skin
And the blues is in their bones”
All five members of Good To Go definitely have day jobs and have all been playing since their youth, performing with various bands through the years. Bob Robles started out on guitar, but moved to bass. Jerry Daily handles guitar. Mark Lesniak is the vocalist though he is a guitarist as well. Mike Goeghegan takes care of the keyboards and Rick Hanley provides the beat with the drums. They all have decades of musical experience and share a common bond; the music.
“I formed the band with a friend of mine, Tony about four or five years ago,” Robles explained in a recent interview before the band’s performance at the American Legion Post 253’s annual holiday party for the Menlo Park Veterans Home. “Rick and I are the original members of the band. We’ve had some personnel changes. That’s how we met Rick and Mark.”
Lesniak actually answered the band’s advertisement for a vocalist on Craig’s List. He’s been Good To Go’s frontman for the past two years. Lesniak also provides the band’s Spotswood connection. The rest of the members are from other parts of North and Central Jersey. Good To Go has done a few performances in the borough, playing at S’woodstock for the past two summers, at Mayor-Elect Seely’s Meet and Greet in the fall as well as others. Their December 3 gig at the American Legion’s holiday party for vets was the second time Good To Go played the event.
Besides the music, the members of the band share a love for charitable causes. Of course, they can be booked for weddings, parties and more. They’ve also taken the stage at a number of local clubs and bars including the General Saloon in Old Bridge, Ryan’s Pub in Monroe and the Waiting Room in Rahway among others. Most recently, the band performed at Moby Dick’s Restaurant & Lounge in Sewaren over the Thanksgiving holiday. However, it’s doing shows like the one for the vets that take a priority.
“We are very civic oriented,” Robles said. “We don’t mind doing things for charitable events such as this. When something like this (the veterans’ holiday show) comes up, we’re there. It’s never been about that (the money).”
While they put charitable performances at the head of the list, Good To Go won’t turn away a pay check either. The band keeps busy, aiming to perform at least once or twice a month; more if possible. As far as the music goes, they don’t want to be pigeonholed. They can go country or disco and everything in between.
“Anything danceable,” Robles said. “That’s what we try to do. We like to get the audience involved.
Yet, they also tailor their performance to fit the mood. If it’s a dinner crowd, they will tone it down so people can enjoy the music while they chat and eat. Or they can kick it up a notch to get people out of their seats and dancing. For the veterans’ holiday party, the emphasis was on seasonal tunes. Their set list contains classic rock songs as well as R & B and some Motown through in for good measure.
Even though all the members of Good To Go have been playing and performing for decades, the thought of hanging it up doesn’t occur to them.
“The drive and the love of the music that we do,” Robles answered when asked why the band keeps playing. “We are all musicians. We all appreciate the music that we generate. It’s something that we can’t retire from. It’s in our blood. It’s in our soul. It’s something that we have to do.”
“It keeps us young until we have to move the equipment,” Geoghegan quipped. “Then I feel old.”
Friendship also has a hand in the fun and bond that the five men share. The wisecracks and jokes flowed back and forth as they set up for the American Legion show. Their camaraderie was evident and they definitely share more than just the music.
“We have fun with what we do,” Hanley added. “I think it shows when we play.”
When their day jobs and family schedules permit, the band gets together to work on their lengthy play list. They’ll be performing two upcoming shows in Rahway. Good To Go will be headlining the Waiting Room on Saturday, January 7 and the Firehouse Pub on Saturday, February 4. Booking information for Good To Go is available on their website.
Just like the Bacon Brother’s tune says, these guys were “born to play” and play they will because all five are Good To Go.