An Exclusive Interview With Greg Godovitz 

Well, once upon a time I went to a local club to check out Goddo. This was nearly 10 years back and at the time I'd done no in-person interviews, actually nothing aside from a few mail-out Q&A things. Goddo would be my first interview back then, and I remember clearly being nervous as hell [not knowing what to expect] and in retrospect asking some pretty lame questions. Despite this the guys were pretty nice to me. Since then I've seen the band a few more times, and there's been a resurgence with the band, not only through the band's back catalogue being re-issued on CD by Bullseye Records of Canada, but also a brand new studio disc - the first since 1992's "King of Broken Hearts".

The new album "Kings of the Stoned Age" is a return to the classic Goddo hard-rock sound, minus all the experiments & keyboards of their last studio effort.

For a review of this highly recommended new release check it out elsewhere at Universal Wheels.

Thanks to Greg Godovitz for his time and words.

For more on Goddo or to buy Goddo CDs check out & the official Goodo website

Q - How did you feel about doing a new album after so many years?

GG - Quite frankly, they had to get me in there kicking and screaming. I didn't really want to record another album, but I was glad I did, at the end of it. We actually started recording it a year before it came out and I sort of lost interest while I was doing it, for some reason. You know, it's just everything - the band's been together so long and a bunch of mitigating factors that made it seem like it wasn't such a great idea to do it. Then I went on to record a record with the Anger Brothers and then after that came out I went back to the studio and said to the engineer "can you run up those tracks we did last year?" and when he put them up I said "this stuff is really good!" and he said "I told you that a year ago!" So we got back in to recording it again. I was really pleased that we finished it because I thought it was a pretty strong album for what it was.

Q - Was it one of those things that was probably easier once you get it going than the whole idea of getting it going?

GG - Well, getting it going was difficult, and like I said I couldn't see there be very much interest there. From a live perspective the old fans just wanted to hear the old songs, radio I knew wasn't going to be jumping all over it - in Europe, maybe, but in Canada I knew radio was going to pretty much ignore us. It was a question of rationale thinking as opposed to just delusional wanting.

Q - I know 'Rock Star' got a bit of airplay. Are any of the new songs going to be in the live set?

GG - Yeah, we're doing 'Watch Me Crawl', 'Help Me', 'Moroccan Girl', 'Gas Money and Cigarettes' and we're doing 'Rock Star'. We could do the other ones if we sat down and learned them together. They're going over well live; people seem to like them.

Q - Good! They definitely have the Goddo sound and a certain amount of heaviness to them. How did you get Andy Curran involved? I guess you've known him for quite a while.

GG - I've known Andy for years! Coney Hatch and Goddo were on the same circuit together.

Q - What was his involvement?

GG - I'd already finished mixing the album once, and it just didn't sound right. It sounded OK; I just needed another pair of ears. So I called up Andy because he's really good. He's got a great second pair of ears. And he's up on all the modern technology, which I'm not - with regards to digital domain. We took it in to a digital studio and dubbed everything down. And he started taking pieces of one song and plying them in to another, and doing little bits and taking things out that I wouldn't have even thought of. I thought he did a great job.


Q - You also got a number of guests on there as well - Jeff Healey, Bob Segarini...

GG - Well Bob is an old friend, so he just shows up or gets invited and he's always such a great singer. He's got great ideas and it's always good to have another set of hands around.

Q - As far as the songs, were most of these written specifically for this album or did you have a number of songs laying around for a few years?

GG - A couple of them I wrote...

Help Me - I wrote up at Ronnie Hawkins place.

Such A Fool is an old song that I had laying around. One of my roadie's said 'you should record Such A Fool' and I said 'nah' - I didn't like it. And then we recorded it and it turned out to be my favorite song on the record.

Q - That's the first song that jumped out at me.

GG - My publisher seems to think it's got potential too. He's pitching it to television and movies right now.

'Rock Star' was a pretty new song that I'd originally written for the new Goddo album, but hadn't gotten around to recording it so I put it on the Anger Brothers' record - a different version of it. But it was originally slated for the Goddo album in the first place because it's about us.

Watch Me Crawl, I wrote in the studio.

Gas, Money and Cigarettes - Gino had kicking around for quite a while.

Q - Chainsaw Love, I Wanna Be On My Own...

GG - That was written at Ronnie Hawkins' house. I went up for a few days, wrote a whole bunch of songs. I wrote 'I Wanna Be On My Own'. I wrote 4 or 5 really good songs in a couple of days. If you stay in the house with Ronnie - you don't get any work done; go down to the cottage on the point - there's no radio, no telephones. The only thing to do is go fishing or write songs. So I find it's a really good place to go and write.

Q - It's a very direct...fairly hard-rock. There's no ballads, there's no experimentations or odd sounds or anything...

GG - Well, we've done that before. I mean, even "Under My Hat" - there was a little experimentation on the first album because we were a hard-rock band, and as producer I didn't want to limit us to just guitar, bass and drums. So as the albums kept on going, I was getting frustrated because I always heard the songs done with different styles of music - whether it's accordion or strings or horns or keyboards. Just from a producer's standpoint, with this record, I figured if it was going to be our last one - let's make a barebones rock album. Except for one keyboard overdub, it's all guitars.

Q - And there's no ballads it; it really doesn't slow down much.

GG - No, and I didn't want that on this one. I could've, I have a couple of ballads kicking around, but I didn't want to do that.

Q - Was there much left over from the album? I don't know if you read my review, but I mentioned this clocks in at just 40 minutes...

GG - Frankly I wanted it to be like a record from my favorite era - the 70s. They didn't labor you with 75 minutes [as you put in your article] of this, that and the other... There you go! There’s 9 songs. They all rock. There it is!

Vinyl albums in the old days were 20 minutes aside, so I sort of wanted to get back to that. That was a conscience thing. I could've easily added a couple of ballads; I could've easily added more rock songs, but I didn't want to. Our first album was just 8 songs!

Q - Like I said, I think album's are too long in general these days. It takes a lot of fun out of listening to the whole thing.

GG - Unless you get the odd album that is a long album and is phenomenal from start to finish, but it's so rare that you do. So weed it down to the best 9 songs that you got and off you go! Unlike a lot of people though I only record exactly what I need. Although I found a lot of stuff in the archives for a Box set that's coming out - demos and stuff; I've never been one in a recording project to record 15 songs and then pick 10. We record 10 and that's it.

Q - Any favorite songs, other than 'Such A Fool'?

GG - I like them all. I don't listen to it a lot, because I certainly heard it enough while we were mixing it and recording it. But the odd time, like the other night I heard "When You Roam" on the radio, coming home. I cranked it up. I thought it was a real thrill to hear something new on the radio, instead of 'Under My Hat' and 'Pretty Bad Boy'. And I thought, at the same time it was sort of bittersweet; it's a shame that radio in this market didn't get behind this record. There's stations, God bless them, that play us to this day - but what about something new!? I mean it's not we recorded an album of shit and gave it to them; we recorded a pretty good record, so listen - you know!?

Q - How's the response been?

GG - People like it.

Q - Getting a lot of good reviews and fan mail?

GG - Reviews have been great. The fans like it, the critics like it, radio didn't get it.

[Talk ensues into Internet radio, Dave Marsden's Thursday night show on Oshawa's 94.9 FM station - which Greg highly recommends, and the state of current classic rock radio]

Q - What future plans do you got as far as this album goes? Do you see it going on to anything more?

GG - I had a meeting with my publisher and he's convinced that 'Such A Fool' is a hit song, so he's going to be working it to different movie properties and television. And you never know, I mean if it lands on the right soundtrack or in the right movie, obviously the pay-off for me in the future could be the fact of one of my songs ending up in a hit movie and people go "that's an interesting song. I wonder what this band's all about." And then finding out that we've got 10 albums out. Then who knows what can happen, but you live for those little moments. We also had a meeting because there's some interest in turning my book in to a movie - which certainly could help my old catalogue.

But time will tell, I've heard all these stories before. But today, when I see the cheque - I'll believe it!

Q - Have you had any interest in different countries or different markets?

GG - Well we've always had pockets of people in Belgium and Germany and England and Australia that know about the band. I get e-mail from people that shouldn't know about us. I scope E-Bay every once in a while and it never ceases to amaze me; I mean, granted they're selling my CDs on there on my records but they're selling them from Singapore and Japan and I think to myself "that's strange that these people would have these records!” So every couple of days I'll flip on E-Bay and check out Goddo and I'll scroll through the sellers and occasionally I'll e-mail them and say, "how did you get this record?" I get some interesting replies from. The Internet is something that can be used a more, but.. You have to understand Kevin that this year now is my 40th anniversary as a musician. So I'm sort of at that point in that commercial with the 2 guys and the guy says "do you want to do that?" - "no I've already done it; I've got the T-shirt..." Something different would be interesting to do - whether it be writing a screenplay for a movie or writing another book. There's a bunch of stuff; I don't limit my creative ability to any one thing. I've made a lot of good records over the years with the guys, and we've got some projects planned for next year to tie in with our 30th anniversary to tie in - couple of box sets and DVD. But we're not finished yet; we have got a wealth of material sitting in the can. Even though I didn't think we did until I went in to my archives and found reel to reel tapes of stuff I'd forgotten I'd written. I thought 'this isn't going to be for everybody and I don't think there's a hit single here' but people that have been with the band since day 1 would love to see a 2CD box set of stuff with our original drummer - live material and studio demos of songs that were never heard and of songs that became radio staples, like 'Under My Hat' and things like that we recorded back in '75.

Q - Do you have a lot of old film footage?

GG - Tons!

Q - So there's a good chance of a DVD set?

GG - Yes, that's what we're looking at. I think the way the we'll approach it is before Christmas this year, a 2CD box set of 1975 gems, and the years after another CD along with a DVD of footage. And then who knows, if I take enough time off, maybe even a last recorded album. But it's all speculation and I guess it depends on how much people continue buying the stuff. If the record company seems to think there's some interest, then they have interest.

Q - Did this whole recording project make any desire to want to record more?

GG - I love recording! I love the process. I mean, I ran in to Jack DeKeyser the other day, he lives around the block, and he said "how come you've never done a blues album?" A lot of people don't know this unless they've read my book, but right after the Beatles' first impact in 1964-65 I was in a blues band, a Chicago blues band in '66, playing all that Junior Wells, Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy stuff. And to this day I still play that stuff; I mean I play with Jeff Healey quite a bit at his club. I'm pretty adept to playing that music. So whether or not I'd want to do an album of half-and-half cover songs, old songs I loved coupled with maybe 4 or 5 original blues songs. 'Watch Me Crawl', for all intensive purposes is a Chicago blues song. It's got that same sort of rhythmic thing as a blues song has. So yes, I think it's possible, but who knows!? I'd like to do an acoustic album at some point - just the guitars, pianos, cellos, violins... and do a real musical album. But again, it's down to the record company - if they want to do that. I can certainly come up with the material because I find songwriting is still pretty easy to do.

Q - Anything you're listening to these days?

GG - I listen to everything. Pop-wise I've been enjoying DelMitres Greatest Hits. I just got a 6 CD box of pretty obscure rhythm & blues stuff that I like. And aside from that I've got a couple of Mozart albums that are continuously playing around the house because I find it unobtrusive and yet, I've always got to always have music on when I'm in the house. I listen to Ravi Shankar a lot. There's no one thing, I really like all music, and I'm overly partial to the hip-hop genre. But having said that that last hit record that Eminem had out [the theme song from his movie] - I thought that was a great piece of music. I don't like that hole 'yo yo yo' type of stuff, but I think he's doing something interesting, that guy.  

Interview: © Kevin J. Julie / Universal Wheels, February, 2004