Cameron Carpenter: Rock’n’Roll Rewind – In Goddo We Trust

Cam Profile Pic

This week we re-wind to June of 1979 and once again to The New Music Magazine. One of the things I loved about writing for them was I could help bring local acts to a cross-country audience. To welcome Greg Godovitz, and his new custom made pair of shoes, back to Toronto (after living in Calgary for the last eight years), I give you “In Goddo We Trust”.

Goddo 1

Greg Godovitz, Gino Scarpelli and Doug Inglis have been watching from the wings for the last few years as other Toronto bands such as Triumph, Rush and Max Webster have moved to bigger and better things. Goddo has been left struggling to survive. Now, with the release of their third album, An Act Of Goddo, the wait should be over.

Acy of Goddo

For over four years Goddo have been pounding out their distinct style of rock’n’roll to great critical acclaim but little mass acceptance. They have a loyal the-knobby-1cult following that would fill the Knob Hill Hotel on any given night, but the Knob does not make superstars.

What Goddo needs is a lot of airplay and a national tour. The tour is in the works and the airplay should come from the new album. I recently talked to Greg Godovitz (lead vocals/bass) over a case of Dr. Pepper in his downtown apartment.

Greg“I feel that the band has run the musical gamut on our three albums. Our first record was your basic rock’n’roller with the only hint of musical maturity being a song called Under My Hat. The second record, Who Cares?,offered a few musical surprises like Tough Times and There Goes My Baby. On that album we were becoming a much tighter unit. Now on An Act Of Goddo we’ve done things like using an orchestra on the classical overture Anacanapanacana and ballads like Chantal. I can only hope that our audience grows along with the band and progresses when we progress.”

Goddo LiveGoddo recently performed on a CHUM-FM/City TV simulcast and brought some life to the program. Not all was well, though. During a ballad the live audience refused to be quiet –yelling and screaming and ruining a great song. Part way through the number Godovitz almost slammed hands down on the keyboard and shouted, ‘If all you want is head-banging music, then that’s all you’ll get!’. Noting the possible consequences ,Godovitz restrained himself but was still angry after the show. ‘I didn’t feel that I had to give them instructions during the commercial breaks. Clapping along to a ballad? Give me a break.’

The band added a new dimension to the simulcast by performing in a church instead of the customary El Mocambo. This tied in nicely with the name of the new album.

The album itself is stronger than its two predecessors with improvements seen in Doug Inglis’ percussion work, Gino Scarpelli’s guitar playing and Greg Godovitz’s lyrics. The lyrics on some songs may end up getting the band in trouble. Songs like Sign On The Line, for instance, ‘a three-part horror story showing the point of view of the band, the management and the record label when signing an act.’ The song boasts lines like ‘record execu-jives, they really shovel it so high.’ Nothing like biting the hand that feeds, but Goddo has always been a band unafraid of taking chances. ‘I know that as soon as we make it my name will be Gibb around the record label’ quips Godovitz.

Goddo 2

For the uninitiated, Goddo is a three-piece Toronto band whose basic claim to fame is they rock like no others. Critics were calling them punks before the term was in vogue, and even today they still could be called by the same name. Not in the sense that they play three-chord rock with little or no talent, but rather in that they have a certain “up yours” attitude similar to that of bands like The New York Dolls or, more recently, Teenage Head and The Battered Wives. Godovitz and myself have our favourite rock era in common – glitter – and we would both like to see that come back. On stage they are cocky and energetic, Godovitz often exploding into mid-air, landing, more often than not, in the unsuspecting audience.

‘Success, I think it’s just around the corner,” sings Godovitz on So Walk On from the new album, and finally I know he is right.

———————————————————

If memory serves, but can occasionally double-fault, the first real rock star I interviewed was Mitch Ryder. It may have been my first year at Centennial Mitch RyderCollege. I also worked one of Mitch’s albums at Quality Records. I found this “Letter To The Editor” in the September 1978 issue of The New Music Magazine. I had probably suggested a Mitch feature, but the young demographic magazine probably had no interest. My wonderful editor Ron Waters did however run this letter:

Dear Mitch,

Cam as ChipI`m glad you have decided to give rock`n`roll another chance because I missed you the first time around. I know that it has been awhile since you dominated the AM charts but I think you can do it again. I saw you when you played The Horseshoe Tavern and you worried me. When I looked up at the stage you looked and acted more like your old Detroit buddy Iggy Stooge than yourself. You had this funny look in your eyes and you whirled around the stage like you just didn`t care anymore. You`ve got to care, Mitch, because there are a lot of kids out here who haven`t heard of you and I think they should. I know that you have working it for over a year but things are different now and it`s a lot harder to crack the market. As you once told me, “People only talk business nowadays.” Sure it`s tough driving from Toronto to Ohio right after a show and playing another half-filled bar but you have to repay those debts. This is a new generation with different tastes yet I think you can give them something which they haven`t seen too much of …honesty. You sing about life in the streets and the factories, not of lost California like Dan Hill does or stairways to heaven. Sure you`re a punk, not one laced in leathers but rather one laced in memories of having fame and of losing it. I know that if you get it this time, you won`t let go of it as easily. You have to take care of yourself and keep trying because we need you. “Does this hurt you? It’s supposed to.” – Your Friend & Fan – Cameron Carpenter

Have a pint and hear Cam spin cool retro tunes every Wednesday night beginning at 5 PM at The Kensington Lodge

=CC=

Cam’s column appears every Thursday.

Follow Cam on Twitter @CC59.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonCameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener, The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, and New Canadian Music.

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