When Goddo front man Greg Godovitz announced he was moving from Toronto to Calgary eight years ago, local promoter Randy Charlton decided to mark the departure by organizing a `Good Riddance’ concert.
Eight years later, Godovitz has decided to mark his 50th year in the music biz by returning to Toronto so Charlton has obliged by staging a `There Goes The Neighbourhood’ concert event to be staged this Thursday at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Opening act is Gene Scarpelli’s Gene Pool band, Gene being the son of Goddo guitarist Gino Scarpelli.
Godovitz reunites with band members Scarpelli and drummer Doug Inglis for what will be Goddo’s 40th anniversary year and he reports the band is in good shape considering Scarpelli has been on the mend from a hip injury and Godvitz himself has just undergone major hand surgery. “My hand had been a mess for about six months but few people knew about it. I could play providing a dipped my hand in a bucket of ice water.
Goddo had played together intermittedly during Godovitz’s absence and he himself found time to record a solo album in 2014 titled aMuse Me which was produced by Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean. But now he’s back in the T.dot, reacquainting himself with old friends and hoping to increase the band’s presence in Eastern Canada.
“I realize the club scene here is dying but Goddo is not really a club band anymore,” allowed Godovitz. “Our fans want to see us in casinos and summer festivals so we are going to try to expand into these areas.”
Goddo has cracked the casino market in Western Canada pulling a full house at Calgary’s Deerfoot Casino on a bill with Helix and Harlequin. “The funny thing is that the booking agent, Bernie Aubin originally told us that no one out west remembered our band,” reflected Godovitz. “So we announced a gig at the Bowness Community Centre and instantly pulled over 1,000 people, even though we hadn’t played in Calgary in like 30 years, it was one of our best live shows ever!”
As always, Godovitz has numerous projects in the fire. He is looking at producing young artists upon his return to Toronto and is about to publish his second book, titled “Up Close And Uncomfortable”. “It’s kind of a continuation from “Travels with My Amp”, my first book only this one is a collection of short stories about some of the strange things I have done in the past and strange things I continue to do.”
A vacation trip to the Dominican Republic in March 2014, sparked Godovitz’s commitment to an organization called `Friends Of The Dream Project’. “I had taken down a bunch of guitar strings, picks and stuff and was just handing them out to the local musicians.”
Godovitz’s gesture of kindness was noted by Tim Neeb, President of Grand Laguna Beach, a resort condo complex located between the towns of Cabarete and Sousa. “I first met Greg when he was walking along the beach at Sousa just handing out guitar strings and I was overcame by his desire to help people enjoy their music.” Neeb made Godovitz aware of the Dream Project Foundation in which volunteer teachers dedicate over 600,000 hours of free tuition to more the 4,000 children through 14 different projects in 15 communities.
Learning that there was a music component to the foundation, Godvitz committed to the Friends of Dream Project, went back to Canada to scrounge together thousands of dollars worth of donated guitar strings, picks and a Fender Bass amongst the consignment and returned to Cabarete later in the year to distribute goods to the project.
“These people are so poor, the stuff they have is rubbish so it was great for them to get stuff like guitar strings,” noted Godovitz. “If anything, it gives them hope. Traditionally, the only way boys can get off the Island is by playing baseball and you can imagine what sort of odds they are. So I asked for a show of hands on how many of them wanted to play baseball and no one put their hands up. But when I asked, who wanted to be a musician, everyone put their hands up.”
Godivitz is now committed to raising over $250,000 for the Dream Project by staging a celebrity auction later this year with autographed musical instruments and rock memorabilia donated by the likes of Loverboy, Rush, Blue Rodeo and Triumph, vacation accommodations donated by Neeb’s Grand Laguna Beach and plus prizes donated by event sponsor, Long and McQuade. “ I would like to fund enough instruments to outfit 15 schools on the island,” noted Godovitz. ‘”It would be a big help if some company like West Jet would help out with the airfares as it’s pretty expensive flying backwards and forwards. Maybe we can attract funding by having someone shoot a documentary about the project.”
Speaking of television, Godovitz’s other pet project on the go is a celebrity cooking show that could be staged at the homes of various Canadian musicians and celebrities. “The musician or musicians prepare the meal with the help of a celebrity chef, there would obviously be a focus on the food and the dining experience but then the guitars come out and we’d stage an impromptu jam session,”Godovitz explained.
Fifty years is a long time since Godovitz bounced into the spotlight, first as the bass player with Fludd and then later as the lead vocalist/bassist with Goddo. Noted as one of the hardest working trios on the domestic music scene, the band has enjoyed some success, especially around the launch of their “Pretty Bad Boys” album in 1981. Yet, for the most part, Goddo’s achievements have not been recognized by CARAS or any other industry association.
“You’d think after 40 years together as Goddo,” we’d get some kind of recognition but we have no hope of ever being inducted into something like Canada’s Music Hall Of Fame, that’s just not going to happen,” allowed Godovitz. “Personally, I’d just like Goddo to make some money for a change. “There’s got to be a payoff somewhere after 40 years.”
Photos by Ted VanBoort.