It all started with Greg Godovitz’s Beatles’ collection.
In a conversation with Dan Owen, owner of Calgary’s OCL studios, Greg Godovitz mentioned he had amassed a substantial collection of Beatles’ memorabilia. As a theme motif of Owen’s studio is the Beatles, he negotiated purchase of Godovitz’s collection – and at the same time offered the Goddo frontman a position as studio manager of the facility (www.oclstudios.com).
“You can’t believe the amount of talent in this area,” noted Godovitz of a thriving Calgary music scene. “Rock, Country and Western, Blues, it’s all here. Lots of clubs, lots of new talent and they tell me Edmonton is even better. I’ve got to get up there and check that place out.”
A resident of Calgary since 2008, the former Torontonian, has also been sparked into re-igniting his recording career, having just release AMuseMe, a collaboration with Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean, which he has released digitally on iTunes and will be actively looking for a CD record release when he heads east to participate In Canadian Music Week.
“These songs represent the best work I have ever done,” enthused Godovitz, over the phone from Calgary. “Paul and I were jamming in a band together that we played on Sundays doing a bunch of covers and I started playing my new songs and the dance floor would be packed. Paul looked at the response and said “I think you’ve got at least four hit songs there.”
“Paul was too busy with other commitments to form a real band with me but he did agree to produce the sessions,” continued Godovitz. “At first it was, well maybe I can do one session, and then it became 10 sessions, then 20. He really felt I had something.”
[quote]I hadn’t written a new song in 10 years, but after I met Carla the songs started pouring out of me. Nine of the tracks on the record were written about her.[/quote]
“When Loverboy went on tour with Journey and Pat Benatar, Paul took the tapes with him to master,” said Godovitz. “I would bump into the band at various dates and I’d ask Matt (Frenette) and Spider (Sinnaeave) what they thought of the tracks, and they’d say, “We haven’t heard them, Paul won’t play them to us until they’re finished!” “But by the time they played Calgary, the band had heard the finished tape and I remember Mike Reno putting his arm on my shoulder and saying “Congratulations, Greg, the recording is a classic!”
Godovitz says the lyrical inspiration for AMuseMe is new girlfriend Carla Olive, also a recording artist whom he is currently recording. “I hadn’t written a new song in 10 years, but after I met Carla the songs started pouring out of me. Nine of the tracks on the record were written about her. People say, “That’s going to be kind of mushy, but really, a lot of them aren’t your typical love songs. Olive is a recording artist in her own right and Godovitz has just produced her debut release titled Black Tie Affair.
“There are tracks like “You’re Dragging Me Down” and “Letting You Go” which are songs we wrote when we were having arguments,” but after I’ve had my glass of wine…or three, I’d look back on the text messages we had sent to each other and realize there were some great song lyrics there. With Dragging Me Down we got into this major t argument, but the following day I re-read the text, took a line I had said and a line she had said and thought, wow! That’s a great song.”
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Critics will argue that a lot of the tracks are not your average radio fodder (most songs average four to six minutes), but considering Goddo never was never a music director’s heartthrob, he’s thrilled with the arrangements. “You Are My Drug” is like eight minutes long but I think Paul has done a fantastic job, the way he adds the instrumental to the end. It’s digital, it’s not like there are any hard and fast rules about how long a song should be. Just imagine if the record label had told The Beatles “You’re going to have to lop that sing-along bit off the end of `Hey Jude’.
Although never noted as a skilled songwriter, Godovitz confided that top publisher Frank Davis had been in contact with him about outside publishing. “Frank told me he felt there were four bona fide hit singles – not for me! But he was shopping the tracks around and was hopeful they would be recorded by some pretty big names. That would be a dream for me. I never get considered for any song writing awards- but to have my songs recorded by outside artists would legitimize me as a songwriter as well as an artist.”
The release of AMuseMe is just the first project in what is shaping up to be a hectic year for Godovitz. Later this spring, John Power’s All Access Productions company will release a `The Return of the Pretty Bad Boys’ live concert that was shot in 2010 at Toronto’s Sound Academy. Plans are for a simultaneous cinema release in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto before going to DVD. “My former Fludd band mate Ed Pilling just saw it and he was amazed at the quality, his comment was that the concert’s quality was so “un-Canadian”
This will be followed by a documentary on Goddo, again lensed by John Power, titled `In Goddo We Trust’, which somewhat like the award-winning Anvil documentary, follows the history of Goddo via vintage footage and will culminate with Greg, guitarist Gino Scarpelli and drummer Doug Inglis return to the studio to record a few more tracks.
[quote]Goddo was the real deal. We were oil and water, fire and ice. We did not suffer fools gladly – and that attitude probably held us back. [/quote]“John couldn’t believe all the stuff I had saved with Goddo,” enthused. “Godovitz, I have saved everything. Photographs, newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, I have the clipping for the first article written about my first ever band, The Pretty Ones (which featured future Fludd band mates Ed & Brian Pilling). Which reminds me, I’ve got to get that stuff back off him.”
Greg reflects that next year will mark his 50th year in the music business and counts himself as a survivor. He survived an earlier high profile gig with Fludd (`Cousin Mary’, `Turned 21’) before enjoying a long period of notoriety as the frontman for Goddo, releasing three albums with Polydor and a further three on the indie Attic label during the late Seventies and mid-Eighties. Despite touring Canada constantly and packing clubs and concert halls to the rafters, Goddo never received much attention from FM radio and probably didn’t do his cause much good by pointing a finger at those guilty radio programmers for not playing Goddo tracks.
“The reality is that we were making too much money for our booking agency in Canada,” reflected Goddo. “Their attitude was, why make hundreds of dollars in the States when we can make thousands of dollars in Canada. Because of this, any chance we had of making it outside of Canada got lost.”
“I had a recent meeting with Ralph James (president of The Agency booking agency) and he gave me the lecture on how I had blown it in the past by pissing people off,” noted Godovitz. “I had to agree with everything he said but I did point out that no one would be making a documentary about us if we had toed the line. We were never a milk and cookies heritage band like Trooper. Goddo was the real deal. We were oil and water, fire and ice. We did not suffer fools gladly – and that attitude probably held us back. We refused to play `the game’.
Still Greg Godovitz is only looking forward. He senses that with the release of his new record on iTunes (soon also to be on CD) , new concert video and new documentary, 2013 will be all things Goddo. He still performs with Inglis and Gino Scarpelli, and will probably launch future tour dates in connection with the video releases.