Saturday, May 9, 2015

Interview:--> Eric Moore (The Godz)

"I'm gonna burn
right up like a 
two dollar pistol
rocket shot through the sun."
~ The Godz ~

The Godz rock n roll was never about "pomp & circumstance".  It was never meant to be poured from a Zeppelin chalice or waved like a U2 flag.  It was simply rock n roll with a biker bar attitude.

Grease under the fingernails.  Drinks from a dixie cup.  A bit of chauvinistic swag, but nothing to get hung about.  This ain't one of those "you break it, you bought it" kinda snob shops here.  Nobody's taking names and the hall monitor's havin' a smoke.  Take your "serious" somewhere else.  Or maybe you could hang around awhile, crank it up and be a rock n roll machine.


Casey Chambers:  Your epic rock anthem..."Gotta Keep A Runnin'"...came out on The Godz debut album in 1978...and I recently heard it again on an all-request show and was reminded how much I enjoy it.

Eric Moore:  Oh, cool!

Casey Chambers:  How did that song come together?

Eric Moore:  I had been with this girl from the time I was 19.  I had just turned 21...22 and was sure that I was in love.  And, of course, she fucking broke my heart and messed my mind.

I thought it was love.  I wanted to have kids, the whole nine yards and shit.  But when she started hitting me with this, 'well, maybe you can be in a band on the weekends, but you can't make your life being in a rock and roll band' crap...

I thought about it for a couple of months.  Got a straight job and was just playing on the weekends.  But the band was pretty good and had a real chance at getting a record deal and shit, and she kept going on about...'oh you don't want to do all that crap.'   I mean, that got old.  Finally, I said, 'fuck it.'

So, during the week that I was packing up my shit and looking for a place to stay...that's where the song was coming from.  I hadn't written a whole lot of songs before that, y'know?  Eight or ten songs. Learning how to be a songwriter.  Well, the last couple of nights that I stayed with her, I still had my acoustic guitar and I just sat down and wrote that song.  When I was alone, I'd just sing it real loud.  And that was it.  'Fuck you, I'm gone.'  That's where that song came from.

"Gotta Keep A Runnin'"  -  The Godz / The Godz (1978)

Casey Chambers:  The spoken rap you throw in during the middle of the song is krazy kat.  Was that on the fly?

Eric Moore:  Well, The Godz played as a bar band for a long time.  And what we'd do is, when I'd make up the songlist, I'd take one of our originals and put it in-between a couple of cover songs I knew the audiences liked.  A Rolling Stones song or a ZZ Top song.  Or an Aerosmith one.  Whatever.

And that song kind of carried it's own.  We could do a Rolling Stones song, and then do "Gotta Keep A Runnin'" and then we'd do an Aerosmith song or something.  And if everybody stayed on the floor...then we knew we had a good song.  And with that one, the audience was just out there...they're  groovin' and diggin' it.

So, I started talking in the middle, just making stuff up, trying to keep'em on the floor.  Happy and partying and shit.  And every night I'd tell a different story and the crowds started liking that.  People started asking me if The Godz are "rock and roll machines". (laughs)  All that kind of stuff.  Hell, I was just winging it.

But when I first recorded the song, I recorded it straight.   I thought I was done with the album and went back home to Columbus (Ohio).  But then the record company called me up and said, 'Hey man, everything's okay but you gotta go back and do all that talking you do in the middle of..."Gotta Keep A Runnin'."

So I had to drive all the way back to the studio. (The Swamp in Flint Michigan)  We were there for two days trying to get that talking part.  I tried to remember all the things I'd said before, but I've never done the same rap twice in the same way.  I wasn't sure what to say and it just came out.

Casey Chambers:  Well, that makes it all the better.

Eric Moore:  Even when I do it now, it's something different every time.  'Cause I just don't like doing a canned rap.  Sometimes ya talk about guns, outlaws, motorcycles, getting high...whatever's on my mind, that's what I talk about.

Casey Chambers:  Your first two albums... "The Godz" (1978)  and "Nothing Is Sacred" (1979) were both released on Casablanca.  How did the Godz get signed to that label?

 "The Godz" (1978)

Eric Moore:  Well, we had a bunch of record companies checking us out, because all of our opening acts back then were already signed.  We're headlining the shows and we don't have a record deal.  So, there was a bunch of different record companies coming to see us all the time.

The Godz
 (Eric Moore - center left)

And Jimmy Ienner from Millennium, which was one of the Casablanca labels came to Columbus (Ohio) to see us.  We had lines in both directions around the block to get in the place.  It'd take 40 minutes to get inside the club.  And when we came on stage, Jimmy told me later, 'Man, 30 seconds into your show, I decided you guys had to be on the record label.'

When we learned someone from the Casablanca family was paying attention to us, we were kind of hip about that.  They made us a real good financial deal.  I mean, any record label that would have Kiss has got to be able to put up with our shit.  So yeah, we went for it.  It was cool.

Casey Chambers:  Rock legend Don Brewer (Grand Funk) produced your first album.  How did it go working with him?

Eric Moore:  Real good.  Don Brewer was great.  An incredible talent.  Grand Funk was a serious fucking rock and roll band and had worked with some really great producers including Frank Zappa (and Todd Rundgren).  Don had plenty of experience in the world of being a major label recording artist.  And when you got something from Don, it wasn't just hammer blowing off steam.  It came from real experience.

He told us...'Don't fuck your manager.  Don't fuck your record label.  When you're in the studio, act like you give a damn.  I mean, it's everything.  This is going to live longer than you do.  This album's gonna be here a hundred years after you're in the ground.'  He just gave good advice.  The sound of that first, that sounded like The Godz.  The guy really knew what he was doing.

Don was gonna do the second album too, but he had a deal going on up in Michigan and had to go I kinda got roped into doing it.  When I produced "Nothing Is Sacred", I had my head up my ass.  When you're a producer, you're supposed to make the band sound their best.  Make them sound unique.  That's what we got from Don Brewer on that first album and I can't thank him enough.  He did some pretty wonderful things for my career.

"Under The Table"  -  The Godz / The Godz (1978)

Casey Chambers:  Who came up with the golden chariot idea for The Godz debut album?

Eric Moore:  Casablanca had a lot of people in their art department.  And we'd talk to them and they'd send us back pictures and sketches with little paragraphs here and there with their ideas.  And in the beginning, we were getting a whole bunch of ideas that we didn't like.

After we'd finished the last mixes on the album, we were still unsure how the cover was gonna turn out.  I went up to New York City and walked into the art department and they had this whole theme going based on Erich von Daniken's "The Chariots of the Gods" book.

All of us had read "Chariots of the Gods" and we used to talk about it.  When we were on the road back then and living in hotels together, we'd talk about all kinds of things.  Pyramid power....ya'know...all different kinds of stuff.

The Godz
(Eric Moore - center)

It was just the kind of subject that would make for good conversation.  Late night stoned conversation in a motel room. (laughs)  So it was interesting and different enough that we didn't not like it.  Anyway, there were a couple of people at the record company who could go off in that same vein...and when I saw what they were doing, I told'em...'Hell, this is cool.  Let's run with it.'  So they did and it came out okay.

Casey Chambers:  You guys made an early music video for the song "He's A Fool" off your second album "Nothing Is Sacred".

Eric Moore:  Oh yeah!  We made that video at a bar in Jersey.  It was shot with the 60 Minutes crew.

Casey Chambers:  Oh, really?

Eric Moore:  Yeah!  They had their trucks and a bus.  They had lights.  They had every fucking thing.  I remember their show was on channel 10...CBS...every Sunday.  Those fucks knew what they were doing.

In the video, it may look like we're really drunk and the reason being...we were all really drunk!  When we got there, we're thinking they'll shoot the video like you'd shoot a show.

But they had us run through the song 10 or 12 times and every time someone is taking a drink out of a whiskey bottle...well...they were really taking a drink out of a whiskey bottle.  There wasn't no iced tea in there. (laughs)

So we ended up having a good time.  I wish it would have been a bit more of a professional production...but was a lot of fun to do.  And those girls in it weren't professional models or anything.  I think, they were just some girls we knew or something.  I don't know.  We had a good afternoon doing that. (laughs)

"He's A Fool"  -  "Nothing Is Sacred" (1979)

Casey Chambers:  That sounds like a good memory carried.

Eric Moore:  It was.

Casey Chambers:  Who were some of your influences growing up?

Eric Moore:  Oh God, I was...I came up in church.  My first instrument was the mandolin.  So I grew up listening to gospel and bluegrass people.  I thought Bill Monroe was God.  That was the world I came up in.  When The Beatles happened, I was the only kid in school who actually knew how to tune a guitar and play chords on it.  That changed me a lot.  It changed my life.

Eric Moore

It's easy to look back now and put everything into categories.  In the course of a couple of summers, when I was going through puberty, ya had The Beatles!  The Stones!  The Yardbirds!  The Beach Boys!  All that stuff happening.  And I had those records.

I grew up with a radio stuck in my ear and all that wonderful music pulling at me.  Everything from bluegrass to surfer music to The Rolling Stones turning me on to Muddy Waters.  I'd be bebopping down the street listening to The Temptations or some other Motown stuff on the radio...and then next you'd have The Beach Boys doing "Little Deuce Coup".  It was a wonderful time.

"Luv Kage"  -  The Godz / Nothing Is Sacred (1979)

I've got sons of my own and I watched them grow up and go through their teenage years...and it was so different when I was a kid.  When I was a kid, you'd get a stack of 45s and go over to your girlfriend's house and you would dance.  You'd listen to all that music and you would dance and it was wonderful.

My first really big rock and roll concert was The Beach Boys.  But my first rock and roll show that I ever saw was at a southside YMCA.  It was a rock and roll band that had an upright bass and a piano in it.  They weren't that loud, but I can remember standing there by myself and when that music hit, I started dancing.  The stuff that turned me on was the stuff that made ya move.  So when I started playing in bands, it was all about the dancing.

Casey Chambers:  Did The Godz ever have the opportunity to perform on any music shows or talk shows?

Eric Moore:  Oh, we did a shitload of live radio.  Simulcasts.  You couldn't say 'fuck' or 'suck my dick' or none of the other words.  But at the same time that we were playing for an audience, the local radio station would broadcast it.  Here in Columbus, it was always WCOL.  And that was pretty cool.

When you're playing live someplace like The Agora here in can be in front of two or three thousand people.  But if it was also being live broadcast, then it was like playing for 50 or 60,000 people.  And back then, that was a big deal.

It gave us a chance to be in people's living rooms before we were doing a whole lot of recording.  We made a lot of good fans that way and I liked doing it.  We did some stuff later on that ended up being used for a TV show or a movie or something like that.  Something that was already recorded that they inserted into their show.  And that was cool.  I don't mind getting royalty checks.  Those are great.  But a live simulcast was way cool.  I really dug doing that.

Casey Chambers:  Okay, I gotta know.  What show was it?

(A friend reminds Eric it was "Police Story"...a 2-part episode called "A Chance To Live"...with David Cassidy. They used "Gotta Keep A Runnin'".)

Eric Moore:  David Cassidy?  I thought he was a dork. (laughs)  Anyway, David Cassidy was in it.  "Police Story".  I don't keep track of a whole lot of that stuff.  People come up and tell me, 'hey, I was watching TV and I heard one of your songs on it.'  That's really cool.  I dig that.

Casey Chambers:  Ha!  That makes me want to go watch the episode even more now.

Eric Moore:  Yeah, I wouldn't mind seeing it myself. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Many might be surprised to learn The Godz released a 9 song ball-blitz in  2012 called..."Last Of The Outlaws".  How did I miss that?

Eric Moore:  The songs on "Last Of The Outlaws" are songs I like to call my motel room show.  Y'know...when ya get back to the motel room after a show and you're half-loaded and there's a bunch of people there for a party.

Sometimes you write a song and you know it's for the band. And we'd record it.  But these songs were personal.  We had the chance to do another CD and I decided we'd do the stuff that I always wanted to do.  And that's where those songs came from.

Casey Chambers:  I just gave a listen and it sounded like you've been sandbagging some good stuff.  Enjoyed it.

Eric Moore:  Oh, thank you.  I'm glad you liked them.  Two or three of those songs had never been introduced to the band.  And they turned out okay so I'm glad we did'em.

Casey Chambers:  Is there anything you'd like to add, Eric, before we wrap up?

Eric Moore:  Well, I appreciate doing this with you.  I think it's way cool.  I like to try and get some of the truth out now and then.  You wouldn't believe the stuff that we hear.

There's gonna be a show here in Columbus on Saturday May 30, 2015. It's called A Celebration of The Godz.  I'm gonna be there.  And there's gonna be bands from all over.  Mike Paradine Group is coming from New Jersey.  And great bands from around here.  Tom Hagley is gonna be there.

It's gonna be nice seeing some of my old friends I'll get the chance to hit the stage for some good songs.  And also, I want to give a special thanks to...Jeff Westlake, The Godz guitar player...for all his hard work in remastering and reissuing our material.

Casey Chambers:  Sounds like a really special show.

Eric Moore:  Yeah, if you wanna meet the neighborhood,  you're more than welcome to come along.

Casey Chambers:  Hell yeah!  Eric, this has been a real pleasure talking with you.  Thank you very much.

Eric Moore:  Well, I appreciate it too, sir.  We'll do it again.

The Godz Official Page
The Godz Facebook

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Anonymous said...

To get the story from Eric Moore first hand makes for a great read. Nice!

Unknown said...

Great interview Casey! Can't wait to read the next one!