THE GODZ – Rock And Roll Machines
Metal Forces, Issue 16 (1986)
“In a heavenly war chariot they meet him, inviting him along to travel the skies. With an open mind bursting with curiosity, let us venture into the new world of the improbable and inherit what they bequeathed to us! While the mists of the universe close around the disappearing chariot, our friends will remember the miracle.” …THE GODZ ARE HERE! Erich von Däniken – Chariots Of The Gods? (Back sleeve notes from The Godz’ 1978 self-titled debut LP on Millennium / RCA Records).
Well I dunno about chariots disappearing in the mist, but The Godz certainly did disappear for a couple of years after their second good, but disappointing effort. Their debut vinyl offering in 1978 was a glorious LP with the sort of animal-like bass playing that gave your speakers a hernia. Just check out the end part of ‘Candy’s Going Bad’ for details. Then there was ‘Gotta Keep A Runnin’’, with its drugs and rock’n’roll rap that should have had a million rockers heads turning. And let’s not forget ‘Under The Table’, where The Godz beat Van Halen at their own game. Then came platter number two, Nothing Is Sacred, in 1979. Well, you had ‘714’, ‘Rock Yer Sox Auf’ and ‘Luv Kage’, but elsewhere what you had was nothing short of a joke.
Zappo! The Godz then disappeared without any help from Angel’s illusionist. Word then got back to England that The Godz were back two years later with only two surviving members, Eric Moore (vocals / bass) and Mark Chatfield (guitar), who had picked up the pieces again with two young guys substituting for guitarist Bob Hill and drummer Glen Cataline. Anyway, things were supposed to take off again but they didn’t, and The Godz again departed leaving memories and a couple of live tapes.
With the name almost completely forgotten, The Godz returned in 1985 with only one surviving member, an ex-member of The Outlaws, two new guys hungry for success and an LP to boot. In fact, I’ll Get You Rockin’ may have even toppled that glorious debut.
In a hotel in Lancaster Gate I finally get to meet one of my all time heroes, Eric Moore, with his new sidekick, ex-Outlaw Freddie Salem. Firstly, I asked Eric what happened after that killer debut album? “Well on the second album, we were in the studio recording and we got picked up by another record company, which meant that all the momentum was lost. People that were working on it were saying, ‘Hell I’m leaving next month, I’m not working on it’, and the new guys that had the record were saying, ‘Hell we’re busy, The Godz will come along and take care of themselves’. It died a death. We lost a producer three days into the deal, and I dumped my bike and wrecked my body real bad. I was laid off for eight months, and you cannot lose momentum for eight months in the rock’n’roll business. So we started over from square one again.”
On the second LP a lot of the songs seemed to have too much Elvis-style rock’n’roll for my liking. Would you agree? “Well, we lost our producer (Grand Funk Railroad drummer Don Brewer) from the first LP. We liked the first LP but we thought it was a little slick to us. I produced the second album, though I’m not really a producer. All I know is straight rock’n’roll, so we made it straight rock’n’roll.”
So what happened to the other original members of the band? “Well, Mark Chatfield went to join Rosie, then Bob Seger, then Michael Bolton, and now he’s in money, making good music, good bucks and having a good time. Glen Cataline is out of the business entirely, too much pressure. The line-up in which we had Buddy Toth and Gino Harrison was a wash-out due to the fact that we were trying to capture what the first band had. Well, you just can’t do that in a rock’n’roll band. As far as the new band, well it goes on the strength of what we are now. There’s more talent in this band than in any other band I’ve ever been in. I’m probably the weak link in the band as far as talent goes.”
Tell me about the experience you had with Angel on that legendary tour in 1978? “Oh, you must be talking about the San Diego Sports Arena. That place has got the worst security in the world. The security at a rock’n’roll show is supposed to be there to make sure everybody has a good time and they don’t hurt themselves; the front row doesn’t get crushed etc. The security in San Diego was worse than Alabama cops and they gave us hassle. We blasted a couple of them, so when we got offstage we knew they weren’t gonna mess with us. But when Angel got up there they were saying ‘these guys in white satin, let’s mess with them’. Then the word got back to our dressing room that Angel couldn’t get off the stage. They had done their show and could not get back to their dressing room. So we strapped on our guns and went over and got them. Freddie had the same trouble with the guys in that arena.” Freddie: “Yeah, it was because of that sports arena that everyone spent the night in jail. Keith Richards, they threw him in jail. The Eagles, one of their guys hit someone with a guitar. I kicked a guy in the head from the stage and spent the night in jail. Everybody spent the night in jail from that one hall.” Eric: “Security is supposed to work for us! Hell, I ain’t gonna take that crap.”
How did that tour with Angel come about? “We had the same record company and the same agency, it was a natural package. We were in black leather and they were all in white satin. It was a killer show! We were the opening act, and it’s my job to make the audience ready for the headliner. I’m not there to blow them off, and The Godz were real good at that. We got our point across and got the crowd ready for Angel.”
What were you doing in that long period before you put the new project together? “Well, I spent eight months in jail. I’m always in and out of jail. You know; a week here, a week there.” Freddie: “Eric will probably be back in the slammer again in another five years. Probably in England!” Eric: “Yeah, what are the jails like here? The main thing is I was never bored.”
Don’t you think The Godz music has changed since that first album? Back then there was a boogie feel to the music, whilst now the music is much more commercial? Freddie: “In America what we are doing is not considered AOR, they wouldn’t play our stuff on the radio. It would be strictly underground along with a lot of other hard rock’n’roll outfits.” Eric: “I guess Freddie’s production gives us a more commercial feeling.”
Freddie, what happened with your Freddie Salem & The Wildcats project? “The Wildcats was just a one shot thing. CBS just said ‘Here, take one hundred and fifty thousand dollars and go do an album’. So I said, sure man. I had great musicians, an extremely high calibre of session musicians, and still it was a complete flop! It was a critical success and people who liked music liked the album (Cat Dance).
“I was still in The Outlaws when I did The Wildcats album. In fact, I was still completing an Outlaws LP at the same time; it was the last LP I did with them, Los Hombres Malo. After that I was producing and just trying to stay alive by doing the stupid sessions, y’know. I was in LA for a few months, just hanging out. Then I met up with Eric and started on this project. I’d then been out of The Outlaws for about a year and a half. I needed a rest as well from being in The Outlaws for seven years.”
So where did you find Steve Schuffert (guitar / keyboards) and Jimmy Clark (drums)? Eric: “Freddie had worked with them before and we had tried out a whole bunch of people. The chemistry just worked with them.”
It seems now that The Godz have a lot of different influences. For instance, a song on the demo, ‘Burnin’ Bridges’, featured some amazing gospel girl singers, and there are horns on the title track. Where does all this stem from? “Well, I’m amazed you like ‘Burnin’ Bridges’, it was a record company decision to leave that off the LP. The girl singers on that track are known as Visions, and they’re real nice chicks. If we played live with big record company backing, I would take them on tour with us. As far as the horns go, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages, but the record companies said no, it’s too advanced for heavy metal. Now everyone’s doing the horns and chick singers.”
Finally, I asked about the band’s future plans? Eric: “Well, we’re hoping to set up a base in the UK very soon, and we have easily enough material for a new LP, so that takes care of the next LP problem. I’m gonna be helping Johnny Van Zant on his new LP, and we definitely have to tour Europe because The Godz are much more a live band than an LP band.”
So there you have it. Eric Moore, the legend, has returned with his Godz. If any of you out there ever get to meet Eric Moore, let me tell you that he is one of the most sincere people in rock’n’roll. Sure he’s mean, but this is a guy who knows his rights. Let’s hope success is his this time around.
Interview taken from Metal Forces, Issue 16 (1986)
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