Here’s one I’ve not owned for very long but I wanted to get hold of for years. The Godz from 1978 had a rep as a classic lost LP. I eventually hunted an good quality original copy down on eBay in October last year, got a glass of something nice, checked out the groovy golden Godz chariot on the front cover and the scary, badly painted dudes on the back cover* and sat down in a darkened room … to utter bewilderment and disappointment.
Let’s be clear here the first three tracks on this LP are as dire as their titles suggest: Go Away / Baby I Love you / Guaranteed. Each of these three tracks is just lightweight, throwaway, forgettable rock in the mode of the less-inspired bits of Starz back catalogue, or any one of a hundred good time US bands cluttering up the airwaves at the time. I’ve listened to these three tracks three times each tonight and I’d struggle to say either anything positive about them, or just anything really. I was sitting there, annoyed by this point wondering whether to re-eBay the sucker immediately when I got a lightning bolt between the ears**.
The track? ‘Gotta Keep A Runnin”. It’s instantly rawer, leaner and better – in fact it sounds like a whole different band. Then after two minutes of lyrics about seeing the land in a travelling band and burning to be free, singer Eric Moore just cuts right in with a mighty rap (again, I use the term in its archaic sense of ‘talkie bit’). It’s a strangely wonderful thing and quite honestly defies all description and editing. Here it is, in all its incandescent glory: all hail!
Now dig up ya’ll
Now we’re stoned to the bone, hot and sweaty
Look at us, we’re everything your parents ever warned you about
They think we’re all junkies, but everybody’s some kind of junkie
There’s money junkies, booze junkies, dope junkies, sex junkies,
And there’s one thing they can’t understand , all of us, you and I, we’re Godz , and Godz are rock and roll junkies
Now every night we get into a different town
Every night we get high, every night we rock and roll
Every night we go crazy and we know we’re killing ourselves, but it feels so… good
They try to tell us rock and roll is dead , but Godz rock and roll ain’t dead
Rock and roll is why we’re all here
Rock and roll is why we got long hair and get high
Rock and roll is why we dress the way we do
Rock and roll has turned us into something that they can’t stand, but rock and roll has created us
Rock and roll has made us into machines
We can’t see straight
We can’t think straight
We can’t hear straight
We can’t feel nothing , got no heart and soul, but we’re Godz
And someday there’ll be thousands of us, thousands of Godz, thousands of machines
More of us than there is of them, they can’t stop the Godz rock and roll machine, stop the machine……machine
The Godz are rock and roll machines
No hearts but at least we’re machines
The Godz are rock and roll machines
The Godz are rock and roll machines (x8)
It’s just pure, dumb brilliance and the music grows in raunch and racket accordingly. If you have any love for 70’s rock then you’ll love this, if not, then clear on out of here. I immediately picture this playing full pelt on a jukebox in some bikers club-house round about sundown off a very minor road in Facefuzz, CA, sound-tracking all manner of minor league debauchery and the type of fist fights, involving men with names like Butcher Dave and Sweaty Dirk, that are invariably settled by a third party using a tyre iron. Or is that just me?
Anyway, it’s a truly transformative tune. It closes side one but it’s so good, it even seems to enthuse side two of The Godz. To these ears the first two tracks, ‘Under the Table’ and ‘Cross Country’ are harder and rawer than their equivalents on the first side. I do need to bring up the K-word here, especially with the former track where Eric Moore really sounds like Paul Stanley. There were links, Casablanca records / Kiss took the Godz out on tour before they’d made a LP and it shows here. Now I’m not a big Kiss fan at all, but I rather suspect that if you are there’s a lot you’d like here, the slightly off-key singing, the guitar interplay on ‘Under The Table’ and the ‘tude of ‘Cross Country’.
The last track a cover of Golden Earring’s ‘Candy’s Going Bad’ is a bit of a 10-minute curio. The start is amazing, it sounds like Thor having wild sex with the largest steam train in the world^ before the noise just reverts into the band playing as raucously as they can, then at the end slides into three minutes of slowing-down noises (don’t make me write another Thor metaphor!). The bit in-between, i.e the song, is less interesting and makes me wonder what might have been if the Godz had, or were allowed to show, a bit more ambition and really cut loose away from the standard radio formats. There is some interesting sonics going on here.
The Godz is a really mixed LP and probably the victim of some of the worst sequencing mistakes I can think of, off the top of my head, possibly why it has a classic ‘lost’ LP status, rather than straight classic status. I’ll stick with the last track off each side thanks. No hearts but at least we’re machines!
*although the headless torso gets minor 1537 bonus points.
**not literally, obviously, that would hurt. Lots.
^did I genuinely just write that?