With a date at The Warehouse at the end of April getting closer Still Burning took the opportunity to talk to vocalist Peter Coyne of The Godfathers about their forthcoming tour and indeed much more including the day he opened fire on their audience…
So Peter, bags packed and ready to go on the road again?
Always packed, always ready to go. It’s a good job I love travelling!!
Is it still a great buzz as a tour is about to get underway?
It’s a massive buzz being in The Godfathers & performing concerts all round the world. One minute you’re in Bilbao or Chicago, the next minute you’re in Aberdeen or Sheffield.
Back to the beginning, do you want to give us a potted history of The Godfathers for our readers who have yet to discover you?
No I don’t, but here’s our biography….
And the name?
We wanted something strong & memorable & I don’t think we could have made a better choice!!
Has the nine year break made you come out stronger with more experience and possibly being better prepared for live on the road and in the studio?
Definitely, there’s a very strong sense in the band that every second counts. We’ve played hundreds of concerts over the years, but now each gig is really extra-special. We hope to be finally recording some fantastic new material real soon.
You seem to have played overseas over the years more than in the UK itself! Any reason for that?
We’re lucky enough & good enough to be appreciated all over the world – people EVERYWHERE appreciate The Godfathers’ style of rock & roll. We haven’t played a UK tour for over 15 years & we are so looking forward to ALL the dates on our forthcoming 25th anniversary UK tour. Previous line-ups would not commit themselves to a UK tour, but we want to play wherever they want to hear us.
Are there any countries in particular that you seem to be appreciated more?
Yeah, America & all round Europe. But we’ve only played 1 concert in the States since we’ve reformed – our first Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre concert ever outside of our native London at The Metro in Chicago last year, which was a tremendous blast. We are currently organizing a lot of concerts in America for later in the year when we’ll have a new release to promote. The new stuff sounds wicked, we’ve been playing 2 brand new numbers recently (‘Back Into The Future’ & ‘I Can’t Sleep Tonight’) & they’ve both been going down a storm with our hardcore fans.
Were record sales better overseas at the time, with the UK mainstream sound being very different to yours?
Yeah, we had Top 40 singles in the US & European charts. I certainly never expected a gritty, real band like The Godfathers to be everybody’s cup of tea & I don’t have any complaints about what did or didn’t happen.
You’ve recently re-released your debut album Hit By Hit in a twin cd format including some radio session tracks and live recordings. Did you have to take a step back to take two steps forward to remind the world what The Godfathers were all about?
No, we wanted to release ‘Hit By Hit’ because it was totally unavailable – which was a shame because I feel it’s a definite rock & roll classic. I’m very proud of that 2 CD expanded version of ‘Hit By Hit’ – lots of great songs & plenty of attitude.
Much of your early work was released on your own label, Corporate Image, with hindsight was that a good idea? I mean, working with a bigger label could you have `done better` saleswise?
Definitely not. With Corporate Image we were able to release the singles ‘Lonely Man’, ‘This Damn Nation’, ‘I Want Everything’, ‘Love Is Dead’ & the ‘Hit By Hit’ album whenever we wanted without some record company dick-heads breathing down our necks. We would never have got signed to a major label like Epic/Sony without creating our own sound & putting all the hard work in in the first place.
Do we expect new recordings soon?
Possibly October 2010 sounds realistic to release some new material – though whether that will be as a series of 3 EPs, a couple of mini-albums OR one full length record has still to be decided. It will be quality, that’s for sure.
You seem to have a thing for playing St Valentines Day? Is the magic still there on Feb the 14th or is it now just another marketing surge before the easter eggs come out?
Valentine’s Day is always a very special concert for us, almost exclusively always performed in London – apart from we played Chicago last year. It’s an even more intense Godfathers’ experience for us & our fans, if that could be possible! Nothing to do at all with marketing – we are not musical whores. We still do this band because we really love it, no other reason.
It could be argued that you are one of those bands who are better live than recorded. Absolutely no offence meant there of course Pete but is it hard to recreate that `edge` when playing live on record or cd or is it two totally different things?
We have always had a very serious reputation as a fantastic live act & we fully intend to keep that reputation. We know we can give an audience something they can’t get from any other band, a totally unique, sonic rock & roll experience. Live & recording are very much 2 different areas, though we have released some genuine classics over the years. I’m so proud to have written/released songs like ‘I Want Everything’, ‘This Damn Nation’, Birth School Work Death’, ‘Cause I Said So’, ‘She Gives Me Love’, ‘ Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues’ & ‘Unreal World’.
If I remember rightly you played with Rat Scabies for a wee while just before your original line up got together again, ever covered any The Damned tracks live? And any interesting stories that involve Rat?
Yeah, I played in & recorded some demos with Rat Scabies & Kris Dollimore from The Godfathers in a band called The Germans for about a year. We had great songs like ‘War Machine’, ‘Let’s Get Higher’ & used to play an amazing organic cover of Kratwerk’s ’Autobahn’. Rat Scabies is one of the best drummers in the world, but prone to being very lazy. I don’t dish gossip on people I respect.
Your discography has one album that has an eye catching title compared to the rest… Dope, Rock n Roll and Fucking in the Streets… what made you so angry that day?
I don’t agree, squire. What’s so wrong with ‘Hit By Hit’, ‘Birth School Work Death’, ‘More Songs About Love & Hate’ OR ‘Unreal World’? Dope, Rock & Roll & Fucking In The Streets’ was a live album & the title was a respectful nod to The MC5 & the White Panther Party.
So… your 25th Anniversary tour kicks off shortly, with a date north of the border in Aberdeen on the 29th of April… do you like cold weather then?
Well there’s 2 Scottish gigs – Warehouse in Aberdeen on Thursday 29th April & King Tut’s in Glasgow on Saturday 1st May. We just like the odd pint of heavy!!
What can we expect, all the old favourites with a smattering of new stuff?
Expect a seriously intense rock & roll experience with what we consider to be the best material from most Godfathers’ albums PLUS some Sid Presley Experience classics & at least 2 new songs, ‘Back Into The Future’ & ‘I Can’ Sleep Tonight’ I told you about earlier. We have been getting amazing reactions to our new material, I’m chuffed.
Festivals or intimate live shows? Where is it at for you personally?
We like to play all kinds of concerts, as long as the crowd are with us ALL the way.
You once went on stage carrying a machine gun, firing it and scaring the shit out of everyone, whats the story behind that?
It certainly beat playing a tambourine to an instrumental called ‘Public Enemy Number One’!! I stroked the top of the machine gun after I’d fired it, it was white hot & I burnt my finger!!! It certainly made a lasting impression, but I doubt in this PC world we all live in now whether I would be allowed to do something like that anymore. I loved doing it, we’re The Godfathers for fucks sake!!
Heres a challenge, can you better that story with any tales from life on the road?
Certainly, though I am not a liberty to divulge such stuff here.
How did the gig go after that?
Both the audience & band were totally deafened by the blasts from the submachine gun. Apart from that the rest of the gig was superb.
Home straight now… any influences that you’d admit to?
The Beatles & Sex Pistols primarily, But I also love The Who, Stooges, Ramones, Kinks, Cramps, Small Faces, Johnny Thunders & tons of other great stuff. I HATE most new music, too clean, quiet & controlled for my tastes.
Thoughts on the music scene today?
Yeah, most ‘modern’ bands suck – just not freaky or LOUD enough. See above.
Your five Desert Island Discs?
Beatles – ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, Sex Pistols – ‘Anarchy In The UK’, Roxy Music – ‘Virginia Plain’, Velvet Underground – ‘Who Loves The Sun’ & Holst’s Planet Suite.
Anything else you’d like to add for the readers of Flares n Seagulls?
Peter Coyne – Come & see us play live & buy our music. You won’t regret either.
And finally, your favourite flavour of crisps?
Cremated Politician flavour.
Well Peter its been a blast, thanks a lot for your time and we’ll see you in Aberdeen at the end of the month! Still Burning
The Godfathers play The Warehouse on Thursday the 29th of April.
The Godfathers Official Site