discography with album jackets & lyrics>20 Q & A with Greg
from left; greg godovitz, gino scarpelli, doug inglisFrustrated with the direction Fludd was going, Scarborough, Ont native and local bass wiz Greg Godovitz formed Godo, a makeshift group with studio musicians that released a 45 on A & M that featured a cover of The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” in 1975. When the song started gaining some momentum, he recruited ex Brutus guitarist Gino Scarpelli and drummer Marty Morin (ex of Truck) and made their way around the Toronto bar circuit.

As their act developed and an extra ‘D’ was added to the band’s name, they outgrew the surroundings and quickly made the rest of Ontario, and then central Canada part of their rounds, also dipping into the States occasionally while honing their chops. After Morin left and was replaced on drums by Doug Inglis, they were signed to a deal with Polydor, and released their self-titled debut in ’77. The only single was the ominous musical oddysey “Under My Hat.” Along with tracks like “Bus Driver Blues” (about Morin’s choice of preferred occupations instead of that of a rock star), “Let It Slide,” and “Let That Lizard Loose” let the world know they were a talented power trio with a fresh, straight-forward approach to recording, utilizing few overdubs which helped create the ‘raw sound’ they would later become known for in a near-unprecendented fashion.

They released WHO CARES? in ’78 and picked up where the debut record left off, but was a little heavier, and a lot bolder. Produced by Thomas Morley-Turner at Sounds Interchange in Toronto, clean cut riffs mixed with delicate harmonies showed Goddo was not a one-dimensional act, but took on a brasher approach than its predecessor. The lead single “Sweet Thing,” and tracks like “Oh Carole” – the ode to Rough Trade‘s Carole Pope, “Cock On” – his spin on the controversial Fludd album of the same name and “Drop Dead (That’s Who)” all made Goddo one of the most original groups of the time.

AN ACT OF GODDO hit the shelves a year later and served up a fine assortment of heavy hitters like “So Walk On” to the tender ballad “Chantal.” Their studio maturity and experimentation also shone through with the classical prelude with full orchestration in “Anacanapanacana” – though Godovitz was experimenting with that sort of thing long before with Fludd. Another series of regional tours followed but the group was still being met with mixed reviews. Fans were rabid, and critics weren’t sure what to make of them. The band also gained national attention when they were featured on CityTV’s “The New Music,” playing a shortened show at a converted Toronto church. But no longer willing to wait for the major break-out single, record execs at Polydor parted ways with the band later that year, but not until after Godovitz had basically told them off, less than happy with what he perceived as a lack of support while on a western Canada trek.

Scarpelli began working with El Mocambo Records and a side project Bongo Fury, releasing one album. A charity compilation album also saw the new single “Fortune In Men’s Eyes” – Goddo’s ode to Brian Pilling, singer of Fludd who’d succumbed to cancer just prior. Not without a deal for long though, Godovitz signed with Fludd’s old label Attic, giving them rights to the first three albums (he’d get them back later). But instead of releasing a new studio album, even though there was enough material for one, they rented The Roxy Theatre in Barrie, Ontario and hired producer/musician Bob Segarini.

Over two nights, they recorded a double live album called LIGHVE – BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE, released in 1981. On the first night, Goddo had a comedian for warm-up, who, though putting the guys backstage in stitches, was booed off the stage, until Godovitz came out and reamed the audience out. That kid was Jim Carrie. Although he was being paid a whopping $100 per show, he didn’t return for the second night. Capturing their onstage electricity, along with the hits from the first three albums, it also included a number of tracks that would appear on their next album. A shortened, single album version of the live record was also released in Germany with a different cover.

Barely a year later, PRETTY BAD BOYS was released, which would become their most commercially accepted album ever. On the back of the Ian Hunter-esque title track, which would spend time in the Canadian top 40, the second single “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Vampire Eyes” and “Forget About Forgetting,” they hit the road for the next year, making several stops in the UK and backing Uriah Heep on an American leg. That relationship was strained however, when during a break, Goddo was in the studio, and a member of Uriah Heep, sitting in on the session, ruined the tape after spilling a drink on it. Goddo’s name came up for an ’83 Juno for Best Rock Group, but didn’t win. But by this time Attic was having financial problems and the band was dropped.

Now without a record deal, Goddo went through a transitional phase, still doing gigs in and around central Canada for the next few years until their unofficial breakup. Godovitz meanwhile kept himself busy helping produce and promote other acts until BEI Records issued 12 GAUGE GODDO in 1990, sparking a mini-reunion for select dates in Ontario and the region.

The response given them prompted the release of THE KING OF THE BROKEN HEARTS in ’92. Produced by Terry Brown (Rush, Max Webster, Klaatu, among others), it featured arguably some of the group’s strongest material ever, including the title-track, the edgey “Dreams of New York City” and the tender “Lost Without Your Love.” The album also spawned their first official music video for “Was It Something I Said?” All the attention got an overseas distribution deal with Germany’s Mausoleum Records. The band was back together, and TV variety show appearances and tours continued.

Godovitz spent the rest of the decade on a variety of outside projects, including establishing his own label, Nile Records, and getting together with guitarists & long-time friends David Henman (ex-April Wine and Dudes) and Bob Segarini (Dudes, Wackers) for Carpet Frogs, The Anger Brothers, and The Greg Godovitz Orchestra – where tribute was paid to the British invasion of the ’60s, one of his personal ‘musical-mentors’.

Godovitz’s memoirs of the Canadian music scene were translated to book entitled TRAVELS WITH MY AMP in ’99, the same year he signed with Canadian indie label Bullseye Records. In time for Goddo’s silver anniversary, they returned to Barrie, the sight of the first live album, and released LIGHVE – SECOND BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE in 2001, where they revived the old classics and covered some of the band’s early influences, including the blues standard “Little Red Rooster.”

In 2004, they released KINGS OF THE STONED AGE. More mature but no less rowdy than before, the album gained critical acclaim on the backs of the singles “Rock Star,” “Such A Fool,” and “Help Me.” Later that year they released the DVD, simply titled LIVE. The set also included personal, backstage and behind the scenes footage. Still in ’04, Godovitz weighed heavily on the Bullseye compilation, IT WAS 40 YEARS AGO TODAY: A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES. Along with co-producing it, he performed “You Can’t Do That” with Goddo, “And Your Bird Can Sing” as a duet with Bob Segarini, “Dear Prudence” with Carpet Frogs, and “Norweigan Wood” with Cats & Dogs.

In ’05, Bullseye Records released the concert/doc DVD, UP CLOSE AND UNCOMFORTABLE, and after Gino Scarpelli bowed out of the group due to health reasons, Steve Shelski (ex of Coney Hatch) on guitars, and Anger Brothers alumni Brad Lovatt on keyboards, joined the Goddo fold. where they played a handful of shows to fulfill some contractual obligations.

In 2008, the compilation album UNDER MY HAT: VOL 1 was released. Along with the band’s top studio hits, it also included previously unreleased live material from the ’70s. Shortly after, Godovitz moved to Calgary for awhile, where he produced new acts including Amy Bishop’s debut album, AMYZING!, and gigged around the province while working on a solo record, documentary, and with Paul Dean on a project.

In 2010, Scarpelli rejoined the troupe in time for Godovitz’s 60th birthday bash in Toronto. The resulting mini-tour included a show at The Sound Academy that later resulted in the eONE Music DVD, The Pretty Bad Boys Return: 35th Anniversary Reunion Concert. The show included appearances by original Goddo drummer, Lovett, and Fludd‘s Ed Pilling for “Cousin Mary.”

In 2012, the doc, “In Goddo We Trust – The Pretty Bad Boys” was unleashed on the theatres, then the DVD wracks. The following year, his solo album, AMUSEME was met with rave critical reviews. Select dates for a Goddo reunion came a few years later, but Scarpelli had to bow out again, and was replaced by his son, Gene.

  • With notes from Greg Godovitz