Dave Goddess — Leading the charge
With his latest release, Last of the West Side Cowboys, Dave Goddess sounds a battle cry for rock and roll, and he’s calling in reinforcements, namely John Lennon and Joe Strummer. Has it gotten that bad that we need folks like Lennon back?
“I think we do,” he said. “It’s a weird time, and a guy like Lennon, that spoke out, saw what he saw and wasn’t afraid to talk about it and was, in a lot of ways, the conscience of a generation, we could use him now.”
No argument there, but in the absence of the Beatles and Clash greats, Goddess is more than willing to fight for the music he loves.
“With my limited voice, I will fight,” he said, well aware that it’s almost like rock and roll bands are an endangered species in this day and age. And even those who do rep the guitar, bass and drums don’t live up to the standard set by the Lennons and Strummers of the world.
“That’s kind of the problem and that’s where I got the idea for that song,” Goddess said of “Roll Over John Lennon.” “Somebody had given me a list of pop artists to explore, to get some of my music covered by other artists. And I listened to all the stuff and I just couldn’t believe it. I’m in my own little bubble here, so I didn’t really know what was going on. And I’m watching these YouTube videos of people with a billion hits, and they’re really talking about nothing. Okay, I understand keeping it light, but it’s not the way I would go about it. Rock music has to be fun too — all music should be fun — but I’d like to do something that means something in some way or at least tells a story or resonates or has a little bit of depth. Maybe that’s just me.”
Most likely it’s not, as rock will never die. But things do go in cycles in this business, and at the moment, the charts are ruled by pop, hip-hop and everything other than the music Goddess and his band still play with the vigor of teenagers.
“It’s a weird and unfortunate turn, but rock and roll is unfortunately a niche,” he said. “It’s like jazz or some other kind of semi-unpopular music. You gotta seek it out if you want to find it, it’s not in your face, and frankly, most people don’t care. Maybe it will come back, I don’t know.”
That’s not going to stop him and the band, though.
“I don’t know if we’re leading the charge, but we’re doing what we do, we’re doing what we love, and we’re just gonna keep doing it until we can’t do it anymore. If that’s leading the charge, then great. We’re just trying to please ourselves and in the process hopefully it pleases some other people along the way. To me, that’s really the way you’ve got to go. It’s as simple as that.”
When he talks about the fight to keep the music alive, the title track of the new EP makes even more sense. Initially the story of the little known West Side Cowboys that patrolled the streets of New York City and protected pedestrians from 1850 to 1941, in the hands of Goddess, it morphed into something more.
“I fictionalized a backstory, and as I wrote the song, as much as it was about the West Side Cowboys, it kind of became about obsolescence,” he said. “He’s a cowboy in New York, what’s he gonna do? Of course that still resonates today. We see a lot of people losing their jobs because their jobs are no longer needed.”
And while rockers are often facing an uphill climb, Dave Goddess has his hiking boots laced up and ready to go.
“Who wouldn’t do this if they could?” he said. “It’s a lot of people’s fantasy and it’s such a great process. It’s very, very frustrating and the music business is very, very tough, but I get to write songs, I get to express myself, dig deep and look into my deepest parts and try and bring something out and express that. Then I get to have a band of brothers go out and play the song loud and flesh it all out. Then we get to play it in front of people and make records. It’s so great and so much fun and who wouldn’t do it if they could?”
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