Our 7th Anniversary Online - 2006  

Quick Links 

  Comments & feedback to:


ProGGnosis Interview with Kevin Godley (10cc, Godley-Creme & GG/06)
Kevin Godley (10cc) - 23 June 2007
    Interviewed for ProGGnosis by Eric

This is my second interview with a former member of 10cc, in my opinion one of the most innovative pop bands to come out of Britain since The Beatles, but Kevin Godley is far more than just 10cc. With extensive accomplishments in video and recording several groundbreaking albums with Lol Creme, Godley has strong opinions about his past and the future....  Eric Abrahamsen

For more information about Kevin Godley visit his new project with his ex-10cc partner Graham Gouldman.
Also visit the ProGGnosis pages for Godley-Creme and for 10cc:

The Godley-Gouldman
 Web Site GG/06
The Godley-Creme Artist Page
 on ProGGnosis
The 10cc Artist Page
 on ProGGnosis
PROGGNOSIS Kevin, 10cc toured the US extensively early on, but why do think the band never caught on in a big way? Record company apathy or just American tastes? Any memories from the early tours?
Kevin Godley Lots of reasons. We didn't quite fit any musical genre yet we straddled many. We were low-key personalities without any big characters or myth’s surrounding the band and success loves 'big characters' and 'myths'. The music never stood still long enough to grasp. We toured but didn't tour enough. We had no coherent visuals, which is odd, in retrospect, with 2 art school guys in the band. Need I go on? Bottom line: We had most of the required elements but in the wrong proportion. A road story; we were told about Johnny Winter. Johnny, having poor eyesight, had a line of Christmas tree lights strung across the lip of the stage, every night, to indicate how far he could move forward. On the last night of one tour the crew strung them 3 rows back in the audience. Aaahhh….if only ‘Youtube’ had a time travel component. You see, I can't even think of any interesting 10cc tour stories. No debauchery, no attempted suicides, no OD's, no anal sex with endangered species on motorcycles. We weren't rock and roll animals, you see, and there's the rub.
PROGGNOSIS Leaving 10cc with Lol Creme, what are your memories good and bad of this period, reasons for leaving and in hindsight is there anything you or would have done differently during your time with the band?
Kevin Godley We felt re-energized. A little anxious but we didn't show it. We were men on a mission. We left because we no longer liked what Gouldman and Stewart were writing. We left because 10cc was becoming safe and predictable and we felt trapped. The honeymoon was over. Who said, "Love is the period of time that elapses before you realize your partner looks like a haddock?" Suddenly we were a haddock. Add it all up and we left because we had no choice. The band didn't have enough confidence in its own longevity to withstand an indeterminate Godley & Creme lay off. Also, in certain quarters, our proposed time out was seen as an act of treachery. It was a very northern 'all for one, one for all' or fuck off vibe… Result: We fucked off. It all seems a bit childish now. We could all have had our cake and eaten it but it wasn't meant to be. Within 10cc, politically, I should've asserted myself a bit more and taken less crap. Creatively we could've gone for capturing lightning in a bottle a little more often than multi tracking and perfection but, on the whole, we were a unique band with an enviable chemistry who had a great time for 4 years. I learned who I was and what I was capable of at 10cc school.
PROGGNOSIS Lets talk about ‘Consequences’; a massive work and a piece of art really, although some critics felt it was a bit too much. Tell us about the origins of the album…
Kevin Godley A huge undertaking that grew and grew out of all proportion to our original intent, which was to thoroughly road test ‘The Gizmo’. It turned into our 'Heaven's Gate', which isn't a bad movie when viewed minus the bull that surrounded it. The recording process was 14 months of experiment and total freedom buoyed up by a slab of hash the size of a triple cheeseburger.

Most critics of the project call it indulgent. There's truth in that but I believe it was big and long not because we were simply indulgent but because we were lost. After sides one and two the tail was wagging the dog a bit and we kept going in the hope it would eventually make sense to both us and a rather anxious record label. The label, for their part, was very supportive and kept pumping money into session time but in the end it was like uppers into Judy Garland; a law of diminishing returns. More significantly our world gradually reduced to a series of small, dark, womb-like spaces and we became studio lifers scared of emerging into the real world.

Regardless of the finished product we just didn't want it to STOP!!! The result is a weird mix of sheer brilliance and utter shit. That's a subjective opinion and I could be wrong. It may be all brilliant or all shit or even all brilliant shit. Either way it fried our / my brains for a while and is impossible to be objective about.

The origins of the album came from the frustrations of being in a successful band and wanting to stretch its remit beyond what it was built to withstand. More importantly The Gizmo was invented way before 10cc existed so it was long overdue a serious outing. The album's subject matter grew, organically, from the sounds we were making and took over. It could've worked much better without the plotline but what do I know? It could be the rock Dead Sea Scrolls.

Most sessions were pretty intense with burials, floods and stampedes etc. so we played practical jokes on our support team to lighten the mood. I remember Strawberry North's studio manager was due to show a big, prospective client around so we turned a very impressively ‘teched’ out control room into a very convincing bricked up bombsite with props and stage scenery etc. Knowing our reputation and ushering Mr. Super Client into the room, ahead of him, with a proud flourish was a mistake that will haunt him forever…

PROGGNOSIS Looking back at the Godley-Creme catalog, with the exception of ‘Cry’ as a duo you guys never had big hits or major selling albums, at least in the US, but maybe that wasn’t the point since all the albums are experimental and stretched boundaries?
Kevin Godley As a body of work it's pretty damn good. That was the point. We never stood still and never looked back. We did what came naturally with blind faith and a sense of adventure. Once we'd recorded 40 minutes of music an album was complete so there was never any fat. Never anything left in the vaults. We got our kicks from innovation and were incapable of writing 'commercial' to order. If something came that worked that way great but we couldn't turn it on.

I'm still impressed by most G+C music. My favorite album is 'L' because it forced us back to basics after the grandiosity of The Big C (‘Consequences’) and we did more than cope. We made a pretty cool album. It's also the most honest album we ever recorded. ‘Consequences’ is my least favorite because it aimed for the sky and missed. How do you miss the fucking sky? In the long run, though, it just doesn't sound like I feel.

PROGGNOSIS Your video work with Lol Creme in my opinion defined MTV and the video generation. You took some risks with Duran Duran’s ‘Girls on Film’ video which of course created some controversy, and other videos are just as groundbreaking. What was behind the story behind the Duran Duran video and what do you think are your hit and misses, if any in this area?
Kevin Godley Thanks for that. Duran Duran; the band and their management were smart boys. They sussed that videos weren't only happening on TV but were also being shown on big screens on the newly emerging U.S. club scene. That outlet plus the anticipated tabloid controversy led us to a mix of fashion, art and sex. The specific visual ideas were a combo of two holiday observations. I was in France getting into fashion. Lol was in LA watching mud wrestling. Not quite as black and white as that but a cat walk plus unusual occurrences formed the backbone of the idea. It looks tame now but at the time it was VERY daring.

Video-wise Godley & Creme had a 90% hit rate. I can think of very few films that failed, artistically. We were lucky to be working in a new field that had no rules and with our art school / music background we were ideally placed to push its potential. Yes, we broke new ground. There's still ground to be broken today but the landscape's changed. The suits are back in charge. On TV everything's starting to clone up and YouTube's ‘lo-rez’ aesthetic has affected the whole industry. Record labels are loving the fact you can get a film made for peanuts. I’m so bored with Hip Hop promos, Booty, Cars and Jewelry, ad - fucking - nauseum. How to compromise a vibrant subculture in one fell swoop. Actually about 3,000 fell swoops.

PROGGNOSIS What has kept you busy in the last few years?
Kevin Godley Writing 2 screenplays. Directing some interesting videos (see for full details). Developing TV ideas. Lots of stuff and I could go on but I won't. Proudest of all the U2 work I've done and of 'One World One Voice'. Aiming to direct my own movie script this year and start some interesting and useful 'entertainment on demand' websites. Overall, keep thinking ahead. The best is yet to come.
PROGGNOSIS How did you and Graham Gouldman reconnect, or had you stayed in touch? What lead to the new songwriting partnership? What has reaction been to the new music?
Kevin Godley We never lost touch. We had dinner a couple of times, talked about doing some music again. Circled each other but never got round to it, for real, until last year. Perhaps we were anxious about failing to match former glories. We were also a relatively unknown quantity as a writing partnership as we'd only written 3 pure G/G songs. When I was serious about music again, though, GG was the obvious person to call. The intuitive theory being if I couldn't knock something decent up with him I couldn't do it at all. Turns out we both feed a musical need in each other. It's a productive balance. He's Mr. Chords. I'm Mr. Words. We're both Mr. Melody. A really positive reaction to the new work so far. We haven't set the world on fire but we didn't expect to. Our plans are modest. We want to make intriguing, contemporary music, and, should we ever complete 2 hours worth, play it live in small clubs….maybe.
PROGGNOSIS Finally, since you always seem to be on the cutting edge of technology etc, what do you think is going to happen with music and the way we listen in the next 10 years, and I am not just asking about computers, downloading etc, but how do you think this technology has changed the way we listen to music? What do you think the future holds for pop music in general?
Kevin Godley I think music is less important than it used to be. Not in terms of its validity as an art form but how it's positioned in the marketplace. It's more controlled and less of a threat, now. Music used to be truly dangerous, as I recall. Back in the day we were gagging for our heroes' new releases like our lives depended on it. Music was our way out of the mundane. Now, in many cases, it's a way in… just one of many commodities available for our amusement. Meanwhile the Internet provides the means for all kinds of musicians to get their message across and for fans with an archaeological bent to dig around for the radical and the scarce. But I worry that where we used to exist in a 'less is more' world we're heading towards a 'more is less' one. The technology itself doesn't interest me that much. It's just different ways to deliver the goods. The future of pop/rock will remain ongoing but any trends or advances may well be briefer and less significant. It's pretty much all been done, now. We're in revisit / recycle mode.
PROGGNOSIS Any final thoughts?
Kevin Godley Is there anything revolutionary out there waiting to fuck us up again, en masse? I live in hope.
You know what? All the above is the opinion of an aging guy who grew up hearing it all being born. It's pointless making definitive statements about 'then' versus 'now'. If you do, you end up sounding like your dad. I'm sure fans today get as big a thrill from their music as I did and in the long run that's the most important thing.
PROGGNOSIS Thank-you Kevin Godley.



ProGGnosis  - Progressive Rock & Fusion
PO Box 27226
Golden Valley, MN 55427-0226

Copyright © 1999 - 2006  where appropriate - All rights reserved.
Comments & Feedback - email: 

The Progressive Rock Ring
[ Join Now | Ring Hub | Random | << Prev | Next >> ]