Making the biggest, baddest, noise of their career so far
The Godfathers recently released the hard-hitting album A Big Bad Beautiful Noise.
And if you listened to it without knowing who’s behind it, you’d be surprised to learn it’s a band with more than 30 years in the game, not a new band with a fire in its belly.
But as frontman and founder Peter Coyne explains, it’s that hunger that has fuelled their blend of down’n’dirty rock, punk and R’n’B since the start.
‘That’s the death when you start getting complacent. Of course we’re proud of most of the records we’ve made before, but you can’t rest on former glories – you’ve got to keep being as good as you can be and better than what you were before, if you don’t then you should give up.
‘If it was a duff album then there wouldn’t be a Godfathers, but it’s just as good as what people consider to be classics by the band.
‘I think people will keep coming back to it over the years and saying: “Oh yeah, that is one of their best albums”. They’re saying it already, but over the course of time, these things take on more significance.’
And it was this sense of conviction that was the very reason they formed: ‘I thought we could do it better than most people were doing it at the time and that’s the honest truth – the early ’80s scene was rubbish.’
Following their self-released debut Hit By Hit in 1986, the band was snapped up by Epic and achieved moderate success in America with albums such as Birth, School, Work, Death, More Songs About Love and Hate and Unreal World.
Like their pre-Epic singles and debut album, Beautiful Noise has been released on the band’s own independent label
‘We’ve always self-released – self-harming some would say,’ he laughs. ‘We started off on our own label, Corporate Image, and then we got signed to Epic for three or four albums.
‘We went from our own label to the biggest company in the world – it was a massive step, but they were interesting years, and they didn’t try to tell us what to do. We wouldn’t have listened anyway – if it’s good advice or bad advice, we wouldn’t have taken it.’
In 2000, they called time on the band, but couldn’t resist another crack in 2008.
‘We had been doing it for such a long time I think we just wanted to try and be human beings for a while,’ says Peter of that period. ‘We all went away and got married or did whatever we were doing at the time. Eight years later we thought lets do it again. I missed performing and I missed writing songs. We got the original line-up back together – when we did that it was initially to do one gig and promote a rerelease of our debut album. I didn’t know if it was going to last five gigs or 50 or 500, we literally didn’t know how long it was going to last.’
There was a stutter in 2014 when their then guitarist and drummer left on the eve of a tour, sparking a bitter war of words. But Peter is dismissive of thoughts that it might have meant the end of the band.
‘Not for a single second.
‘I think it’s in the nature of The Godfathers to regenerate every few years, like Dr Who or something.
‘I said at the time we’ll come back bigger, stronger and more powerful than before, and that’s what we did.’
Peter used social media to put the feelers out for new members, and after doing the auditions settled on the new five-piece line-up including Steve Crittall (guitar), Mauro Venegas (guitar), Tim James (drums) and Darren Birch (bass).
‘We started writing songs straight away and waited until we had enough of what we considered to be really great songs before we started recording.
‘It started clicking immediately musically – the first song we wrote was (2015 single) Til My Heart Stops Beating.
‘It’s all been going well from the start.’
However, it is the first ever Godfathers album without Peter’s brother, and co-founder, Chris. When asked about this, it’s the only time the otherwise garrulous Peter becomes tight-lipped.
‘I don’t want to talk about – that’s the only thing I’m not going to talk about,’ says Peter before going on to elaborate about the recording of Beautiful Noise.
‘The recording process was really smooth, and everybody was firing off the same page and for the same goal, we knew what we wanted to do and we had the songs selected.
‘Some of them took a bit more time to work out than others, but others went “Bang! Click!” just like that. About a quarter of the album was first take vocals – I didn’t want to do it again – if you think you’ve got it right, you’ve got it right.
‘There’s a certain amount of spontaneity in the recording and certain amount of extra craft on the songs that needed it.
‘That album, A Big Bad Beautiful Noise, I can’t tell you how many brilliant reviews that’s had all around the world, and I can’t tell you how pleasing that is.’
Underestimate them at your peril.
The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea
Friday, October 13