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At This Godley Hour
Now a Wicklow resident, Kevin Godley remains a contrary fellow, steadfastly following his creative vision wherever it takes him. That vision was born on Manchester’s music scene during the Swinging ‘60s, led him to leave 10cc at the height of their powers and, with old ally Lol Crème, spurred him on to create some of the earliest and most memorable music videos of all time. Re-entering the spotlight with his innovative WholeWorldBand app which is being previewed at this year’s Music Show in the RDS, Godley talks to Craig Fitzpatrick about his astonishing career.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 21 Feb 2012
It takes a half-hour DART from Dublin’s city centre to find Kevin Godley. The Mancunian musician who banged the drums in Hot Legs and 10cc (and gave them their arty edge) and visionary music video director who’s worked with U2, Sting and Paul McCartney, to name but a few, has spent the past few years residing in Newtownmountkennedy, County Wicklow. We’re meeting each other halfway. Idyllic Dalkey on a sunny day stung by the cold nip of spring.
Godley is now using Ireland as the base for the launch of his latest, typically forward-thinking project. With Andy Wood, he has created WholeWorldBand, an app that allows people the world over to collaborate via iPhone with audio and visual content from their favourite artists. Completely collaborative and interactive, you can remove certain parts of songs, add your own, and plonk yourself alongside your musical heroes in video form. Jamming all over the world, essentially. With the app dropping in March, Kevin Godley is understandably a busy man at present, his primary aim being to capture content in time for the launch. That work began in Temple Bar’s Sun Studios the previous afternoon, with Hot Press present to see Gemma Hayes, Liam Ó Maonlaí and Mick Pyro lay down their tracks. They’re clearly enamoured with Godley, who shoots them while they play and offers direction, and quite taken with his new fangled idea. It’s all go, with Kevin soon set to capture Ron Wood in a similar fashion, but this afternoon offers some brief respite. Apart from the pesky journalist. I meet the man in The Queens on Castle Street as he thinks about ordering a pasta dish. Open, honest and with a raft of great yarns to tell, he’s also strikingly unassuming for a man that has achieved so much. Any slight compliment is met with kind thanks and he is softly-spoken almost to the point of a whisper, inviting you closer to hear his incredible story.
Born outside Manchester in 1945, Kevin Godley arrived at art college at precisely the right time. With the likes of The Beatles and Rolling Stones ushering in the changes and youth culture beginning to flourish, Godley was eager to get involved. Along with Lol Crème, he joined Hot Legs and a line-up that included Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman. They would famously go on to relaunch themselves as 10cc in ‘72. The band then went on a tremendous commercial run as songs like ‘Rubber Bullets’ and ’I’m Not In Love’ became smash hits, with Godley and Crème provided the experimental counterpoint to the pop partnership of Stewart and Gouldman. That division led to a permanent split after four years. Goldey & Crème struck out on their own, recording together and soon entering a more visual medium. As the ‘80s arrived and the video age was born, the pair dove right in, directing for themselves and then others. They were behind iconic videos for everyone from The Police and Frankie Goes To Hollywood to Duran Duran and Go West before Godley decided to go solo. He has worked with the likes of Blur, Bryan Adams and Paul McCartney (creating the promo for the 1996 Beatles single ‘Real Love’) and his celebrated collaborations with a re-invigorated U2 began with ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’. On top of all that, he masterminded One World One Voice, an album and documentary that brought huge stars and world musicians together to raise awareness of environmental issues.