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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
I did enjoy seeing him whip out his Irish harp...
Yes! He did a couple of tracks with bodhrán and piano… Liam put a bodhrán down, playing to a particular track. But if you isolated that bodhrán track, you can create something new. You’ve a way of creating new stuff instead of just reacting to what’s been made already.
It seems a long way from your musical beginnings, where the only way to jam was together in a tiny room.
Yeah! That’s true. It’s probably the best way to collaborate because you’ve got that eye contact. In a sense, we’re driven by what’s available and finding ways around technical problems. It’s fucking exciting!
Going back to another place of excitement, you grew up in Manchester as British rock ‘n’ roll just broke. Did you get the sense something big was happening from an early age?
When I was at grammar school, there was something in the air. The radar was picking up something interesting from across the water but it wasn’t clear what it was. I didn’t really have the right receptors to pick it up then, there wasn’t much on TV, though Radio Luxembourg was sneaking around, fizzing away in the background. A little bit later when I got into art college and started mixing with other people, there were ‘happenings’ and ‘events’ going on. And The Beatles were happening at the same time. Everything was opening up. It was a time that belonged to youth, really for the first time. Everything was possible. More than anything else, The Beatles were the ones doing it.
Was it true you were flung out of class for tapping along to an Elvis song?
That was when I was a kid in primary school. The teacher used to do music lessons, which consisted of her playing operatics on an old gramophone as an example of what music should be like. I think she played Elvis as an example of what music shouldn’t be like and I started banging on the desk [starts tapping away at the table energetically], which didn’t go down well! The power of rock ‘n’ roll.