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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
Looking at the early stages of art rock and glam, you had all these beardy, tough Northern men taking to the stage in effeminate, outlandish costumes. Did that ever jar or was everyone happy to put on the stilettos and eyeliner?
I remember Mick Ronson having a problem with it. He was just like, “I’m not wearing a fucking dress!” But you try stuff. It’s funny, when 10cc was born, we were given the alternative by Jonathan King. He suggested: “We can do one of two things, we can just go out the way we are looking like normal people… or we can wear transparent hotpants. What do you think guys?” We went the normal route, but I still sometimes fantasise about the opposite one!
Jonathan famously gave you the 10cc name, which has become the stuff of legend [it allegedly refers to slightly more than the amount of semen an average man ejaculates].
We have nothing to do with sperm! Other than being born because of it. Jonathan came down to Strawberry Studios to see something we’d done and the night before he ‘had a dream’. He saw the name of the band in lights above the Hammersmith Odeon.
Not like Martin Luther King’s dream then.
I wouldn’t compare Jonathan to Martin Luther King in any way, shape or form!
No. Were you shocked when you heard the news of his arrest [in 2001 the impresario received a seven-year sentence for committing sexual offences against five boys aged 14–16 in the ‘80s]?
It was a different sort of time, a different world. I was a little bit surprised, but not a lot. Everyone was into something. We never really got into Jonathan’s private life. We were never interested and we weren’t with him for that long before Mercury signed us. But he was great to us. He launched us, believed in us and put us out there. Regardless of what people think of him – and people do demonise other people – we found him to be a good bloke. He’s not Ian Brady.
Going back to the ‘70s, that step on from Hot Legs was a big one – 10cc and worldwide fame. Looking back, you’ve said it aggravated you when people talk about ‘70s acts such as Roxy Music and Bowie and ‘10cc never get a look in’.