February 20, 2009 at Screaming Willies in Columbus, Ohio
by Chris A.
In 1977, The Godz toured the country with fellow Casablanca recording artist Kiss, on the “Love Gun” tour. Thirty-plus years later both bands still perform, both have had personnel changes and both play brash 1970’s style, blues-influenced, arena rock. Each band also had a strong personalities at the helm, providing leadership and direction. For Kiss it was and still is Gene Simmons & Paul Stanley and for The Godz, it was Eric Moore and Mark Chatfield.
But that’s where the similarities pretty much part ways.
While Kiss went on to sell millions of albums, Casablanca and the powers that be in the record and marketing world bet on Kiss and left The Godz out in the cold. While Kiss bathed in the spotlight, The Godz fought to hard to
build a following with minimum support from the label.
Trying to promote a band on a budget in the late 1970s was an incredibly difficult, uphill battle. While they had pockets of fan support, overall The Godz lost the marketing battle and eventually faded from the national scene. Eventually Moore, Chatfield and the other members of the band drifted apart.
Three decades later Eric Moore is the only remaining original member of The Godz still performing under that moniker. Moore is a hard-rocking, hard-living, prototypical, self-destructive 1970s era rocker. While Chatfield has found success as a member of Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band, Moore’s plodded on with The Godz name trying to keep its music alive, albeit with an assortment of players over the decades.
The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle’s been hard on Moore and while big-time fame has eluded him he’s still a big enough draw in Columbus, Ohio to bring out nearly one thousand Godz fans on a 20-degree February night. Interestingly, the opening act for the show was Moore’s son, whose 40-minute set ended after a mere 10 minutes when he was booed off the stage. Hopefully it was a lesson learned; using an Ipod to play music, flashing-pseudo gang signs, jumping around and rapping in front of 1000 classic rock ‘n’ roll fans is simply… foolish.
Next up came Karma 10, who immediately erased the prior spectacle. They set the bar high, providing some exceptional high-energy, good-old rock ‘n’ roll for the very relieved crowd. Ohio favorite American Dog then took their turn. After one of the coolest sound checks one could sit through, they transitioned right into their show. Playing what they proclaim to be “just redneck rock” they pumped up the audience with tunes with good ol boy titles like “Shit Kicker.” With a Nugent, Jackyl, ZZ Top feel, American Dog’s performance demonstrated why they have a “rabid” following in parts of the states and Europe.
It was nearly 1 a.m. by the time The Godz made it to the stage! Eric Moore, defiant fist in the air, strode onto center stage, lit cigarette dangling from his lips. Supported by an exceptional band consisting of Ronnie Hughes, Nikki Storm, Bub Adams and Frankie Garisto, The “New Godz” band ripped into the old Godz most memorable tune “Criminal Mind”. Fist raised high, Moore clearly loved being in the spotlight and on the stage.
While today’s variant of The Godz is little more than an occasional, regional act, the musical ability of the members is top notch. Ronnie, Nikki, Bub, Frankie played their hearts out in an effort to make it sound like the good old days.
If there was a low point to the show it was due to Eric Moore himself. In some of his between-song banter, he expressed his fear of the government and extolled the crowd to “hold onto your guns.” Considering the current political climate those points may be somewhat valid, however his opinion regarding Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVey sent a palpable cringe of discomfort rippling through the crowd. Unfortunately his comments not only stole momentum from the performance, it also annoyed many in the audience who paid good money to rock and party. The last thing most wanted hear about was politics and the problems of the real world.
With the exception of Moore’s compulsion to share his political “insight”, for the majority of the 100-minute performance, the crowd could close its collective eyes and pretend it was the mid-1970s and the glory days when The Godz ruled the midwest. Wishful thinking disguised as rumors circulated that Mark Chatfield was going to show up for the gig but of course, that didn’t happen. Moore himself did an admirable job on vocals and wisely left the heavy lifting of rock guitar to his skilled axe-slingers Ronnie Hughes & Nikkie Storm. Bub Adams acted as co-frontman and with flailing mad-man Frankie Garisto pounding the skins, The Godz new lineup was the star of the show.
Those interested in finding out more about The Godz can find them on MySpace and there appears to be a lot of content on YouTube. Give The Godz (the original guys) a spin and you’ll immediately understand why they really had a shot at the big time back in the day.