Goddo: The Pretty Bad Boys Return

July 6th, 2014 by  |  Published in News

Goddo - movie premiere

Greg Godovitz of Goddo, gives an opening speech before the film.

Photos: Terry Steeves

For those already familiar with Canadian hard rockers, Goddo, you’ll remember them blazing onto the scene in 1975, with their crazy, in-your-face brand of high decibel rock, and their larger than life stage presence. Performances soaked in hard and steady head banging beats, luscious power chord delights, topped off with a set of searing vocals that delivered a wealth of hot and heavy lyrics. They weren’t called the pretty bad boys for nothing…living their life on the road with the same no-holds-barred intensity that they unleashed on the stage. This was power rock at its finest, it’s loudest, and its boldest. Guitarist Gino Scarpelli, drummer Doug Inglis, and bassist/vocalist and front man, Greg Godovitz came together to form Goddo, and released their first radio hit, “Under My Hat” with Polydor Records in 1977. From there, they headed full on into the fast-paced whirlwind of their rise to fame, turning a blind eye to the perils that awaited them. By 1983, the heavy touring, excessive behaviour, and financial strain brought the band to a temporary collapse. Throughout the years to come, they would reunite to record new material, and release a series of compilation albums.

In 2010, their original tour manager, John Power, came to the band with the idea of putting together a documentary film about the life of Goddo. Inspired by the very successful film, “Anvil: The Story of Anvil” (2008), he decided Goddo fit the bill perfectly to tell a similar tale of a band who has seen their ups and downs. Drawing from a vast compilation of past and present film footage, combined with a series of interviews with those that have crossed paths with the band, Power found himself with more than an ample supply of material at his disposal. To kick things off, he arranged for the band to perform at Toronto’s Sound Academy, to be recorded and captured on film by his production/management company, All Access as part of their 35th year since the band’s inception. The concert DVD, entitled, “Goddo: The Pretty Bad Boys Return”, (released in 2013) features 15 tracks, bits of archival footage, and bonus track “Cousin Mary”, performed by Godovitz’s former bandmate of Fludd, Ed Pilling. Parts of this live 2010 concert will go into the documentary film, to be entitled, “In Goddo We Trust”, which is now near completion.

I had the chance to see a one-night-only screening of this concert DVD at Ottawa’s landmark Mayfair Theatre this past Thursday night, and to meet/chat with the actual band members who would be present during and after the show, along with producer John Power himself. As I stood outside the theatre waiting for the doors to open, it was impossible not to notice Greg Godovitz, who was immediately recognizable, coming up the sidewalk, stopping to chat with those gathered around the entrance, and carrying a paper bag filled with some notoriously delicious egg rolls from the Golden Palace Restaurant. Doug Inglis and John Power followed up the rear and after introductions and plenty of handshakes, we went inside.

My first time inside the Mayfair Theatre, I marvelled at the virtually untouched architecture and revelled in the wonderfully refreshing nostalgia of movie houses that existed back in the day. Built in 1932, the Mayfair Theatre is one of the oldest and last remaining independent movie houses in Canada. Today, besides showing a variety of foreign and independent films, the theatre is also rented out for private screenings, corporate events, weddings, birthday parties, and musical events.

Before the start of the show, John Power climbed up in front of the large screen and gave a short speech about himself, his history of working with the band, his vision leading him to the creation of the concert production, and the upcoming film documentary. Godovitz followed suit to say a few introductory words, while still holding onto the paper bag. I was beginning to wonder if there was something more than egg rolls inside.

Goddo - movie premiere

John Power, Goddo’s original tour manager, talks about the production of both the concert DVD, and upcoming documentary film.

Watching the concert shown like this on the big screen gave the illusion of being at the show itself. The audio was superb, not to mention the well executed production of 11 HD cameras at work here. And it was clear to see that these three musicians reunited on that stage still have an undeniable chemistry and a love of performing. Their heavy melodic grooves carried with them an air of fearlessness. I could envision the young crowds of the seventies, and their restless teenage angst fuelled by the sounds that this band delivered. I loved Scarpelli’s slow and dirty leads, holding down a driving force with a guitar tone that cut straight to the bone…a style of playing that shows less is definitely more.

Godovitz’s bass playing was spot-on, and his powerful tenor vocals cut through the equally powerful instrumentals like a knife. From time to time, quick flashbacks to archival footage were shown in cool contrast to give a sense of the energetic physical presence these boys delivered. They performed all the Goddo classics, including chart topper, “Under My Hat”, “Pretty Bad Boy“, “Sweet Thing”, and my personal favorite, “Tough Times”. I could hear the raw flavours of early Brit rock in their material…something Godovitz himself will attest to having a major influence in his songwriting. There were some nice surprises too…a performance by original drummer, Marty Morin, and a very special appearance by Scarpelli’s son Gene…also an amazing guitarist in his own right. It was an awesome sight to see father and son playing side by side, churning out riffs simultaneously, and an unmistakeable look of pure enjoyment on both their faces. At the end of the DVD, a bonus track called “Cousin Mary” (1973), was performed by former bandmates, Ed Pilling and Greg Godovitz of the band, Fludd.


After the show, the party continued next door at the Barley Mow, and deep conversations with both Greg Godovitz and John Power. It was clear to me they both possessed an ongoing passion and dedication to the music of Goddo, and the desire to move forward and embrace whatever lies ahead.

“Goddo: The Pretty Bad Boys Return” 2010 concert DVD left me with the desire to see them perform again live. For those that aren’t familiar with the band, it’s the ideal introduction to their music, and the perfect prelude to their upcoming show on the River stage at this year’s Bluesfest in Ottawa, on Sunday, July 13th. If you’re a lover of all things rock, you really need to treat yourselves to a Goddo show. They are the Canadian quintessential hard rockers of our time.

And as for those egg rolls…they were delicious!

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