I have often rated the Godz as a group of seminal importance, fitting between and over the cracks of first LP’s by the Stooges, Mothers of Invention, and the Velvet Underground. True, the Godz were not in the class of many of rock’s pantheon- they were too busy playing hooky, getting high, and tearing down the school. The Godz were the first deconstructionist band, operating on the perimeter of several styles including rock, folk, global, trance, drone punk, spoken, barnyard, country, electronica, and minimalist to name a few. If John Cage, Stockhausen, and Tristen Tzara had a band it would be the Godz.
Contact High With the Godz released in 1966 on the infamous ESP label is the inner inner sanctum of underground music’s darkest corner of the sub-basement. Lester Bangs almost slipped in his raved-up essay in PSYCHOTIC REACTION where he compared their audience to Wild Man Fisher’s, but Bangs' nailed the Godz appeal by showing us Greil Marcus’ holier-than-thou dismissal as he turned away puffing on his pipe of acedemia . The Godz where the Original Primal Stew, the team nirvana, the band that threw out the rules, the baby and the bathwater...the band that could groove on one chord for ninety-nine measures three decades before anyone heard of Anal Cunt, Japanese noise, Jim O'Roarke or WFMU.
The Godz were a powerful influence on Destroy All Monsters (an even lesser known band on the schizophrenic fringe). Godz recordings stored in Jim Shaw’s unparalleled collection of Moldy Gems and Forgotten Glories, stood like small Holy Grails, played and listened in reverence and awe, they would help lead us out of temptation and into the dessert of many Ecstatic, Unclean and Trashed-out Raptures. The Godz gave to us their generous stiff finger of freedom and attitude in extremus, they made it possible and desirable to play 'fuck the system' and procreate new interstellar sub-races of nerd-like mutant soldiers with Radar Eyes in bright Green satin fringes.
It has been over twenty five years since being polluted and baptized by the Godz. It is only coincidence that Sean Graham, the son of Larry Kessler (of the Godz), walked into my bookstore and bought some Day-of-the-Dead nick knacks. Sean was born in 1969, the year his parents broke up and mother Kathleen moved to Detroit. Kathleen (Kathe) on the Godz album was a New York rock journalist for DATE BOOK-a now defunct fan mag for the Beatles, where she had the unique distinction of being able to sign each of the Beatles autographs in a perfect forgery. Kathleen was the first journalist to interview Pink Floyd and was a guardian of the Fugs' distinctive collection of pubic hair trophies mounted to the wall of the ESP studio office. Sean, son of the Godz, now operates an internet mail-order business called Mysterio, which is a sort of psychotic curiosity shop from hell.
According to Ginger Marshall McCarthy, Wife of the Godz, 'these days Jim McCarthy is a successful photographer whose work appears in The New York Times and Mojo Magazine.'
OCTOBER 2005 update from Ray Brazen:
It was quite unfortunate to learn last night, via Larry Kessler, that Jay Dillon, the most mysterious member of the Godz, who left the group after their second album and was never seen or heard from again, is dead. So estranged had he become from his former bandmates that they didn't know the news until this month -- this after he had supposedly been dead for at least a few years. It's been my sad duty to spread the word of this to all his fans and to the president of ESP who knew him (and employed him as art director for the label) even before the Godz had formed. He'd allegedly been leading a quiet life in New Jersey as a painter and there had been a memorial showing of his paintings at a gallery somewhere in Pennsylvania or South Jersey on the last night I was up north this past summer (a night I'd spent, interestingly enough, hanging out with Paul Thornton).
Check out Ray Brazen's Godz site
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