The real thing. If we search our souls we remember what that means. A voice that isn’t auto-tuned. A band that’s not sweetened to the point of blandness, but whose rifle-shot riffs touch you in deep places. Songs with hooks that rock your soul and break your heart. Rugged, ragged, full of spirit and human feeling. Dave Goddess both seeks and finds the real thing in his self-produced new e.p., Last Of The West Side Cowboys. Five songs that will reawaken your love of rock ‘n roll. And remind you why you loved it in the first place.
“I think my band and I have arrived at a place where we really sound like a raw, rough and ready rock ‘n roll band,” says New York native Goddess. “Of course, growing up I had important influences, like The Stones, Tom Petty and Elvis Costello. But I think whatever traces of those guys you heard in my earlier days are gone now. Now we sound like … us.”
It didn’t happen overnight. After soaking in his influences, then came a period of dues paying. Goddess and his kickass band have, for the better part of a decade, been touring and recording. In fact, they’ve been prolific enough to come up with three e.p.’s and one full-length album; the buzz is growing louder. In fact, The Philadelphia Inquirer claimed, “Amid the drive and clarion uplift, Goddess has poured his heart and soul into the best songs of his life, songs that resonate deeply beyond their passion and energy.” The fact that Ed Stasium (The Ramones and Talking Heads) mixed and mastered their first full length disc ( Something New) also helped the band get real cred and expand their audience. As with all true songwriters, Goddess searched both within and without himself in order to pen the songs on his new disc. Over a strident Little Richard piano driven by rough guitars, Goddess spits out the refrain, “Roll over John Lennon and tell Joe Strummer the news.” It’s an angry song about both politics and music and what outspoken guys like John and Joe would make of the current state of affairs. There’s the rough-hewn but delicate “Tears In The Rain.” Goddess sings with guts and soul as he explores the sadness and loneliness of heroin addiction. Then there’s perhaps the strongest song on the EP, “Last Of The West Side Cowboys.” Along with a keening harmonica and a chugging heartland rock groove (this one is radio ready), the tune has a backstory that sparked it.
“From 1846 to 1941,” says Goddess, “an above ground train that use to take freight up and down 10th Avenue in Manhattan. I live on that street today. Anyway, it was very dangerous back then, with the train routinely hitting pedestrians. So New York hired cowboys-real ones- who rode their horses in front of the trains, swinging lanterns, and clearing the tracks. Eventually NYC built what is now The Highline to get the trains off the streets so the West Side Cowboys were out of a job.”
Goddess tells the story of the last rider leading the last train. “In a way, the song is as much about obsolescence, and men losing their jobs because times are changing” he says. “These themes still ring true today.”
Now that the new e.p. is complete, like the title’s cowboys, it’s time for Goddess and his band to hit the trail. He knows it won’t be an easy slog, what with Hip Hop and pop music still clogging the airwaves. But the guy has a big ace up his sleeve. “There’s a reason they call it Classic Rock. It never really goes out of fashion. Young kids are into the Kinks, you know? So, I’m hoping that if we just stay true to ourselves, it’ll hit big with the audience. It’s the only kind of music we really like. And I don’t think we’re alone.”