Godfrey Townsend's Diary
April 24th, 2009
"Bless me father, for I have sinned...it has been more than 5 months since my last confession." For those of you who were not raised Roman Catholic, that was the opening line you had to say when you went inside the confessional box in church and confessed your sins to the priest.
Anyway, it has been over 5 months since my last diary entry...But, at least now I have Gina Ronat to remind me that I'm overdue.
BTW, Gina...I'm not sure but, I think your Brita water filter is due for replacement right about now.
At least, I have been VERY busy making changes and additions to this website...that's gotta count for something.
Check out some of the new additions...New Guitars and Amps & Pedals and a few funny stories about John Entwistle being a trekkie at My Star Trek Story.
So, let's start by going back to December...I took my second "pilgrimage" trip to India for a visit to a village called Vrindavan. I had been there before a few years back having traveled there after a gig in Mumbai (Bombay) with The Alan Parsons Live Project. For those interested, Vrindavan is a most sacred place where Krishna (one of many names for God) appeared and performed many pastimes over 5,000 years ago. This second visit was actually more of a "mission". A good friend of the family had passed away early last year and had asked us (Debbie and I) if we would bring her ashes to India to be scattered in one of it's sacred rivers. I don't want to go into all the details here as I already have an entire page devoted to it on my site. If you would like to know more about it, please go to Shelley's Page and Spiritual Stuff.
On the way home, we stopped off in London, England for a few days. Some of the highlights of our time there were simple pleasures like riding on a "traditional" double decker bus. There are only two routes still running with the old style buses and fortunately, they pass by Royal Albert Hall, Piccadilly Circus, Harrod's, Tower Bridge and other great sites. On our last day in London, we got up early and walked to St. John's Wood, to visit the popular tourist site where the Beatles walked across the street for the cover of the Abbey Road album. Several hundred feet away from there is the world famous "Abbey Road" studios where The Beatles recorded. Our very own Alan Parsons also was a studio engineer there and worked with The Beatles as well as with Pink Floyd on their "Dark Side Of The Moon" album.
We even accidentally stumbled upon 3 Saville Row while we were browsing around Piccadilly Circus. FYI, that's the former address of Apple Records offices and was the building where The Beatles played their famous "rooftop" performance of "Get Back", "Don't Let Me Down", "I Dig A Pony" and other songs featured on the Let It Be album. All in all, it was an absolutely satisfying and fun trip.
The beginning of 2009 was productive and also included several notable performances. In January, The Alan Parsons Live Project attended the NAMM convention in Anaheim, California and performed shows at both The Grove in Anaheim and House Of Blues in Los Angeles. NAMM is a humongous annual convention where all the companies and manufacturers of musical equipment (guitars, amplifiers, strings, drums, music software, etc.) AND their artist endorsees gather for tons of demonstrations and introductions of new products. I used to go to NAMM almost every year with The John Entwistle Band (1996-2001) and hadn't been there since then.
February brought our annual George Harrison birthday tribute which included a multimedia presentation given by Joshua Greene (author of the book "Here Comes The Sun; The Musical and Spiritual Journey of George Harrison") and a live music performance of George's music given by Tommy Williams, John Montagna, Mike Bellusci and myself. It was our third annual George tribute and it took place at Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York City. We had also previously performed this show at Hofstra University back in November of 2008. It had been a complete success and sold out the auditorium there. We are planning to do it again at Hofstra sometime in October.
March brought back my annual birthday tribute to Eric Clapton...(March 30th, 1945 makes Eric 64) It's called "Clapton is GOD-frey" and we usually perform an evening of Eric's music on the closest weekend night to his birthday at BB King's Blues Bar in New York City. This was our 8th consecutive year with that show. The crowds are really taking to it and the show has been getting better each year as well. The following evening, we also performed the show at a new venue in Foxboro, Massachusetts called Showcase Live. The crowd was very appreciative and the venue and staff were great. I'm very fortunate to be surrounded by such a great bunch of musicians. We've gotten into the habit of performing a few new tunes in the repertoire every year, (with no rehearsal) and no matter what is thrown at them, they always produce outstanding results. Honorable mention here to Manny Focarazzo on keys, John Montagna on bass guitar and Steve Murphy on drums.
Finally, to bring us up to date...During the first week of April...Manny, Steve and I were set to embark on a mini-tour of about 8 shows with Jack Bruce of Cream...unfortunately, Jack was taken ill and hospitalized (I was told he had a kidney infection). Consequently, the tour had to be postponed. Jack is reported as doing better and resting now at home. Get well soon, Jack...
BB King's called me and asked if we could do a special Cream/Jack Bruce show to replace the gig we were scheduled to do there with Jack himself on April 4th.
BB's even offered ticket holders a full refund AND free admission to our show. We played an exciting selection of material (recruiting John Montagna to play bass guitar) and the crowd enjoyed it.
And there you have it folks...5 months in a nutshell.
See you in September...
November 13th, 2008
There really is no excuse for me not having made an entry in my diary for almost a year so, let me not waste time trying to think of some...but, please accept my apologies...(and special thanks to Gina Ronat for busting my chops about getting on it)...in my last entry I talked about the Concert For Bangladesh Revisited show that we put on at BB King's in NYC and remarkably, here we are again with the 2nd Annual Concert For Bangladesh show coming up in just a little over 2 weeks from now...(more info on my Live Show Schedule page)...
I have, however, made some improvements to the looks of the site (as you may have noticed) and added a few more pages and photos as well as audio and video clips (as promised)...The new pages are:
The Guitar Art of Lou Yanez (Lou has painted many of the guitars you may have seen me play and countless others)
Multimedia - Audio/Video (some rare or bootleg recordings live and studio as well as You Tube clips from live shows)
Hippiefest 2008 (photos and info on this past summer's tour across the US) (still under construction)
My Led Zeppelin Story (a tale from my youth)
Please check them out when you have some time and as always, please feel free to let me know if you have any suggestions or criticisms...
Anyway, on to more present day topics...At the moment, I am sitting in my hotel room at the Marriot in Yerevan, Armenia...we are over here for a few days performing in a concert in tribute to Jivan Gasparyan for his 80th birthday. Okay, "Who the heck is he?" you may ask...Well, for one thing, he is a world renowned virtuoso of the woodwind instrument known as the duduk which has Armenian origins...he is also a composer who has collaborated with Peter Gabriel and Brian May on several recording projects and soundtracks (such as "Gladiator").
The first night (Nov. 11th) we participated by performing 4 songs in an all-star, multi-artist concert tribute along with Andreas Vollenweider (a Swiss World Music, Jazz, New Age musician) who plays a cool sounding electro-acoustic harp. (not harmonica...a real, full - size harp like Harpo Marx) Brian May was supposed to be there but couldn't attend as he's scheduled to perform with Queen in Dubai on the 14th. Peter Gabriel came out onstage and paid his respects. We spoke with him after the show as we all walked offstage from a final curtain call...I gave him and Andreas a copy of my Easy Journey To Other Planets CD...
The next morning we had breakfast together...it was pretty funny...when I first arrived at the breakfast, I spotted Manny and PJ sitting at a table for 2 and right next to them was another table for 2 but one of the places looked like it was taken...I asked them, "Is anyone sitting here?" They said, "Yeah...Peter Gabriel." ...I said, "Yeah, sure."...2 seconds later, Gabriel comes around the corner with a plate of food and I nearly jumped out of my skin. He was very mellow and really nice.
His presence reeked of genius.
It reminds me of a similar breakfast experience I had in Switzerland in 2006. We played a few shows in Europe with Jethro Tull. At breakfast on the first day at the hotel, Ian Anderson walked in and sat at a nearby table. I was amazed at the fact that he was carrying his flute in a small case under his arm !!!
Anyway, tonight is another show for us. We are performing our full set on our own. I must get ready to head over for sound check.
left to right - Steve Murphy, Manny Focarazzo (partially obscured), me, PJ Ollson, Alan Parsons, Jivan Gasparyan,
Andreas Vollenweider (partially obscured), Zucchero, Peter Gabriel, Emcee (name unknown)
Below is a video clip from John Montagna's blog on his website www.john montagna.com of our trip to Armenia.
John's almost always got that little camera going and good thing too...he's become quite good at creatively
editing down some nice video montages of our experiences.
December 12th, 2007
Once again, my apologies for taking so long to submit a diary entry...I really appreciate how many people frequently visit this site and many of you have left some very inspiring and supportive messages in my guest book...all I can say in my own defense is that I am working on some more pages for this site that will feature exclusive information about the making of my CD, as well as some media pages that will feature FREE downloads of some live performances with numerous artists, as well as video clips...please bear with me while I compile all that stuff and simultaneously wrestle with Microsoft FrontPage to try and create new pages with "professional results" !! At the moment I am in a hotel room in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with a day off before our show here with The Alan Parsons Live Project. This is APLP's last show of the year and we have Kip Winger on vocals for this one. Meanwhile it's pouring rain here (with lots of loud thunder) so, what a great time to finally update the ol' diary. One thing that I really want to report about to you all is regarding a recent show I did at BB King's in NYC. For those of you who weren't there, the show took place on Wednesday, November 28th which is one day before the 6 year anniversary of George Harrison's passing. On the suggestion of a good friend, Alfonso Mondelo (a world renowned soccer coach/player) who suggested months ago, that we recreate the Concert For Bangladesh ( a famous benefit concert that George Harrison organized to raise funds for the starving people of Bangladesh) which originally took place at Madison Square Garden on August 1st, 1971, Kenny Forgione and Tommy Williams of Wonderous Stories (a popular Long Island progressive rock cover band) took the bull by the horns to organize this monumental and spectacular event. Kenny had asked me if I would like to be involved way back in the early Summer as I was getting ready to leave for the Hippiefest tour. I readily accepted and requested that he count me in. I have to admit, as the date grew closer, I was wondering if it was ever going to actually come to fruition. Several weeks before the show date, I dug out my Bangladesh Concert DVD and started acquainting myself with the material. (Luckily, I already knew half the songs.) Anyway, all I can say is Tommy Williams did an impeccable job of charting out background vocal parts and horn parts and Kenny Forgione was thorough and integral in organizing rehearsals and designating guitar parts and vocals tasks. After all was said and done, we managed to get about 23 people onstage at BB's and put on one of the best shows I've ever had the honor and pleasure to be a part of. The venue was packed to full capacity and the audience was so responsive and appreciative. Everyone who performed did a marvelous job and we all came away from the evening with such a great vibe of accomplishment. Not only the accomplishment of pulling off a very entertaining show to a full house, but most of all we felt assured that George would have been proud and pleased by the totally positive and spiritual vibe that permeated. BB's management and staff already agreed that this must be an annual event and are planning on booking it for a weekend night next year. It was a great night with many friends, celebrities and wellwishers in the room. Glenn Burtnick was sitting at a table right up front...Beatlefest Convention creator and entrepeneur Mark Lapidos and his wife, Carol were there and came backstage afterwards to rave about the show. Meanwhile, there is a 3 or 4 camera video shot of the show that is currently being edited and I will be shopping a promotional demo version of it to other venues and booking agents. It is definitely something that would go over well at places like Westbury Music Fair, Mohegan Sun, Atlantic City, etc. Here is a complete list (I hope), of everyone involved in the concert...(in no particular order)
1. Tommy Williams (Wonderous Stories) - acoustic & electric guitars, keys, mandolin, vocals, musical director
2. Kenny Forgione (Wonderous Stories) - acoustic guitar and vocals
3. Godfrey Townsend (The Alan Parsons Live Project) - acoustic & electric guitars, vocals
4. John Montagna (The Alan Parsons Live Project) - bass guitar, slide guitar, vocals
5. John Merjave (Liverpool) - acoustic & electric guitars, sitar, vocals
6. Mark Bonder (Wonderous Stories & Stealin' Dan) - keyboards, melodica & vocals
7. Ricky Martinez (Wonderous Stories) - drums and vocals
8. Rich Zukor (Jackie "Jokeman" Martling's Band) - drums
9. Kevin McCann (Wonderous Stories) - electric & acoustic guitars, vocals
10. Tommy Mandel (Ian Hunter, Dire Straits, Bryan Adams) - Hammond B3 organ
11. Tom Bowes (Tower Of Power) - lead and backup vocals
12. Ed Ryan - lead and backup vocals
13. Arno Hecht (Uptown Horns) - saxophone and trumpet
14. Phil Granger (Stealin' Dan) - trumpet
15. Eric Goletz - trombone
16. William Wittman (Cyndi Lauper) - bass guitar
17. Andy Marshall (THD Amplifiers) - lap steel guitar
18. Naren Budhakar - tabla drums
19. HolliAnn LaRocca - background vocals, tambourine
20. Sue Turner - background vocals
21. Laura Press - background vocals
22. Chris Cariola - background vocals
23. Tom Sanfilipo - lead and backup vocals
24. Eric Bazilian (The Hooters) - lead and backup vocals, electric guitar, mandolin
25. Joshua Greene (Author/Here Comes The Sun:The Spiritual Journey of George Harrison) - guest speaker
26. Sid Bernstein (Concert Promoter/The Beatles) - guest speaker
27. Pete Bennett (Promoter of the original Bangladesh Concert) - guest speaker
28. Bob Buchman (Radio DJ 104.3 ) - announcer
29. George Marshall - FOH engineer
August 8th, 2007
Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve submitted an entry to the ol’ website diary and I DO apologize for that…it’s been a very busy last couple of months…as you may already know, I am out on the Hippiefest 2007 tour at the moment with other band members Steve Murphy and Manny Focarazzo as well as bassist extraordinaire, John Conte. It’s a great lineup this year with the additions of The Zombies and The Turtles to the bill. Mountain is still closing the show with their powerhouse set and Country Joe McDonald is now the MC, replacing Wavy Gravy. We are backing up Denny Laine form The Moody Blues and Wings, Joey Molland from Badfinger, Mitch Ryder and Felix Cavaliere from The Rascals. Everyone has been really nice throughout the tour so far and there is a nice feeling of camaraderie amidst all the band members. Leslie West and Corkey Laing of Mountain (2 of my biggest heroes) have become great buddies of ours and we have a blast with them almost every night. Flo & Eddie from The Turtles (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan) are the nicest guys with lots of interesting stories. The Zombies leading members (Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent) are also gentleman and have great stories as well. I was in a Doo Wop band for several years called Kenny Vance & The Planotones which featured a singer named Gary Bonner who actually wrote “Happy Together”, “She’s My Girl” and “You Know She’d Rather Be With Me” for The Turtles. Colin Blunstone sang on several of my favorite Alan Parsons Project songs (namely “Old & Wise”). I saw Rod Argent back in the 70’s at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ with his band “Argent”. Also on the bill were Kansas and Queen. As I said before, all the band members are really nice guys (and great players). One of the nicest things about doing this tour is the feeling that we’ve earned respect from these legendary musicians. Most nights while we’re performing, we can see them all observing our performance from the sides of the stage. We’ve received a lot of compliments from everyone. The tour will take us up and down the East Coast for the next week and then out to the West Coast where we will finish up on the 21st. Meanwhile, in other news, 20th Century Guitar Magazine is running a review of my CD in it’s current issue (August) and will also be running an interview/article about me and the album in next month’s issue. They will also be running a half page full color ad in each issue for the CD. Hopefully, that should help sales a bit. Otherwise, the sales are going pretty well considering we don’t have a major label and promotion.
February 2nd, 2007
It’s 7:15 AM...I'm sitting in a hotel room in Bombay, India...I am fortunate enough to be getting to visit India (which I've wanted to do for about 25 years) while performing at a music festival with The Alan Parsons Live Project...we were meant to do this a few years ago but due to terrorist bombings, it was cancelled...Our show is happening later today and I will stay on here in Bombay (now called Mumbai, resorting back to Indian tradition) for another day and then travel on my own up to Delhi for several more days to make a pilgrimage to some of the most spiritual places on Earth...I've already made arrangements through some friends of mine at the Hare Krishna temple in Brooklyn, to have a driver stay with me 24 hours a day and take me around to all these holy sites...after an overnight stay in Delhi, I will travel early in the morning to the village of Vrindavan (most sacred for being the place where Krishna lived and performed many of His pastimes)...luckily, Dhanurdhara Swami (who is a friend and a very nice spiritual master) will be there at the same time and has offered to show me around...after spending a day or so there, I will make my way over to the village of Govardhana, (where Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill with one finger to protect the villagers from torrential rains)...I am meeting up with a devotee named Jadarani who is a renowned painter in the Krishna movement for many years...I am using one of her paintings for the cover of my CD...she has offered to show me around also...then, I fly back to Bombay for the night and fly back to the USA early the next morning...
There will be a slight delay with the release of the CD due to some technical problems with mastering...it will most likely be readily available by the 3rd week of February...I will send out an e-mail to everyone on the mailing list the minute it goes on sale...thanks so much for your patience and support...I hope you will enjoy listening to it as much as we have enjoyed making it...btw, to balance out the karma factor, while I am enjoying my long awaited visit to India, I am also suffering from a massive toothache...
...also, just a reminder regarding the extra special George Harrison birthday tribute shows coming up this month...check out the Live Show Schedule page for more details...
all the best, Godfrey
December 25th, 2006
It’s Christmas morning, and I haven’t written for over 2 months…I’ve been busy working on the CD with Steve…for the last few months, I’ve been traveling to his house in West Orange, New Jersey once or twice a week…we also got Manny and John to come out a few times and put down some tracks…Steve has some really great engineering and producing skills…we drove down to Florida after our gig at Canno’s on December 15th…Steve’s family lives down there and his brother Bill also has a pretty slamming studio in his house…we did a lot of the final mixes there as well as recorded some more guitar parts and even vocal parts…yes, vocals…Bill came up with an idea for a chorale type thing at the end of one of the tunes…it sounds like Queen meets the Beach Boys…a lot of the tunes have taken on a concept album type quality with sound effect segues leading from one track into the other…we are totally excited about every single track on the CD and I think you will all enjoy it also…I’ve also taken on the job of designing the artwork for the cover and inserts…if everything goes well, the final mixes will be complete by the beginning of January, when they will go out to PJ Olsson (vocalist from the Parsons Project) in Houghton, Michigan, who will master them…as soon as I get the master back, it will be sent to the duplicating place along with the artwork and it should be 10 days to 2 weeks time to produce the first batch…
October 17th, 2006
Tomorrow is my birthday...I will be 50 years old...time is definitely an illusion of this material world..."ah, yes...it feels like only yesterday" ...It feels funny when people ask me how long I've been playing the guitar, and I answer, "40 years..." . Especially younger kids and teenagers...they can't fathom that...I remember being 17 years old and thinking, " 25??...I'll never live that long ! " Anyway, the latest news is that my instrumental guitar CD is coming along nicely...it won't be out this month as promised but, it'll be soon...I'm very pleased that so many people are anxiously awaiting it...yesterday, I spent the day at Steve Murphy's house recording drum tracks in his basement studio...he's really got them drums sounding great and the addition of real drums onto my tracks makes a world of difference...I'm very fortunate to have a world class drummer like Steve lending his enormous talent to my album...it's like having my own personal Simon Phillips...later this month (hopefully) the other guys in the band (i.e. John Montagna and Manny Focarazzo) will be lending their talents to the project as well...P.J. Ollson (lead vocalist for the Alan Parsons Live Project) offered to mix a few tracks for me...Christopher Cross offered to play some guitar on it and I'm hoping to include other players like Leslie West and Corky Laing to name a few...I'm also going to try to get some of our FOH engineers (the guys that mix sound for us when we perform live with Parsons) to mix a few...(maybe even Mr. Parsons himself if I'm really lucky)
...other news is I will be flying out to Ohio State university with my friend Joshua Greene to give a performance of his power point presentation for his book on the spiritual life of George Harrison, "Here Comes The Sun"...(there is a link to the website on my links page)...the program will consist of Joshua speaking about George's life and referencing the book with pictures and video footage...I will also be performing some of George's songs in a solo acoustic setting...there will also be a showing of the movie "Legend Of Bagger Vance" which incorporates the teachings of "Bhagavad Gita" (Song of God), the philosophy that George embraced for most of his life...there will be future programs that will include the entire band when the budget allows...
...on the quirkier side of things, I've lately become obsessed with an old childhood love of mine....collecting Corgi and Matchbox cars...I had so many as a kid and I recently discovered what a huge business it is on the internet and eBay...usually when the day is done, I'll spend a few hours online searching for particular models I had as a boy...unfortunately for me, the Corgi obsession also spills over into several of my other hobbies and interests...(i.e., The Beatles, James Bond, Batman)...anyone familiar with these cars will know that the "Holy Grails" of the collection are models such as the Batmobile, James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 (complete with working ejector seat), The Man from Uncle's Thrushbuster Oldsmobile , The Beatles Yellow Submarine, Green Hornet's car, The Monkeemobile (to name a few)...some of these models in mint condition in the box sell for up to $1000 on the net and at auctions in the UK...and to think I bought them each for around $2.50 back in the 60s...there is one model I recently picked up while on tour in South America...it's a replica of George Harrison's psychedelic Mini Cooper (...the actual car was painted by the same people who painted Clapton's SG)...it's worth a bunch now because it's been discontinued due to Apple suing for the use of an apple painted on the roof of the model...I bought it for 65 Argentinian Pesos (the equivalent of $20 US)...I can go on for hours about this but, OKAY, enough already...so now you know what to get me for my birthday and Christmas...all the best to everyone and I promise to work diligently on getting this album finished before the New Year...(we also have that live compilation double CD in the works...soon...soon)
Peace, Love and Corgi cars, Godfrey \
July 17th, 2006
I was meant to make a diary entry before leaving on our month long European tour but, I neglected to do so...so, here's the latest...fortunately, I now have a laptop that I purchased for bringing on the road with me so I could work on my music and my website while I'm away as well as check e-mails and such...as you may already know, we are on tour with Alan Parsons for the month of July...as of today we've done 8 shows and have 7 to go...as usual the crowds have all been great and the shows have went very well...we've added a few new songs to the set including "La Sagrada Familia", and "Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)", which Manny sings lead on...one of the first shows on the tour was a 3 day festival in Holland...some of the other bands on the bill the same day as us were Beth Hart, Living Colour, Popa Chubby (who's from Flushing, Queens), Simple Minds and Glenn Hughes...you may remember Glenn as being the bassist/vocalist in one of the later incarnations of Deep Purple, (mid - Seventies, which had David Coverdale on lead vocals)...Glenn sang lead on some of the Deep Purple stuff and shared the vocals with Coverdale...2 albums I remember him being on were "Burn" and "Stormbringer"...BUT, I go back even further with Glenn Hughes to a band he had in the early 70s called "Trapeze"...we actually covered a few of their tunes in one of my high school bands...anyway, Glenn has also worked exclusively with good friends of ours, singer Joe Lynn Turner and guitarist Pat Thrall...so, Steve and I had a great time hanging and talking with him...not to mention his show (he went on right before us) was killer and his voice is still amazingly powerful and high...we got to stop in and say hi to Jim Kerr (lead singer of Simple Minds) before we left the festival site...needless to say, we're having a blast performing throughout Europe...so far we've hit Holland and Spain including Mallorca and Tenerife...after tomorrow's show, we're off to Germany for another festival (with Jeff Beck)...and then, Portugal, the island of Malta (where my mom's from) and finish up in Italy...unfortunately, as of yet, I haven't had the time (or energy) to work on my CD...I've got a lot of the tracks with me in my computer and I will hopefully get to work on them a bit...we get home on July 31st and go right back out on August 3rd for 2 weeks with another tour (see live show schedule for details), so I'm hoping to be able to cram in the time to finish my CD during the months of September and October...meanwhile, I hope you're all having a great summer...stay tuned for more stuff...by the way, the name of the band that Manny, John, Steve and I have, has been changed to There & Back and the live compilation CD has been held up due to legal licensing issues...we've gotten the permission and blessings of all the major artists on the CD but we still have to deal with publishing companies...this is not really a problem but it does entail time and effort which I really can't devote to it at the moment...I would say, it will only be held up until about Christmas...it'll make a great stocking stuffer...all the best, Godfrey \\\\
May 17th, 2006
Hope this finds you all doing well...this past month has been very satisfying musically...we started out at the beginning of May with a short run to Istanbul, Turkey/Bern, Switzerland/and Rankweil, Austria...Turkey was enjoyable as we had a tour guide take us around to some of the historic places like the Blue Mosque, (built in the 17th Century) and the Ayasofya Museum which was originally an Eastern Orthodox Temple built in the 4th Century...lots of culture...remember, "Istanbul was Constantinople"...the show there was pretty good with a very enthusiastic crowd...then, it was on to Bern, Switzerland to meet up with Jethro Tull for 2 shows...it was a thrill for me to meet Ian Anderson and Martin Barre, (the only remaining original members) considering I grew up listening to them immensely...one of the first solos I ever learned was from "Aqualung"...I saw them at Shea Stadium in 1976 with Robin Trower and Rory Gallagher as support...Ian was a little reclusive and reserved, (as I expected) and Martin was very friendly...we talked guitars and told jokes and stories for the entire 3 hour tour bus trip from Switzerland to Austria...both shows were fantastic as I had the added extra treat of getting to watch Tull from the photography pit right in front of the stage both nights...there are some new pictures on my Godfrey & Friends page and one of them is of me and Martin Barre backstage with our PRS guitars...we also played a great benefit concert up at Edgemont High School where my good friend and great photographer Art Nelson is a teacher...the benefit was for the Christopher Reeve Foundation...apparently his wife, Dana went to Edgemont...it was great to play a powerhouse set of classic rock material to a gymnasium full of teenagers and parents and have such a great response...I've also been working on my original guitar CD as promised...it's coming together nicely...I think I'll be able to make my projected deadline of October...as you may already know, the band, (now going by the name of The Live Project) is planning on a 2 CD compilation of some of our most memorable live performances with John Entwistle, Jack Bruce, Denny Laine, Joey Molland, Alan Parsons and more...we're hoping to have it available by July to be sold at shows and on our web sites...it will be entitled, "The Live Project" Official Bootleg...this weekend we perform 2 nights with Denny Laine formerly of The Moody Blues and Paul McCartney & Wings at The Cutting Room in NYC...next Saturday, May 27th, John, Steve and I will perform a special power trio show at Canno's in Long Island...(see Live Show Schedule page for details)...all the best, Godfrey \
April 27th, 2006
Hi Folks...as always, hope you're all doing well...it HAS been a long time since my last entry so this may get a bit lengthy...I've been keeping busy with my recording projects and traveling out of town to do a lot of short runs with the Alan Parsons Live Project...but, the first thing I'd like to comment about is the enthusiasm and positive energy that is coming from friends and fans all over the world...it seems our fan base is constantly growing with people who are sincerely moved by what we do...everywhere we've performed lately, the fans have been extra gracious and complimentary...I'm also thrilled and surprised as to how many people have come out of my past and contacted me through my guest book or webmaster...
The George Harrison birthday tribute shows at Canno's went great...we split the night into 2 shows (8pm and 11pm) to allow some of the not-so-late-night folks to be able to catch it...pleasantly and surprisingly, the room was packed all night and filled with a vibe that George must have been smiling down on...
In the beginning of March, we took a trip down to Washington, D.C. to meet up with Alan Parsons for a live radio show at XM Satellite Radio Studios...we played to about 50 people for about an hour and Alan answered questions from fans...next up mid-March was a weekend of APLP shows at the Nugget in Reno...the shows went well and the after show meet and greets with the fans were very inspiring...it seems that the die-hard Alan Parsons Project fans are really starting to appreciate and respect the new band...(all except for one guy somewhere in Holland who we'll just call "wanker")...we received a lot of very helpful and insightful responses to our "name the band" contest...at the moment, we are seeming to go with "The Live Project"...I know it's plain but it says it simply...it fits us better than "Flesh-Eaters From Hell"...(especially since I'm vegetarian)...anyway, the band name is really only for local area gigs where we don't know what to call ourselves...
Next up on the gig schedule was our 5th Annual Eric Clapton birthday tribute at BB King's in NYC's Time Square with my band "Clapton is God-frey"...just as last year, the show was a complete sell out, my son Joseph came up and sat-in on bass for "Sunshine Of Your Love", and the crowd was tremendously pumped...unfortunately, there was another show coming in afterwards and everyone was quickly rushed out of the club...my apologies to everyone who would have rather stuck around for a while...I promise it won't happen again next year...later that same week, we performed the same show at the Regattabar in Boston (another club that BB King's books)...although it was our first time there, the crowd was very warm and enthusiastic...special note: as Steve Murphy could not make it, we used drummer extraordinaire Roger Murdock for this one...he was just as slamming as I remember him being when we played together 20 years ago !...
Also, I have to mention that during this last few months, I have connected with loads of Who fans and John Entwistle Band fans around the world through an internet chat room type thingy...I was invited to participate by an old fan in the New England area named Peter...the other members were very cordial and welcomed me so much that it inspired me to dedicate a page on my web site exclusively to stories, pictures and memories I've had with the late, great John Entwistle...I've gotten a lot of compliments on it, so if you haven't checked it out yet, be sure to stop by...I miss your witty humor, John...
In mid-April, we played 3 shows in the Florida area with APLP...first was at the House Of Blues in Orlando and the next 2 were in Clearwater and Ft. Lauderdale with an orchestra and laser light show...I connected with lots of old friends and new fans on this run...Steve Murphy's folks live in the Ft. Lauderdale area and we had a great after show party at their house...Steve's family, friends and relatives were excited to play host to not only Alan Parsons and wife Lisa, but also our great friend Christopher Cross and band were in town performing and came by to join us for the festivities...when we arrived at the Murphy's home at about midnight, there were about 4 acoustic guitars, an upright bass and a baby grand piano waiting for us to take over...needless to say, we went until about 6am and sang and played everything from Beach Boys and Beatle classics (in 18 part harmony), with some Elton John, Simon & Garfunkel and Clapton thrown in...before Christopher and his band left, he treated us to an impromptu version of Arthur's Theme and Here, There & Everywhere with us on background harmonies...
I stayed down in Florida at the Murphy's for a few extra days to work with Steve and his brother, Bill on a 2 CD Live Compilation...Bill has a great studio at his house and we quickly assembled some live material of us at local gigs and also with Parsons, Entwistle, Jack Bruce, Denny Laine, Joey Molland and The Walk Down Abbey Road tours...it will be available as our official live bootleg in the near future...Steve has also been very supportive to my solo guitar CD project...he's been working on drum tracks for most of it at his home and has managed to record and mix some awesome sounding drums and send them to me via the internet...what a great age of technology we live in...consequently, with the addition of Steve's very live (and human) sounding drums to my tracks, it has inspired me to push on and ahead with the album...it's a pleasure to say goodbye to my lame, robotic, sequenced drum parts...keep your eyes and ears open for these 2 CDs to be released this summer and fall...
Lastly in this entry, is a mention of our last gig in Las Vegas this past weekend...it was our 3rd return engagement at this particular venue (Boulder Station Casino)...even though it is off the main strip and away from the real excitement and bright lights of Las Vegas, the show and crowd were exceptionally high energy...I met some really great fans and had a great time sitting and talking with them...to sum it all up, it's apparently very evident to the people we talk to that we love what we do and that we're having a lot of fun when we're performing...as is quite normal, we tend to sometimes take things for granted...sometimes we have to stop and think how fortunate we are to be able to do something we love for a living...when the crowd's enthusiasm and energy connects with us and we get that rush, it's then that we can really feel how blessed we are to be there...(probably why we have those stupid grins on)...BUT, it is definitely a reciprocating experience...the more the audience responds, the better we play...so, thanks once again for your inspiration and support...if you keep coming to see us perform, we'll continue on this end to provide you with the best we can do...this week it's off to Turkey, Switzerland and Austria for a few shows with "Jethro Tull"...Manny's calling it "The Turkey & Swiss Tour"...hope to see you soon...be well...Godfrey \
February 22nd, 2006
Hello everyone...hope you're all doing well...we had a great week long residence at Michigan State Tech a few weeks ago...our lead vocalist, P.J. Olsson lives way up North in what is referred to as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan...his dad is the music director and conductor of the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra up there and managed to arrange for us to perform in concert as the Alan Parsons Live Project with a 65 piece orchestra...needless to say, it was a blast...the music sounded incredible and both nights we performed to a super enthusiastic sold out house...we gave clinics and seminars all week and the video cameras were running the whole time...eventually, we will be getting some audio/video of the weeks events as well as the concert footage...I'll keep you posted on that...
...Meanwhile, this has been a very productive month for me...I've been working night and day on the web site as well as getting some recording done (as promised)...I recently borrowed a TEAC 4 track reel to reel tape recorder from my friend, Greg Gruber, and dug out of my back room in the basement, about 40 old reels of demo tapes from the 70's, 80's and 90's...I found demos for songs that I forgot I wrote...I also found some incomplete demos from the Alexis days that I'm planning on finishing up and putting on a CD to be released in the future...believe it or not, I'm having a hard time trying to re-create some of the guitar solos I played back in 1978...nevertheless, I'm pushing forward and working diligently at gathering all the material I can and getting it into a digital audio format in my pc...as soon as I finish tracking some of the tunes, I'm going to send the files out to several friends to mix down for me...Greg Rubin, who is our front of house soundman with the Parsons group, P.J. Olsson, our lead vocalist (who is a wiz in the studio) and even Mr. Parsons himself agreed to possibly mix one or two for me.
...a lot of people have listened to the mp3 demos I've posted on this site and have written me back with some real nice compliments...it seems that folks are anxious to buy the finished product...regarding the completion of my first CD, I'm going to have to be honest and give you a projected release time of Fall, 2006...it may seem like a long way off but it'll be here before
you know it...this fall, October 18th to be exact, I'll be 50 years old...wow, that sounded weird...no matter what it takes, I WILL have an album out before I turn 50...
Also, in the works is a 2 CD compilation of live material featuring me, Manny, Steve and John performing with some heavy names in the Classic Rock biz...this Saturday, Feb. 25th, we play our George Harrison Birthday tribute show at Canno's Swiss Tavern...we'll be doing 2 shows including an early 8:00 pm and a second 11:00 pm set...my friend Joshua Greene recently finished a book on George Harrison and will be bringing some books to Canno's to autograph and sell as well as possibly giving a power point presentation about the book...anyway, please try to make it down...thanks for stopping by and please take a look at some of the new things on the site...in particular, the 2 newest categories posted are "Around The Globe", which features photos of some of my musical exploits from around the world, and the "Tools of the Trade" pages which feature lots of photos and stories about all the guitars I've owned...soon to come will be more mp3s and a pictorial chronological biography...there is also a 12 page complete bio & press kit in PDF format that you can download and print out in Adobe Reader...busy, busy, busy...once again, thanks for stopping by and many thanks especially for all your support and interest...
All the best to you and yours and God Bless, Godfrey \
January 24th, 2006
everyone…by now, the holidays are way over…hope everyone had a great
one…mine were pretty good…mellow, relaxing…no big quarrels at family
gatherings and everyone seemed to be happy with their presents…I think we’re
all a little too old and tired to cause a fuss anymore…I hope you’re all
coming along with me on this and becoming familiar with my slightly, dark sense
of humor…it’s with the greatest affection for people and life that I
jest…WELL, so far it’s been a good new year…the band and I have just
gotten back from a week long engagement at the Cotton Club in Tokyo, Japan…we
backed up Denny Laine of Wings and Alan Parsons in 2 shows a night for 6
nights…I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I did last time I was
there…in November of 2001 I was there with the Walk Down Abbey Road
tour…backing up Ann Wilson, John Entwistle, Todd Rundgren, Alan Parsons, and
David Pack of Ambrosia…we did 2 shows in Tokyo and then on to Nagoya, Osaka
and Fukuoka on the “bullet” train…this time, we were in one place which
was nice…unpack your suitcase for the week…setup and sound check once for
the week…it was quite an interesting crowd of people to play for…lots of
Japanese businessmen in suits with briefcases…nonetheless they were quite
enthusiastic about the music…waving album covers and cds and clapping along in
perfect time and singing along in perfect pitch…we had a great time going out
to a place called, “The Cavern Club” and sitting in with a Japanese
“Beatle” band called, “The
Silver Beats”…they were really nice guys and were pretty
authentic with the haircuts, suits and proper guitars…another highlight for me
was meeting one of my favorite guitar players, Larry Carlton…he and his band
were playing at the Blue Note all week and staying at the same hotel as us and
we would meet at the same time every night in the lobby waiting for our ride to
the gig…he is mostly known for the TV show Hill Street Blues theme, Steely
Dan’s, “Josie”, and his work on several Joni Mitchell albums…check out
the song, “Amelia” on Joni Mitchell’s “Hejira” album…I like his
style because he’s as much a rock player as he is a jazz player…back in
1978, I played his self - titled album ‘til the grooves wore out…there was a
song on it called Room 335 (referring to the model of his Gibson guitar), which
I remembered to him as Room 222…he laughed and said, “that was a TV show
with Karen Valentine”...I also managed
...be well and hope to see you all soon...Godfrey \
December 7th, 2005
Sometimes it’s a good feeling to have someone to tell you what to do…it gives a sense of direction…last night, Bernie, my webmaster sent me an e-mail telling me that he has added more photos as well as my links page to the site…my homework, (by direct order from him) was to send out an e-mail to my mailing list to let them know about the new additions and to also make another entry into my diary…being that we are flying out of town at 8 am tomorrow morning for a few gigs in Mexico with Alan Parsons, I figured I’d better do it this afternoon…I find that touring is also a means of having some order in my life…every day there is a day sheet slipped under my hotel room door telling me what I have to do and what time I have to do it…ANYWAY, enough of that, as now you already know what’s new with the site…in last month’s entry, I mentioned something about the possibility of a Christmas message…but, first off, let me take a little time to pay homage to one of the greatest musical philosophers to ever exist on this planet, JOHN LENNON…who was tragically and shockingly gunned down outside his home at the Dakota 25 years ago tomorrow (December 8, 1980)…it’s so ironic that, at this time of year, you hear his Christmas song, “Happy Christmas/War is Over”, everywhere you go…to me, there are several types of musicians…one type is just simply a super-talented virtuoso on his instrument that has the ability to leave his audience speechless and in awe…another type pours his whole life experience, body & soul, always wearing his heart on his sleeve for all to see and possibly learn from…I believe Lennon was this type…WELL, as we get closer to the Catholic/Christian holiday that was originally meant to celebrate the supposed birth of Jesus Christ, it’s a little tough to feel what is referred to as the Christmas “spirit”…everyone’s hustling around trying to get the best deals on iPods and other popular gifts to give to their loved ones…you overhear statements like, “…oh we’re not exchanging gifts this year, it’s just become too much”…selling Christmas trees has become a way of making a huge amount of extra cash around the holidays…now, I’m not necessarily saying, “Bah, humbug!”…personally, I enjoy being with family and friends on the holidays and making Christmas cookies and watching, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol”, (don’t forget “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” and “The Grinch”)…I think I enjoy it mostly because it’s tradition…it takes me back to a time when I was a young boy and life was simple and you felt protected by your parents…I remember singing in the school choir at midnight mass on Christmas Eve and walking home afterwards with my folks in the snow…I remember the school choir used to go to all the big hotels in the city and perform in a show singing carols…we got paid a dollar each…and they all fed us the same lunch…chicken a la king…(obviously, this was before I became a vegetarian)…I can even remember back in first grade, singing in the school Christmas play…I sang “Silver Bells”…one of the fondest memories of Christmas I have is the year my grandparents on my father’s side came over from Ireland…also my aunt & uncle as well as my 2 cousins from Ohio came to stay with us…how we fit all these people into 5 rooms in a railroad apartment, I’ll never know…I remember getting an Emenee chord organ and I remember my cousin, Therese, who was my age, bringing with her the latest Beatle album, “Magical Mystery Tour” (on vinyl, of course)…the year was 1967 and we went around all week singing, “I Am The Walrus”…we especially liked singing the line, “yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye”, and grossing out our parents…it was most likely my first experience hearing the words, “Hare Krishna”…hmmm…to be continued…
...HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY AND BE SAFE, Godfrey \
November 18, 2005
Hope you're all doing well...we had a great gig at Canno's last Saturday...thanks to all of you who were there...even though it was advertised on Canno's website as a power trio night promising lots of Cream & Led Zeppelin, it wound up being an "Unplugged" evening with acoustic guitars, piano, bass and voices...we were joined by special guest, Tommy Williams from Wonderous Stories...to make it a little different and special, I suggested we go around the stage from person to person and let each individual take a turn picking his own song to do...and, if anyone else knew it, they would join in on harmony vocal bits, etc...we had a good time playing lots of songs we never played together...anyway, if you look on the Live Show Schedule page, you will see that there are no local gigs coming up for us...most of our work for the next month or so is out of the country...we may get some last minute gigs that we can fit into the schedule so, check back often...thanks to everyone for signing my guestbook...I will write again very soon...maybe for December, a special Christmas message....hmmmm
...all the best and be well, Godfrey \
October 30, 2005
Well, the Cream shows are over and everyone saw them but me...Steve Murphy called me with a pair of tickets for Tuesday's show but, I just didn't feel up to it...go figure...I told him to take someone who was REALLY dying to go...I guess my mind was too pre-occupied with my own Cream show that was coming up the next day at BB King's...sometimes I tend to get overly mental regarding upcoming performances...(I think they make a pill for that)...consequently, the BB's show went very well...it was nearly a sell out crowd, (quite good for a midnight show on a weeknight), and the band was on fire...John and Steve were monstrous as a rhythm section, playing the parts of Jack & Ginger...Tommy Williams from Wonderous Stories is an amazing talent...my 21 year old son Joseph came up for one of the encores and played "Sunshine Of Your Love" on his Warwick Thumb Bass signed by Jack Bruce and given to him for his 18th birthday...all in all it was a great show with lots of friends, fans and family in the audience...I'd say we even made a few new fans...I've gotten e-mails from out-of -towners who came to NYC to see the Cream shows at the Garden and ended up at BB's out of curiosity to catch our show...apparently, we've turned them into believers...ANYWAY, that's pretty much it for now...we don't have too many things brewing for November at the moment...we may make an appearance on Jim Breuer's Sirius Satellite Radio show or do a live remote from out at Canno's very soon...we've got a private party to play at next weekend...I'm working on my solo CD for most of November, as planned...and also, working on giving the site some new features and a major face lift...stay tuned...thanks to you all for your continuing support...it certainly is appreciated...as always, any ideas, suggestions and thoughts are totally welcome...
all the best, Godfrey \
October 21, 2005
Hope everyone is doing well. Thanks to all who signed my guestbook and joined up for my mailing list. If you are already on the e-mail list for the band, there's no need to sign up for the list on my site, it's the same one. Also, thanks for all the birthday e-mails and posts.
Anyway, I've been home from the tour now for almost 2 weeks and I'm just starting to settle in. Bills are paid and most of my phone messages and e-mails returned...so now, it's time to get back to work...the usual dilemma is trying to decide what to do...there's usually a few local gigs to do and some idea of a future tour in the works...but, what to do NOW...well, I'm usually juggling several projects around and fixing up a few things around the house, garage and studio...and, oh yeah, then there's that CD I'VE BEEN TRYING TO RECORD FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS...well, those of you who are curious or even anxious to hear some of my own music, should be getting a taste very soon...I'm purposely not booking a lot of gigs for November so that I may devote some serious time to laying down tracks...meanwhile, I'm going to try to post some of the demos on my website in mp3 format for you all to sample...(if I put it in writing on the internet, there's more reason to actually do it)...I've moved my studio back out to the garage (I moved it down my basement last Winter because it got pretty cold in there)...I should be able to get some good work done before it gets too cold this Winter...that reminds me to get to Target and pickup a good space heater...
I've also managed to play around with a computer video editing software program that will enable me to edit any live concert footage from my gigs at BB King's and elsewhere...I would like to put together a compilation DVD to sell at shows and on the site...some of the footage I have is from the Masters Of The Stratocasters show at BB King's, Joey Molland & Denny Laine show at Seaside Park in Brooklyn two summers ago, and some rare footage with John Entwistle...Is there anyone with digital video editing experience who'd like to help move it along quicker ?...feel free to contact me...I'll give your kids guitar lessons...anyway, that's all for now...please check back often to see the improvements and additions to the site as well keep track of where and when we'll be playing...meanwhile, I'm gonna stop procrastinating and go get started on one of these projects (or maybe sit down and watch just one season of Star Trek on DVD)
Don't forget about the Special After Show Party/Cream Tribute this Wednesday, October 26th at BB King's...check the live schedule and click the link...
all the best, always, \
October 4, 2005
The shows have been going very well. Most notable on this tour so far was the San Jose, Costa Rica show. It was just a magical night...the band played great, the audience was totally frantic...AND my guitar sounded good to me in my in-ear monitors. Sometimes it sounds like a banjo. Not very inspiring for the makings of a good performance.
In case you didn't know, the whole band is on in-ear monitors. There are no wedge monitors on stage. Everything we hear comes from these tiny earphone monitors. We spend 2 hours before every show soundchecking with them to try and get a perfect mix.
Anyway, we're about to wind up this tour. Tonight´s show in Santiago, Chile...tomorrow back in Buenos Aires...and then back to the States for our last show at The Alladin in Vegas. We will be performing with an orchestra. Dennis DeYoung (former lead singer for Styx) will also be on the bill. We will probably be posting some nice photos from that show on the site in the near future, since a good friend of the webmaster is a pro rock photographer and will be there.
I'll be home soon...be well...
September 27, 2005
Sorry that this is the first chance I've had to sit down and write a diary entry.
Those of you who have been to johnmontagna.com (bassist extraordinaire of APLP), will be aware that he posts entries much more frequently. Once again, I promise that this site will constantly be getting better with much more to see and do, so stop back often.
To begin the “Tales of the Tour”, let's go back to America for the first gig at the Potawatami Casino in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was pretty hectic considering we had to replace keyboardist Manny Focarazzo at the last minute due to a severe back injury. All the best to him for a speedy recovery. He should be joining up with us for the last show of the tour at The Aladdin in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, he's being replaced by Brit keyboardist, John Beck. If any of you saw either of the first two “A Walk Down Abbey Road” tours, you will remember John from there. He had previously worked in Alan Parsons touring band. I hadn't seen John for over 3 years and it was good to see him as we got right down to cramming a shows worth of material with vocal parts and arrangements into a quick afternoon rehearsal in Alan's hotel suite.
Later that day, after soundcheck, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that guitarist Daryl Stuermer was opening up for us. You may remember him as the guitarist with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. He has also toured and recorded with Genesis and Phil Collins for the past 25 years. I hung out with him a bit before the show and had a blast. We took some pictures with him and I asked for one of his picks to add to my collection. He stayed around for our show and we had a great time talking music and sharing a few laughs at the end of the night. His manager Gary was a real nice guy and had asked that we send some of the pictures we took together for Daryl to put on his site. You can eventually see them at www.darylstuermer.com .
Regarding our very early morning excursion the next day to South America, I'm sure everyone is familiar with the hellish nature of traveling, (especially to foreign countries). As far as I'm concerned, that's the part of touring that I get paid for. At this point, (Tuesday, Sept. 27th) we've done 7 shows in 13 days and taken 18 flights, (most days beginning with a 5:00 a. m. hotel lobby call).
Let's get back to the fun part. There's not much I've experienced in my life yet that that is much better than the feeling of walking on to a stage to the roaring cheers of thousands of people and picking up your guitar and playing for them. The faces of the kids (and the adults) in the front rows and those crammed up to the stage reflect so much joy, excitement and awe. It reminds me of my teenage days going to see my musical heroes in concert. There is much enthusiasm and loyalty in the fans of South & Central America, Mexico & Spain.
More to come...
September 13, 2005
And so begins the diary…Tuesday, September 13th 2005…6:45 pm…There’s lots going on these days…between gathering up all the necessary ingredients for an interesting website and gathering up all the necessary ingredients for a month long tour, I’ve been keeping busy…I think I’ve got this touring thing down to a science…although, once I’m out on the road, I’ll still be thinking "I shouldn’t have brought this" and "I should have brought that…". One thing I’ve learned is, no matter where you go, you can still pretty much buy anything you need.