The Dave Goddess Group

If you love some of the roots of great rock music, you’re gonna dig our latest feature, the Dave Goddess Group. Goddess relies on the good stuff to stand out: dedicated songwriting and musicianship, big guitars and classic influence – after all, as a young man, Dave had direct lines to the likes of James Brown and Wilson Pickett thanks to an uncle in the radio business. Goddess kicked off his career close to 30 years ago with The Daddy Licks Band, but truly arrived with his namesake group and the record, Something New.

The Dave Goddess Group2Thankfully, Goddess has stayed busy, and has built a fresh collection of classic rock goodness titled Blown Away. We asked Dave to give us the latest download on the effort – he told us, “I’m very proud of this 4-song EP. I hate describing it, because I feel it should speak for itself, but to my mind, it’s raw and honest, big, thoughtful, and fun. I couldn’t have made it without my talented partner Konrad Carelli, who engineered and mixed it in NYC.” Click to to check out Blown Away as well as Something New – and get to a live show while you’re in the Big Apple. But first, keep reading. There’s so much more to learn in all the answers to the XXQs below.

XXQs: Dave Goddess Group (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out from others in your genre?

Dave Goddess (DG): I try to make music that uses the techniques of classic rock – good writing, musicianship, lyrics that are saying something, big guitars, a great groove…and bring a modern twist to it.

PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

DG: I listened to classic rock and soul music. Loved the Rolling Stones. Loved the Memphis sound. My uncle was a radio programmer for a chain of soul stations, so I was heavily exposed to R&B. When I’d visit him, I’d answer the phone and it would be James Brown or Wilson Pickett. That was pretty cool.

Can’t remember my first concert. Must have been the cough syrup.

PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene in your hometown, when you first started out as a band? What was your first show like together as a band?

DG: It’s always difficult to get started. In our case, at least some of the time we’re going to walk out there and play songs that the audience is mostly unfamiliar with. The fastest way to connect is on a physical level—put out energy from the stage and it will come back to you. I don’t remember our first show, but I’m sure it sucked.

PEV: What has been the most frustrating part of the whole “music business”? 

DG: I guess that it’s a business at all. I resent having to do business. Seems like a lot of the time you’re talking to people that really don’t love or understand music. I just want to write songs and play.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Dave Goddess Group show?

DG: We play with energy and soul. We give it our all. We want to lift people’s spirits. We want them to have fun.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

DG: To be in the moment. To be honest. To not think too much.

PEV: How has playing in Dave Goddess Group been different from working with other artists or projects in the past?

The Dave Goddess Group3DG: Being in a band is sometimes very difficult. You have a handful of creative people looking to express themselves. When it works, it works. When it doesn’t, it’s frustrating. I have little tolerance for musicians that let their ego get in the way of playing the song as it should be played. Right now, I’m fortunate to have a great band that’s willing to play my songs and bring them to a new level. Each of them adds their own special something to the work. We have a couple of new members—Chris Cummings on drums and Gary Gipson on guitar. They bring a whole new energy and perspective to what we’re doing. And Tom Brobst on sax and keyboards and Mark Buschi on bass have been in the band for years, so it’s a good mix.

PEV: What is the underlying inspiration for your music? Where do you get your best ideas for songs?

DG: I keep my eyes and ears open. I live in New York City and there’s always something weird or interesting or inspiring to see or hear. I walk around with a notebook and jot it all down. Travelling usually inspires me also—once you get out of your comfort zone, you can make some interesting observations. I try to keep it personal and real. I don’t make things up out of the blue. Some writers are really great at doing that, but personally, I’m never going to write “Octopus’s Garden”.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

DG: Sure, but like most everything, it’s the journey that’s important. If you can’t enjoy that part of it, you shouldn’t be in music because no matter who you are, you’re going to have lots of ups and downs. I’ve played for audiences that loved us and audiences that hated us. Played for 10,000 people. Played for 10. What we do isn’t for everybody. If it was, it would be so homogenous that it would suck. Unless it was the Beatles. I’m happy to please myself and see where that takes me.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Dave Goddess Group?

DG: We’re all in Mensa. Not really.

The Dave Goddess Group1PEV: Tell us about your latest project. What can fans expect from this work?

DG: Recently we came out with a 4-song EP called Blown Away. I’m very proud of it. I hate describing it, because I feel it should speak for itself, but to my mind, it’s raw and honest, big, thoughtful, and fun. I couldn’t have made it without my talented partner Konrad Carelli, who engineered and mixed it in NYC.

PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song is complete, and you can sit back and listen to it for the first time?

DG: By the time I get to that point, I’ve worked through the writing process, arranged it, recorded it, and listened to rough mixes until I’ve totally lost perspective. So for me, I try to put it away and not listen for a while. A couple of months later, I can hear it with fresh ears and decide if I like it.

I will say that it is rarely the case that I actually do what I set out to do—either lyrically or musically. Hopefully the result is good, but it is something else—because the writing and recording is a process of discovery, and in spite of your intentions, you can wind up somewhere you hadn’t planned on going.

PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

DG: I’ve been to Europe many times, but never played there. How about Japan or Australia? Brazil? How about Scranton? Never mind, I played there.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play in your hometown?

DG: When I was a kid, my wicked stepfather wouldn’t let me play electric guitar in the house. I used to wait for him to leave then turn it up to ten. I’d play looking out the window and shut it off when his car pulled back up. That said, it’s always great to hear the reaction of friends and family. When we play, it’s actually an opportunity for them to get together. And even the old man came around eventually.

PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

DG: Thinking, reading, living. Exploring. Drinking.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?

DG: I’d love to hear one of the great soul singers sing one of my songs—Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, or Sam Cooke.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

DG: I got nothing for this. I don’t listen to much music—especially when I’m trying to write. It confuses me.

PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what do you think each of you would be doing for a career?

DG: I guess I’d try to write a novel. I think that would be very difficult, but you never know. I tried to get away from music. Didn’t touch a guitar for a few years, but I came back.

PEV: So, what is next for Dave Goddess Group?

DG: I’ve got a new batch of songs I’m really excited about, so it’s back in the studio for us. More live dates, too. Stop by and see us when we’re in your town.

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