“I’ve been abused, I’ve been confused and I’ve kissed Margaret Thatcher’s shoes!” I like it when lyrics end in exclamation marks. And most of the Godfathers’ lyrics do.
First exposure: Birth, School, Work, Death, a deadly little album. I wasn’t expecting much from it that day in 1988, but it blew out my bedroom windows and I knew I’d found something good. I bought it only because I was told it was cool new British postpunk, a la The Cult, which it isn’t at all. But I was surprised, as I’ve never been a fan of punk, and the Godfathers are very much a punk band … although they dressed like bankers and knew how to play guitar. That’s probably why I like them so much. Singer Peter Coyne uses every UK punk vocal cliche, but the guitars are just smashing, twin leads with solid rhythm beneath … The title track, Coming Down, Cause I Said So … fucking brilliant.
The second Canadian release, More Songs About Love and Hate, was a little quieter, but had a song called Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues, which remains high on my playlist. She Gives Me Love, in particular, should have been huge. But it wasn’t. And that’s what sunk the Godfathers; for every nerd like me who thought they rocked and rocked some more, there were a thousand people buying Paula Abdul or Vanilla Ice or whatever was selling that year.
A couple of years later came the slicker Unreal World, a good disc but it was clear the boys were losing their teeth. There were apparently albums after that but I can’t say much about them, as they were never released here. I did pick up a Greatest Hits disc around 1995 or so, which for some reason was also called Birth, School, Work, Death and had the same cover as Unreal World; it had a fantastic instrumental twangfest called Gone To Texas on it, which I still play all the time.
Anyway, if you can find some Godfathers, listen. If you can’t, well, there’s always YouTube.