Eric Moore was born on May 7th, 1952.
Eric Moore is not for the easily offended or the faint of heart. He is a self professed "old hippie, a hillbilly that can shoot straight" and I wouldn't want to test him on that. I've been a fan of Eric's since the first time I saw The Godz opening for Angel back in 1978. Being a bass player/songwriter myself, I've always respected Eric Moore as a hell of a songwriter/singer/bass player as well as an entertaining and charismatic showman. Though he has never fully achieved mainstream success, he stands in no one's shadow as he has honestly made his own way. Before any of an endless list of followers realized it was fashionably cool in the rock world to project an image of life on Jack Daniels, women, drugs, and Harleys, Eric Moore was the real deal, the genuine article - the true embodiment of the sex, drugs and rock and roll credo. And he's as American as apple pie and Chevrolet, with a slightly different viewer rating. His songs and his on-stage banter relating war stories of drugs, women, guns, and freedom have won him devoted fans everywhere he performs. Eric's notorious partying and rock and rolling exploits are legendary throughout Ohio and beyond. Besides being one of the most colorful personalities in the history of American rock and roll, he is one hell of a musician, singer and songwriter. Hopefully, someday, the world at large will get a chance to appreciate all of his works. The following is the story of Eric's musical life thus far.
Eric Moore began his professional music career in a band called Tree. The band won a record contract with RCA in a statewide battle of the bands in 1970, but the deal ultimately went nowhere. Eric then joined the band "Mixed Water" (the name of a mild alcoholic concoction used by churchgoing folks who wanted to deceive themselves that they weren't sinning!) The band consisted of future Godz guitarist Bob Hill, Jerry Hertig and Michael Warner. Mixed Water failed to generate any label interest until Jim "Jamie" Lyons was asked to join the band as the new frontman. Jamie Lyons had previously enjoyed some success with the Mansfield, Ohio bubblegum band Music Explosion. (Music Explosion sprang to fame in 1967 with 'Little Bit O' Soul' which reached number 2 in the US charts. Music Explosion secured another minor hit with 'Sunshine Games', but were unable to sustain a permanent career after that.) Jamie also had a brief solo career in which he released a number of 45s during 1968 and 1969 before joining Mixed Water with Eric and company. With Lyons adding some flare to the live shows, Elektra was impressed enough to sign the band and subsequently changed their name to "The Capital City Rockets." The only other rock act on the Elektra label at the time was The Doors.
The Capital City Rockets: (l-r) Jerry Hertig, Eric Moore, Michael Warner, Bob Hill and Jamie Lyons (lying down).
The Capital City Rockets' self-titled album, released in July of '73, generated one regional hit single (Breakfast in Bed) in the Midwest and parts of the south, but eventually fizzled on the charts. Soon afterwards, the band broke up over personality conflicts and alcohol problems. Bob Hill went on to join a band called Sky King with future Godz drummer Glen Cataline. When Sky King's bassist Keith Dickas left the group, Eric Moore stepped in to take his place. Sky King played softer rock at a time when Eric and Glen wanted a raunchier sound. It was only a matter of time before Eric and Glen moved on to form a new group more in line with their musical tastes. They recruited fellow Columbus, Ohio musicians Mark Chatfield on guitar, Hayward Law as a second drummer and Michael Adams on keyboards. The new group, complete with with two drummers, kicked some serious ass. Even this early on, Eric and Mark had written, and were already performing, such classic Godz tunes as Gotta Keep a Running, Rock and Roll Queen, Cross Country, Messing with a Minor, Go Away, and Snakin'. Eric Moore came up with the name The Godz and a cult rock legend was born. (There was already a psychedelic '60s rock band from New York named the Godz, but a quick money settlement down the road cleared the way for the Ohio Godz to continue using the name.)
The Godz performing at Denison University in 1976: Mark Chatfield on guitar, Glen Cataline on drums, Eric Moore on bass, Hayward Law on drums, and Michael Adams on keyboards.
1976: Classic Eric Moore, unidentified girl, and roadie Craig Goodyear.
Tragedy struck when Law and Adams were killed on a country road early one April morning in '76. At 4:30 AM, on their way to Parkersburg, West Virginia, their fiberglass kit-type sports car ran head-on into a semi-trailer. It was a devastating blow to the group and Eric soon recieved a comforting phone call from his old bandmate Bob Hill who told Eric "Whatever you need, just ask." Eric said "I need you" and with that, the band was on the road again. Moore, Chatfield, Cataline and Hill wound up being the classic '70s Godz lineup that we've come to know. All four contributed lead vocals and writing skills to the band.
The Godz: Bob Hill and Eric Moore.
The Godz: Glen Cataline and Mark Chatfield.
The Godz were signed to Casablanca in 1977 after Donnie Ienner witnessed a blistering sold-out Godz show one hot summer night at the Columbus Agora. (Casablanca had quite a few subsidiary labels, including Millennium which was founded by Jimmy Ienner Sr. in 1976. Donnie was Jimmy's brother.) '77 was also the year in which The Godz had an opening spot on KISS' Love Gun Tour. (Cheap Trick was the other opening act on that tour.) The Godz' self-titled debut album was recorded in August of 1977 and produced by Grand Funk Railroad's Donnie Brewer. It was released on the Millennium label in early 1978. (The original album title was to be "Rock and Roll Machine", but members of the Canadian band Triumph, stole the title for their new RCA release - or so the story goes.) The Godz record was not loved by the critics. "Miserable hard rock quartet from Columbus, Ohio," wrote Rolling Stone critic John Swensen. "Epitomizes the most wretched excesses of '70s rock." "Wretched excesses"? Cool! In my opinion, The Godz' debut album is an excellent, very solid record from start to finish in the pure old school spirit of angst ridden, Ted Nugent-esque alpha male Harley Davidson rock. There isn't a bad song on the record. Perhaps the most notable Eric tune on the album is the anthem "Gotta Keep a Runnin" in which Eric does his famous "rock and roll machines" rap. Regarding the classic tune Candy's Going Bad, Eric had this to say, "I worked with Golden Earing in the early '70s and I always loved the words to that song. The story it tells is right up my alley." Eric's upbeat "Go Away" was also released as a single from the album.
The Godz 1978: Glen Cataline, Eric Moore, Mark Chatfield, and Bob Hill.
The Godz: Mark Chatfield, Glen Cataline, Eric Moore, and Bob Hill.
Millennium's marketing strategy was to hype The Godz as "a louder, noisier KISS without make-up." The hype seemed to be working as The Godz began an intensive seventeen month tour which began in the Fall of '77 and saw them selling out 6,000-plus seat halls in major cities nationwide. They also occupied the opening slot on Angel's White Hot Tour. It was billed as "Angel & The Godz: A Match Made in Heaven."
A promotional idea from Creem Magazine in which you could receive either Angel's White Hot album or The Godz debut album free with your subscription.
On how the
tour with Angel came about, Eric had this to say, "We had the same record
company and the same agency. It was a nutural package. We were in black
leather and they were all in white satin. It was a killer show. We were
the opening act, it's my job to make the audience ready for the headliner.
I'm not there to blow them off the stage and The Godz were real good
at that. We got our point across and got the crowd ready for Angel."
It appeared that The Godz were finally getting the break they deserved.
Angel live in '78.
Eric said that he got along well with Frank, Gregg, pretty much everyone in
the band... except Punky Meadows who was a very strange dude. Eric recalled "That guy was so weeeeeeird. - I mean,
in his own world." They caught Punky stuffing his pants once. The crew had nicknames for everyone in Angel and they used to call Punky "Monkey Pedals." They
would call Barry Brandt "Barry Burnt" because he was always so wasted, though a very talented drummer. Eric recalled a night when he saw Barry walk right up to Angel's huge 55 foot
silver tour bus and ask their road manager Chuckie "Where's the bus?"
Pretty funny stuff.
The Godz opening for Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush.
The Godz live: Mark Chatfield and Eric Moore.
But just as things were looking promising for The Godz, the tide began to turn back on them. Millennium changed it's distribution from Casablanca to RCA in '79 and the Millennium label folded altogether. Millennium's parent label, Casablanca, picked up The Godz to fulfill their contractual obligation with the band but had no particular enthusiasm for them. Don Brewer was once again slated as producer for The Godz second LP, but it wasn't meant to be. Eric related "Not many people know this but he did actually start producing our second album, "Nothing Is Sacred", but we lost him three days into the deal. So I was stuck with producing the album and I'm not a producer. All I know is straight rock and roll, so we made it straight rock and roll." Around the same time, Eric had a serious motorcycle accident and was out of commission for a while. "I had a serious accident in '79. I dumped my bike and wrecked my body real bad. I still limp when it rains! I kinda dumped my Kowasaki, and I promise you I'll never ride a Kowasaki again. It's back to good old Harley Davidson for me. They might be slow but they never hurt me! I was laid up for eight months and you can't lose momentum for eight months in the rock and roll business. When you're out of it for that long like I was, you have to start all over again from square one. It's almost impossible to pick up the pieces and continue." With the resulting loss of momentum, combined with the record company switch, The Godz' second album, "Nothing Is Sacred", was released in 1979 with very little label support. But the band was relentless and hit the road again opening for the likes of Blue Oyster Cult, Kansas, Iggy Pop and other notable seventies metal acts.
The Godz: Mark Chatfield, Glen Cataline, Eric Moore and Bob Hill.
became living legends in the tri-state area of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan,
but Casablanca was juggling too many artists to properly promote them
worldwide, or nationwide for that matter. It could also be said that
all the band members fairly equaled each other in song writing strength
on the first Godz record, but it seems to me that only Eric's songs
stood out on the second release (though Eric himself might disagree
as he's played Cataline's "714" live all through his career and right
up until this day.) That being said, "Nothing Is Sacred" wasn't a big
money maker and the band was dropped from the label altogether just
before Neil Bogart sold Casablanca to PolyGram in early 1980. This was
the first death blow to the band. The second came with the departure
of Bob Hill. He decided to leave the band when he felt his life was
in danger just being on the road with the group. One night he awoke in their
motor home to the sound of truck horns blaring, which seemed to be on
both sides of the vehicle going in the opposite direction. Bob, and
the now awake Glen, found their driver, Tom, asleep at the wheel with
his cigarette drooping down, burning his shirt, his feet on the dash,
arms through the steering wheel, cruise control on, going 55 mph down
the wrong side of a four lane divided highway. This was a life altering
moment for Hill and he left the band shortly thereafter. It is rumored
he gave up his guitar for a real estate license. Eric later recalled
that Bob and Glen "just couldn't take it anymore. I mean, the first
year we went out on the road, we buried two roadies, one drummer and
one keyboard player. It's a hard lifestyle being involved with The Godz."
The band continued touring for a while as a three piece, but then Mark
and Eric had a major falling out and the band split up for good in late
1980. Thus ended the first chapter of The Godz' history. The Godz were
one of the most underrated hard rock groups of their time and it's a
crime that they didn't get more recognition than they did.
Eric didn't waste time getting back out on the scene and in 1981 recruited members of another Ohio biker band called Black Leather Touch to form The Eric Moore Band. The studio version of the band consisted of: Eric on guitar and lead vocals, Tom Edwards on drums, Howard Hobbs on lead guitar and vocals, Phillip Stokes on bass and vocals, and James Morrey on rhythm guitar. They released a single called "I Won't Be Lonely Tonight" which appeared on the "Vinyl Ecstasy - Hometown Album Project Volume 2", a various artist LP distributed by WLVQ-FM96 radio out of Columbus, Ohio. The live line-up of the Eric Moore Band included Ray Fuller (a first rate blues guitarist who had his own local band - Ray Fuller and the Bluesbreakers from Columbus) and Garrett Lane on second guitar. Their shows were comprised of mainly Godz material, but also included some Bob Dylan, The Band, David Bowie covers, and some new originals as well. By late 1982, this line-up gave way to the next incarnation of the Eric Moore Band which consisted of Terry Davidson on guitar, Terry Blackburn on bass, and Doug Evans on drums.
The Eric Moore
Rumors abound regarding Eric's infamous time in jail (Mansfield, Ohio Reformatory), but details are fuzzy. All that can be said about it is that he allegedly shot someone in a bar fight during the early eighties. "Well, I spent eight months in jail. I'm always in and out of jail, you know, a week here, a week there" is all Eric will say on the subject. After Eric served his time, he pursued putting together another hard rock act that would once again perform under the name of "The Godz". He reunited with his former Godz bandmate Glen Cataline, recruited guitarists Gino Harrison and Buddy Toth and The Godz were on the road again.
Godz '83. Eric with jail time haircut.
But Eric recalled "The line-up in which we had Buddy Toth and Gino was a wash-out due to the fact that we were trying to recapture what the first band had. Well, you just can't do that in a rock and roll band. Glen Cataline is out of the business entirely now, too much pressure." Gino Harrison was replaced by Jeff Parker (who came from an Elyria, Ohio band called STUTZ) and by the mid-'80s, after several years of touring, the Cataline, Parker, and Toth version of the Godz folded up shop altogether. Eric appeared next in what was originally called Freddie Salem and the Wildcats (named after a project and album Freddie had worked on earlier.) Salem played guitar in The Outlaws and Eric and Freddie had met back in '79 when The Godz were opening for them. This new group consisted of Eric/Freddie/Steve Schuffert on guitar and Sandy Gennaro (from Cindy Lauper's band) on drums. In time, Jimmy Clark replaced Sandy Gennaro on drums and the band was aptly dubbed The Godz. Eric and Freddie co-wrote the Godz' 1985 album '"I'll Get You Rockin'", a European release on the Heavy Metal America label. The LP did quite well in England where a video for the song I'll Get You Rockin' received a fair amount of airplay.
Freddie Salem (top, right), Jimmy Clark (bottom).
(Nice Flock Of Seagulls hairdo Steve!)
During this time, Mark Chatfield had left his band Rosie, who disbanded shortly thereafter, and went to work with Bob Seger. Mark would continue to work with Seger over the years but, when this tour finished, Chatfield and Moore worked out their differences and resurrected yet another incarnation of the Godz. Mark replaced Schufert and brought in Kevin Valentine to replace Jimmy Clark on drums. Kevin had also played with Mark for brief time in Rosie. Eric recycled most of the tunes from the I'll Get You Rockin' album while replacing a few of the weaker ones for The Godz' 1987 album "Mongolians", a domestic release on the independent Grudge label. This is a pretty solid record and I love the opening song Criminal Mind (Rock and Roll Heart). It almost seemed as if the I'll Get You Rockin album was the demo for Mongolians. If we were to look at the two albums in this context, the only song that didn't carry over from the first record that probably should have would be We're All Crazy, a raucous anthem that Eric regularly includes in his live sets. Mongolians may not be the total classic that the Godz first album was, but it's pretty damn close. The album sold well over 30,000 copies with little promotional help from the label.
Please send any additions or corrections to Steve E. Ojane at:
Many thanks to Vince Redman for early Godz biography details.