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HOME Exclusive: Interview with Nitzer Ebb’s David Gooday

This week, HOME’s Pete interviewed David Gooday, who was among the earliest members of Nitzer Ebb, and is part of the newly re-formed act. Gooday brings us up to speed on his most recent projects, as well as shedding some light on early NEP history.

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Home:  As an original member could you tell us about your earliest recollections of the band?

DG:  A wasp, A Jen-SX 1000 and a BOSS DR-55. Then an SH-101 [Roland]. A handful of drums, some lumps of metal and Douglas singing. Well, I say Douglas singing. When we first started out as Nitzer Ebb, we all sang – shouted, in my case – swapping roles for whoever was the best at the task in hand at that time. Wanting to stir a few things up, wanting to do whatever we wanted to do, knowing there probably would be some consequences (the general musical tastes in those days were very narrow if you had no guitars then ‘how can you call it music?’ LOL.) Feeling I had something to change in the world and wanting to leave my mark on music.

Home: Why did you leave the band?

DG: At that time in my life, I wasn’t enjoying what was going on. I had a lot of outside pressure, and it was time to go. I felt at that time I had done within the band what I personally had set out to do.

Home: Having remained very close personal friends with the band, how was it to see other musicians filling your initial role?

DG: I never had a problem with anyone else taking over my part. We had all been friends since school, and we’d been through a lot together…achieved a lot together, actually. I think it was me who suggested that Julian drummed after Duc. It was what it was. The band was going to go on with or without me, and I would have been really upset if it hadn’t.

Home: What is your favourite album that the band recorded after your departure, and why?

DG: I suppose I would have to say ‘Belief’, probably because Bon and I had already started on that album – or the ideas behind it – before I decided to leave. Blood money is one of my all-time favourite songs by the boys probably because it was the last thing Bon and I wrote together. Saying that I have favourite tracks on all the albums. As they grew musically, so did the sound. And that is something I would have wanted it to do.

Home: You and Simon have been busy with STARK. For those who don’t know, what is STARK?

DG: Ok STARK is a project that Simon and I do together, along with collaborating artists. I was writing again for a few years after Douglas gave me and my second wife, Karla, a music program for a wedding present. I had gotten a few tunes together and was starting to enjoy making music again, so I started hassling the shit out of Simon to come [and] listen. (Usually when I was drunk and excited about whatever I had done…) We were on our way to another one of Douglas’ weddings, and I played Simon a few of the tracks I had just done, and he was into them. So, Stark was born. (Simon named it.) And we began to work together again on the music.

I think it’s been five or six years now, and we are still enjoying playing live sets, releasing music and learning all processes and everything that goes with. We also have STARKFutures Recordings which is our digital label…run with Paul Eiger Fosset. Also, STARKEditions which is all physical forms of release (vinyl and live recordings), and we are in the midst of creating STARKThreads, which will be our clothing line. We endeavour to write, record, and play live anything that takes our fancy. We do not follow genres or fads. We only release, play, and enjoy what we like. Below you’ll find a few links to the things we do.

STARKFutures: https://starkfuturesrecordingslabel.bandcamp.com/

STARKFutures: https://starkfuturesrecordings.greedbag.com/

Home: How was it performing several years ago with the guys for the first time in many years, and how did that come about?

DG: I can’t actually remember how it came about. LOL. But that was quite a strange evening, as it had been a good few years since I had banged a drum. No rehearsals for me, so straight on and go for it. (I completely forgot how hot and physical it was on stage. Not prepared. LOL) But I fully enjoyed it, and it seemed that the audience did too.

Home: I have personally been down the front at many Ebb shows over the years, and I’ve come out battered and bruised. Have you ever been down the front at an Ebb gig?

DG: Got to say, “yes,”…a good few times. And I watched one of my sons doing the same as he fully reveled in the whole experience. For me it was nothing new. It just felt like being a teenager and going to a show that you wanted to give your all for.

Home: One of the old videos of an early Ebb gig has a bit of a scrap going on down the front. Do you remember that?

DG: [That was a] very long story, and it’s to hard to explain.  But we did end up with our first publishing deal that evening.

Home: Will you be getting out the big spanners out and performing “Whiter Shade of Pale” by any chance? What was the story with that track?

DG: Absolutely NO Chance!! I think back in those days, we really weren’t big fans of all the dross rock shit that was around. So I think Bon thought it would be fun to try and do our version.

Home: Are you looking forward to getting on the road? What excites you most: festivals or more intimate shows?

DG: Yeah, really looking forward to doing these shows. It’s been a while. And I am really looking forward to Simon being up there with us.  In to doing either, I prefer intimate shows. But then a big stage is a great place to perform. They both have their places and create a different show.

Home: Have you guys worked out a set list yet for the tour?

DG: Yeah, we have a set list. But that will probably change as we go along. The guys have written too many outstanding tunes over the years, so there are a few to choose from.

Home: Any plans to record any of the shows?

DG: No plans at the moment. Again, I guess wait and see. You never know.

Home: Douglas said that there had been “reworkings” of tracks. Can you shed any light and explain the procedure?

DG: OK so a year or so ago, Bon asked Simon and me if we would be up for getting involved again.
And asked if I could rework some of the tunes. I really didn’t want to do remixes, so I would call them reworks. As we have never been ones to keep doing the same old thing time and time again, we decided we would put our STARK spin on them and then work together to create something we would all enjoy. They are a little more spacious than the originals, with room for us to add a lot of live interpretation; which is what Simon and I do with our STARK shows. Expect live mixes.

Home: What can you tell us about the Iggy Pop Cover you guys have recorded?

DG: This is a project that Simon wanted to do and has been in the pipeline for the last five years.
We had been seeing a lot off Bon in the last two years. And thankfully, as we are talentless keyboard players, Bon played the Bowie organ parts for the tune. We had already got a local singer in mind for the vocals, David Arscott. And [we had] a rough idea of how we wanted to interpret the song. So we went ahead and got the first version down. Very sadly, whilst in the process of doing the tune, a dear friend, Donald Rody, passed away. Donald was a massive Iggy fan, so we decided to dedicate the release to Donald, and all profit would go to a charity of Donald’s wife Sharon’s choice. In the meantime, we thought it would be a great idea if we all got involved. So there will be two versions on a double A-side for release next year. A STARK version and an Ebb version.
The Ebb version has both Bon and Doug contributing on the vocals, and Simon and I did all the arrangement and production.

Home: Thanks for your time. And best of luck with the projects ahead.

You are more than welcome. – D.T.G.