The following is a phone interview conducted with Mr. Goeden in June, 1998, set up between Geoffrey & myself by James Buckles, president of Polyholiday Records. Granted, I was not completely prepared for the interview, as the only work of Mr. Goeden's I had heard was the Polyholiday release Geoffrey Goeden Plays the Hits of LMP, and any information I had culmed was from Mr. Buckles himself. Unfortunately at that time, Mr. Goeden's official press bio had not been released, even though the album had been released already last year. Typical Polyholiday being in over their heads. When I went back to listen to our recorded conversation, I thought of a million questions I should've asked, but we'll save that for volume 2 of Geoffrey Goeden, shan't we? - AAA


Nancy Goeden: Hello?

AAA: Hi there, uh, my name is [AAA] from Polyholiday, and I have an interview with Mr. Goeden?

NG: Oh yes, [AAA], he's expecting your call ... one second.

AAA: Thanks.


Geoffrey Goeden: Yes, hello.

AAA: Hi, Mr. Goeden, this is [AAA] from Polyholiday. Mr. Buckles set up an interview for us today?

GG: Yes, yes, I've been expecting your call. It's nice to talk to you.

AAA: Same here, it's ... the pleasure's all mine. I guess just first off that I am a big fan of the album, have listened to it so many times.

GG: Ah yes, thank you. Thank you very much. I had a very good time recording it.

AAA: Yes, that's one thing I'd like to talk to you about today, naturally. I don't know if Mr. Buckles explained this or not, but we'll do, like a 10 or 15 minute interview , and just get some information. The label is putting up a web site for you, in fact.

GG: A web site ... for the, uh, yes. Great, great. My grandson is big into that. He recently showed me one for his band.

AAA: His band? Oh your grandson's in a band?

GG: Oh yes. It's very ... very, um ... loud. [laughs]

AAA: [laughs] That's great. That's wonderful. Actually, I would like to talk about that in a bit. Anyway, uh, so anyway, we're doing this interview for the website. Uh, so, uh just, and we'll let you know when the website is up. It's looking great, from what I've heard.

GG: Wonderful. I can't wait to get into the Internet myself, as so it seems, I ... don't have ... I myself have a very old computer. A Sinclair I believe, back into the 80's. It took me a month to figure out how to turn it on! [laughs] I don't believe it would work anymore ...

AAA: [stammers] uh, Sinclair ... er, probably not, no. [laughs] Um, anyway, I guess the first question is "why LMP"? Uh, how did you decide to pick & record an album full of material by LMP?

GG: Well, I had been wanting to start recording again. I basically haven't done any recording throughout the 1990's and wanted to give it one last go. A lot of my older contemporaries have been having a resurgence lately in their work: Burt Bacharach and John Barry and gentlemen like that, and I figured I could only benefit from that. Plus I still think I have what it takes. [laughs]

AAA: [laughs] You certainly do. I mean, uh, yes, absolutely. But, so, LMP ...

GG: LMP, yes. You see, I've seen some of these albums in the stores, whenever I may dare to visit, and you can happen to pull me away from the classical or jazz selection ... you get the London Philharmonic to record the best of the Beatles or ABBA or other rock&roll or pop bands, and uh, I just figured I could take an entire project like that. I figured it would be easier to sell something like that, and get that released. Unfortunately, the industry even more seemingly money driven than it was than when I was largely involved. [pause] So, what I did was have my grandson Dennis give me the names of some of the bands that hadn't had this done, or maybe a more popular band from recent, and so he gave me a list of his favorite bands, about five of them actually. Bands that he listens to, bands that would be able to ... be done in this manner. Names like blur, and Oasis, and, er ... Supertramp ...

AAA: [interrupts] Supertramp? That's cool .. uh, that's suprising. Perhaps he meant Supergrass?

GG: Possibly, to be perfectly honest, I don't remember. So it was those bands, and some others, I can't honestly remember, and LMP.

AAA: Wow, LMP[laughs]. That's a pretty prestigious group for LMP to be linked in with ... for a small American band.

GG: Yes, he seems to rather enjoy them [pause] as do I. To be honest, my first choice was blur because one, they had more material, and they seem to be quite a popular band here. I figured maybe we'll do that. I listened to their songs, and I had started working on arrangements and pitching the project to people, and they said it was "too soon".

AAA: Too soon?

GG: Yes. Like ABBA, a band from the 70's, had just had an symphonic version of their songs just released a couple of years ago, so Dennis says. Something like this simply doesn't happen on that quickly a time scale, and sadly, many young people these days view old arrangements like mine as "kitschy".

AAA: Yeah, actually that was something I wanted to talk about. Isn't something like this ... unfortunately in today's day and age, people are so NOT used to something like this that they are automatically going to consider it you know, very, like you said, "kitschy", or ironic ...

GG: Yes, that's true, but in the same breath, I wanted to also show that ... to take a band like that, and that there are still good songs and good songwriters around. Like that song from "Titantic" ["My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion] ... it is a very very strong song, and you are going to hear songs like that on the overhead music, on the background on Muzak.

AAA: Actually, I want to touch on that in a second. So, you didn't do blur, and you decided upon LMP instead?

GG: Yes. Once we had discovered no one was seriously interested in me recording an album of blur material, including the band themselves, my management contacted .... like I said, they weren't our first choice, but I listened to them and said to myself, "this really works." I decided there was a lot there to work with, and by that time I figured I wasn't going to get large label support. So I started financing the project myself, and got a hold of LMP's management, and eventually talked to Mr. Buckles, and he was incredibly nice about everything. He said the band would love it and immediately, uh, helped out anyway he could, and said "If you're looking for a label, we'll help you out any way we can."

AAA: That's [stammering] that's James for ya. Very nice guy, loves the music. That's great, that's great. [pause] Uh, you had just mentioned Muzak. Now, from what I hear, you used to ... did you work for Muzak, the company?

GG: No, no. There were people like myself and Ronnie Aldrich and people like that in the 60's and 70's, and all the way up to '82 for me. It's quite a lucrative market. People sort of scoff and laugh at Muzak and overhead music and corporations like that, but to be honest, publishing is where it's at, so to speak, and background music is a multi-million pound industry. It's immense. So I had sort of stumbled upon this when I had originally been working throughout the 50's on some television & radio programs, either arranging or, if I was lucky, for some show for the BBC. Finally, once, in the 60's when Muzak began to catch on and fortunately people still wanted instrumental versions of popular songs, people like Billy Vaughn and people like that, I sort of fell into it. It just kept going from there. But, no, I did not technically work for Muzak. I would record and often my songs were released on compilation albums of - er, it would be maybe be ... I would have a few songs on there, and Ronnie Aldrich would have a few songs on there, and etc. Muzak would basically just get the recordings of these and them play them. It helped me retire a bit earlier! [laughs] You know, if not, I might be playing piano in a cabaret still. It's very functional. As far as I understand it, it's still going on today. Hopefully some of these new songs would be played on there.

AAA: [laughs] Oh that would be good. I sure the guys in LMP would be more than thrilled. They're really ... they go for stuff like that.

GG: Oh, seriously?

AAA: Yeah, they, uh, they're music afficiandos. They listen to vintage Muzak albums, or so the story goes.

GG: Well, it's good music.

AAA: Yes is it. [pause] So, you had mentioned in the early 80's that you had retired.

GG: More or less, yes. [pause] Actually, by that time I was having a bit of lung trouble, and uh, which, which didn't keep me going 100%. But by that time, my two daughters had gotten married and had children of their own, and I could take it slower, just because I could. And I still love music and I would still do the occasional arrangement and the recording process, things like that ... synthesizers had come around by then, and ,by that time, a full orchestra was not really called for.

AAA: Now, when you're speaking of "orchestra", are we talking [pause] ... would you have one continuous Golden Orchestra maybe say like, would you tour around with a, say like Glenn Miller would have his orchestra or something like that, or would it be [pause], would it be whatever session musicians that would be hired?

GG: Basically, yes. We didn't actually play live shows. We were recording, I should say I was recording quite a bit. A lot of the time, the way the whole unions and everything and how the whole scene went, it would generally be the same people coming in. You know, the musicians that would work for us would be excellent - they could sight-read on spot. So we would have, basically, we would have 12 songs ready and record them in a day. And this was during the 60's and 70's and 80's when multi-recording was big, and we would just knock it off in one take, just like the olden days. [laughs]

AAA: Twelve songs ...that's great. A lot of bands are starting to get back to that, to get more of a feel. [pause] Maybe it just all depends. [stammers]

GG: That's good to hear. You know, it really gives you the big orchestra sound. And besides, multi-recording something like that really wasn't necessary ... normally, if you would do a session with a vocalist like a Shirley Bassey, you would often have the vocalist record on a separate track, she could go back if she happened to make a mistake, but she would often do it live, or he I should say in general.

AAA: You worked with Shirley Bassey? She's got a song on the radio right now in fact. A band called the Propellerheads has a song with her called "History Repeating".

GG: Well, I just used her name for sake of a story. I've met her a few times ... quite a wonderful lady. But the only time I would usually work with vocalist would be for a jingle or a commercial or something like that.

AAA: So you did jingle and commercial work, too?

GG: Oh yes, now and then. Generally, I wouldn't write the jingles ... well, I wrote a few. Um, for Betsy Donuts?

AAA: [stammers] Er, no, sorry never heard of Betsy Donuts.

GG: [quietly sings] Betsy Donuts / take the time / fresher than a daisy / any time. [laughs]

AAA: Uh, no. Must be a solely British product. I definitely want to hear that sometime. [laughs] Now, do I understand that you have had albums released? I have seen albums, and own in fact, by people like Ronnie Aldrich and his Two Pianos, but I have to admit I've never seen a Geoffrey Goeden album before.

GG: Yes, they were never really [pause] huge sellers, actually. [laughs] I think I recorded a total of 7 albums, not including the latest one.

AAA: Really? 7 albums? Released in the States?

GG: Uh, no I don't believe so. Only released in the United Kingdom, on Delta East Records.

AAA: Delta East Records. Are any of those out on CD now?

GG: No, as far as I'm aware no. They're not sold in the shops anymore either. Maybe check down at your local charity shop music bin [laughs].

AAA: I tell you what, if ... talk to Mr. Buckles next time. I would to hear those. God, I would love to hear those.

GG: Thank you.

AAA: Seriously, I love that kind of music. Have you heard of something called the Sound Gallery?

GG: Sound Gallery. I don't believe I have.

AAA: It's a recent compilation made by a few British disc jockeys that are really into that kind of music, like some of the incredible quadrophonic albums that were recorded at the good BBC studios in the 60's & 70's. Not quite what would be referred to as "lounge music", but a lot of what I would think you would have been recording.

GG: No, I've never heard of that ... I guess I wasn't ... no, I've never heard of that.

AAA: It's uh, yeah, I love listening to that, so I would imagine some of your stuff is similar. OK, let's talk about ... oh , I'm supposed to ask you this. Have you ever done a Moog record?

GG: A mood record. What you mean exactly?

AAA: Well, I don't know if you've ever seen records like Switched-On-Bach.

GGG: Switched-on-Bach, yes. Oh, a Moog record. Uh, no, unfortunately, we never did do a full Moog LP, if that's your question. We would use a synthesizer occasionally on a date. I can think of a couple of times when Moog was ... people would whisper about it and you'd be lucky to have someone wheeling one in for a session for a synthesizer or electronics like that. Actually, over in Britain, it was more of a synthesizer called the VCS 3, and if you watch like a science fiction show like a Dr. Who, lots of [makes ghostly sounds] kind of sounds. [laughs]

AAA: Yeah, I think that was a popular british synthesizer.

GG: To be honest, I never really cared for them all too much. It sounds ... it sounds tough to ... they automatically sound like you're in outer space, and it just got a little too crazy for me. [AAA laughs]

AAA: If you listen to Moog albums, which by the way are really really trendy right now, they're really "out there". People are listening to them just because they're so "whacked out", if you'll forgive the term.

GG: That's um ... yes, I thought they were strange back then.

AAA: OK, I've got the album in front of me, and I've been listening to it non-stop for the past week, again. Uh, I think the amazing thing about the album is is that each song by the band, you tackled in a different fashion, and if you listen to, uh, if you listen to the original arrangements of the songs by LMP, you've definitely taken them into different areas. If you listen to something like "I Ain't Goin' Back", which is, the band originally played it live as a country song, you did it like a ragtime song. That's totally great.

GG: Thank you. I like all different kinds of music, and that's actually sort of a trick we've been doing forever, because I always thought, people always want an instrumental version so [pause] they might not like the rock heaviness of everything, but when it comes down to it, a good song is a good song, so we would do these different arrangements. But after a while, you would do this to spice things up a bit.

AAA: You know, one thing I didn't have clarified by Mr. Buckles or anybody was how you got ahold of some of these songs, only - lemme see - [counts] 5 of the 10 songs on the album are on Aunt Canada.

GG: Yes, actually James got me a tape of some of those songs. I didn't just want to do songs solely off of that album ... there were some I just simply couldn't work with, and I just asked if the band had any other songs, and it turns out [that the band is] quite prolific, and I was given tapes of songs, some very very rough, not fully done in the studio ... just a singer and a guitar, and I went with that. Sometimes that's all you need, because as long as you've got a melody and a song structure, you're going to be alright.

AAA: Hmm, yeah, that's basically true. I think my favorite [pause] I have a couple favorites on the album. You recorded an old LMP song which uh, called "The Power of Pronouns" which is radically different than the original, but I think your version of that, as well as many of your versions, far surpass the original arrangements.

GG: "Power of Pronouns" ... is that the rhumba number?

AAA: Yeah, yeah, it's the rhumba one. It's ... yeah, it's wonderful. I can't tell you the amount of millions of times I've listened to that on my walkman.

GG: Well, thank you. That was a fun one, yes.

AAA: How long did it take to record the album?

GG: It took 2 days to actually record the whole album. I brought back Arthur Bannister and his wife Gilda to engineer. It was just like old days, I specifically requested them.

AAA: That's wonderful. And this was recorded over in Great Britain?

GG: Yes, over at a place called Debasement Studios.

AAA: Really, a member of LMP calls his studio that as well, which is originally why I was confused on where it was recorded. He must've gotten the name from that Debasement Studios.

GG: Yes, perhaps. One of the older studios I could handle an orchestra with.

AAA: Oh, really ... [pause] ... like this was recorded with an orchestra? It sounds like it was all synthesized.

GG: There's a lot of both, actually. Hiring a full orchestra was a bit of a challenge, we couldn't handle it financially. So I had Dennis come in and do a lot of the programming, uh, play some keyboards on there too.

AAA: Oh [pause] oh wait, so it's programmed?

GG: Yes, there's a combination of both, and it was a new challenge, a new way of thinking for me, my grandson has some electronic gadgets ... using Minnie? Minnie?

AAA: [pause] MIDI? using MIDI?

GG: Yes, where you connect all sorts of boxes, which he has quite a few of, and we had gone together, you know, done some of that in advance. I would tell him how to do it, and he would enter most of it in. Then we went to Debasement and did overdubs for two days.

AAA: Um, ah. Did you arrange at the computer too?

GG: This was a new way of me working as well, but basically I had an idea for each song, and sometimes we would let a drum pattern play, or sometimes I would fully notate, fully by hand like the old days, like ... what's the first cut on the album?

AAA: Er, Chardonnay?

GG: Exactly, the big sweeping one. Or the big showtune, I should say. The other one was the sweeping song. "Where's the..." something song.

AAA: Oh, Where's the Zamboni.

GG: Yes, exactly. [pause] What IS a Zamboni, actually? [laughs]

AAA: Oh, a zamboni's, uh, it's this big machine you drive around on ice rinks in order to smooth down the ice to, uh, to make easier to skate on.

GG: Oh really. Yes.

AAA: Yeah, actually speaking of "Zamboni", I really uh, I really dig the fact that you did Zamboni in such a radically different version. It's almost like a movie torch song.

GG: Yes, there really weren't many slow songs to pick from the LMP repertoire that I could grasp onto, and I was thinking about this song in particular and I thought "this would sound very very pretty if it was slowed down". Very strong melody. I'm can't quite figure out what the words are about, but this is an instrumental [laughs] so I can ... work with something like that.

AAA: That's great. Uh, let's see [long pause]. OK, well actually, Mr. Goeden, we're running up quite an inter-continental phone bill here, but will you be coming to the States soon?

GG: Probably not. I don't travel as nearly as much as I used to, and like I said, I've been relaxing at our humbling abode, with grandkids, and my two daughters and their families, one lives way south, but the other lives nearby, and we're just enjoying family right now.

AAA: Uh, I don't know if Mr. Buckles told you or not, but it sounds like uh, that he wants to release this on CD after you record a second volume?

GG: Yes, second volume. In fact, that's why I thought James originally rang me up for the interview. He mentioned something about that, yes.

AAA: So, so you working on a second volume?

GG: Soon, I hope. James is sending me ... he's sending some more material, and I think I'll approach it the same way. I had so much fun doing it the first time ... very inspired, you know, that I figure, I have another shot, let's try it again. Very much looking forward to it.

AAA: That's great. I honestly can't wait to hear that. I'm sure the guys in LMP more than enthralled to have something done like that, and what I think would be really cool is that if Polyholiday released a 7".

GG: [pause] 7 inch...

AAA: Ah, yeah, like a, oh I'm sorry, like a 45. That's what people call 45's now. A 7". What's known as "indie".

GG: Indie, like independent, or Indiana?

AAA: [laughs] Independent, yes. I think it would be cool if Polyholiday could put out a couple of Geoffrey Goeden songs strictly on 7".

GG: As a 45. Like a single?

AAA: Yeah, sure. I think it'd be great. Granted Polyholiday's still on the small side, but something like that would help continue uh, help keeping things going. Anyway, Mr. Goeden, I must be going, but it was a pleasure talking to you, and I'm sure we'll be keeping in touch and I hope we get to talk again soon, and I hope your health stays, er healthy. [laughs]

GG: [laughs] Well, thank you very much. My little bout with pneumonia in March was not pleasant, but things are looking up.

AAA: Great to hear it, well, thank you very much, sir.

GG: You're very welcome. Good bye.

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