Whilst ‘The Trials Of A Modern Man’ may be numerous, Danny Goffey seems unfazed by them. The Vangoffey frontman and former Supergrass drummer recently played two intimate gigs in London and Frome (his home town) celebrating the release of the band’s latest single, ‘Sucker’. We caught up with the songwriter to talk lyrics, laughs and “visual stimulations”…
Hello Danny, How are you? What have you been up to this week?
Hello. I’m struggling today. A world wind tour of two gigs has consumed my powers. So I’m on the sofa having a little bet on the horses.
‘Sucker’ is the third single from your album Take Your Jacket Off & Get Into It (2015). The lyrics are based on something a friend said to you about a love interest who wrote her extensive, adoring emails. Have you proclaimed your love for someone in this fashion? Are you a “Sucker for the written word?”
I do love the written word (I’m handwriting this interview). I have written my share of love letters, some in my left hand and some in my right. I like leaving notes on the pillow.
The lyrics to the song are great, particularly the line:“There’s a beauty in her verbal gymnastics, and she’s a lover of the modern day classics, although her book club is full of intellectual geriatrics…” Do you think age, intellect, and experience create barriers between people trying to form relationships, whether romantic or platonic? Do you think music breaks down these barriers?
I am no psychotherapist, that question could be discussed for hours, but I think intellect shouldn’t create barriers…unless you’re a total baffoon. I have a few highly intellectual friends who manage to stomach me. I find humour can break down those barriers, and some good music too.
You recently wrote a letter on Huffington Post to Coldplay regarding their use of CGI Chimpanzees in their promo clip for ‘Adventure Of a Lifetime’. Do you think open-letter style pieces are an effective way for people to voice their opinions about modern music?
I’ve never written an open letter before so I don’t know if it’s a good way to voice an opinion. I was drunk with my brother when saw this video and we started feeling sorry for these poor chimps being made to look like Coldplay. I decided to write a letter on behalf of the monkeys. A bit of fun.
On Vangoffey’s social media account, you posted a selfie in which you’re decorated in lipstick and eye-shadow, with the caption “This is the look I fashioned when singing the lead vocal on ‘Sucker’. I like to mix it up in the studio. Different songs require different visual stimulation, as does Phil the studio engineer”. Can you tell us about the other kinds of “visual stimulation” you’ve employed whilst recording?
Dresses, Cowboy hats, tight 70’s shorts. It’s all there for us, you just need to let go…
Your video for previous single ‘Trials Of A Modern Man’ features your children, Alfie & Betty, playfully terrorising the band as you try to make your way through the song. There’s ice-cream and shredded clothes all over the place; how much do you think they enjoyed heckling you? Have you ever experienced heckling like that at a live show?
I think Betty loved the fact she could get away with kicking me in the shins and firing plastic bullets at my head, without getting a right bollocking.
I remember getting heckled by some Japanese kids at a show in Tokoyo. Following a big night on the sake I was too exhausted to lift my drumsticks to start the gig and they pointed and laughed at me. I started crying.
Betty joined you recently for an interview on BBC Radio Oxford, where you talked about writing songs for Supergrass back in the 90s, and how you recorded Take Your Jacket Off & Get Into It essentially on your own, with the help of a guitarist on a few of the trickier riffs. Is this your preferred method or recording, or would you rather have a band with you in the studio?
I think I would like to record as a band in the future. The Vangoffey band is full of great players. I just really enjoy playing on different instruments and working out the parts. I guess it’s a slight control freak issue.
Before you became known as ‘Supergrass’, you originally wanted to call the band ‘Theodore Supergrass’ in the 90s. Vangoffey is obviously a reference to your surname, but were there any alternative names for your current band that didn’t make the cut?
I toyed with ‘Banned’ for a while and I quite liked ‘Motherlode’, but vangoffey it is. I also thought about ‘Black Goffey’.
Finally, you hosted two launch parties for ‘Sucker’ – on at The Social in London, and the other at The Wheatsheaves in Frome. How did they go?
The gigs were really good thanks. I was a bit worried in London, but the Frome one was very special.