Alan the Bellboy Interview with Michael Goodroe
Recently I was fortune enough to meet, by phone, former bass player for the MOTELS,
MICHAEL GOODROE. This former MOTEL is currently living in Albuquerque, NM:
a hop, skip, and a jump from my hometown of El Paso. Although he stayed away
from the music business for quite a long stretch of time, MICHAEL has reinvented
himself not only as a bass player, but as a multi-intstrumentalist (thanks to
modern technology!). Added to that, he has written a slew of songs, recorded a CD,
and sings on all the tracks. As I am writting this article I am listening to
MR. GOODROE's new CD - not for the first time, but more like the ten millionth
time. It's awesome to say the least.
Now, on with the interview!
MICHAEL, what have you been doing since THE MOTELS broke up in '87?
Artistically, I had been laying low until I had a recent personal renaissance
and recorded my new CD entitled Flesh and Blood.
Why were you "laying low?"
Why I was laying low had more to do with the time it took to find a specific
project that I wanted to really devote my time to. I'll also admit to having
had a bad taste in my mouth about the music business when I left Los Angeles
and didn't feel much like being a musician. I had 8 gold records on my wall
and nothing really to show for it; reeks of mismanagement, don't you think?
Sounds like it. So what did you do instead of staying in the music business?
Rather than sit around and feel sorry for myself or get in another band only to
end up in the same predicament five years later, I went back to school. I received
a Bachelor in Science in Medical Technology in 1991. I felt I really needed to have
a bonafide skill that was valued; since the ability to play bass extremely loud
didn't seem to be something a sensible person could bank on.
So where do you work now?
I now work in a special chemistry laboratory which pays more than I was making
with THE MOTELS. Can you believe that??? And it actually allows me more creative
freedom than I ever had when I was a professional musician!
What motivated you to get back to the music scene and cut a CD?
The brave new world of computers seemed to draw me back to the arts. I initially
bought a very powerful Macintosh to do 3D graphics and ended up making things
that looked remarkably like CD covers. It was a short step from there to the
conversion of my graphics workstation to a digital recording studio. Coincidently,
I had finally began writing a group of songs that all had a thread of continuity
and seemed to belong together on a CD. It was around two and a half years ago
when I began writing, and I actually had more songs than what is on the CD, but
having worked with THE MOTELS I learned that not all your songs sound as good as
when you first write it. Not all the songs make the final cut. I intended at
first to have about 10 or 12 songs on the CD, but it finally ended up being 9.
Your music style for Flesh and Blood is very much in a gothic-like
setting. Dare I call it "gothic-pop?" Why this genre of music?
I think my love of the arts has a dark undertone to it - from books to movies to
music. It's an extension of my personality.
But you're not totally into the gothic scene? I mean, you don't have candles lit . . .
No! [laughs] Nothing like that!
Listening to your CD, it is amazing to know that you did everything
on it. Do you plan to get a band together and tour?
It seems as though that would be the perfect world, but it's probably not going
to happen. I have too many problems to solve before I can begin thinking
about that. I should be so lucky to have my CD and maybe do an unplugged
version [at live performances].
Has it been difficult trying to get signed to a label?
Yes. The CD has been finished about 2 months now and I'm having a little trouble
trying to find names and numbers of appropriate record companies to send it to.
Have you tried getting your CD played on the radio? In El Paso, we have a local
radio station that plays tracks from local and area bands.
I have not tried to get it on the radio in Albuquerque, but I have recently
had airplay on KBAC in Santa Fe, a very unique station that can be heard on the
internet. It seems to me that any energy I expend should go toward finding
distribution. I would love to hear it on the radio; what musician wouldn't like
to hear himself on the radio? It's such a thrill. I remember the first time
THE MOTELS heard themselves on the radio, we took a picture of the radio with
a camera just to commemorate the occasion!
Speaking of THE MOTELS, how did you become a member of the band?
I answered an ad in a Los Angeles trade paper. I auditioned several times. JEFF
and MARTHA would call me and ask me to come down and they'd hear me play. Then I
wouldn't hear from them for a while, and then I'd get another call . . .
and finally I became the bass player for the band.
So how did it happen that THE MOTELS became one of the lucky few L.A. bands to
be signed to a major label?
MARTHA DAVIS had a band before called THE MOTELS, and many record companies had
been interested primarily due to her individual talent, but that band broke up. A
year later when its next incarnation emerged, that included me, it took only a
matter of months to get the band signed.
Was Capitol Records the only label interested in the band?
There were other offers. It was quite exhilerating.
Why did the band sign with Capitol?
I don't remember why we signed with Capitol. To be honest I was not really included
in many of those decisions. The original guitarist, JEFF JOURARD, and MARTHA ran the
What special memories do you have while being a member of THE MOTELS?
I was late to perform on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and was pulled over
by a LAPD motorcycle cop. I told him where I was going and he let me go! Only in L.A.!!!
Also, I remember laughing very, very hard, almost all the time. They [the other MOTELS]
were a wonderful bunch of people. Specifically, I remember playing a gig in a
large tent [in Rome] that was sponsored by the communist party where a near riot
broke out and then driving to St. Peter's Basilica and viewing it at
completely deserted while still drenched in sweat from the show, completely full
of myself under a Dracula moon. Yes, I do remember that!
Which, of THE MOTELS catalog, is your favorite song?
Only the Lonely.
Because it sounds like it has always existed. It sounds sincere.
After THE MOTELS disbanded in 1987, you stayed on and did some bass work on
a few of the tracks on MARTHA's solo album. Why?
Several days after the group has disbanded I got a call from the producer saying
MARTHA had asked if I would play on some of the songs on the new album. Of course
I said "yes" and ultimately did a short tour for that album.
What are your feelings on MARTHA's recent efforts on resurrecting THE MOTELS?
I wish her great success. I will always be grateful to her for all the success
Getting back to you and your new CD, Flesh and Blood, where can one go to purchase it?
I will soon complete my webpage, and thanks to you, I will have it linked to
THE MOTELS website. I intend to have MP3 downloads of at least the title cut
"Flesh and Blood." The CD will be available for purchase on the site.
Is Flesh and Blood a one-time thing, or do you have other musical projects
you plan to indulge in?
Well, I just returned from Rome and brought back some European CD's that were
remarkable in their freshness. I hope to emulate them at least in spririt.
I also imagine my next CD to be much less ambitious (maybe only three songs at
a time instead of nine like there are on the Flesh and Blood CD). This would
obviously allow me to release CD's more often. It took me one and a half years to make
my most recent CD. That's too long!
For MOTELS fans out there reading this, MICHAEL's new CD is awesome, and
I mean awesome! The title track alone is worth purchasing the entire CD, but the
entire CD is filled with a mixture of gothic and other music styles. A fusion of
gothic with Spanish and Southwestern folk sounds makes "Seduced and Abandoned"
more than just a song title. The nine-song CD is a journey into a mystical, musical
world that you won't want to miss.
Well, MICHAEL, thank's for the interview. Oh, one last question ... How would you
like to remembered in the annals of rock history?
To be remembered at all in the luminous history of rock would be honor enough.
And with that, the interview was over.