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'80s UK rockers the Godfathers start their first tour in two decades at Off Broadway, energized for touring and making new music



Ask Peter Coyne why he's reformed the Godfathers, and the lead singer will give it to you straight. "Revenge," he says, calling from London. "We always want to prove that we're a great band, always. It's like you're a great boxer — you want to keep coming back and doing it and doing it."

If that sounds arrogant, consider the time and place in which the Godfathers originally formed: London, 1985. Punk rock's big bang had happened eons ago, new wave was becoming a parody of itself, and feedback-drenched UK bands such as the Jesus and Mary Chain and Spacemen 3 were just starting to claw out of the underground.

Coyne, an aspiring music writer, formed the Sid Presley Experience with his brother, Chris, with the express intent to kick the sequencers and LinnDrum machines out of the British music scene and replace them with loud guitars. One name change later, the Godfathers released several well-received albums and toured the world. Now, the Godfathers has re-formed and is kicking off its first U.S. tour since 1989 here in St. Louis. Peter Coyne answered some of B-Sides' questions in between finalizing tour plans.

B-Sides: You played the States a lot during your heyday. What are your memories of touring here?

Peter Coyne: We made our name in the States, really. We always got really great play on American radio stations, and our first album went to No. 1 on the American college charts. So we played a lot of concerts here. It was always our dream to go to America in the first place. America's the home of rock & roll music, and we always enjoyed playing rock & roll to Americans.

How long have you been back together?

We split up [in] about 2000. Then we got back together in 2008 with the original lineup. When we started doing it again, I didn't want to say how many shows we'd be doing; I estimated between five and fifteen. But we liked doing it so much, and it went down so well. It was great to meet up with the fans all over again and play our music. But we don't just want to rely on what people would consider to be Godfathers' "classics"; we want to write new songs too. And that's what we're doing right now. We're making a new record. There's a download single coming out just before the American tour, "Back Into the Future."

When can we expect to see the new album?

I really want to make this the best album the Godfathers ever made. That's my intention: a classic rock & roll album. I want it to be hard and ultra-melodic as well. So we'll just see once it's all finished.

What's next after this batch of shows?

We'll probably go out to the East and West coasts after this, and we've got some festivals lined up. By then we should have the album out. Also, lots of European festivals and dates. We've got a tour in Croatia. They really love us there. We were one of the first bands to play before the civil war happened in Yugoslavia. I remember we finished a show, looked out the window, and there were all these tanks on the street. Two days later, the civil war broke out. And then we were one of the first bands to be asked back to Croatia afterward. Two bands before us had turned it down. One of them was Nirvana, because Kurt Cobain didn't want to get shot. And the other one was Public Enemy.

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