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A Dirty Dozen with MARC “GAFF” GAFFNEY from GOZU – April 2023

| 29 April 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Boston’s GOZU — Marc Gaffney (vocals and guitar); Joseph Grotto (bass); Doug Sherman (lead guitar); and Seth Botos (drums) — return riffing and screaming with their fifth full-length Remedy. It arrives via Black Light Media/Metal Blade on May 19. This is Gozu’s world, we’re just living in it. Given that it has been five years since the Boston quartet dropped the monstrous Equilibrium, returning with Remedy is one hell of a way to make sure that everyone — whether previously familiar with them or otherwise — realizes that they are perhaps the most badass of American rock bands, for they have taken everything to the next level.” We get Marc to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Remedy is by far our heaviest, sassiest, groove laden and best sounding album. It’s meant to be listened to with headphones on, BGV’s flowing and enjoyed at any time of the day. There’s a few spots that pay homage to James Brown and the Isley Brothers.

2. What got you into music and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

There was always music playing at my house. All the older guys in my neighborhood would bring their boomboxes when we played sports, so I was introduced to all sorts of music at an early age. Seeing Stevie Wonder in 1986 with my Uncle Mike in Syracuse changed my life. It was a Friday night, we went right after I finished football practice and it was amazing. 2.5 hours and everyone sang along to every song. People were dressed in suits, dancing, going crazy after each song and crazier as the show progressed. When he broke into “Sir Duke,” the first few chords literally raised people off their feet. “Looking back on when I” Holy Christ, pure emotion. Being a kid from Watertown, NY, sitting in the 11th row, people from all different races, backgrounds, smiling dancing, showed the pureness and power of music. I was done for. Thanks Mike.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Innervisions – Stevie Wonder, Live from the Fillmore – Allman Bros, Al Green – everything he did, D’Angelo – Brown Sugar, The Band – The Band, Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R. Neil Young’s whole catalog really opened my eyes to songwriting, meshing genres, and education. Seeing the Dead in 87, changed my thought process of what a show can be and how music is truly an elixir. Allman Bros made me want to be able to groove, let songs breathe and flow into genres from a single note. In college Moon Boot Lover, with the Evans brothers was magical. Impeccable groove, heavy guitar, was like Al Green and Sly had kids and that band were the kids.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would call Gregg Allman. His voice at an early age had such emotional depth, purity and a sense of despair all wrapped up in an overshadowed vocalist. Duane was the star and their driving force. But for me, Gregg embodied how I wanted to sound and made me know it was ok to write about how I truly feel and felt.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

I enjoy Muay Thai. There’s nothing better than hitting pads after a rough day. I also enjoy working out. Being in shape is key when singing and playing. Also, feeling good is key. There’s so much bullshit everyone deals with and without a proper release, one can lose their mind. My son plays lacrosse and I love going to his games, having a catch and simply enjoying watching him become a pretty amazing kid.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

It’s heavy soul music that hits hard, is honest and played from the heart. Melodic music made for the soul by the soul. Cringe or disagree with? There are comments I’ve read that make me cringe for the dumb dumbs that felt the need to display their ignorance to all. I cringe for humanity.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Drinks, depends on the vibe and where we are. We all like different beers, cocktails, etc. Music, usually a plethora of delicious tunes. More of pressing play than strumming. Cooking, I would say when we get together we grab a bite out.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

My favorite lacrosse player growing up was Dave Petramala. The best defenseman in my opinion to ever play. My son and I were at a Syracuse game and he walked right by as he was coaching Hopkins. I asked him if he would take a pic with my son and he could not have been any nicer. I said thank you and good luck. The fact he took the time, was so personable and the smile on my son’s face, Wooooo.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

I love playing live. Getting to travel and play is pretty amazing. It’s a fuck ton of work and a lot of time in a van, but, as soon as you plug in, it’s worth it. Knowing people showed up to watch you play is heavy. Seeing people getting off, fantastic. If I didn’t play music anymore, I would love to be a writer. I have books I have started and being able to solely concentrate on that would be amazing.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Question I wish? How did where I grew up shape the music I’m into. Tired of? Nothing really. People have to ask questions and the fact I get to answer is still at times unreal. So, if someone is taking time to ask, and it’s always about music, I’ll answer.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

The fact I get to play music with these guys, tour and record, I can’t complain at all. I hope we play way more with the release of Remedy. We are on an amazing label, work with the best people that truly know and love music. Growing up I would have never imagined touring the US and Europe, playing festivals, hearing myself on the radio. Playing music has allowed me to do things I’d never do. Do over, that’s a whole different story for a monsoon.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

D’Angelo’s Voodoo. Questlove on drums! Pino Pallodino on bass. D himself, please. It’s a perfect album that came at the perfect time. It encompasses everything I truly dig about music. It totally meshed the old with the new. The vocal harmonies on that album, mmmm. Musicianship is off the hizak. It hit a nerve that never left. It made me want to be a better singer, player and lyricist.

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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