They know the gig. It’s the secret ingredient in the old family recipe. Four years have passed — it’s time to lift the lid and take a peek.
Since inception, the Go have been noticed. They’ve proudly sported boyishly handsome mugs, hip-swaying stage performances and primeval guitar riffs — but since the recording of their new EP, Capricorn, the force that was once one of murky garage-rock prowess has become vibrant. Something’s different, though it still feels like home. The lineup has changed: They are now a foursome. What once took two guitars now only requires one. A switcheroo of instruments and a proper dusting-off breathed new life into the Go. “We’ve all been rock ’n’ roll gypsies for a long time. We can identify with each other, and we all know it can be a hard ride,” says John Krautner, the Go’s bassist. “It feels more romantic now.”
After achieving what many bands only hope for — notoriety, loyal fans and a recording contract with the once-beloved Sub Pop Records — the Go have already played a few innings. Their first album, Whatcha Doin’ was received as late-’90s rock cachet. “It can be fun, if done correctly.” said Krautner. But they have seen the duplicity of the business — and it can be exhausting. Their second album, Free Electricity on Sub Pop did not receive the predicted kudos from the powers that be and eventually the ballsy psychedelic-veined opus was put on a back burner, going unreleased. It was a blow to the momentum that the band had gained, but ultimately, both the Go and Sub Pop had to learn a lesson. The relationship is now copacetic and the Go are glad to be with Lizard King Records and Martin “Rhythm King” Heath (former president of Arista UK). Onward into the breach.
The Go’s new guitarist, Kenny Tudrick (formerly of the Numbers) is a square peg for a square hole. “He’s familiar with the three-piece [rock] band, so he’s used to being the only guitarist.” says lead singer Bobby Harlow. “The music actually sounds larger now. He lets his chords spread and the vocals are clearer.”
It feels good on stage.
“I really think that these are high times for rock ’n’ roll.” says Harlow. “Just the other night, at the Ten High show” (among a barrage of loud rock ’n’ roll, video debuts and fan madness), “I thought to myself, ‘What a beautiful and bizarre place to be.’” An astute observation — pop pixie dust is being spread upon Motown noggins post-haste, and the Go are prime for the next sprinkling.
Several people were involved in the making of Capricorn, but its true voice was finally found at Brown Rice Studios, courtesy of producer Warn Defever who Krautner said “helped us develop our most honest sound.” The four-song EP has a very believable appeal. Against a solid backbeat from drummer Marc Fellis, a soulful Harlow comes through in songs like “Hey Linda,” and almost cries anthemically on the title track, “Capricorn.”
Harlow believes that he is part of a very authentic scene, that “we are influenced by other bands.”
“I love the music in Detroit.” he says respectfully. The divisiveness that segregated much of the local music scene in years past has started to dissolve and the family is extending.
So here goes — Phase one: Head to England. Seems like hitting big in the jolly old country might be the wave to catch these days. Taking root with temporary digs in England where they are set to play a few shows and live in a residential studio, the plan is to lay down a full-length album. The Go is waking, yawning and takin’ it all in. All eyes are forward and the foursome is revved up for their UK-only album.
Krautner says “We’d like to show everyone what we’ve been doing for the past four years.” Obvious but true, the UK has quickly become the laureate of the rock music scene and while our Detroit is nearing knighthood, we should ask: “Sir Motor City, what is your next offering?” Late November will bring the cold and, well, … the Go.
The Go appear with Virginia (from the Breakdowns) and DJs Faith and Larry on Friday, Nov. 8, at the Lager House, 1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; call 313-961-4668 for details.Eve Doster is the Metro Times listings editor. E-mail [email protected]