Updated September 18, 2009


Front row: Larry Kessler, Jim McCarthy, Paul Thornton
Back row: Mark Zeray, Larry Revene, Peter Roaman
Photo courtesy of Jim McCarthy

This website will move to
on or around October 26, 2009.

UPDATE 4-09-09: It's been too long since the last one. I hadn't heard from anyone in the band in awhile, so I put out the call to Jim McCarthy for some news. He responded with the following:

"We've been involved in trying to negotiate a settlement with ESP that will be to our liking. It's been slow going, but we may be getting close to an agreement soon. We are also in contact with a couple of NYC clubs trying to find an appropriate place for us to play. This also may be coming into fruition soon as well. There was some talk about a mini tour between NY and Chicago, but we would need confirmed paying gigs to do that and the 'promoter' doesn't seem to be able to do that. We really need a good booking agent. Anyway, we're still chugging along, though generally speaking, interest within the band is waning. Let's hope for the best."

The ESP news definitely sounds more encouraging than much of the rest of it. I would hate to think that the band's long-overdue plans to take it to the national stage could wind up being shipwrecked by forces both internal and external, but even so, I remain proud that this website managed to reunite a group that had been torn apart by their own personal differences for so long, a band that once seemingly had no hope of ever coming together again. At the very least, perhaps with a legal settlement within reach, the dream of official, properly remastered and packaged Godz reissues could finally become a reality, and their legions of fans could someday hear the classic ESP albums on CD just as the band intended them to be heard all along. As always, we shall keep you posted on all fronts.

UPDATE 11-20-08: The good folks at PMP-Disk, who are releasing a new Godz tribute album soon (see below for details), also put out the fanzine Eureka Freak, which recently published an interview with the Godz. They've given the First Church their kind permission to post the interview right here on this website, so here it is! Enjoy!

UPDATE 11-17-08: Not much to report on the Godz reunion front this time (save for the latest look at the new band lineup above -- nice shirt, Larry!), but two Godz-related news items deserve mention. As some of you may know, Jim McCarthy is also a music photographer, and a photograph he took of none other than Bob Dylan has made it to the booklet which accompanies his new archival CD release, The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs. Jim says, "I'm proud to have one of my photos of Bob included on page 23 of the booklet that accompanies The Bootleg Series Vol. 8. The picture was taken in 1993 at Jazz Fest in New Orleans during my first visit to that great city, and Bob and his band were outstanding."

Meanwhile, a second Godz tribute album is soon to be released, via the affectionately-named Northern California-based PMP-Disk label. Unlike Godz Is Not A Put-On, the late-90s tribute which featured well-known artists like Stereolab and Royal Trux, this one is comprised entirely of unknown bands, some contributing locally, others submitting through the internet. The big news is that your humble Godz news reporter himself, Ray Brazen, is one of many music talents who have contributed to this project. Click here to visit PMP-Disk's Myspace and hear Ray's version of "Down By The River" and a few other sneak previews of this new Godz tribute. The label plans to make the release available for downloading, so there should be little trouble obtaining a copy when it becomes available. Says Jim McCarthy, "We are aware of the tribute disc and are flattered."

UPDATE 8-20-08: It has taken them over a year to get it together, but at long last the First Church is pleased to report that the Godz have finally chosen all the musicians for their new lineup and have officially declared themselves ready to rock again! Joining Jim, Larry and Paul in this new configuration of the Godz are drummer Larry Revene, guitarist Mark Zeray, and bassist Peter Roaman, all pictured above in the official first-ever photo of the new lineup.

Jim McCarthy told the First Church about how the new lineup came together: "Larry Revene was (our) first recruit. We met at an art opening of a couple of mutual friends and got to talking about music, and one thing led to another. Larry is an accomplished film maker and a celebrity in his own right... I next emailed Mark Zeray, whom I've known since we worked together in the restaurant business in the early nineties, asking if he knew of any guitarists who might be interested and lo and behold he announced his interest. I had heard him perform a few times, and liked his playing, so this was great news to me."

The position of bass player in the new lineup proved to be the most difficult one to fill, as the boys tried out no fewer than three bassists who didn't quite fit in. Finally, says Jim, "Mark asked a guy he played with backing up Ellen Foley, I believe, a while back, Peter Roaman. And there you have it."

As the new band gets ready to put together a live set list, the boys are taking requests from you, dear Godz fans! Yes, now is your big chance to let the boys know which Godz classics you want to hear them perform in concert. Needless to say, it should be interesting to see which songs get the most requests and hear how they will sound when played by this new lineup. Send your suggestions to the Godz right now either through their email address or their Myspace page!

COMING SOON: The official Godz reunion website! Stay tuned!

UPDATE 8-09-08: Paul Thornton blessed the city of New York this past August 7 with a live performance at Banjo Jim's. Longtime FIRST CHURCH correspondent Tom Miller attended this show and had this to say: "Literally solo, he did a bunch of covers, mostly Hank Williams stuff, and a couple of his own songs. No 'White Cat Heat,' though."

Mr. Miller also reports that Paul has landed another movie role, this one in the remake of the classic New York subway thriller, "The Taking of Pelham 123." Thanks to Tom for the report!

UPDATE 04-08-08: Today, the First Church of the Godz officially marks ten full years online. It's been a totally regret-free labor of love for this longtime fan, and now a friend, of the Godz.

When we started, precious little was known about the group's history, and the only clue as to any former member's whereabouts was a phone number printed on the inside of Larry Kessler's 1996 Godz Revival EP -- a number which turned out to be that of his own home in Baltimore. Many years later, in 2003, I dialed that number, got Larry on the line, and had my first communication (or should I say communion?) with an original Godz member.

To speak to at least one former member, and to have solved the many mysteries surrounding the three albums the Godz recorded for ESP Disk in the late 60s, would have been enough of an accomplishment for this website to boast about. But in the process, The First Church somehow also managed to reunite the three surviving members of the Godz to make their first new music in three and a half decades, and all of them credit me and my website for making it happen. To be a fan of a music group is one thing, but to help put the former members of the group back together on the same page as long-lost friends and ultimately as a group again... the feeling is indescribable.

Here's the email I received from the band this afternoon:

Hi Ray,

Congratulations on your tenth anniversary. We are the ones who are thankful to you for your belief, support, encouragement and friendship. You have been an integral part of tHE gODZ reformation and we are grateful. We wish you well in all aspects of your life.

Jim, Larry & Paul

UPDATE 3-24-08: It looks like Paul Thornton is back in the Godz reunion picture after taking some time off to ponder his options. Paul contacted The First Church this past Easter weekend to inform us that he intends to rejoin the group at their next rehearsal session in New York City on the last weekend in March. Additionally, Paul has deleted his original Myspace page to make way for a new one with a greater amount of content, including some music. Check it out here.

Larry Kessler and Jim McCarthy
with engineer and session sideman John Grant
Photo courtesy of Jim McCarthy

UPDATE 12-07-07: The Godz' Thanksgiving weekend sessions in Baltimore have resulted in three brand new songs: "Southern Lady," "Heaven in Hell," and "Please Stop Bustin' My Ball," bringing the total number of tracks on the forthcoming CD to eleven. The last, and in my opinion the best, of these three new songs has just been posted on their Myspace page, and it's undoubtedly the ballsiest (so to speak) track that has emerged from the reunited group to date, with its pounding Farfisa organ, stuttering feedback-laced guitars, angry lyrics, and an overall feel reminiscent of their classic "Whiffenpoof Song." Check it out!

UPDATE 11-23-07: The Godz are back in the studio. Actually, just Jim and Larry for now, as Paul has allegedly dropped out to concentrate on his acting career. Nonetheless, this Thanksgiving weekend sees Messrs. McCarthy and Kessler laying down some new songs and remixing some of the tracks they recorded last spring. Larry additionally reports that the revitalized group has gotten some interest from someone who wants to book a European tour! There definitely looks to be a new Godz album and hopefully some live shows in 2008, though how the disc will be released and when, where and what they would play live are still mysteries to your humble Godz reunion reporter. If anyone's interested in involving themselves with the finer details of these possibilities, please go to their Myspace and send them a message, or you can even email Jim McCarthy direct.

UPDATE 8-9-07: At long last, the Godz have allowed us all to hear one of their new recordings! Click here to hear the track "Dead and Gone" in streaming mp3 audio on their Myspace page!

UPDATE 6-11-07: Thanks to the kindness of Mr. Jim McCarthy, your humble First Church webmaster was blessed this past weekend with a CD-R containing eight songs recorded by the reunited Godz in Baltimore between February and May of this year, self-produced by the band with John Grant engineering and providing additional instrumentation. (Grant also produced Larry's solo CD back in '96.) The songs, in order of appearance on the disc, are: "Universal Soldier" (Buffy Sainte-Marie cover with lead vocals by Paul), "Landing on Women" (written and sung by Larry), "Guide Me To Your Love" (remake of song from Jim's solo album from '73), "You Win Again" (the band's third Hank Williams cover, sung again by Paul), "Lucky at Love" (Larry again), "The Call" (remake of the second part of "Crusade" from Godz 2), "Gettin' Stoned" (a new Paul composition) and "Dead and Gone" (written and sung by Jim and Larry).

So, how is it? A lot of fun to listen to. While it continues in the direction of the band's various post-Third Testament configurations, it contains a warmth and cohesiveness that was generally lacking in albums such as Godzundheit and Pass on This Side. The reggaefied new take of "Guide Me" and especially the country/psych feel of the new version of "The Call" are likely to raise eyebrows amongst all who hear them. While Paul and Larry have both recorded recently, these new tracks represent Jim's first new recordings in over three decades, making the opportunity to hear what I always considered the Godz' strongest and most distinctive voice as it sounds today one of the most interesting aspects of the new material. While he sounds considerably more mature now than he did then, it will make Godz fans smile to know he can still hit all the high notes on "The Call," and repeated closer listenings do reveal traces of the young McCarthy voice still evident.

At least two of the new tracks contain some charming allusions to the anarchic Godz of the past: Paul's version of "Universal Soldier" is much looser and a lot more fun than the version he cut for Godzology, and the hooting and hollering by the other Godz in the background throughout the track evoke the playful looseness of classic Godz tracks such as "Riffin'" and "You Won't See Me." And the soft-shoe shuffle of "Landing on Women" ends with several seconds of the boys messing around in the vocal booth, laying bare the newly rediscovered comraderie between them for all to hear. The self-explanatory "Gettin' Stoned," meanwhile, surely proves that some things never change with these guys, and the closer "Dead and Gone" is full of lyrics which reflect the band's newfound "life is too short and we're all getting old so let's do this right" philosophy which has no doubt emerged out of the experiences they've had over the past couple of years of mending their long-broken fences.

Stay tuned to this website for continuing updates on the new music and when and how it will be made available. Thanks again to Jim and the band for allowing this website the privilege of reporting on their fresh sounds!

UPDATE 6-1-07: The following bulletin was posted on Myspace by the Godz. Perhaps some of you visitors to this fine website might be able to provide what they're looking for...

Hello friends,

The group is looking for help, maybe from you.

We need to put a working band together and start performing, so we're hoping to hear from interested folks who play drums, bass, guitar and keys and are available for travel.

A rehearsal space in NYC would be nice.

We would also like to hear from anyone interested in a management role. For that matter, we would like to hear from those interested in any kind of role they feel they may be qualified for within the newly organized GODZ.

Jim, Larry & Paul

If you are interested in playing a part in the Godz' comeback in any of the above roles, click here to email Jim McCarthy.

UPDATE 4-10-07: Gosh, so much to report. This Godz reunion is definitely in full swing by all accounts. After two successful recording sessions involving just Jim and Larry, they were joined in the studio for their third session on March 10 by Paul, who brought with him yet another Hank Williams cover -- their third! -- "You Win Again." Following this, the boys went ahead and booked no less than fifty hours (!) of studio time for the month of May in order to continue the project. Then, on April Fool's Day, the three gathered over at Jim's place for an extended conversation that soon evolved into a jam session. To quote Jim, "I think the music world is in for a pleasant surprise, soon!" Some fantastic photos from this gathering of Godz have just been posted on their Myspace page and are truly the finest shots my eyes have seen of the band members as they look today.

Additionally, all three Godz have launched their own individual Myspace pages; here's Jim's, Larry's, and Paul's.

On a related note, we'd like to extend our best wishes to Rob Lake, who is leaving the ESP Disk' offices this month to prepare for a return to school in the fall. It was Rob's idea for the ill-fated Godz boxed set that became the catalyst for the sequence of events which ultimately brought about this glorious reunion. Though relations between the band and the label itself are presently strained to say the least, I nonetheless feel, as does the band, that Rob's role in the story was a positive one, and we wish him all the best of luck.

On the morning of February 18, 2007, at the Odessa Restaurant on the Lower East Side of New York City, the very neighborhood where it all began, Jim McCarthy, Larry Kessler and Paul Thornton met for breakfast and discussed plans for the first new, official Godz recordings in almost 40 years. This meeting came shortly after McCarthy and Kessler had begun the process of cutting the initial tracks for the foundation of this new project.

The first real Godz session since 1968 (excluding Godzundheit at both the band's and my insistence) took place at a recording studio near Larry's home in Baltimore on the first weekend of February 2007 and resulted in a new version of "The Call" (a/k/a the second half of "Crusade" from Godz 2) and a new Larry Kessler composition called "Landing On Women." With some extra studio time left afterward, Jim and Larry spent the remaining minutes cutting a rough demo for the first of what hopefully will be many new collaborative songwriting efforts between them. The new version of "The Call" is especially significant, not only as a new spin on an old Godz favorite, but also as Jim and Larry's way of paying special tribute to the late Jay Dillon. The session itself had additional significance as it marked the first time Jim was back in the studio making new music since his 1973 solo album, Alien.

It appeared at the time that Paul Thornton would not be involved, much though Larry Kessler had said that "the door is open to him if he wants to participate." But when he admitted that they didn't really know what was up with him, the First Church took it upon itself to inform Paul that something was happening, which led to the abovementioned Godz breakfast. The three got along well and as a result, all three of the surviving Godz returned to the studio together on March 10.

This historic event is the product of a breathless two-year period in the history of both the Godz and this website, one which began with the revitalized ESP Disk label's attempts to put together a Godz boxed set with this site's cooperation, then took on a new twist when my efforts to reunite the long-estranged ex-bandmates resulted in their coming back together first to sue ESP for unpaid royalties last summer (building on an initial course of legal action taken by McCarthy), then finally to create new music this spring. Of course, the First Church is very proud of itself for making it all happen, and the boys are very excited about the many possibilities ahead.

Keep checking back to the First Church for continuous updates on this new chapter in the history of the Godz! In the meantime, visit the Godz' official Myspace page here (accept no imitations!) and Jim McCarthy's official Myspace page here! (Yes, even they have 'em now!)


Sadly, the long, hard search for information on the whereabouts of Jay Dillon -- a mystery which the First Church has been attempting to solve since its inception in 1998 -- has ended with the tragic news that he passed away somewhere in New Jersey a few years ago.

We are looking further into this unfortunate matter at the present time and hope to provide more information on Jay's life and death sometime in the near future on this website.

All of us at THE FIRST CHURCH OF THE GODZ, including surviving Godz members Larry Kessler, Paul Thornton, and Jim McCarthy, as well as ESP's Bernard Stollman, are shocked and saddened by this news. Jay was, by all accounts, a kind and loving person and this website is hereby dedicated to his memory from this moment forward.

Rest in peace, Jay -- you are now missed more than ever before.

Click here for the original source of this sad news.

as he looks today!

Screen capture from
Mail Order Wife DVD

I recently reported on Paul Thornton's appearance in a new independent movie called Mail Order Wife. This movie has now been released in the popular DVD format and is available for sale or rent at a video emporium near you. Paul has an interesting role in the film's final 20 minutes as a dirty old man who tries to seduce the title character as part of a plot to expose her true colors. There's a great scene shot on a yacht in Miami which teams Paul with disgraced former baseball star Jose Canseco! Additionally, you can hear a 15-second snippet of "Give a Damn" as background music in a brief shot inside a bowling alley (!) about 42 minutes into the film. And there's a 2-minute segment on Paul in the DVD's "extras" where he shows off his ESP Disk t-shirt, talks about how he discovered his favorite herbal supplement while waiting to make his performing debut at the Apollo Theater's amateur night, and sings a few bars of "Give a Damn" live on camera. It's quite a thrill to see something like this on the shelf of our friendly neighborhood Blockbuster, and it's definitely recommended to Godz fans and indie-film aficionados alike.


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