Goey

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Goey

Goey (1999)

band name = Goey

years active = 1969 - present

country = Canada

status = Active

music genre = psychedelic/Progressive rock

record label =
5ft Records (1971 - 1976)
EMI (1976 - 1986)
Kosher Records (1998 - present)

current members =
Stephen Mittchum
Michael Huung
Oliver Harrison

Goey are a Canadian psychedelic/progressive rock band comprising guitarist/vocalist Stephen Mittchum, bassist/songwriter Michael Huung (pronounced: 'Wang', as in 'Wang'), and drummer and keyboard virtuoso Oliver Harrison.

Unlike most bands of the time Goey's lineup has been constant and unchanging from conception to the current day.

edit BG (Before Goey)

Goey was formed in the summer of 1969, in Prince Albert national park, Saskatchewan, Canada, by Stephen Mittchum and lifelong partners Michael Huung and Oliver Harrison.

Having been friends since starting school Huung and Harrison had developed musically side by side and had a common vision of what Canadian rock should be.

Huung's talent as a songwriter was evident from as young an age as three. He also had a talent for guitar playing, although tragically this musical avenue was closed off to Michael in 1958 when he was involved in a tragic boating accident which robbed him of three of the fingers on his left hand. Unable to express himself musically Huung became despondent and withdrawn, until Stephen Mittchum - a new acquaintance of Oliver Harrison's - met him and introduced him to the electric bass.

Huung - able to play the instrument without a full allowance of digits, instantly fell in love with the bass and began writing songs at an unprecedented rate. "Mike wrote enough songs in that short period to keep us going from then on" recalls Harrison: "We had a special shed which we used to keep all the songs in, all on paper, and whenever we wanted to do a new album we'd just send someone in with a stapler to collect 12 at random".

Stephen Mittchum spent more and more time with Huung and Harrison from that point, developing with them his own inimitable style of guitar playing. By 1969 they united in a common vision for the future, under the banner Goey, a name under which they would all play from then on.

edit 1969 - 1975

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The "rainbow" motif first appeared as the front cover of the 1978 album, "Flying over the Ethersphere". Oliver Harrison explained in 1982, "It probably symbolises the colours of music, or maybe unity or something, either's fine. Maybe it's to do with all that psychedelia. Why do you people always ask me about this shit? There's no mystery"

After Goey formed in 1969 the band practiced together and honed their collective musical abilities. They started playing in small local venues to small local crowds. Within the three following years they developed a modestly sized but fiercely loyal fan base in their home-province of Saskatchewan and were eventually signed up by the now-defunct up-and-coming Canadian record company 5ft Records. It was while with 5ft Records that Goey recorded and released their first two records.

edit Infra-Sound Echo Test

For a first album this is very ambitious. It doesn't have the polished together feel of many of the band's later releases but it is certainly the most energetic and earnest of the band's albums.

Borrowing heavily from bands like Lysurge and Twistacular the style is psychedelic rock for around two thirds of the tracks, with the remaining third being more ambient, like sicking up stars while underwater

Noteworthy tracks:

  • Rainbow-whore (featuring the first ever recorded utterance of the word "hats" on any recording medium anywhere).
  • Aprils (featuring an oboe).
  • Purple Haze (later covered by lesser known Negro recording artist Jimi Hendrix).

"This petulant noise angers me!"

~God - on Infra-Sound Echo Test

"...Shut up God, you just don't understand, you're too old, far too old. Actually dad, how old are you? How come I got a birthday and you don't have one? Are you older than Parkinson?"

~Jesus - on Infra-Sound Echo Test

edit The Astral Project

A little more cohesive than the first album, Astral Project is hard to find, but is considered still today, to be one of the most important albums in the Psychedelic-rock genre. The whole album was played as one hour long studio session and cut into separate tracks during the edit. The band - all twisted on LSD THC MDMA PCP and GHB were only transitorily aware that they were even holding instruments.

"We set up a video camera in one corner prior to recording the album, watching it back afterwards we could see ourselves careening around the room screaming, either fighting with guitars or trying to fuck them I’m not sure which. I don't remember any of it"

~Oliver Harrison - on The Astral Project

edit 1976 - 1978

NEARfest 01

Goey - 1977

While signed with EMI Goey release four studio albums, two live albums and a two-disk Greatest hits.

The period between 1976 and 1978 was characterised by a musical move into a less psychedelic and more "prog" style of rock, borrowing less and less from black-American groups like Funkamatronic and Bitch Slap Bass, and more and more from American and British bands like Steven Jackson's Underground Tunnel and Boldly Zenith.

edit Progress

Progress shows a powerful push from the colourful psychedilia of old to the twisted absurdity of prog. Being an early attempt at the new style it often finds itself heading down cul-de-sacs and having to five-point turn to get out. Brave but fundamentally poor.

Noteworthy tracks:

  • Suck/Blow (featuring the first of Stephen Mittchum's misguided forays into experimental brass instrumentalism).
  • Hyphen-hyphen.

"Absolutely BANG! It’s direct, it's vague, it's fresh and punchy. This album catoregorised a zeitgeist. Pure drummage."

~Alan Holmes (The New Statesman) - on Progress

"Having signed to a "proper" label we all knew we were, essentially the biggest thing around, bigger than Jesus, certainly bigger than Buddha or that elephant one. I think that bombast really comes through on "Progress". We - I especially - sound like the fucking shit"

~Michael Huung - on Progress

edit Desidious Dreams (Live)

Having only ever played small local venues before the Progress tour was the bands first USA tour. For both Oliver Harrison and Michael Huung it was the first time they'd ever left Canada, or seen escalators. Though they were growing rapidly in popularity the band didn't yet have sufficient fans to fill the ambitiously large venues booked for them. As such many of the shows went poorly evoking tremendous acts of violence from Michael Huung, against assorted lighting technicians.

However there were a few salvageable gigs on the tour, the best of which were preserved and pressed to vinyl, being the album which is that one of which I am talking about.

Noteworthy tracks:

  • Babylonia Babble, which features the extremely rare fourth verse in which Mittchum infers that the jewes are not the men to be blamed for nothing,
  • Star bound anti-voyage, during which you can clearly hear Oliver Harrison weeping during a twelve minute keyboard solo.

"I love this early sound it's so raw and potent, really skellington, really honest. It’s shit though, I mean they're not really in tune or in time, but the passion's there, that's key, the passion. it's like Jesus, he probably couldn't play bass for shit, almost certainly couldn't change time signatures half way through a chorus, whilst crowd-surfing, but we let him off that, because of the passion... and the messiah thing"

~Mark Kermode (Channel 4) - on Desidious Dreams

edit Flying over the Ethersphere

Goey, by now high in terms of popularity and drugs, made one last brief foray into outright psychedelia. This infuriated the old fans who saw it as a sub-par album on the route to regression, and also the new fans who'd been drawn to the prog sound. It is interesting to note that, having been the band's poorest selling album whilst signed to EMI at the time, it is now their highest selling album ever. As each new generation of teenagers discover drugs and music sales of Ethersphere rocket. The album is now tripple-platinum.

Noteworthy tracks:

  • Electric Fuck (the first song ever to be refused entry into the charts through pure confused terror.
  • Come in Number 6 (a tribute to the British television series "The Prisoner", Featuring star Patrick Mcgoohan on bassoon).
  • Ajax Sneeze (a favourite of the bands but one which could never be played live due to the impracticality and cost of transporting dolphins internationally and also due to the amount of time required for the band members to detox and rehabilitate after each performance of the song.

"ah man dis pure head-fuck, ah hit mad bong an trippledrop to dis, ruin me headspace boy, can real see the music, like rainbow snakes you wanna eat, dem flyin at you so big, an den dem trumpets hit you an it's over......gheee"

~Archbishop Rowan Williams - on Flying over the Ethersphere

edit 1979 - 1986

Goey desidious

Goey's 1977 album "Desidious Dreams" was the bands first "live" album, and was seen by critics and fans alike as the worst album of all time. Michael Huung would later go on record as saying that "the album contained too much cowbell".

Riding high on a wave of international popularity Goey, by the start of the eighties, seemed untouchable. Unfortunately as musical tastes changed, Goey didn't, and before long they began to lose out to the emerging new wave of new wave and romantic new new romanticism. EMI, perceiving the decline in the bands popularity, quickly released a Greatest Hits album, as a kind of money-making book-end to the band's roller-coaster career.

edit The Oddity

The Oddity was prog as fuck, it sounded like a raped blues orchestra falling down a flight of stairs in space. Each track segued into the next, the result being a seventy minute electro-rock-jazz voyage through space sickness. Perhaps the greatest prog-rock album ever pressed to vinyl.

"......................What you waitin' fo' me to say, huh!? I deeeead bitch!"

~John Coltrane - on The Oddity

edit The Odyssey (Live)

This album was recorded during the live international tour of the Oddity album, the result of which is that it is identical to The Oddity, the only notable difference being the quality of the musicianship, singing and recording.

"It's The Oddity but shitter, it's like The Oddity, but drunk and tired and recorded on a Dictaphone"

~Patrick Stewart - on The Odyssey

edit The Man from Venus

By this point in the mid-eighties the band was beginning to fall apart. The huge combined drugged egos and paranoia of the collective members was forcing the music into bizarre directions, the result being a kind of homo-erotic-polka-synth abortion interspersed with screamy trad-rock and meandering spoken-word pieces. Michael Huung is absent from the final four tracks, having stormed out after a particularly violent binge-war. The constant fighting seemed to signal the end for Goey's run with EMI, but it didn't.... appalling album sales did. Goey disbanded and each of the three members moved back in with their parents.

Noteworthy tracks:

Dreary deseree (a seven minute scream layered over the sound of reversed feed-back).

  • Check my Fuck (a shambolic half-hour drum solo courtesy of Oliver Harrison).
  • Mahumodo (Huung's surprisingly pleasing black metal venture).

"This was a whore of a record to produce, half the time we couldn't get the band into the studio, the other half we couldn't get them out. They were smashed out of their heads throughout. Mike bit Oliver, really quite hard and Steven started screaming that he was the new flesh, and vomiting purple, we weren't sure whether to call a doctor or a priest, haha, great days"

~Album producer Hank Martin on - The Man from Venus

edit Goey (Greatest Hits)

Wanting to close off the Goey phenomenon and also make as much money as possible from the band before they became unmarketable, EMI released the band's self-titled Greatest Hits album in 1986 and then dropped them. Unfortunately due to a pressing error both disks in the set are completely blank, however the soft-headed music-buying public saw this as an hilarious in-joke and took the album tripple platinum within an afternoon.

"EMI fucked us din't they, made us into a fuckin' mockery! fuckin' homo bigots. They'll get theirs when the revolution comes, they'll be the first against the fuckin' wall."

~Michael Huung - on Greatest Hits

edit 1999 - present

Rush-live

Goey - 1999

The generation who'd lived their youth through the heyday of Goey and the myriad other similar bands had by now become old and their brains runny. As such they now had no memory of the awfulness of the music and their rose-tinted glasses and crippling middle-age made them nostalgic for the music of their pasts. Also a new generation of "music-loving" stoner proles, disenfranchised from the feeble modern hip-hop/indie dross looked to the past for salvation.

It is due to this sickening anomaly in the musical climate that Goey, along with most of their peers, were able to reinvigorate their careers.

edit Progression (Live)

Having re-formed the band decided that, rather than coming up with any new songs they'd just re-tour their old songs and pray for the nostalgia dollar. With modern amplification and recording this record is naturally of a higher standard than the previous live albums, and the band's musicianship doesn’t seem to have suffered from the long absence. However it has to be noted that on several tracks - due to the ravages of age, aids and hallucinogenic drugs - members of the band can be heard to forget words, confuse songs, and in some cases collapse, stroke or actually die while on stage.

"WOOOOOOO! YEAHHH! EXTREEEME! GOEY! GOEY! GOEY! Mittchum crowd-surfed and I got hold of his jacket and wouldn't let go! I TOUCHED Stephen Mittchum! I'm SHAKING! Eventually the jacket came off and I have it now! It still has one of his ARMS in it, I think he has LEPROSY! Now that's EXTREME! Keep rocking guys! WOOOOO!!!"

~A middle-aged Goey fan live at the Progression tour
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Lazarus, ironically named after Oliver Harrison's recently departed pet labrador retriever brought Goey back into the public consciousness, and was hoped to revive the flagging career of the Canadian threepiece. It didn't.

edit Lazarus

After the resounding success of their live come-back tour they decided to record an album of new songs. Naturally they tried to recreate their past magic, whilst adding a contemporary feel, and naturally the result was both painfully out-dated and also mawkishly crass and un-cool. As a mark of the record it can now be purchased for shrapnel, a mere three years after its release.

Noteworthy tracks: N/A

"A solid return to form, proud to know them, yes, yes..... yes..... SEVEN!........ POP!........ It’s like they never went away... isn't it? Isn’t it just..."

~Patrick Mcgoohan on - Lazarus

"Sorry? mmmm yeah, where's camera?... no camera? Right where's my baby-cake? Oi! You savage cunt where is this? Where?... what? You’re recording my voice? Shit mate burn this.......I'll suck for crack you know"

~Stephen Mittchum on Lazarus

edit Discography

  • 1972 - Infra-Sound Echo Test - 5ft Records
  • 1974 - The Astral Project - 5ft Records
  • 1976 - Progress - EMI
  • 1976 - Desidious Dreams (Live) - EMI
  • 1978 - Flying over the Ethersphere - EMI
  • 1980 - The Oddity - EMI
  • 1981 - The Odyssey (Live) - EMI
  • 1983 - The Man from Venus - EMI
  • 1986 - Goey (Greatest Hits) - EMI
  • 1999 - Progression (Live) - Kosher Records
  • 2001 - Lazarus - Kosher Records
  • 2003 - Rhombometric Nonvibrating Hipotensure (DVD)
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