The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Mr. Godwin Reminisces About His Rock Days

Godwin in the Physics room.

At the age of 14, Physics teacher Tony Godwin went to his first concert at the Roundhouse in London. He said it was as if he had stepped onto another planet.

“You go there, pay your money at the door and hang out for a long long time. It was really like a different world.” Roundhouse is a converted facility that they used to turn trains around inside. Godwin called it the perfect place for a concert. He payed less than a pound for hours of admission to the famous venue that has hosted just about every famous band over the years.

Max Wiseman is a freshman at WIS who has been playing Zeppelin and Hendrix songs on his electric guitar from the age of 10. He was eager to talk about Godwin, “He is a funny guy, I’ve only had him for one semester in 8th grade but I really enjoyed the class because of him. He is a fan of Led Zeppelin, if I remember he likes Whole Lotta Love quite a lot, I like Led Zeppelin so I like him because of that too, I enjoy his taste in music.”

The teacher’s interest in music started when his parents bought him a Sony transistor radio at fourteen. He listened to the pirate station Radio Caroline, which played music that wasn’t permitted on public stations. Godwin started attending concerts at fourteen and hasn’t stopped. When he was sixteen, he told his parents that he was going to sleepover at a friend’s house, but instead he went to the Isle of Wight festival. This is renowned as the Woodstock of England, with a wild atmosphere that has hosted artists such as Hendrix, Bob Dylan and The Who, who all performed the same year that Godwin went.

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When Godwin got to University he recalls the start of the classic rock period, after the release of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album, “We were all sitting down in ‘72 and saying, well, our music is the classic music of our generation… we discussed it then, it was goodenough to be lasting, unlike anything in the 80s.”

Godwin has been to the concerts of bands and artists including Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, the Who and David Bowie. “Never saw the Beatles, never saw Hendrix… pretty much everybody else,” he said. Godwin still goes to concerts, “When you go and see people like Al Stewart, and I like his music very much, he will play a dinner venue. So we’ll go have dinner, drink lots of wine, watch him play.. and it’s pleasant, but nobody’s going crazy anymore, because how many artificial hips can you replace in one evening?” he laughs.

Godwin had no trouble deciding which concert was the best “Zeppelin ‘72 or ‘73, definitely, in London.” He also recalled seeing Queen in the early 70s with fewer than 200 people. “I saw Queen in a pub… in Sutton before they got really big, it was outrageous, it was really wonderful,” Godwin said.

When he was young, buying music was not as easy as it is today. He had a disposable income of less than five pounds. Godwin would save his money up for singles, ”buying an album every month was about all I could afford.”

As well as the good memories, often times rock and roll and the life of drug and alcohol abuse has a toll on musicians. Godwin recalls many famous musicians’ deaths, but he wasn’t particularly surprised by the likes of Keith Moon (The Who’s former drummer) or John Bonham (Led Zeppelin’s drummer), who were big drug and alcohol users. “It’s difficult really because you think of all the big ones like Keith Moon.. he was nuts. You look at Bonham for Led Zeppelin their drummer, he was crazy. They all seemed to kill themselves in remarkably comical ways.” The saddest death for him was John Lennon’s assassination. He said that it struck him as “desperately sad” because he had just tried to live a normal life.

Although he still goes to occasional concerts, Godwin is still loyal to his roots and doesn’t see the point of listening to modern day music. He said that beyond the videos, which are entertaining, there isn’t much to current music. “the trouble with music is most of it has already been done.” He has recently started record shopping with Mr Boehm’s predecessor, History teacher David Riehl. The two travel around, hunting for old records from all sorts of genres. Riehl has a wider taste in music, and introduces Godwin to new things.

By Alfie Pannell

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