D3CADES (1994 -present)
Indie Rock & Electronic
Erik Godal, all instruments, vocals
Additional musicians on some tracks:
Phil Gough, guitar & bass
Dean Butterworth, drums
D3CADES is the solo artist name for the musician, songwriter, and producer Erik Godal, whose body of music spans multiple decades. A hybrid of multiple genres, D3CADES is indie rock that includes electronic and pop.
During the ’90s, Erik was a member of the bands Blind Fish (Polygram Records), Novacaine (Mercury Records), and The Blue Hawaiians (Coolsville, Interscope), playing keyboards and guitar while serving as songwriter and producer. Erik also served as a studio musician during this period for producers like Silvia Massy (Tool) and can be found playing on diverse albums, such as Aussie hard rockers Horsehead or even Melissa Ethridge.
Erik’s first major label (Polygram) album release was with the band Blind Fish, released in ’93, with the single “Pain and Pride” which hit the top 10 in several European countries. The second single, “Natural Child,” was released in ’94, but the band struggled with artistic direction and internal conflicts, which led to a second album being recorded in ’95 under the helm of engineer producer Mark Dearnly (AC/DC). This second album was a big departure in style, and as Polygram wasn’t sure how to deal with it, the release was at first stalled and then ultimately never released.
But in ’95, before the second Blind Fish album, Erik recorded the first set of songs featuring himself on lead vocals. What had started as Erik helping a childhood friend and musician produce some material ended with Erik singing because they didn’t have anyone else. That material became Sleeping Dogs, and the project landed an EP deal with Magnatone Records out of Nashville, but ultimately the album wasn’t released due to hesitation inside the label on how to launch and promote what was essentially a grunge rock record. But this wasn't the primary project for Erik, whose Blind Fish was back in the studio shortly thereafter.
In the same period, the internal struggles in Blind Fish continued and eventually led to the departure of the guitarist Greg V and bass player Bo Gravino, leaving Erik and singer David free to form a new band. This would become the band Novacaine, which eventually landed with Mercury Records.
By the spring of ’96, Erik was back in the studio with the Novacaine debut record. But meanwhile, during this period and after, he continued writing new material, which he sang, creating a batch of unreleased songs over the next several years. Some of those, he would track drums at Phil Gough's (Novaciane, Bone Daddys) studio, along with drummer, Dean Butterworth (Ben Harper, Good Charlotte). One of those songs, “Gone,” would end up being re-recorded for the Novacaine album and eventually was featured in a film. Other songs were in the wings as potential second album Novacaine material.
In ’98, just as Novacaine was riding into the US indie charts with the single “Whammo” in heavy rotation across the US and a second single, “Supersonic Soul,” along with a music video by famed director George Vale (Alice in Chains, etc.) readied for release, tragedy struck. Seagrams, the massive multinational liquor company, bought Polygram and folded it into Universal music. Within two weeks, 300 bands across multiple labels within the Polygram group were let go. Mercury, a storied label helmed at that time by Danny Goldberg, was also not spared. And so, Novacaine, like so many others, found itself without a record label.
Still reeling from the blow, Erik received a call from The Blue Hawaiians, asking if he would want to join their band. A fan of the group, Erik agreed and would play and record with the band for the next ten years while continuing with other musical projects.
Starting in ’99, The Blue Hawaiians were called upon to score music for a new cartoon series. That series was Spongebob, which eventually became the most successful cartoon in history. This introduced Erik to scoring, something he would find himself doing full-time in the future.
During the following several years, Erik found himself on back-to-back tours, first with The Blue Hawaiians and then with his old bandmate, David Hallyday, followed by a long studio stint producing a new solo record for David in Paris and London, as well as producing songs for other artists like Tina Arena. But the work kept him away from his family. Finally, after being away from home for more than two years, Erik opted to stop touring and overseas productions.
The rest of the decade and the following were dedicated to scoring various tv series, films, commercials, and esports events. This included producing some records and now adding tv production to his duties. But by early 2020, COVID stopped all productions.
In 2022, Erik wrote and recorded “That’s What We Are” and “Better Together” and decided to release this material along with a collection of other solo material since the ‘90s. Having always been in bands, Erik preferred using an artist name and decided on the name D3CADES, with the number 3 depicting the three decades of material he intended to release.
The D3CADES compilation album “Spanning California," featuring 10 songs spanning Erik's career, will be released at the start of 2023. Another album, featuring all new material along with the two 2022 songs, will also be released later in 2023.
Sleeping Dogs (1994 -1995)
Brant McCarthy, guitar & bass
Erik Godal, vocals, guitar & keys
Steve Di Stanislao, drums
Steve Hill, drums
In early 1994, Brant McCarthy, an accomplished guitar and bass player whose band was struggling in the studio with a particular song based on a riff that Brant had come up with, was complaining to his childhood friend Erik Godal asking what he should do. Erik offered to take a shot at producing the song, coming up with a new chorus and arrangement along with lyrics and melody.
And since Erik had always been a studio rat, having spent the better part of the last several years practically living in Santa Monica Sound studio, not only recording most of the Blind Fish album there but also found himself being called on to fill in occasionally as an engineer or help out in other recordings, he had the perk of having access to a real studio in off hours. Of course, that meant sessions in the middle of the night, but aside from the cost of tape and some cash to a second engineer, it afforded the ability to track songs.
But this new song wouldn't be recorded with Brant's other band; instead, Erik and Brant played all the instruments, and Erik sang as there wasn't any other person to sing lead vocals. Erik brought in the Blind Fish drummer, Seattle session player Steve Hill and got his friend, Julie Smith, to sing back up. The result was the song Julie Dances. A rock song that had throwback '70s sensibilities but wasn't all grunge either.
And it was during this time that Erik nearly had a brush with death while recording this song. On January 17th of '94, Erik was in the studio, having finished tracking at about 4 am. He offered to help clean up, wrapping mic cables and putting stuff away, but engineer Jeff Moses declined, mentioning to Erik that he had further to drive to get home as Jeff lived just a few blocks away. So Erik hopped on his Harley and headed down the 10 freeway. He got home just as the '94 LA earthquake hit at 4:30 am. A portion of the 10 freeway had collapsed, and Erik had passed over it minutes before the earthquake. Had he stayed or left a few minutes later, he would have been confronted with a collapsed freeway while sailing along at sixty miles per hour. The outcome wouldn't have been good. Another motorcycle had done just this, and the rider died.
Shortly after finishing the song, during the summer and fall of '94, Erik was back on the road with Blind Fish in Europe and then in New Orleans to start recording demos for the second Blind Fish album.
But as Erik was in New Orleans, the song Juile Dances landed in the hands of a music executive on the Morgan Creek label, who was moving to Magnatone Records in Nashville. This prompted an offer for a demo/EP deal with Magnatone, and Erik and Brant headed back into the studio at the start of '95, but this time with Erik's old bandmate, drummer Stevie D (Steve Di Stanislao). The newly formed project officially took the name Sleeping Dogs and recorded five more tracks, bringing the album to six songs. Unfortunately, Magnatone decided not to release the album due to their lack of experience in rock and grunge music. It was baffling that Magnatone would pay for a record and then back out. But, the executive who brought the group in was into rock, while his new partner only dealt with country music. Ultimately, they decided that they could only agree to disagree, and that's the music business. But, it didn't surprise the band, whose members by this time had seen it all. In goodwill, though, Magnatone released the album masters back to the band with a note saying good luck. That was the end for Sleeping Dogs, whose short existence produced six songs, but whose members went on to create many times more material in other bands.
Love Of Fire (1989 - 1991)
Rodger Benes, vocals
Bob Dinsmore, guitar
Erik Godal, keys
Bo Gravino, bass
Bert Drake, drums
Steve Di Stanislao, drums
In '89, the band Who Shot Sam lost their singer Dave Tyson due to medical reasons, as David was no longer able to record and play in the band. This also led to the departure of guitar player David Pircher, and the remaining band members spent months searching for a new singer.
In what could be described as a trial by mail, eventually, a friend of Erik's mentioned that he knew a great singer in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. This prompted the band to take a musical track, complete, but without vocals, and send it to that singer, Roger Benes, who then recorded vocals to the track and sent it back. That song would become "Fell From Love," which was a great fit.
Then in a crash course of band making, the bewildered Roger, who had never even been on a plane before, flew to Los Angeles and was picked up in LAX by guitar player Bob Dinsmore and driven to the band's studio in Orange County. The group would write and rehearse many songs across a harried two weeks and even play live at Madame Wongs in Santa Monica. The band worked, and this was the birth of Love Of Fire.
The song "Fell From Love" found its way into the hands of A&R at Capitol, who called wanting more material, but it also prompted a call from record producer Bob Marlette, who had got a copy of the song through singer Roger. Bob liked what he heard and elected to work with the band, driving a hundred miles nightly from Woodland Hills to Santa Ana and back. The group focused on four songs for a demo. But, during the production, with encouragement, by Marlette, and in agreement with the band, the much less experienced drummer David Fuller was exited from the band and replaced by Bert Drake, a highly trained and polished drummer. Thus the demo was finally completed.
Shortly after completing the Marlette-produced demos, the band was offered a record deal from a small independent label. Erik drove to LA to meet with the label. But on that same day the offer was made, Erik drove back to the studio with the good news, only to find drummer Bert Drake loading his drums up into his truck. Bert announced that he was leaving the band to join the church of Scientology and wouldn't have time to be in any band anymore.
The timing couldn't have been worse, but there was no persuading Bert to reconsider. The band could not move forward with any record deal and now had to start searching for a new drummer. The search would take many months, as the caliber of drummer needed to be relatively high, but eventually, Steve Di Stanislao, or Stevie D as he is known, joined the band. Steve was a seasoned, powerful drummer. And the band threw themselves into playing live and tracking new material, trying to make up for much-lost ground.
Love Of Fire excelled as a live band, as playing live was not only a passion but one of the band's strengths, as they rehearsed and recorded every day. The band was so well-oiled and notable live that they took up what was nearly residential positions at national touring clubs, The Coach House and Madame Wongs, carrying as headliners on weekends, something unheard of for an unsigned local band. It was one such show that got the band in front of the music publishing company Wind Swept Pacific, as well as Richie Wise, a producer and A&R with Scotti Bros.
By the summer of '91, more offers were starting to float to the band from several directions. But then fate stepped in and changed everything, just as in Who Shot Sam, where the singer had come down with a difficult personal issue, now it was the singer Roger, in Love Of Fire, who was dealing with difficulties. Roger declared an emergency, telling the band that he had to head back to Lincoln, Nebraska. This, effectively, was the end of Love Of Fire. The last song they recorded was "Numbers On The Wall," a somewhat semi-autobiographical song that hauntingly reflected the difficult and ultimately devastating ending for a band that had fought so hard and was on the verge of a big career shift.
At this time, Erik received a call from A&R Richie Wise, who still wanted to sign Love Of Fire to Scotti Bros. Erik informed Richie that the band was over, and Roger was leaving. When Richie asked Erik, "What are you going to do?" Erik's only reply was, "I have no idea."
A week later, Richie called Erik back and asked if he and bass player Bo Gravino wanted to go on tour in Europe with one of the Scotti Bros acts, a singer named David Hallyday. They needed a keyboard player and bass player for the tour. Both guys agreed because neither had anything else to do. But that introduction would lead to a lifelong friendship between Erik and David, who went on to form two bands, the first being Blind Fish, and the second Novacaine.
Who Shot Sam (1986 - 1988)
New Wave & Indie
David Tyson, vocals
Erik Godal, keyboards
Bob Dinsmore, guitar
Bo Gravino, bass
David Fuller, drums
David Pircher, guitar
Mikel Bowles, bass
Rico Thomas, guitar
Mike Lang, guitar
Johnny Prophet, drums
Who Shot Sam had two incarnations. Originally, it was an offshoot of the band Radieux, which also had two incarnations. The first incarnation was with David Tyson on vocals, Erik Godal on keyboards, Mike Lang on guitar, Mikel Bowles on bass, and several drummers, including Johnny Prophet, along with additional guitar players Rico Tomas and Joshua.
This incarnation recorded many songs, including "Up Against The Wall" and "All These Lies," which were tracked on a simple little Fostex 8-track machine. While the quality afforded to the band at the time could have been better, having to make do with recording in their rehearsal space with minimal gear was limiting; nonetheless, the players were high caliber, and the songs were well written. The band played live at smaller clubs in Orange County and Los Angeles but never really amassed a following. This was because they tended to focus on the recording process over live gigs.
In '87, after four years of slugging it out, Mike Lang departed the band after being hounded by his father to go to work for the family company. And eventually, the rest of the members all drifted apart. Erik continued to try to record but found himself doing so alone. In search of a band, Erik finally found one in Los Angeles. The band Sauvage appeared to be decent and needed a keyboard player. The quality of their demos impressed Erik, so he joined the band and immediately struck up a friendship with members, Bob Dinsmore (guitar), Dave Fuller (drums), Bo Gravino (Bass) and David Pircher (guitar). Sauvage had a rehearsal space in a run-down building next to the midnight mission in downtown LA. This was ground zero for homeless craziness. Band members would have to step over passed-out people on the sidewalks to enter the building. Whenever they loaded or unloaded their trucks to play gigs, they had to keep two band members on guard at the trucks, or the gear would get stolen. When they rehearsed, they paid homeless men to guard their cars, which sometimes still didn't keep people from breaking in. And on top of that, the band had a convicted felon as one of the two band managers.
Shortly after Erik joined Sauvage, the management contract was up for renewal. And the managers were pressing the band, and new members, Erik and Bo Gravino, to sign. But Erik and Bo weren't willing, and the rest of the band wanted out. Because Erik had his own rehearsal space in Orange County, he suggested that they dump the management and their scary rehearsal spot and move everything to Santa Ana, where the studio was located. So one night after a gig at the Roxy, instead of loading into the management's rehearsal space, the band stopped by the downtown location and collected their remaining gear. During the load out, the managers showed up, as they had been waiting nearby, intending to change the locks after the gig so they could hold the band's gear hostage to get them to sign the contract. After a screaming match in the darkened street between the management and the band, as a massive fire broke out next door while some homeless people smashed the windows in the building across the street, the band managed to escape.
The polished-sounding demos by Sauvage had been produced by Joe Curiale, a successful producer and talented songwriter who, at one point, was attached to Columbia music publishing. And while the songs were well written, they were written by someone other than the band. Sauvage didn't write their own material, but Who Shot Sam did. And at this time, the singer in Sauvage also bowed out. But with a new band in hand, Erik was able to get singer David Tyson to come back. So the Sauvage members, Bob Dinsmore, David Fuller, Bo Gravino, and David Pircher, joined with Erik and David Tyson to become the second incarnation of Who Shot Sam.
This new group approached Joe Curiale, who was willing to produce new tracks for them. The band went into Cherokee Studios and came out with a four-song demo. Shortly after, the band recorded more songs in their rehearsal space, which included the songs "Never," "Mercy," "Color TV," "Boom In The Night," and others. A video was shot to "Never," and the band was featured in a Hollywood film performing the song "Mercy," This period was the best for Who Shot Sam. The strength of the songs and level of production was evident. The band was tracking in the right direction.
But things turned south for the band in late '88. David Tyson was diagnosed with a disorder and need to leave the band to focus on his health. And while he would eventually fully recover several years later, the band Who Shot Sam never recovered. The remaining members would form a new band, Love Of Fire, with singer Roger Benes.