GODZILLA: Just Happy Makin’ Music
EVOKING vibrant neon-lit, kaleidoscopic, images of Japan, ‘The Godzilla Attacks Tokyo Kamikaze Blues Band’ in reality hail from Pennsylvania – but this mistaken belief simply adds to the mystique surrounding guitarist and songwriter Mike Smull’s project.
“The Godzilla Attacks Tokyo Kamikaze Blues Band started off with me just releasing blues and rock tunes during the pandemic, but I am now starting to play out as an acoustic act and with a few other musicians,” said Smull.
“I’m hoping to transition into a more permanent band situation with me continuing to write, record and release music. I may eventually record with the band members as well.”
But, but, but, before we go any further, ‘The Godzilla Attacks Tokyo. Kamikaze. Blues Band?’
“When I started recording music as this silly name, I wasn’t planning on releasing it, it was more of joke to share with friends who knew the story or were currently playing with me. But then I started to like some of the music. My friends and family liked it, so I thought why not. Throw it out there, nobody will listen, and I’ll move on. But I started to get some nice feedback and met a ton of great musicians and it’s just been this super fun project ever since. *
“I’ve been playing guitar since the fourth grade and I’m now 53. I was in so many bands over the years from cover bands to original bands, heavy metal bands and straight up rock bands. I went to the Musicians Institute and graduated from The Guitar Institute in the late 1980’s. So, my musical background is pretty diverse, and I think all of that music pops up in my music.
“My sound depends on the day I write the song and when and how I record it. I’ve done some pretty standard blues sound stuff as well as classic rock, early rock a bit of 80’s rock and even get a little heavy from time to time with songs like ‘Back to the Wall’ and ‘Shard of Glass.’”
Like many of his peers, the recent pandemic had a huge effect on the way Smull operated as a musician, but it’s something he used to his – and our – advantage.
“I always wanted to sing and record my own music. I messed around with it a bit in the past, but I have always been in bands with guys who can sing way better than me. So, I let them do the singing. I played some wicked lead guitar and was happy to be part of a group.
“Then the Coronavirus decided to mess everything up. My band couldn’t get together, work got slow, and I needed something to stop me from going crazy. I finally got serious about writing my songs and recording them. OK so maybe not ‘serious,’ many of these songs are jokes, silly things my dad used to say, etc, others aren’t, it’s a mixed bag of fun.
“If I was pushed to describe my creative process when writing new music, well yhis is another one that depends on the inspiration, the time of day, etc. Sometimes I get a title that I like, and I just start making up a song in my head. Then I write the lyrics and then figure out how to play it.
“Other times I’m fiddling around with my guitar and a song starts to emerge so I start singing and writing it all down or recording on my iPhone quickly so I don’ t lose it. I haven’t really come up with one way to write new music. When it comes it comes and it comes in its own way, it’s my favourite part of the process, just making and enjoying music.
“In fact, the best piece of advice another musician offered me, was to just be myself. For years I tried writing songs for a specific genre or type of listener. I don’t do any of that now. I write a song, I record it and I release it. Sometimes I can’t put any label on it, but it just comes from all my musical history.
“On the other side, my least favourite part of being involved with music is that it is very hard to make money and I hate promoting myself and trying to get people to listen, come to shows and buy merchandise or music. It would be nice to not have to do those things.
“I’m a bit later in life so I’ve decided to just meet people and other musicians I like and put out the music I like. I’m not really doing pre-saves or submitting my music to many places. I could do more, but I have a job and limited time. So, the dream of making good money as a full-time musician is behind me, I’m just having fun now.”
But with many productive years of ‘The Godzilla Attacks Tokyo Kamikaze Blues Band’ ahead of us, what ambitions remain for the man from Pennsylvania?
“Honestly, just to make music, enjoy my family and have fun. That is really it.”
And we say ‘Amen’ to that brother, we wish you all the success in the world.
* For the unabridged version, click here: