Stop waiting: godot. releases its first EP

Ryan deBiase

R. William Downey, lead singer of art-rock collective godot. (guh-doe), sits like Buddha on an Indian rug, sun streaking through the window above. In front of him sits a quartered orange, looking almost sacrificial in nature.

In one hand, he holds an accordion. His other hand clenches a mandolin at the neck. Downey is an image of rock-star preeminence.


The members of Kent-based godot. are not rock stars yet, though they are progressing toward that end.

Over the last year and a half, godot. has played gigs at the Lime Spider and the Grog Shop, spreading its unique brand of experimental art rock throughout this quadrant of Ohio. The band won Kent State’s Battle of the Bands competition in 2005 and played at FlashFest.

The following summer, godot. began recording its first EP, The Sins of Your Youth, at the Lava Room in Cleveland. With the EP’s recent completion, the band takes another huge step toward professional musicianship.


The Sins of Your Youth

What? CD release party

Where? Club Khameleon

When? Saturday, May 27

The Sins of Your Youth is available at local independent music stores, like Turn-up Records in Kent and Square Records in Akron, as well at

Still, the process of recording an album was not an easy one, said Downey, senior theater studies major.

“It’s a collaborative effort, but everyone’s trying to work and get through school,” he said.

godot. gelled more and more over the recording period, Downey said, and continues to evolve. It has been a natural growth.

“Right now we’re at our most fertile writing stage,” he said. “We’re really starting to understand and trust each other.”

The trust issue is an important one, as the band relies heavily on individual expression to convey its art to the audience. One of the things that sets godot. apart from other regional bands is its involvement in other forms of art.

The band frequently features artists that paint on-stage during live shows. It may come off as a gimmick at first, but the artistic philosophy pervades godot., and it represents a conversation of sorts between different forms of art.

“The painting thing is still really big,” Downey said. “We perform with different artists in a way to help synthesize the music into another medium and make it an experience with artists we like.”

With godot.’s engagement in the art scene, “art rock” presents itself as the most appropriate moniker for their musical stylings.

“It’s kind of hard to define anything these days,” said drummer Justin Hofmann, senior percussion performance major. “I don’t care to. So I guess we’re art rock.”

Art rock generally entails eclectic musicianship that blends melody, rhythm, noise and visual elements. The fusion of elements cannot be contained within a specific genre.

“Art rock, why not?” Downey said. “I feel like we’re artists together and we make music together. We have the postmodern aesthetic that you’re making art and you’re aware that it will be seen by an audience. You’re making art, and you’re absolutely sure that it is art.”

The promotion of The Sins of Your Youth remains the driving force for godot. as it heads into summer. The band hopes to expand regionally, playing shows in Chicago, New York, Detroit and Pittsburgh, Downey said.

A broadened touring schedule is only the next step in the evolution of a rock band. godot. continues to grow from a local bar band into a respected regional group. The band’s artistic philosophy laid the foundation. The EP further articulated their progress.

“This was the milestone,” Downey said. “It was like: ‘Can we put out this EP together?’ OK, we did that. Now, we’ve got to sell it and see what people think.”

Contact ALL correspondent Ryan deBiase at [email protected].