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Arthur Godfrey

A Conversation with Arthur Godfrey

Puremusic: It's a very rare circumstance to be running tape with a friend of mine in an interview. I'm most often interviewing people that I really don't know, yet--on the phone, usually. But in this case, it's Arthur Godfrey that Puremusic is talking to today. And you know, it's so different for us, Arthur, because we've really been through a lot of stuff together. [laughs]

Arthur Godfrey: Yeah, we've been around and played a lot of shows, and some really exciting ones. It's nice to be able to play with your friends.

PM: Yeah, it makes a big difference. I mean, this whole long series of events for me, that involved you, really started last summer when you asked if I wanted to go to the northeast and play some shows on the bass.

AG: Yeah, yeah. I think we were going to make like a ten-day swing starting in West Virginia. And then we played a house concert at Tim Shriver's house, and then headed up to New York, and ran into Sean there on the set of the Interpreter, met him that day, and ended up playing that night at the Laurie Beechman Theater on 42nd Street below the West Bank Cafe on Broadway. And I think we ended up staying for the better part of three months, if my memory serves. Totally unexpected, but it turned out to be a great summer. And we ended up putting on another great show at the end of June, that Sean set up for us, attended, obviously, by a lot of Sean's friends. The guy has been so gracious to me.

PM: Yeah. Jon and I are actually going up to New York again tomorrow to see if we can get that same incredible loft that we had in SoHo last summer.

AG: And I just stayed at Michael's very nice home on a lake about ten minutes from the ocean in Newport, Rhode Island. [He's our NYC landlord, last name withtheld.] Joy Lynn White and I just did a show for him.

PM: So you ought to tell the readers something about the closing, one could say, of that loop that began last summer at Tim Shriver's house, with a similar episode recently. We just did another jaunt up to Cape Cod. You should tell the readers about that.

AG: Well, I met Tim Shriver through Sean Penn a few years ago. His mom is Eunice Shriver, President Kennedy's sister. We did a show at his house. Joy Lynn White and I were going up the East Coast, starting a radio tour supporting records we each had coming out. Tim had sent me an email, wondering when I was going to be back. We ended up there on July 2nd--myself, you, and Joy Lynn White. And thank God for Rick Childs, who did all our sound and stage work. He came up and out of his own pocket and stuff, brought up the sound. And we spent the afternoon at Tim's, out by the boats. It was really special.

PM: And it was a real kick not only playing for the Kennedys, but for Martin Sheen. That was very cool.

AG: Yeah, yeah. And they were all there, Joe, the Congressman, and Bobby, who fights for a lot of the environmental rights lawyers. And I believe Anthony was there. And of course Ethel Kennedy, and Martin Sheen, and Tim, and a whole lot of kids.

PM: Yeah, there were about thirty kids who all look like either Bobby or Jack to me.

AG: And it was nice. I was able to bring my parents there. And as you know, Tim had a nice sit-down dinner for us. And my dad--who's still thinking, "You really left the post office for this stuff?"--I think this time, coming from Boston as my father does, that he really got it, what I'm trying to do, what I've been doing. Now he seems to be on board.

After we'd had dinner and played a show with the Shrivers, Bobby Kennedy came over and invited us to watch the fireworks. And we watched the fireworks and gave a show at Ethel Kennedy's house later on that night. Independent of them being such great folks, it's more of a part of history, really, just to be around all that. Like the last time we were in Maryland at Tim's and we visited Sargent Shriver's house and saw notes that JFK was writing his sister during the Cuban Missile Crisis--and how he loved to draw sailboats, and how his notes would have a drawing like that at the end...

PM: Oh, right, you mean, all the personal memorabilia that was framed on the wall there.

AG: See, I grew up in their home parish of St. Mary's. I mean, the president happened to have been born in a very moderate house in Brooklyn, across the street from my aunt's house.

PM: That's very surprising.  continue

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