| This is the 154th story of Our Life Logs |
I’ve been playing in metal bands since I was in high school. From the moment I heard the thunderous fast-paced chug of the melody, I was hooked. To some, it’s all just noise. But for those who listen beyond the clamor and see beyond the crowds, it’s more than a show. It’s a way to become part of a community and feel understood. I did, and am doing, everything I could to share my passion.
I was a free-roaming, wild child, born in 1968. I was the youngest of four and only boy of the family. For the very early years of my life, I remember running around the neighborhoods of our coal-mining town, Hazard, Kentucky. When I turned nine, we moved to Dayton, Ohio and said goodbye to simplicity. There, I made a good friend named Dan.
When I was 15, Dan got a guitar. I decided to buy one, too, just to play around with. I didn’t think it would feel so natural in my hands, but it did, and I fell in love with it. Soon, Dan and I decided to start a rock band, because, why not? We knew we were going to rock the world and look good doing it. We kept it going all through high school, but we broke up not long after graduation. At 18, I moved to North Carolina and made a new group of friends all sharing my interest in music.
By this point, it was the 1980s. Rock music was getting heavier, hair was getting longer, and bands like Metallica and Pantera were getting big. Rainbow’s album Raising especially catapulted me into performing. This music was harsh and ear-piercing, so different than the regular rock bands I had come to know. I’d grown up in grit, and so I felt this kind of music gave me a voice. The noise had me bang my head, feeling engulfed in the fierce brutality of it all. This was home.
I started a new band with the friends I had made. We played as often as we could for the next five years. Eventually, we broke up, but I remain thankful for my first taste of playing in a metal band, and for thrashing on my guitar at every show.
Around the early 90s, between bands and playing music, I fell in love and got married just six months later. The newness of our relationship pulled me away from my guitar. While I loved music, I decided to focus on making money for my young family. So, in my 20s, I got a degree in Electrical Engineering, and worked every chance I could. I saved, and saved, revolving around my family life, all while my guitar and amp waited patiently in the closet.
In 2000, we decided to move to Chattanooga, Tennessee. This was when I dusted off my guitar. Not only did the musical atmosphere of this city persuade me, but I had worked hard for so long and had all my safety nets in place. It was an easy decision. I needed to pursue my dream.
One day, I saw a drum set for sale in the window of a pawn shop, and couldn’t walk away without going in. I wanted to buy it for my wife. She and I did everything together anyway, why not add my musical aspirations to the list? I took the set home and it turned out she was a natural. With the hum of my guitar and roar of her drum set, we had a good groove going. We met an accomplished guitar player in the area who heard us playing and saw our potential. The three of us recruited other members and created a new band called Forces of Nature.
We tried to get on any show we could. Our motto became “You book it, we’ll play it.” This helped us get noticed by a few record labels. We were able to open for up-and-coming bands like Saliva, Disturbed, and Evanescence. We got Forces of Nature’s name in the heads of concert goers, though after seven years on road, we decided we needed a break.
During the hiatus, my wife and I moved back to Dayton, and in 2012 when all our other band members moved into the same city, we reconvened Forces of Nature. This was difficult at first because there wasn’t really a metal scene to speak of and not many bars to play at. Worse, the bars that did let metal bands play treated the bands terribly. They would force us to pay all the production costs and supply our own equipment while we made next to nothing from the shows.
Making money wasn’t our goal, but the lack of respect was too difficult to put up with. So, I made a plan of action. Forces of Nature banded with six other local groups. We agreed to only play together and unite all our fan bases. The bars began to see their rooms full of metal fans bringing in good business. We let them get used to that profit for a year, and then we told the bars that metal wouldn’t return unless they started treating us better. We asked them to buy their own sound and light systems for us to use, and to let the bands keep 100% of the door charges. Most laughed at us when we first presented the idea, but over the next few months, one by one they reached out, agreeing to our terms because they wanted the business back.
However, there was one bar that never came around. I tried to tell the owners that 80% of the venue’s show goers were supporters of local bands, and if we didn’t play there, their business would seriously get hurt. Unfortunately, they didn’t take my advice and within a year the bar went bankrupt.
The bar remained closed for a couple of years until I spoke with a few potential investors assuring them that the business could thrive if they built a new brand and brought the local and national bands together. In 2014, it was bought and renamed Oddbody’s.
The Dayton metal scene had grown before our eyes, and we had cultivated a strong local fan base. Building the scene was beneficial to me, but I began to see how much it helped others, too. After talking with fans, I learned that many came to our shows for an escape from the tough times they’d been having in life. It was surreal. One girl even told me that our music saved her life. She saw our band the night she was going to kill herself, but after the show she talked to us and decided not to go through with it. Moments like that have made all our sweat worthwhile. If playing my music can help others find peace and happiness, then I’m living a fulfilled life.
Music has always been the constant in my life holding me together. It has been there for me and introduced me to incredible people. I followed my dream and it has brought me so much joy. There’s nothing sweeter than the buzz of the crowd as they gather for one common thing: music.
This is the story of Marc Godsey
Marc currently lives in Dayton, Ohio where he manages Oddbody’s, a bar and music venue, and plays guitar in his band Forces of Nature. With an interest in music stemming from a young age, Marc had a desire to pursue it but waited until he could afford to. Once he did, he went full force, playing nonstop and eventually working with other bands to create a music scene in Dayton where they could all be treated fairly. On top of that, he also became the manager of Oddybody’s, Dayton’s crowned jewel for music. He says he spends 90% of his time doing something music related. In that other 10%, he spends time with his friends and his son whom he has recently adopted or attends Renaissance Festivals. Marc loves music because it’s something that connects people despite their difference.
Our Life Logs wants to extend our appreciation to Jebenezzer Law for allowing us access to Marc’s photos. Thank you!
This story first touched our hearts on August 22, 2018.
| Writer: Kristen Petronio | Editors: MJ; Colleen Walker |
If you are interested in learning more about Marc’s journey, please read his other story with us:
After being married for 25 years, Marc found out that his Utopian marriage was but a lie when he discovered his wife had cheated on him most of their marriage. Through music and friends, he was able to heal from the betrayal.