Interview with Gordon Grody
By Patrik Andersson and Roberto Mariani
P and R: First of all, thank you Gordon for participating in this interview!
P: Tell us about you vocal background and early career, how did it all start?
My roommate Vicki Sue Robinson got signed to RCA and her producer heard me and signed me as well. She was riding on a big hit record at the time. Turn The Beat Around.
R: In the late seventies you did a solo album and also worked as lead vocalist in tracks for historic disco producers like Gregg Diamond and Meco. Did you enjoy singing the disco/soul/dance genre?
I did…it was an exciting time for the dance scene and very much song and groove oriented. Long hours but really fun
P: When and how did you come in contact with Fred Petrus?
I actually can't recall but I think I had a reputation in the NYC session scene and he contacted me. I was singing background good deal with Diva Gray and Luther
R: Talking about the great Italian producers, composers, and musicians of the Petrus team (Malavasi, Romani, Gianolio, Trevisi), did you enjoy working with them?
Definitely. I remember working with Mauro the most
P: During your time with Fred you worked with singers like Frank Floyd, Bobby Douglas, Luther Vandross, Diva Gray, Leroy Burgess, Tawatha and so on. How was it to be surrounded by all these prominent vocalists?
A great gift and quite a blast as well. They were all the greatest at the time
R: In the 1980 Petrus/Malavasi albums the vocalists are not listed. Am I wrong if I'm quite sure that you are the lead vocalist in many tracks of the Macho "Roll" album? Did you also take part in the vocals of the other two albums of that year ("Welcome Back" by the Peter Jacques Band and the historic "The Glow Of Love" by Change)?
Don't know about Welcome back. Wasn't on Glow of Love and was lead vocalist on Roll
P: You were a part of the great successes of B. B. & Q. band and Change in 1981 and High fashion in 1982 among others. But you did also sing on the much more unknown projects Zinc in 1982 and Silence in 1984. Especially Zinc offered an interesting and innovative mix of European pop and American funk. What are you thoughts about the music produced by Petrus and Malavasi during the years you participated?
Quite creative and they gave me a lot of creative space to do what I liked
R: A really rare and very hard to find album is the first Silence LP "Goodtime Baby" that was released in 1982, two years before the "The Beast In Me" album. Were you the lead vocalist also in that first album?
Absolutely. That was more of a rock band album and we all really believed in it but Freddy had trouble selling it to labels. I thought it was great stuff
P: To some people Fred was not a very pleasant person being both intimidated and ruthless, something that became even stronger after the severe economical difficulties he faced in 1982-1983 that led to serious problems paying the artists he hired. What are you thoughts about Fred as a person and as a professional businessman in music and did you recognize any economical problems during 1982-1983?
He had a terrible reputation for not paying on time or just not paying at all. I'm not sure why he behaved this way. He lived right across the hall from me so maybe I did better than others in getting paid on time
R: You sang some tracks (like the well known single "Hypnotized") in another 80's Italian production, Pulga/Ninzatti's second Pink Project's album "Split". Have you ever been in Italy (my country) to record vocals for Petrus or other producers?
Never but would love to work with any of those guys again. Tell them that if you speak with them.
P: Fred was murdered sometime in 1986. What do you known about that tragic event?
Very little except it was over non-payment
R: Talking about the present, I've read that beside your vocal and arranging work for other artists you are also an important vocal coach in New York (Alicia Keys among others!). Do you love teaching? Any advice to young singers that want to start a musical career?
When I was starting out there were plenty of singers trying to make it. Now there are many more. Almost everybody thinks they can sing which is a problem. I recommend to any singer to really practice their craft and sing anything they can as much as possible. Finding a skilful teacher always helps.
P and R: Thank you Gordon!
Many thanks to Mr Grody for his open minded attitude through out the interview.
Interviewed in May 2007 by:
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