“Actually, I didn’t really think about it lasting when we started,” said Wellington resident Goffee, who is a former radio disc jockey. “I guess at this point we’re hoping it continues because we’re having a lot of fun with it.”
Want to go?
WHAT: "A Tribute To Johnny Cash"
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: German's Villa, 3330 Liberty Avenue, Vermilion
Lately, having fun for Goffee is retooling his set list. In the average year Goffee performs anywhere from 50 to 70 shows, some of which may be overseas. His set covers a wide selection of music from Cash’s career, including his first release, “Cry, Cry, Cry,” all the way up to the heartbreaking cover of Nine Inch Nails’ song “Hurt.”
Still, on occasion there have been a few songs that just didn’t work for whatever reason.
“Back in the early stages we did a show at the Beachland Ballroom and I put in ‘The Ballad of John Wesley Hardin,’” Goffee said. “After the show some guy asked me why I did that song. I said, ‘I don’t know, it was one of those things I thought may work.’ But sometimes you get different crowd reactions. Some songs go over better with a particular audience than some of the others. Then you move onto the next town and you do that song and it gets a great response.”
In Goffee’s mind he’s trying to get a response from the audience the same way the legendary country music and early rock ’n’ roll artist did when Goffee saw him live in 1969 at Cleveland Music Hall and in 1976 at the old Front Row Theatre.
What’s interesting about Cash’s songs, which probably explains why his catalog remains popular decades later, is the legend wasn’t afraid of tackling difficult or even taboo subjects.
“Johnny Cash was very good at peeling away the exterior and getting right down to the heart and soul of life experience and emotion that maybe people tried to sweep under the rug and cover up,” Goffee said. “He wasn’t afraid to lay things on the table, not only about himself personally but just about life in general.”
Perhaps this is why folks continue to come out and see Goffee’s “A Tribute To Johnny Cash.” The Man in Black cover act comes to German’s Villa in Vermilion Saturday.
“I wish I had a definitive answer why people come out,” Goffee said. “The only thing I think is Cash’s music has had so much of an impact on people. I saw a documentary on Elvis Presley impersonators once and they made the comment that people can stay home and listen to the records but they’ll come out because they want to be able to visually and mentally put a body to those songs. I think that may be a part of that attraction.”
Ultimately, when a musician is in a cover band they’re providing themselves something that is missing in their life. They’re reconnected with their favorite artist or band, and invariably wishing their heroes were still here.
“It goes back to passion,” Goffee said. “People ask me, ‘Don’t you get tired of singing the same songs over and over?”’ The short answer is, no. I think there’s just an honesty of the music that attracts people. Myself included.”