My introduction to the wild, whacky, wonderful world of Charles Rice Goff III was in 2001 when he submitted a CD by his band the Magic Potty Babies for review in my online zine Aural Innovations. My positive response to what I described at the time as “cosmic but crazy… meditational but chaotic”, and my inclusion of the album on my Best of 2001 list, led to what has been an 18 years and still counting journey into the work of an artist who sounds like no one but himself (and that includes his many band projects).
Regular visitors to the EC site will recall a few songs inspired by The Doors that Charles posted in recent months. If you enjoyed those then you’ll be tickled to know that he has now released a full nine song album. And you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that Charles doesn’t “cover” Doors songs. As he says in the notes to the Swinging From Loose Hinges collection, “The interpretations presented here showcase how the Doors’ approaches to composition, performance, experimentation, and expression, affect me as an artist, right here in the 21st Century. While these recordings all contain elements of their antecedents, they each have a life of their own.”
The “right here in the 21st Century” part is important to note, because Charles explains that the Doors have been a powerful life-long inspiration, having recorded the first album of contemporary music he ever possessed (he was 8 years old, now 60).
I like to get immersed in an artist’s music. And I mean reeeeeally get my brain matter all gnarly wrapped around an album. And Charles make immersion enticing with his penchant for detailed album and track notes.
The music? Come with meeeeeeeee…….
The set opens with “Moonlight Drive”. Charles plays the song acoustic guitar singer/songwriter style, retaining the light, whimsical nature of the original as he embellishes the proceedings with trippy ambient waves, mystical melody and bells, and oddball percussion. After about three minutes the music briefly full band rocks out before receding into a pastorally spaced out finale.
Charles’ take on The Doors’ “My Wild Love” hews closely to the lazy tribal chant of the original, but colors the vocal/percussion core with electronic splashes, soundscapes, spectral choir, and other fun effects.
I love the alien bubbling/gurgling/symphonic electronics, keyboard melody, and guitar on “The Unknown Soldier”, creating a nicely flowing song that’s chock full of collage craftsmanship and oodles of freaky effects fun.
“Wishful Sinful” is all Goff. He starts off like he’s going to do “Touch Me”, but then starts to recite other Morrison lyrics and layers in collaged vocals from, hold on to your hats… The Book of Revelations. The music then melts into a dreamily pop rocking version of “Wishful Sinful”. I love the way Charles creates the pop-orchestral elements of the song. There’s lots of lysergic montage effects fun, and near the end we briefly descend into psychedelic darkness and then, finally, a brief but lulling acoustic finale. Lots going on here, with many twists and turns, and Charles makes it flow seamlessly.
I had no idea until reading Charles’ track notes that The Doors’ “L'America”, which was on the L.A. Woman album, was originally written to be part of the soundtrack to Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 movie Zabriskie Point, though Antonioni rejected it. Interesting historical factoid. Charles begins with the vocals to the song, peppering it with jittery electronics. But it soon starts to alternate between and blend with a succession of psychedelic dreamland and quirkily eccentric themes.
“The Crystal Ship” is one of my personal favorite Doors songs. It’s so seductively and 60s psychedelically pop song mesmerizing. Charles touched on it during his rendition of “Wishful Sinful”, but here takes it into experimental outer space. Charles sings the core song, though the music is like some zany but beautifully crafted avant-prog composition and includes bits of Morrison himself reciting his poetry.
“Blue Sunday” is such a beautiful Doors song and includes the loveliest of guitar leads. Charles recreates the vibe of the song as only he can, sounding like an intergalactic piano bar crooner. AND, though completely different from the Robbie Krieger guitar of the original, Charles plays a luscious acoustic guitar lead, accompanied by piano and dreamily spaced out harmonies.
“Aztec Wall Of Vision” caught my attention because I didn’t recognize the title and it’s credited to Jim Morrison/C. Goff III. Charles explains that it’s excerpted from Morrison poems that were never set to music by the Doors. The result is a stream of passionately recited poetry, supported by Frippertronic guitar, clatter percussion, and more.
“When The Music’s Over” is personal favorite in the Doors’ catalog. It’s classic West Coast 60s psych, with a soulfully grooving edge, and at nearly 11 minutes takes off into the cosmos with some killer jamming. Yet it’s trademark Doors, with lots of room for the Lizard King poet to stretch out. Charles’ version kicks off as an acoustic and electronic song with a slightly dissonant yet strangely lulling melody. The melody/rhythm is like a choppy, warbled march, punctuated by effects that are both searing and gurgling. It’s a hell of a roller coaster ride, veering from psychedelically bucolic segments to wigged out gloms of deep space effects, creating one big passionate blend of music, vocals, effects, and creative editing.
A free download of Swinging From Loose Hinges, including artwork and detailed notes, can be found at
I would also encourage all in the EC community to visit the Taped Rugs Productions web site for the muthaload of Goff history. Charles is a singular talent and creative force whose music is always challenging, different, and fun.
The journey starts here: http://tapedrugs.com
Jerry, thanks for such a great article and introduction to the album that we’ve all been waiting for! I’ve got to run now to catch the crystal ship. See you later!
Great review, article Jerry having done a few cds with Charles over the years, numerous trades, released his music on HRM, having him here at my house, exchanging many letters, mail art, emails, photos, etc I have know Charles what seems like forever. I so look forward to this new lp with homage to one of my fav influences. He continued like Hal to send me inspiring music during my 5 year self excile, no recordings & depression.
... I just wrote to Mr. Goff III this:
Charles, thank you for this wonderful gift of an album. I love your singing, playing, and arrangements as well as your fine selection of Doors songs/material to re-imagine, revitalize and re-kindle. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you, sir, are keeping the flame alive and I’m sure Mr. Mojo Rising, wherever he is, is as grateful for it as I am.
Jerry, I love your articles & reports. Charles, I love your work! Thank you very much for sharing.
VERY pleased everyone is enjoying Goff Land!!
Maybe you think you know The Doors. Get ready to know them turned inside out and upside down. Goff is back in action with a confounding, creative, wildly diverse and rather bizarre interpretation of these "classics". Although there is no "Light My Fire" this set burns like a northern California forest fire destroying expectations and charring the aural territory.
Ya NAILED it Don!
I feel very lucky to be able to share my quirks with such a reinforcingly understanding group of people. To all who have commented above, and especially to Jerry: know that I smile verrrrrrrry widely because of what you've written. The fact that I admire the art and ideas that all of you have provided to the world makes your words especially meaningful to me. Tonight I toast you all with some good whisky. Thanks thanks thanks!
Just got this lovely doors disk in the mail today! Listening to it right now actually! I have heard a few doors tribute compilations in my day but nothing of the caliber of this wonderful cd! Love the choice of tracks too, not the most obvious “hit-songs” that everynody covers. Thanks for the trade, Kansas Kousin!
I too have been doored by Charle's lastest CD hug and I too adoor it. Thanks Jerry for the unhinging review.
Charles, thanks again for the cd of Swinging From Loose Hinges. I've been listening to it late at night while my brain is going for Moonlight Drive...
One of my favourite summer records! Charles is a treasure!!!
Leave a Reply.
Jerry Kranitz published Aural Innovations: The Global Source For Space Rock Exploration from 1998-2016. AI started as a printed zine (nine issues from 1998-2000) and then went online for the duration. The web site also included regularly broadcast editions of Aural Innovations Space Rock Radio.