Godz frontman Eric Moore dead at 67

Eric Moore of The Godz
(Image credit: Fin Costello / Getty Images)

Eric Moore, frontman with cult Ohio biker band The Godz, has died at the age of 67. 

In a statement, the Godz' management and label said, “Eric Moore, the lead singer of the hard rock band The Godz passes away after a long battle with bladder cancer.

"It is with great sadness and heavy heart that John Gard Management and FnA Records announce the passing of a true rock-n-roll legend, Eric Moore of The Godz. Eric has been battling bladder cancer for many years. The official date of Eric’s passing was on May 17, 2019 in the early hours of the day – just after midnight. Eric was 67 years old.

"Eric was known by his legions of fans as a beer-drinking, pistol carrying, blue collar rock-n-roller and the leader of the Godz fans worldwide known as 'The Machines'.

"Eric Moore was the lead singer of The Godz here on earth and he has now embarked on a triumphant return to the one and only God in heaven.

"Eric will be sorely missed.”

Moore's last show was due to be at the band's annual Godzfest event at The Barn in Zanesville, Ohio, last night, but he died the day before the event. The show went ahead, with friends and fellow musicians paying tribute.

Moore's career in rock started in 1973, when he formed the Capitol City Rockets, a band comprised of members of a roller derby team of the same name. After releasing one album, Moore formed The Godz in 1975.

“Our keyboard player and drummer were killed [in a car crash] within the first six months,” Moore told Classic Rock. Despite such tragedy – the band also lost a roadie in another car accident – they persevered, and after building up a following throughout the Midwest, the band signed with Kiss's label Casablanca Records in 1977.

Their first task was to settle an argument over the band's name, which had been used since the 1960s by an avant-garde group from New York. When one of the members turned up at Casablanca demanding the label pay money to use the name, Moore took action.  

"I just suggested that he and I go down to the parking lot and whoever came out was The Godz," Moore remembered. "Well, he just grabbed his briefcase and left. I never heard another word.”

Between tours with Judas Priest, Cheap Trick and Kiss, The Godz recorded their first album in the summer of 1977. It was released the following year to indifferent reviews and worse, with Rolling Stone describing it as "epitomising the most wretched excesses of Seventies rock” 

A second LP, Nothing Sacred, followed in the spring of 1979, shortly before Moore got into a near-fatal motorcycle accident, effectively taking him off the road for the best part of the year. 

“I only broke one bone," he said. "But my insides got shook up real bad. I had a lot of internal displacement of organs. When my helmet hit the speedometer, it said 77mph, when I came to a complete dead stop. 

"It was a brand new motorcycle, the first time I didn’t have a Harley. It was not my kind of motorcycle, and I had three Quaaludes and some Jack Daniel’s in me, and I decided I wanted to go fast.”

Casablanca eventually dropped the band – Moore claimed they still owed him $181,000 – and the frontman returned to Ohio. He formed the Eric Moore Band, and returned with a new line-up of The Godz, releasing I'll Get You Rockin' in 1985 and Mongolians in 1987. He remained an active musician until his death. 

“Hey, I don’t care if someday they gotta sit me on a seat with a little table next to me with an ashtray and some cigarettes and a bottle of whisky and a bucket on the other side for me to spit blood in,” said Moore. “I’ll just sit down and do the blues. I mean, I don’t want that to happen, but if it does, well, that’s still a good life. 

"I left home the week of my fourteenth birthday and I joined the rock’n’roll circus. And I’ve never been back."

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.