Backstage Camera Roll: Godcaster

The Brooklyn art-punks recap their recent tour opening for of Montreal in words and photos.
Backstage Camera Roll

Backstage Camera Roll: Godcaster

The Brooklyn art-punks recap their recent tour opening for of Montreal in words and photos.

Words: FLOOD Staff

July 08, 2024

Godcaster are among the recent slate of Brooklyn bands who’ve blossomed in the post-quarantine era of live music returning to our stages, building a small audience within the East Coast underground before releasing their debut album in 2020—and, more momentously, performing songs from it in the following years. By the time the self-titled follow-up was released last year they’d developed a cult fanbase that was eager to see them perform at SXSW and beyond.

Yet earlier this year they developed a whole new fanbase while touring the country opening shows for fellow art-rockers of Montreal, indie vets who’ve curated the perfect niche audience for Godcaster’s unique sound over the past two decades. Naturally, the two bands got on quite well, as is evident in the photo diary shared by Judson Kolk, Bruce Ebersole, Von Lee, and Ryan West below. Notably missing: the final scorecards for any of the three bowling excursions both bands embarked upon.

Von: I usually don’t drink enough water, so I don’t need to pee much. But I take photos of everyone else peeing on the side of the highway. Sometimes the boys will come back from a highway pee with little wildflowers they picked and we’ll keep a mini bouquet in the van for a little while. A bumblebee flew into the car for all of 10 seconds and immediately stung Ryan. There was some debate as to whether or not bumblebees could actually sting. Apparently they can, in rare cases. When they’re very mad at someone.

Ryan: :(

Jud: We went to a giant army surplus store somewhere in Tennessee (?). Bruce and Jan bought a Wrist-Rocket slingshot and we took turns shooting it.

Chatanooga, Tennessee

Jud: Von is very good at making meals on tour with no kitchen. All of a sudden she’ll be chopping away in the van or in some corner at a venue making something delicious. But it’s a secret, don’t tell anyone!

Roanoke, Virginia; left to right: Kevin (of Montreal), Joe (FOH sound), Julie (projectionist)

Von: We had a day off between Chattanooga and Philly, so of Montreal invited us to see the new Planet of the Apes movie and get dinner. We didn’t end up making the movie, but we went to a Mexican restaurant with them. Joe, of Montreal’s FOH, ordered this chimichanga dish that came in a pineapple bowl and Kevin and Julie turned it into a puppet and made it talk.

Wichita, Kansas; left to right: Kevin (of Montreal), Bruce (Godcaster), Von (Godcaster), Michael (of Montreal), Liz (of Montreal)

Von: I taught some people in of Montreal how to play Mahjong and Michael, oM’s tour manager, taught Bruce, Jan, and I how to play dominoes. Kevin won the last round, but I was close behind. 

Ryan: We also bowled so much on this tour—it was so fun playing a game (sport?) that none of us ever really play and discovering who had a knack. I think I messed up my shoulder bowling more in one week than I have in my entire life. 

Lincoln Hall photobooth in Chicago
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ryan (left) and Bruce (right) with a drill and drill bits, attaching hardware to drums

Von: On our way to Elsewhere, Ryan saw a piece of scrap metal on the side of the road and ran out of the car to grab it at a red light. He wanted to add it to his kit. The next day he and Bruce were on the sidewalk outside the next venue drilling into parts of his drums and rigging the sheet of metal to a floor tom.

Ryan: Thor Harris introduced us to Transducers—like little contact mics you can stick onto things that plug in with a guitar cable. We’re trying to ‘duce everything. 

NYU School of Dentistry in New York: Judson gets his tooth put back in

Jud: My (fake) tooth fell out a couple of days into the tour. I was kind of blue about it. I called my doctor and she just so happened to be available to see me the day we were supposed to play NYC. On the morning of June 4, she popped it back in and we played Elsewhere that night. Thanks so much, Dr. Messina! 

Hudson Valley, NY: Dead young fox that drowned in a swimming pool. Bruce and Jake (Godcaster’s manager) pictured removing the fox from the pool

Jud: Poor Jake found a dead baby fox in his pool. Bruce and Jake took it out with giant chopsticks. Funnily enough this ain’t the first dead baby animal Jake has found on his property. He found a fawn, too. Very sad.

Backstage in Rochester, NY: Godcaster in the dressing room putting on of Montreal costumes to guest-dance on stage during their closer, “It’s Different for Girls” 

Jud: Stranger than true. (Dream come true.)

Von: I love corn dogs. There’s a scene in The Princess Diaries where Julie Andrews’ character “the queen” tries a corn dog for the first time and she loves it—that’s me. But I was sorely disappointed by this Ohio gas station corn dog. The bread was spongy and there was no outer crust at all. I was pissed.

En route to Denver: Jan falls asleep and David, Judson, and Ryan dress him up like a sheriff using paper plates, cups, and napkins. “Sleepy Sheriff Jan” complete with a revolver, holster, badge, knee pads, bandana, Stetson hat, and more

Jud: Sheriff Jan

Godcaster plays Slammo behind Lincoln Hall, Chicago: left to right: Bruce (Godcaster), David (Godcaster), Kevin (of Montreal), Judson (Godcaster), Jan (Godcaster), Ross (of Montreal)
Von, Jud, and David playing with Jud’s nieces and nephew

Ryan: One of my favorite parts of tour is getting to see everyone’s families all around the country. We’re really lucky to have places to stay and sometimes even a TV so we can watch all the Jurassic Park movies out of order. 

Detroit, Michigan: of Montreal and Godcaster bowling at Garden Bowl

Jud: This was the first oM x GC bowl. I discovered I was severely lacking when it comes to the art of bowling. We bowled with of Montreal two more times and I was never able to get the hang of it.

Left to Right: Jan (Godcaster), Michael (of Montreal), David (Godcaster), Judson (Godcaster), Kevin (of Montreal), Bruce (Godcaster)

Jud: of Montreal, bad influence! Teaching us to gamble!

Von: We got to go on of Montreal’s bus a few times. We’d get on and everyone would start chanting “Bus! Party! Bus! Party!” It was very fun. All 16 of us crammed in there like it was after hours at a summer camp. They taught us this lying dice game called Kiriki. Kinda like poker but with dice. David won. 

Wichita, Kansas: Jud pulled a dead bird from the grill of Godcaster’s van

Jud: I happened to be leaning on the hood of the van and I kept getting whiffs of acrid corpse. I said “uh oh” to myself. Bruce said he had hit a bird three days earlier. Turns out the poor thing was all smashed into the radiator under the hood and had been there for days. I pulled it out and lo and behold it was a gorgeous fallen angel! The whole thing had a sweet tragedy to it. I was on the verge of strange tears for a couple hours.

Ryan: Victoria from @ was able to identify it as a Northern Flicker.

Left to right: Bruce, Jan, Garrett (of Montreal), Judson, Liz (of Montreal)

Von: We all wanted to go out after our Chicago show, but almost nothing was open except a hot dog place (where I got a corn dog). We ended up going to this small Irish pub that had a boxing machine. Turns out we’re stronger than of Montreal.

Jud: I think this was the most exciting tour we’ve ever done. It was such a privilege to spend time with and get to know our heroes every night. Every single member of the of Montreal family is a very special and wonderful person that I’m so thankful I got to meet. I truly loved getting to know each and every one of them. Kevin, David, Michael, Liz, Jojo, Ross, Garrett, Stan, Julie, Joe—we love you very much.