Last year, local singer Terry Lee Goffee had another good year of paying tribute to the Man in Black. The husky-voiced singer sounds like Johnny Cash even when he speaks. Goffee recently phoned in to talk about his upcoming show at House of Blues where he headlines the 10th annual Capricorn party put on by local promoter Packy Malley.
What were some of the highlights from last year?
We had a good year. We probably did more winter-month shows than summer-month shows, which is the opposite of what usually happens. In October, we were out in Sandstown, Minn., and we did something on Midwest Country Show, which airs on RFD-TV, for people who get that on their cable or satellite service. We're heading back there in May to do two days of filming and broadcasting parts of those concerts throughout the season. That was kind of fun. They have a viewership of 3 million people. That gets us some more exposure.
Did you make it to Europe?
No. Not this year. We're anxious to get over there, but their economy is in bad shape, worse than ours.
Have you added any new songs to your set?
Nothing really new. We kind of gauge the audience and venue, and we put certain songs in. For House of Blues, we'll do "25 Minutes to Go" and "Delia" for that crowd, which is a little bit rowdier. If it's a family setting, we'll stick with the regular line-up. One of the songs we haven't been doing for awhile that we'd like to get back to is "Legend of John Henry." It's a cool song but it's 8 1/2 minutes long.
Are there any Cash tunes that haven't seen the light of day?
I guess last month they revealed that they had discovered an album that was recorded but never released. It's called Out Among the Stars. That's coming out sometime in March maybe. I'm sure there are still things in the vaults at House of Cash or maybe even Columbia. [Cash producer] Rick Rubin might even have some things.
A new biography about Cash came out last year. Did you have a chance to read it?
Yeah, it's by Robert Hilburn and it's called Johnny Cash: The Life. I'm in the process of reading that right now. It's interesting. I have five or six books about Cash, including Marshall Grant's book I Was There When It Happened. A lot of the stories are the same but you get more of a perspective and take. The Hilburn book is really good. I recommend it to everyone who wants to dig a little deeper into what happened during his career. When I got it, I was surprised because it's almost as thick as War and Peace.
Do you know everything there is to know about the Man in Black?
I pick up tidbits here and there, not only from the books but we've become good friends with his sister Joanne. In conversations with her, little things would come out. I think for the most part, there's a lot that I'm aware of. Every once in awhile, I'll pick up a little thing. Then, it comes down to which version of the story you believe.
Would have you made a better Johnny than actor Joaquin Phoenix who portrayed him in the film Walk the Line?
Well, that's not for me to say. I guess I was a little disappointed in the performance. As far as the movie was concerned, for people who maybe are just discovering him, it was a good primer to get the curiosity flowing and from there, people could explore on their own. It was okay to watch one time but it's not like Casablanca where I'm going to go back and watch it a dozen times.
Have you heard any good Johnny Cash cover tunes lately?
No. I haven't heard anything new coming down the pike. It's cool because every once in a while, I'll be watching a movie and I'll hear a Johnny Cash song being played in the background. I was watching one the other night and they had the original version of Glenn Danzig's "Thirteen." I think the remake of Flight of the Phoenix has Johnny singing the old Bob Dylan song "Highway 61."
Talk about what it was like playing Johnny Cash for Guitar Hero 5.
That was a blast. Just the fact that they contacted us and said that they've chosen me to portray Johnny Cash and perform the moves for the avatar, that was an honor in itself. They flew us out there and put me in a motion capture suit and one of the cool things is that they told me to pick out a pair of pants and a shirt. One of the girls working there said the last guy to wear the shirt I picked out was James Hetfield of Metallica. I felt cooler already. It was a lot of fun. Long after I'm gone, I'll still be there in the game. It gives me a sliver of immortality. Hopefully, people can see and feel the passion I have for Johnny's music.
You've played the Capricorn party at House of Blues a number of times. What do you like about the gig?
Packy Malley, who puts it on, is a great guy and we get a great crowd. A lot of Johnny Cash fans show up. I think we've been a part of at least eight of the shows. I think we maybe missed one year. We always look forward to it. We got a lot of regulars that come back year after year. There's always a few new faces in the crowd. Everybody shows up to party.